Pub. 2 2020-2021 Issue 3


President’s Message Rikki Hrenko-Browning

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UPDATE Magazine
Pub. 2 2020-2021 Issue 3

Resilience is a wholly overused word at this point, but it is one I cannot seem to get out of my head when I think about the work our membership does every day, no matter what. The challenges of the global pandemic that lasted the entirety of 2020 and persisted into early 2021 are far-reaching and have been well-covered. So, let’s put that aside and discuss other challenges.

Our industry is recovering, even after the unprecedented commodity prices of April 2020 and in the face of a newly unpredictable policy and regulatory environment. Encouraged by a litany of special interest groups working tirelessly to end fossil fuel development entirely, federal policy makers disregard the realities of what would happen to our way of life and national security if they were to prevail. In January 2021, on the very first day of the Biden Administration, a moratorium on federal oil and gas lease sales and issuances of permits was declared, realizing the industry’s fears about what awaits us with the change in national leadership. The permitting moratorium ended, but litigation around the lease sale ban persists with no end in sight and an ongoing review of permitting that is certain to drive up costs.

But these events, while in the forefront of our attention, exist in the background of our day-to-day work. And that’s why I can’t stop thinking about the word resilience. No matter what happens in Utah, in the United States, or abroad, our members are ensuring the safe extraction, transportation, and refinement of products we all need every single day, without interruption. None of us exists in a vacuum, but each of us contributes in our way to the rich tapestry of American oil and natural gas development and production.

And when we come together, pool our resources for the greater good, and elevate each other’s efforts through collaboration, partnership, and the spirit of goodwill and community betterment, we achieve great things. That is why you are the focus of this edition of our quarterly newsletter. You, our member companies, have worked with us, with each other, and on your own to do great things, and it is our honor and our privilege to highlight those achievements.

I think about how only six months into 2021, the Basin has eight active drill rigs, more than in the entire state of Wyoming, and a significant gain over pre-pandemic production levels. Producers are working together to fill crude trains, which can only happen with collaboration and a shared focus on solidifying new export markets to sustainably grow production in the Basin.

I think about our downstream sector again voluntarily rising to the challenge. Chevron’s homegrown technology innovation will be a boon to the industry well beyond Utah and will help keep our employees and communities even safer. After our downstream sector delivered on Tier 3, we are proud to demonstrate again that we are an industry of innovators, using technology to help solve our common challenges.

I think about how we raised $25,000 for the Farmers Feeding Utah event that benefitted Duchesne County and how the men and women of our companies donated their time, effort, and sweat equity to pack and distribute food for those who need it most. I think about raising more than $9,000 for the 7th Generation Fund, which provides scholarships and educational programs for the Ute Tribe.

I think about Utah Energy United, how people from inside and outside the oil and gas industry volunteered and contributed their voices, wanting to ensure our story is heard above the perpetual din of federal busybodies. These meddlers often find it easy to ignore those most impacted by policies made thousands of miles away. But quite frankly, your voices are the ones that should matter most when it comes to conversations about oil and natural gas, but paradoxically are the most readily discarded because distance and myopia are high hurdles to understanding. We cannot affect change without you, so if you have not signed up for Utah Energy United, visit and add your name to the list. We are grateful to you when you do.

These examples, and more, provide not only the backbone of this edition of our newsletter, but the foundation upon which I hope our industry is understood going forward. We appreciate the value of teamwork, the vital need to innovate, and are committed community partners. While I recognize that those values are not how much the broader community sees our industry, it is those values that will drive our resilience through this time of political turmoil and transition. And it is our job at the Utah Petroleum Association to be your megaphone, your champion, and your advocate.

And no matter what we encounter down the road from a policy, technical, public opinion or global health perspective, I can assure you we will be resilient in our efforts.

Thank you for all that you do and enjoy the newsletter.