Oil and gas groups to vote on merger

The proposed merger of two of the state’s largest oil and gas trade groups will be decided this week.

Voting will start Tuesday and continue through Wednesday as about 2,000 members of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association decide whether to combine with the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association. If they agree, the new group will temporarily have the name of the OIPA-OKOGA.

Talks have been underway for weeks about the possibility of the two groups joining sides and become one group to represent the state’s largest industry.

The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is the oldest of the two. It was formed n 1919 as the Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association and is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. The OIPA was founded in 1955.

“When they really started looking at it, they realized our legislative agendas were really very similar over the last couple of years–that we were much more aligned now than we ever had been before,” said Chad Warmington, President of OKOGA. “From a public policy standpoint, it would be great to have one voice that represents 99 percent of the industry. that is a real attractive thing for us.”

If the merger is approved, Warmington will be the leader of the newly-formed group.

“I think it is a really good thing,” said Mike Cantrell,  president of the Oklahoma Energy Producer’s Alliance. “We are up to 400 members now and growing pretty fast, and I think the merger of those other two organizations will make it a lot more apparent to the 3,000 vertifical producers in Oklahoma that we are the organization who represents their interests.”

He believes the merger would actually increase membership in his group.

The OIPA has about 2,000 members and they represent 1,200 public and private oil and gas companies.

OKOGA has refiners and an estimated 80 active upstream and midstream companies as its members.