Deserving of an Industry’s Gratitude
One of the strengths of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association has been a long-established reputation as an association that is reasonable and well thought out in the positions that we present before the Texas legislature and other regulatory agencies. A big part of that reputation is PBPA’s ability to work with the other four Texas oil and gas
associations. I have recognized in the past the excellent work performed by PBPA’s president Ben Shepperd; however, this month I need to extend recognition to two individuals who, while they do not reside here in the Permian Basin, have had a huge impact on our industry through their tireless efforts in roles that are vastly different from one another. March began with the resignation of Ben Sebree, vice president of Governmental Affairs and General Counsel of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, and retirement of John Tintera, executive director of the Texas Railroad Commission. Over the years I have been privileged to work with both of these gentlemen.
Ben Sebree and I go back further than I care to remember. In his role at the Texas Oil and Gas Association Ben was the legal expert that each session of the Texas legislature oversaw the analysis and threat designations of hundreds of legislative bills. In countless meetings Ben has played a key leadership role in marshaling and directing the efforts of the state oil and gas industries and associations in addressing state and federal legislative and judicial issues. During his 22-year tenure at TXOGA the Texas oil and gas industry has benefited greatly from Ben’s legal skills as well as his ability to deal fairly and openly with the state’s legislators and other oil and gas associations. It is a rare occasion that Ben has not had a key role in working with leadership of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, as we have had to respond to a plethora of issues. Ben’s service to the Permian Basin and to the oil and gas industry for the entire state of Texas is greatly appreciated.
I first began to work with John Tintera back in 2001 when the Texas legislature formed the Oilfield Cleanup Fund Advisory Committee on which I have served. At that time John headed up the Railroad Commission’s site remediation program that was tasked with the closure of abandoned oil and gas sites in Texas. John’s work in this particularly complicated area was always consistent with the utmost standards of professionalism and expertise. Many of you may recall the times when it was taking six weeks or more for the industry to get drilling permits approved by the Railroad Commission. This was an issue addressed a number of times by the Oilfield Cleanup Advisory Committee. The Railroad Commission placed John Tintera in charge of the drilling permitting process and in a very short period of time we were getting our permits in days, not weeks. There can be no doubt that this turnaround in efficiency was due to John’s skills in leadership and organizing Railroad Commission resources. As executive director of the Railroad Commission, John was able to strike that absolutely necessary balance between being a fair and firm regulator of industry while at the same time working with industry and the legislature to ensure that Texas would continue to have a healthy, vibrant, and responsible oil and gas industry. John’s efforts in working to ensure that our industry would continue to be regulated by the Texas legislature and state agencies rather than federal agencies have been tireless. The state has benefited tremendously from John’s 22 years with the Railroad Commission.
While the resignation of Ben Sebree and retirement of John Tintera are definitely significant, the good news is that both gentlemen are going to remain involved in state oil and gas issues for hopefully years to come and our companies and industry will continue to have the benefit of the experience and expertise.