FARMINGTON — This year's Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference is shaping up to be one of the biggest of the twelve years it has been in existence.

“This is probably going to be one of the best conferences we ever had and will definitely be the largest,” said Karen Ortega, chairwoman of the conference's executive committee.

The 2014 edition of the biannual conference is scheduled to begin on May 7 at McGee Park and ends the following day.

Throughout the two days, participants will have the opportunity to attend more than 20 different presentations covering subjects that include water reuse, updates on the San Juan Basin Mancos Shale oil exploration and production, and policy updates that impact oil and gas production.

“The talks are going to give them the latest regulations and lasted technology,” said Jan Tomko, conference coordinator.

She said the intent of the conference is to provide local companies insights to regulation changes, inform them about new practices and to provide an opportunity to network with other companies and industry professionals.

She said as many as 1,800 people are expected to attend this year's conference from throughout the United States and Canada. The 2012 conference netted some good results for local companies.

“It was a good conference. There were a lot of attendees and a lot of good networking, Some companies got some really good leads and sales from the last conference,” she said.

This year, about 300 companies from around the country are expected to be part of the trade show.

This year's conference will be the 12th after the inaugural event in 1994 that was intended to help smaller local oil and gas companies navigate their way through policies and regulations.

“The goal was to help the smaller companies with regulatory issues and regulations,” Tomko said. “Some of the bigger companies knew how to do all that.”

This year, one of the changes will be to have the reception at the area where the conference is being held.

In the past, receptions were usually held at the Farmington Civic Center or a local hotel, Tomko said.

Also, the reception will feature Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for Western Energy Alliance. The alliance is a nonprofit organization that represents 430 independent energy-related companies.

She said she is going to speak about policies affecting producers across the western portion of the United States.

“It's getting more difficult to operate on federal lands in the West,” she said.

The keynote speaker during Wednesday's luncheon is scheduled to be New Mexico Secretary of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources David Martin.

Ortega said she also is appreciative of the people and companies that have supported the conference.

“We have 51 sponsors that helped us put on a program,” she said.

One of the sponsors is Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company, which is based in St. Michaels, Ariz., but has offices in Farmington.

Lynette Willie, public and government relations manager for the company, said it will be sending some staff and hopes to network with other companies.

“We're looking forward to just being able to network with the people out there and let them know what our objective is,” she said in a phone interview. “It's really important to network.”

Audra Winters, president and chief executive for the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, said she hopes that attendees to the conference will get a good image of Farmington and think about Farmington as a place that could help their business. “I hope they get a overall good feeling about the city of Farmington and the new exhibitors will look to relocate their businesses here,” she said.

Tomko said the group plans to keep the conference at two days in the future even though participation is growing.


Erny Zah is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4638 and Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.