Q & A with Tisha Conoly Schuller, CEO - Colorado Oil & Gas Association

Ms. Schuller answered a series of questions written by marcus evans. All responses represent the view of Ms. Schuller and not necessarily those of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

What is the extent of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s focus and involvement with shale?
Within Colorado, we have an emerging Niobrara shale oil play, which is attracting national and international investment and interest. For COGA, our efforts emphasize conducting outreach within communitiesthat are new to oil and gas development , as well as educating companies that are new to Colorado’s oil and gas rules.

As the shale plays attract increasing attention from the general public, elected officials, and regulators, we work on behalf of our members to represent them in legislative, legal, and regulatory affairs. For example, there are new Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) rules proposed for horizontal wells in the Niobrara; we both inform our members and negotiate on behalf of our collective membership.

What value do you see within new shale development for oil and gas companies?
I see both opportunities and challenges. New resources create opportunities for companies to develop and grow. Development in new areas creates increased responsibility to engage with and educate communities on our operations; we are now engaging much earlier and more proactively with local governments and their citizens who are interested in what new oil and gas operations may bring to their area. Our elected officials and regulators are also increasing their outreach and education expectations of the oil and gas industry as public interest grows.

What are the potential pitfalls of the unconventional gas revolution that’s currently unfolding?
We must apply the innovation that we bring to developing technology solutions to advancing our outreach efforts. Oil and gas development is happening faster and in increasingly populous areas. Our communities, local governments, and regulators require more information, transparency, communication, and outreach.

Calls for fracking regulations as well as backlash over the controversial technique are constantly flooding the media today. Are you concerned about all of the hype surrounding fracking, and how it is affecting the industry’s reputation?
Yes. Concerns over hydraulic fracturing and drilling operations are widespread and mainstream. Our industry must engage consistently, and with transparency, to win over public confidence and support.

Michele Westergaard