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Austin, Texas — The membership of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) last week approved Brent Hopkins as the organization’s new chairman of the TIPRO Board of Directors, effective immediately. Hopkins was confirmed as TIPRO’s chairman during the organization’s 2020 virtual conference, held on Thursday, September 24. He will succeed Eugene Garcia in the leadership role, who had served as TIPRO’s chairman since 2018.

Hopkins is the president and CEO of Suemaur Exploration & Production, LLC, a private oil and gas company headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since 2012, he has served as a director of TIPRO representing Region 1, covering the southern sections of the state.

“Brent brings decades of technical and operational experience to TIPRO as the association’s new chairman,” said Eugene Garcia, immediate past chairman of TIPRO and president of Hurd Enterprises. ”His experience and leadership, combined with TIPRO’s dedicated Board of Directors and staff will ensure that the organization continues to effectively represent the Texas oil and natural gas industry,” added Garcia.

“It’s a great honor to help lead this important organization,” said Hopkins. “TIPRO’s influence over the past 75 years has significantly contributed to the growth and strength of the Texas oil and natural gas industry and the thousands of independent producers throughout the state that make its success possible,” he concluded.

Following the association’s annual membership meeting held in conjunction with the 2020 TIPRO conference, the organization is pleased to also announce additional new and returning directors confirmed for the board’s leadership, including:

  • – Mr. Mike Pedrotti, Texegy – Region 1, Class A Director, First Term
  • – Mr. Grant Johnson, Lone Star Production Company – Region 2, Class A Director, First Term
  • – Mr. Jud Walker, EnerVest – At-Large Class A Director, First Term
  • – Mr. John Swords, Tracker Services – Treasurer, Class B Director
  • – Mrs. Patricia Boswell McCall, Boswell Interests – Secretary, Class B Director
  • – Mr. Walter “Tad” Mayfield, Goldston Oil – Class D Director, Fifth Term
  • – Mr. Stephen Castle, Cowboys Resources – Class D Director, Fourth Term
  • – Mr. David Martineau, Martineau Petroleum – Class D Director, Third Term
  • – Mr. Raymond Welder, Welder Exploration – Class D Director, Second Term
  • – Mr. Allen Gilmer, Enverus – Class D Director, First Term

“TIPRO thanks all members of our board for their strong leadership and governance of the association. In these challenging and unprecedented times for our industry, we know that together their broad range of experience and knowledge will help guide our association and allow TIPRO to maintain its mission of advocating for independent producers and mineral owners at all levels of government, ” said TIPRO President Ed Longanecker.

In addition to confirming the new slate of board members during TIPRO’s first full day virtual conference and membership meeting, members of the association also heard from an impressive list of public and private sector leaders. TIPRO’s event kicked off with introductory remarks provided from U.S. Senator for Texas Ted Cruz, who rallied the state’s energy workers and championed the oil and gas sector to continue to persevere despite the struggles presented this past year from the economic downturn and outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. TIPRO was also proud to welcome during the conference Texas Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Denton), a senior GOP member of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, who reviewed energy policies currently under consideration by federal lawmakers. As part of his presentation to TIPRO, Congressman Burgess expressed his strong belief that the U.S. energy industry would propel the nation to reach a “great American comeback” and allow the country to overcome the current economic recession.

State leaders including Texas Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Chairman Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and House Energy Resources Chairman Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) also addressed TIPRO during the association’s September meeting, jointly discussing expectations for the interim and upcoming legislative session. Both chairmen noted the difficulties of conducting business at the Texas capitol while the state works to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. The two legislators also agreed the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, known commonly as the Rainy Day Fund, was likely to be tapped in the upcoming legislative cycle to help the state fund its budget, though each official agreed that the state’s reserve must be used only with the utmost discretion and caution. Further, Chairman Birdwell and Chairman Paddie encouraged the members of TIPRO to work with an open mind on other policy priorities, like eminent domain, to help the legislature successfully pass bills in 2021, in what many anticipate to be a challenging and difficult session.

Additionally, TIPRO’s 2020 conference featured a lively forum with both the Republican and Democratic candidates running for Railroad Commissioner in this year’s General Election. Democratic candidate Chrysta Castañeda spoke to TIPRO about flaring and the waste of natural gas in the Lone Star State, telling the TIPRO audience she vows to address the issue if she secures the open seat at the Railroad Commission in November’s election. Castañeda also adamantly expressed opposition to any type of fracking ban, and reinforced her intent, if elected, to exercise authority as a commissioner to properly enforce current environmental protections, regulations and laws.

Jim Wright, the Republican candidate for Railroad Commissioner, meanwhile told TIPRO he would work with the public in a fair, transparent and pro-active manner to oversee the Texas oil and gas industry, if he wins the Railroad Commissioner race. He shared his hope to ensure consistent interpretation of state rules so as to allow businesses to hold certainty when making operational plans, and said he would like to build on the successes of the agency’s past if given the opportunity to join the commission’s leadership panel. Wright also used the platform to address recent reports over investigations of his business, calling accusations “false” and a “smear campaign” promoted by his political opponent.

Other presenters at the TIPRO conference last week, including experts Dr. Anas Alhajji, Robert Bryce and James Henson, offered important economic, political and market outlooks for the energy sector. Halliburton’s Senior Vice President of Global Business Development and Marketing Shannon Slocum also gave insights on the impact of this year’s downturn to the oilfield service sector, and highlighted opportunities and trends for more innovation and advancement in drilling activities in Texas’ oilfields.

“In this historic chapter for our industry, TIPRO remains steadfastly committed to advocating for domestic development and production of oil and gas,” Longanecker affirmed. “We are pleased to continue to offer programs and events that focus on policy, economic and operational issues for the Texas oil and gas industry. For those not currently active with TIPRO, we encourage you to engage now and join our cause to ensure a regulatory and business climate that supports a thriving oil and gas industry.”

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