Hundreds of independent oil and gas explorers and producers are in Wichita this week for their annual convention.
This year marks the 80th annual meeting of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. The group, which formed in 1937, says independent producers are responsible for 93 percent of oil and 63 percent of natural gas produced in Kansas.
JC Watts, a Republican former congressman from Oklahoma who also sat on the state’s regulatory commission, spoke at the convention. He said the oil and gas industry, and the people responsible for regulating it, have challenges ahead.
“Technology over the next 10 or 15 years, I suspect is going to have some consequences, some impact, on the fossil fuel space, and it’s not going to surrounding regulatory policy, it’s going to be surrounding technology," he said.
He said he wants to see the government focus more on research and development.
Watts also said overregulation of the industry has hurt jobs and progress, but that’s been changing in the past several months.
“In the Trump administration, people in those federal agencies have started to say, 'This is an overregulation in this case. The regulatory policy here has hurt jobs,'" Watts said.
He says Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt, also of Oklahoma, has a good understanding of the oil and gas industry.
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