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RMOGA Snuffed by Low Prices, Industry Change

RMOGA Snuffed by Low Prices, Industry Change

Low commodity prices and industry belt-tightening picked off the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Association (RMOGA). The trade group said it will shut its doors June 1. The move comes amid reorganization of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and follows talk last year of combining the Natural Gas Supply Association with API. Clearly, the pressure is on to cut costs, and trade association dues paying has become less of a priority.

"It is largely a financial decision," said RMOGA President John Morrison, a lawyer with Fleck, Mather & Strutz. "And as the oil and gas industry in the Rocky Mountain region has changed, both in the make-up of the players and the level of activity, it's become increasingly difficult to fund an organization like RMOGA."

RMOGA membership is about 280 oil and gas players who pay dues based on a formula that considers production, refining, marketing, transportation, and processing volumes. Morrison would not disclose information about average dues, but an industry observer said annual dues for some member companies reach the "six figures."

The association has focused on issues such as improving producer access to public lands, as well as tax, royalty, environmental, refining, and marketing issues. RMOGA, founded in Casper, WY, in 1920 moved to Denver in 1975 and took over API activities in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana when API was closing offices in those states. RMOGA currently has 14 employees in offices in Salt Lake City, UT; Denver; Casper; Billings, MT; a joint office with API in Bismarck, ND; and a contract office in Boise, ID. The association represents the oil and gas industry in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Utah.

The association's demise also stems from the desire of member companies who don't have activities in all the RMOGA states to participate in state-specific trade associations, Morrison said. "I think that many companies are starting to look very closely at the dues they pay to trade associations and they want to make sure duplication is eliminated." Mergers and acquisitions and the exit of some major producers from the Rockies also have thinned the ranks of RMOGA membership.

Morrison said he expects RMOGA state divisions to reorganize into some kind of stand-alone state associations. The association is active in public lands issues, "and we believe there will be some kind of public lands office organized in Denver. I think some or all of those reorganized divisions will probably purse some sort of affiliation or relationship with other trade associations that are out there."

Claire Moseley is director of RMOGA's land/E&P division and said she's looking at aligning herself with another association or forming a new association just to deal with public lands issues. "It depends on whether I can raise the money or not. I'm hoping to have a pretty good idea by June 1st, which is when we close our doors."

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