In the last two weeks, two veteran national oil and gas organizations have announced they are opening Washington, DC, operations to lobby for the midstream oil and natural gas industry.

The Tulsa-based Gas Processors Association (GPA) said Wednesday it plans to bolster its government affairs focus at all levels, including the addition of personnel and a Washington office. It is believed to be the first time since the group was founded in 1921 that it would have a dedicated Washington office.

“Up to this point, GPA has achieved noteworthy accomplishments through using third parties with key Capitol Hill and agency access to handle many of our federal activities, but now it’s time to take this next step on our own to ensure that our members are served and our voice is heard,” said GPA CEO Mark Sutton. The aim is to engage and educate agencies and legislators about the midstream natural gas industry.

Matthew Hite has been hired as vice president of government affairs to lead GPA’s federal advocacy activities. Hite is to be instrumental in opening the GPA Office of Federal Affairs in Washington and in hiring a director of federal government affairs later this year.

Hite previously served as policy counsel and committee executive to the Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Before joining the Chamber, Hite spent close to a decade working on Capitol Hill. He was senior counsel to Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Earlier this month, the venerable American Petroleum Institute (API), the main representative of larger oil producers, announced it was setting up a Midstream department in its Washington office to focus on issues related to energy infrastructure and the transportation of oil and gas. Plains All American Pipeline LP President Harry Pefanis is chairing the committee, made up of API member company representatives, which will oversee the department (see Daily GPI, Jan. 14).

“In order for America’s oil and natural gas renaissance to continue, we need a world class infrastructure system to deliver that energy to consumers,” said API CEO Jack Gerard. “Creating a division within our organization focused on midstream issues will enable the industry to address the critical issues around energy infrastructure.”

Already on the federal government scene for many decades have been the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, representing natural gas pipelines; the American Gas Association, representing distributors; the Natural Gas Supply Association of America (a long-ago spinoff from API), representing mainly larger natural gas producers; and the Independent Petroleum Association of America mainly representing smaller producers. A relatively new arrival, sailing in several years ago on the crest of shale gas, is America’s Natural Gas Alliance, which is dedicated to enhancing the public image of natural gas (see Daily GPI, Feb. 26, 2009).