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Panelists at Business First’s second annual New Mexico Energy Outlook Summit yesterday offered but one common ground: Something needs to be done to turn the industry around.
Emceed by ABF publisher Candace Beeke, the event brought together Dr. Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech and a senior policy analyst in the New Mexico State Department of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources; Ron Darnell, senior vice president of public policy for PNM Resources (NYSE: PNM); Bob Gallagher, president of RMG Consulting; and Regina Wheeler, chief executive officer of Positive Energy Solar.
Ron Darnell, senior vice president of public policy at PNM Resources, speaks during Thursday’s New Mexico Energy Outlook Summit while Regina Wheeler (left), CEO of Positive Energy Solar, looks on.
Over the course of 90 minutes, which included a keynote speech delivered by Fine and a panel discussion, the group addressed questions about the state of the energy industry in New Mexico and the United States, what 2016 might look like for the oil and gas industry and possible solutions to the current industry slump. While driven, in part, by audience-submitted questions, everyone offered a much differing perspective.
In his keynote speech, Fine said he was “coming with realism and bad news” and believed that while no one can forecast the price of oil, “we should prepare for 2003 prices.” He estimated that the price of oil could drop to the $22 to $28 range by June 2016.
Fine also said that the state could see a 10 percent reduction in shale production by that time, as well. He cited increased foreign production of oil over the last couple of years, China’s stabilization at a lower growth rate, decreased commodity demand and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) price war with the U.S. shale industry.