Oil industry group names new chairman

HOUSTON — Ultra Petroleum CEO Mike Watford has been elected chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America for a two-year term starting this month.

Mark Miller, president of Merlin Oil & Gas, has been elected as vice chairman.

Watford is chairman, president and CEO of Houston-based Ultra Petroleum, an upstream oil and gas company. Merlin is a small onshore operation in Lafayette, Louisiana.

“Mike and Mark have witnessed firsthand how development of our vast oil and natural gas gives the United States opportunities and benefits beyond reckoning. After all, as leaders of energy companies, they are first and foremost job creators,” IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell said in a statement.

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Watford has worked with many companies in both upstream and downstream sectors. Before Ultra, he was CEO of Nuevo Energy Company. He also has experience in managed product marketing, processing, pipeline, and the chemical business.

He is also an appointed member of the National Petroleum Council, an oil and natural gas advisory committee to the secretary of energy.

Miller’s career in the industry spans more than thirty years, when he started in the petroleum land business. He serves on the board of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and the American Association of Professional Landmen Legislative Update Committee.

Watford succeeds IPAA Chairman Virginia “Gigi” Lazenby, who led IPAA since 2011. She will remain active on the association’s board of directors.