For WPX, we were born in the San Juan Basin. Our beginnings trace back to 1983 when we were entirely focused on natural gas.
In 2013, we significantly expanded our local operations through an oil discovery in the Gallup oil play, which is in the southern end of the basin.
Through the years, our company-wide operations have spanned all over the map and across international borders, with one common thread…the San Juan Basin. Until now.
That’s because we’ve announced the sale of our remaining presence in the basin, which represents 150+ Gallup oil wells. Our CEO, Rick Muncrief, wrestled with the decision, saying:
“Selling is certainly difficult. It always is, especially with our friends and relationships in the basin. Personally, I went back and forth on whether to sell. The wrestling is a good thing. It reflects on the quality of what we have.”
WPX is grateful for all of our ties to the community, our vendors, dedicated employees, and our business partners, including Navajo allottees.
The San Juan Basin has been very good to WPX, and in turn, we’ve tried to return the favor. For example, we:
- Built a brand new, bigger field office in Aztec
- Doubled the size of our staff over the years
- Invested $500 million locally in drilling over the past 3 years
- Distributed $100 million in leasing and royalties to Navajo allottees
- Generated more than $200 million in taxes for the state of NM
- Formed 7 federal units for Gallup development, with 2 more pending
- Distributed more than $100,000 in local charitable giving in 2017
- Helped reduce oil-hauling traffic by building a pipeline gathering system
- Received more than a dozen awards for cooperation and environmental protection
The reason we sold? Over the past 5 years, we’ve been narrowing the extent of our business holdings to focus our capital spending in fewer places, which helps us build efficiencies and economies of scale, while also reducing our long-term debt to create a financially healthy company in the midst of up-n-down oil prices.
Make no mistake, there are more good things to come from the work we started. The buyer of our local oil business is certainly heavily invested in the future of the San Juan Basin and the Gallup development. No doubt they will be driven to build on our foundation and continue working closely with local stakeholders.
Working together. That’s how it gets done in the San Juan Basin. And we’re thankful for everyone who’s part of the bigger, broader energy family in northwest New Mexico. In thinking about it, maybe it’s the basin that’s leaving a bigger impact…on us.