ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ryan Flynn will step down as executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association after the legislative session ends Saturday, the organization announced Tuesday morning.
Flynn, who took the association’s reins in September 2016, has led the group through the best and worst of times, including five years of record production in New Mexico, plus the biggest disruption in industry history during the pandemic. He’s leaving with nearly four years left on his current contract, which the NMOGA board renewed last year to run through 2024.
Flynn will temporarily serve as a senior advisor while NMOGA searches for a successor and transitions to new leadership. He said he’s leaving for personal reasons to pursue new opportunities.
“I’m leaving with a good team in place,” Flynn told the Journal. “Membership is the highest it’s ever been.”
NMOGA is New Mexico’s oldest and largest oil and gas organization, with more than 1,000 members.
Under Flynn’s leadership, public awareness of the industry’s impact has grown significantly. He helped NMOGA spearhead a robust effort to educate local communities about the economic importance of oil and gas production, which contributes about one third of the state’s annual budget through taxes and royalties, including nearly $1.4 billion per year for public education.
Previously, community awareness varied widely outside southeastern and northwestern New Mexico, Flynn said.
“Unless you were a state budget hawk, most people had no idea that New Mexico is not just a major producer, but now the third-largest state in the U.S. for oil and gas production,” he said. “Now, you go to Albuquerque or Las Cruces and it’s amazing how much more people know about the industry. NMOGA played a strong role in that education.”
Flynn also helped reinforce “nonpartisanship” in NMOGA policies, working with both Democrat and Republican officials and emphasizing cooperative dialogue about evolving policies on climate change and emissions reduction in the oil and gas industry.
“Many viewed (us)…as representatives for the Republican Party, but the reality is, this industry is comprised of men and women of all backgrounds, and we always seek to work with both parties,” Flynn said. “We’ve established NMOGA as a credible, nonpartisan leader that’s fully participating in discussions on our state and nation’s energy future.”
NMOGA Chairman Leland Gould said Flynn has helped guide the association through a “remarkable period” of transition.
“He has built a very effective team and his vision and leadership have made NMOGA more relevant and recognized as our state and country have engaged in important conversations about the role and future of oil and natural gas in our society and communities,” Gould said in a statement.
Flynn said he’s exploring new opportunities in the private sector. He previously served as state Environment Department secretary under former Gov. Susana Martinez.