About DEPA


DEPA is…

  • A unique grassroots approach to domestic onshore oil and natural gas advocacy and education. We are an alliance of independent producers, royalty owners, oilfield service companies and state and national oil and natural gas associations.
  • A nationwide collaboration. DEPA and its 15 coalition associations – from California to West Virginia, Texas to North Dakota – represent about 10,000 individuals and companies engaged in domestic onshore oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P).
  • Focused and Bipartisan. We believe in seeking common ground. We believe in common sense solutions to the challenges that face us in our businesses, including our relationship with the federal legislative and executive branches of government.
  • Young and Growing. In only its fifth year, DEPA now represents a majority of the individuals and companies responsible for the current renaissance in American oil and natural gas production.

DEPA Represents the Domestic, Independent Oil and Natural Gas Industry

Independent oil and natural gas producers are non-integrated companies that operate almost exclusively in the domestic exploration and production (E&P) segment of the industry. Independents are not “Big Oil.”

More than 18,000 independent producers drill about 95% of US oil and natural gas wells and account for 67% of US oil and gas production. While there are some large, publicly-traded companies among the nation’s independent producers, the average company size is 11 employees. Independent producers typically invest more than 100% of their revenue in finding new domestic energy sources. Meanwhile, major, integrated oil companies are in all sectors of the energy industry on a global scale. Besides E&P, the majors own pipelines, refining and dominate the marketing of wholesale/retail fuels (gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel). The majors drill the majority of their wells outside the United States.       

These distinctions are important because President Obama has proposed eliminating $4 billion in tax provisions for the oil and natural gas industry. He has said these provisions are unnecessary because of high profits reported by major oil companies.

But three of the key tax provisions targeted by the Administration—intangible drilling costs (IDCs), percentage depletion and tertiary injectants —are limited to drilling and production enhancement activities in the US. It is vital to understand that these key tax provisions primarily impact independent producers, not the five major oil companies.

Today, DEPA and our collaborating association partners are the clearest, most effective voices for America’s independent oil and natural gas industry. The DEPA agenda is sharply focused to distinguish our mission and our agenda. Above all, DEPA is committed to common sense legislative and regulatory solutions that strengthen our industry’s pursuit of North American energy independence.


Decisions are made by a board of directors interested in our agenda. Our Board consists of an Executive Committee that is the governing body of the organization and a Board of Directors of independent producers from across the country.


Harold Hamm, Chairman

The son of a sharecropper and youngest of 13 children, Harold Glenn Hamm was raised to work tirelessly – always with passion and intensity.

In December of 1966 Harold was able to buy a bob tail tank truck and begin his own oilfield service company in Ringwood, Oklahoma.  Within two years he incorporated two of his primary companies, Hamm & Phillips service company and Continental Resources, Inc. (CRI). 

Today, CRI ranks in the top 20 companies in terms of U.S. oil production.  In 2006 the company spent over $300 million exploring for new oil and gas deposits.  CRI’s commitment to innovation through horizontal drilling has resulted in the development of the red river “b” play in the Williston Basin –the largest on-shore discovery in the lower 48 states in the last 34 years, and was developed exclusively with horizontal drilling. Today, various Hamm companies operate in 12 states, employ 500 people, and have payroll exceeding $37,000,000 annually.

Along with serving as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Continental Resources, Inc., Hamm is the Chairman of the Board of two separate publicly traded partnerships on the Nasdaq stock exchange – Hiland Partners, LP. (HPLP), Hiland Holdings GP, LP (HPGP), and is a Director of Complete Production Services, Inc., a publicly traded oilfield services company.  He also served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and as a Director of Continental Gas, Inc. since its inception in 1967 until October 2004.  He is Chairman of the Board of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA), a member of the executive board of the Oklahoma Energy Explorers, and is the immediate past President of the National Stripper Well Association (NSWA).  In addition, Hamm was the founder and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Save Domestic Oil, Inc.

Mike McDonald, President

Mike McDonald has been an independent oil man for more than 30 years.

He is the co-owner of Triad Energy, Inc. and is the immediate past Chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

McDonald is actively engaged on both the state and federal level with respect to taxation, regulatory and legislative issues affecting the oil and gas industry.

Mike Cantrell, Director of Governmental Affairs

Mike Cantrell is currently the Chairman of Cantrell Energy Corporation, an oil production operating company.  He was the President of Oklahoma Basic Economy Corporation, an Ada, Oklahoma based oil and gas exploration/production company for over 25 years. 

Mike’s passion for the oil and gas industry is the driving force behind his entrepreneurial spirit. 

Along with being the current Chairman of Cantrell Energy Corporation in Ada, Cantrell’s experience in the industry includes serving as President of Save Domestic Oil, a national coalition that enforces trade laws regarding oil dumping; President of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, the state’s largest energy association; Co-founder and Chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, the nation’s first oil checkoff program; member of the Industry Advisory Board for the National Association of Royalty Owners; and Executive Committee member for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

Mike also serves the state and his community as a board member for the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahomans for Lawsuit Reform and Citizens Bank of Ada.

Michael O. "Mickey" Thompson, Executive Director

Mickey Thompson, 58, is a veteran journalist, political consultant, oil and gas industry advocate and association leader.

Thompson was president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association for 15 years (1991-2005). He was named CEO of Diamondback Energy Services, an oilfield consolidation play based in OKC, in ’05. Two years later, he joined three other partners in his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma, to form True Energy Services.

In 2009, he co-founded the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, a collaboration of oil and gas producers, service companies and associations committed to protecting domestic oil and gas markets through a bi-partisan and balanced approach to advocacy at the federal level. He served as DEPA executive director until April, 2010.

His early career was in the newspaper business, mostly at his hometown paper, where he rose from sportswriter to publisher. Among many honors, he was named Oklahoma’s top editorial/column writer in 1989 and ’91.

He and his wife, Kym, who runs her own public relations firm, live in Oklahoma City.


Executive Committee

Harold Hamm, Chairman
Continental Resources, Inc.

Mike McDonald, President
Triad Energy

Mike Cantrell, Director of Governmental Affairs
Cantrell Investments, Inc.

Don Montgomery, Vice President
Montgomery Exploration Company

Berry Mullennix, Secretary/Treasurer
Panther Energy Company, LLC

Michael O. “Mickey” Thompson, Executive Director
Brain Storm Strategies

Ed Cross
Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association

Jerry Simmons
National Association of Royalty Owners

Somerlyn Cothran
National Stripper Well Association

Mike Terry
Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association

Bill Stevens
Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

Board of Directors

Thomas Fagadau
Primexx Energy Partners
Brian Harmon
C.E. Harmon Oil Company

Charles Harmon
C.E. Harmon Oil Company
Aaron Hees
Hees Interest, Ltd.
Blu Hulsey
Continental Resources, Inc.

Doug Hyden
Kentucky Oil and Gas Association

Vance Long
Petroleum Geologist

Mark Metzler
Felderhoff Production Company

Alex Mills
Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

Patrick Montalban
Northern Montana Oil & Gas Association
Obie O'Brien
Apache Corporation
Brian Moore
Superior Energy Services, Inc.

Brad Richards
Illinois Oil & Gas Association
John Schmitz
Select Energy Services

Greg Schnacke
Denbury Resources, Inc.

Ben Shepperd
Permian Basin Petroleum Association

Tom Stewart
Ohio Oil and Gas Association

Tom Taylor
Snowmass Energy Partners, LP

Darlene Wallace
Columbus Oil Company

Nelson Wood
Wood Energy, Inc.
Rock Zierman
California Independent Petroleum Association

Trade Association Partners

Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association
Texas Alliance of Energy Producers
Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association
National Association of Royalty Owners
Permian Basin Petroleum Association
National Stripper Well Association
California Independent Petroleum Association
Northern Montana Oil & Gas Association
Kentucky Oil & Gas Association
Ohio Oil & Gas Association
Illinois Oil & Gas Association
Michigan Oil & Gas Association
Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia