Companies put energy behind relief efforts

SPECIAL TO THE DAILY SENTINEL—Volunteers man a food bank in Weld County after recent massive flooding along Colorado’s Front Range. Companies contributed $2 million to American Red Cross relief efforts.

While ruptured oil and gas infrastructure was part of the problem when it came to the recent Front Range flooding, the energy industry also was part of the solution in terms of providing flood relief.

Companies have contributed more than $2 million to American Red Cross relief efforts.

Some of the donations initially were prompted by a $500,000 contribution by Noble Energy, a major Front Range oil and gas developer that also has operations in Garfield County. Noble challenged other Colorado Oil & Gas Association members to match its gift and raise a total of $1 million, an amount that now has been more than doubled.

At last report, donations by COGA members had reached about $2.15 million. That doesn’t include donations from company employees or company matches for those donations.

It also doesn’t include relief-related contributions from companies who are not members of COGA, such as Encana, which contributed $250,000 to local United Way entities and other organizations assisting in relief.

Some of the COGA-member contributors with Western Slope operations include Chevron ($250,000), ConocoPhillips ($200,000), Whiting Petroleum ($100,000), Bill Barrett Corp. ($25,000), Marathon Oil Co. ($10,000), Calfrac ($5,000) and Black Hills Exploration and Production ($2,500). Utility Xcel Energy gave $50,000.

“Their members have been a very generous supporter of our flood relief as well as donating to our general disaster relief over the last month,” said Patricia Billinger, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Colorado.

She said her organization’s flood-relief costs alone at this point are around $7 million, and it has received flood-designated donations of about $4 million. But general-relief donations also have helped enable the organization to respond to continuing other needs such as families left homeless by house fires.

“The recovery process is going to be long, and for some, very difficult,” Michael DeBerry, area manager for a business unit of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., a Chevron subsidiary with operations in Colorado, said in a news release. “We want the people who have been affected by these devastating storms to know that they are in our hearts. With longstanding ties to Colorado, we hope this donation eases the hardship.”

COGA has said that in cases in which companies’ personnel and equipment could be freed up, they were made available for rescue and relief efforts, such as by providing pumps, trucks and earth-moving equipment to affected communities.

Noble says its employees bought and delivered 14 truck- and SUV-loads of relief supplies for one shelter, and served meals three times a day for five days at shelters in Greeley and Evans, and 60 of its workers processed and sorted 57,000 pounds of food in a day for the Weld County Food Bank. The company and a contractor also provided 200 portable toilets in Evans, where a no-flush rule was in effect.

The company also has matched $40,000 in employee donations.

“We have 450 employees who live and work in the Greeley area, where we have operated more than 30 years — we are committed for the long-term,” Noble said in a prepared statement.


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