Natural gas group gets new chief executive

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Martin Durbin is the nephew — not the brother — of Sen. Dick Durbin.

Martin Durbin, executive vice president and chief lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, will become head of the American Natural Gas Alliance on May 1, according to an industry source and a note that went to ANGA members.

Durbin moves over at an important time for the group, which represents 27 large independent natural gas exploration and production companies who are actively drilling in shale gas areas. The group supports natural gas exports and increased use of natural gas in power generation and says that gas supplies are adequate to meet higher demand.

Durbin, who is the nephew of Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), has long worked under API president Jack Gerard, at API since 2009 and earlier at the American Chemistry Council, whose members use natural gas as a feedstock.

One of Durbin’s tasks at ANGA will be to try to defuse opposition to exports among industrial natural gas users who worry that exports could cause higher gas prices.

ANGA’s previous chief executive, Regina Hopper, resigned in February. Gregory M. Pensabene, Anadarko Petroleum’s vice president for government relations, has been acting head of the group.

Steven Mufson covers energy and other financial news.
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