Michael D. Watford

IPAA Immediate Past Chairman
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Ultra Petroleum Corp.

Michael Watford was appointed Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, of Ultra Petroleum Corp. in 1999. In his thirteen year tenure with Ultra Petroleum, he has led a successful restructuring of the Company and has subsequently grown its reserve asset base from 0.5 Tcfe to 16.0 Tcfe while the market value of the enterprise has increased from $50.0 million to $5.5 billion with consistent growth in profits.

Mr. Watford has enjoyed a full range of industry experiences while working over his 37 year career for a number of energy companies including Shell Oil, Superior Oil, Meridian Oil (Burlington Resources), Torch Energy, and Nuevo Energy. Prior to joining Ultra Petroleum, Mr. Watford was Chief Executive Officer of Nuevo Energy Company for three and one-half years where he led the company’s growth in market value from $200 million to over $1 billion.

Mr. Watford attended the University of Florida where he earned his undergraduate degree in Finance in 1975. While working for Shell Oil, he attended night school at the University of New Orleans where he earned his MBA in 1978.

Previously, Mr. Watford served as a Director on the Boards of Southern Minerals, Nuevo Energy, and Bellwether Exploration. He has exploration and production experience domestically and internationally and was briefly involved in coal-mining. He has worked in the downstream refinery and chemicals business and managed product marketing, processing, and pipeline businesses.

He previously served as the 2013-15 Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America; on the Boards of Axip and America’s Natural Gas Alliance; in addition, he is a member of the National Petroleum Council, an oil and natural gas advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy.

IPAA is the industry’s strongest presence in the nation’s capital and these are important times. The entire oil and gas industry remains under fire from anti-development groups; but with these challenges arise unique opportunities that IPAA is seizing for our members.