DENVER – Western Energy Alliance will honor Bill Armstrong, president and chief executive officer of Denver-based Armstrong Oil & Gas, Inc., with the Wildcatter of the Year award in recognition of his achievements in community service and business, including discovering what is potentially the third-largest oil field in the United States. As the 36th recipient of the Wildcatter award, Armstrong will be formally celebrated by leaders in the oil and natural gas industry at the Wildcatter gala on Saturday, November 6th.
“Throughout his career, Bill has built a reputation for succeeding in areas where most others had moved on,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “In addition to his professional success, Bill was selected for this award by his peers because of his leadership in the community supporting education and the arts. Wildcatter is a perfect description of Bill Armstrong when you consider his discoveries in Alaska and success opening up a new frontier and renewing excitement in the state. But what sets Bill apart is his humble nature and big heart for helping the community. Through the generosity of his wife Liz and him, young ballet dancers in inner-city Denver have an inspiring facility to pursue their dreams, and college students from Alaska to Texas enjoy modern student centers and athletic amenities. These are the qualities we look for while selecting our recipient, and why we’re pleased to honor Bill Armstrong.”
Bill founded Armstrong Oil & Gas, Inc. in 1985 in the attic office above his 100-year-old barn. Today, the privately held independent oil and natural gas exploration company is headquartered in downtown Denver and employs some of the most innovative thinkers in our industry. In the early years, Armstrong spent time chasing deals in Kansas and independent-friendly regions like the Denver-Julesburg Basin and the Permian Basin. Later, he shifted focus by seeking top geologic, geophysical, land, and engineering talent, and pursuing big “wildcat” opportunities in the United States and across the world.
Armstrong’s largest success has been on the North Slope of Alaska, where he and his team have found numerous 100+ million-barrel oil fields. His successes include the Horseshoe/Pikka Field, which experts say could develop into the third-largest conventional oil field in U.S. history only behind Prudhoe Bay and East Texas fields. Over the last 36 years, Armstrong has been part of the discovery of over 20 oil and natural gas fields in the Williston Basin, Powder River Basin, Wyoming/Utah Overthrust Belt, Green River Basin, Michigan Basin, Cook Inlet, Gulf of Mexico, and San Joaquin Valley, among others. In 2019, Armstrong was profiled in The Wall Street Journal as “One of the Last Wildcatters.”
Equally impressive is Armstrong’s leadership in the community. He and Liz manage The Armstrong Foundation which primarily focuses on education and arts philanthropy. Their generosity includes funding the Denver Art Museum, Central City Opera, Armstrong Center of Dance at the Colorado Ballet, Residential Commons Complex and the Armstrong Field House at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Alaska Pacific University educational endowment, and Armstrong Dining Hall at Westminster School. Armstrong is a former board member of the Denver Art Museum and is trustee emeritus at the Colorado Ballet. He currently serves on the boards of Tourmaline Oil Corp. (Calgary) and Southern Methodist University (Dallas) where in 2021, both he and Liz received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
In 2004, the couple founded Epoch Estate Wines, a premium vineyard and winery located in Paso Robles, Calif. Armstrong is a member and past chairman of the All-American Wildcatters and sits on the National Petroleum Council. He graduated in 1982 from SMU with a Bachelor of Science in geology.
About the Wildcatter of the Year Award
The title Wildcatter of the Year is reserved only for the most prominent leaders in the western oil and natural gas industry whose entrepreneurial and exploratory spirit have contributed significantly to America’s energy security and the betterment of society. The term “wildcatter” originates from the 1880s when independent speculators ranged across the West in hopes of discovering new or unproven oil reserves. The Wildcatter of the Year is not only a leader in industry, but a role model in the community as well, demonstrating leadership both on and off the oil field.
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