The University of Texas System Board of Regents Wednesday appointed two new members with extensive experience in business and the oil and gas industry to serve on the University Lands Advisory Board.
Kirk Edwards of Odessa, president of Latigo Petroleum, was appointed to a three-year term, and Regents Vice Chairman Paul L. Foster was appointed to succeed former Regent Alex Cranberg, who has served on the Advisory Board as chairman since its inception in 2014.
Edwards is an oilman based in Odessa whose operations are focused only in the Texas Panhandle, where there are no University Lands. He said he was “honored and humbled” by the appointment.
“The main duty of everybody on the board is to steward these lands to the best use of the Texas and A&M university systems and for the state, and I think being based in West Texas I think I can offer a unique perspective with these lands centrally located here also,” Edwards said. “It’s a tremendous amount of acreage that the state set up for these universities back in the 1800s and the size and breadth of what it’s become today is incredibly impressive.”
Regents also reappointed Frank D. Tsuru of Houston, who has served as CEO and president of several energy companies, and Thomas L. Carter, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Black Stone Minerals, a news release said.
Regents Vice Chairman Jeffery D. Hildebrand, founder and executive chairman of Hilcorp Energy Company, was appointed chairman of the Advisory Board.
The University Lands Advisory Board was created by the UT System Board of Regents in 2014 to provide strategic direction to University Lands and serve in an advisory capacity to regents on land operations and management.
University Lands oversees activities on 2.1 million acres of land that stretch across 19 far-West Texas counties in the Permian Basin and serve as a resource for the UT and Texas A&M system institutions.
Revenue from oil and gas production on university Lands flows into the Permanent University Fund, which supports capital projects at the institutions of the UT and Texas A&M systems, per the Texas Constitution. Revenue from surface leases and activity generates income for the Available University Fund (AUF). In addition, a small percentage of the PUF is distributed annually to support UT Austin, Texas A&M College Station, Prairie View A&M and system operations, the release said.
In May 2018, the PUF was valued at $21.8 billion. This year, distributions from the AUF to eligible institutions were $888 million, an increase of $49 million over fiscal year 2017.
The University Lands Advisory Board is composed of nine members, including the Texas Land Commissioner, five members selected by the UT System Board of Regents (including two regents) and three members selected by the A&M System Board of Regents (including one regent).
In addition to the members appointed and reappointed Wednesday and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the University Lands Advisory Board also includes Stephen A. Holditch, Texas A&M University professor emeritus of petroleum engineering; Mark Albers, a retired ExxonMobil executive; and A&M Regent Elaine Mendoza.