The American Petroleum Institute honored Devon Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Larry Nichols this week with its 2015 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit and vision.

The award, API’s highest honor, recognizes leaders who have played substantial roles in the oil and natural gas industry. Nichols received the award Nov. 8.

The API called Nichols a pioneer in the oil and natural gas industry and cited his important role in America’s 21st century energy renaissance.

“Nichols’ passion, personal integrity, advocacy and leadership have been a significant, positive force for the oil and natural gas industry,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said.

For more than four decades, Nichols’ steady leadership during good economic times and bad helped grow Devon from five employees in 1971 to more than 5,000 today. Through that time, Nichols led Devon and the rest of the industry to new horizons.

In 1990, Devon pioneered natural gas production from coal seams in Northwest New Mexico. A dozen years later, Nichols led the company into the Barnett Shale, where Devon introduced horizontal drilling techniques that led to the shale natural gas revolution. Meanwhile, Nichols guided the company to substantial oil discoveries in deepwater frontiers in the Gulf of Mexico and to steam-assisted gravity drainage technology in Canada’s oil sands.

In addition, Nichols has served on API’s board of directors since 2003, including a term as chairman from 2009 to 2011. API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry.

The first recipient of the organization’s gold medal award was Henry Ford in 1946. Fellow Oklahoma oilman Dean A. McGee also earned the award in 1981.

Published: November 2015