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Industry Leaders Address Embracing Opportunities Through the Energy Evolution at 2022 Annual Meeting

Energy Workforce & Technology Council wrapped up its 2022 Annual Meeting after a week of leaders from all sectors of the oil and gas industry spoke on the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the current market and industry dynamics.

Following remarks by the 70th Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, power panels focused on winning the narrative when discussing the oil and gas industry, breaking supply chain disruptions, influencing energy policy, and economic analysis and outlooks.

The Annual Meeting, which was held in Point Clear, AL, highlighted the theme Energy Evolution: Embracing Opportunities. Through this lens, speakers addressed how the energy services sector plays a critical role in the technical advancement of the oil and gas industry, noting that digitalization, remote technology and automation are all changing the field and allowing companies to create close partnerships between operators, service companies and technology providers that reduce operating costs and environmental impact while increasing well production.

“I am very appreciative of the support of our Members, your engagement, your insights, and your continued commitment to the advocacy and promotion of our industry. Our Members continue to inspire us as we work every day to elevate the energy technology and services sector during these challenging times. Empowering our industry is essential to the energy vitality of our world. We are definitely up to the task, and the Council is here to support you in every way.”

Leslie Beyer, CEO, Energy Workforce & Technology Council

Board Co-Chair Mike Reeves, President & CEO, Shawcor, opened the meeting on Wednesday.

“This year’s meeting is an exceptional opportunity for our sector to come together as one voice through the Council,” Reeves said. “Our panelists and keynote speakers will explore our pathway to improving the public perception of our industry, how we can more forcefully influence energy policy, create solutions to critical supply chain issues and so much more.”

KEYNOTE: 70TH SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO

Energy Workforce was honored to host the 70th Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as keynote speaker for the opening session. Secretary Pompeo thanked Members for their work in powering the world and leading in providing affordable, reliable energy. He also discussed the Russia/Ukraine crisis, national security, the economy, cybersecurity, and the work of the oil and gas industry in the global economy.

“What you do every day is a tremendous service to America. The world depends on affordable energy and that includes fossil fuels. The world is going to be dependent on the products that you all produce, deliver and manufacture for decades to come.”

70th Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo said one of the things that has remained clear to him is the importance of the energy industry to America’s prosperity and its national security.

“The work you are doing is noble,” Pompeo said. “We cannot ignore the centrality of the energy economy to humankind … the truth is factory workers in Nigeria, refinery technicians in Eastern Europe and people like those who worked for me in my little company in Wichita, Kansas — distributing sucker rods, pumps, downhole equipment and pumping units — deliver enormous economic might to the world and to America. American national security depends on our continued capacity to produce natural gas and oil, and deliver it to hungry nations around the world.”

ANALYST PANEL

Analyst Panel
Analyst Panel

Following Secretary Pompeo’s remarks, Members heard from the Analyst Panel, led by moderator Jim Wicklund, Founder, Wicklund & Associates, including a discussion with Ryan Tull, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan; Jim Mooney, Managing Director, Portfolio Manager, Carlson Capital; Marshall Adkins, Managing Director, Head of Investment Banking, Raymond James; and Sean Mitchell, Managing Partner, Daniel Energy Partners. All relayed a bright outlook for the next five years.

Mitchell said he was optimistic about investors coming back to traditional energy.

“From a banking perspective, one good thing we are seeing right now is investors are paying attention to traditional energy. If we show profitability, which I believe we are on the cusp of showing, that profitability will draw investors back into the space. I expect five years from now will look a lot better than the last five years.”

Sean Mitchell, Daniel Energy Partners

Adkins said that he believes the industry is in a supercycle, with meaningful structural change to the industry on many fronts.

“It started with the starvation of capital that was caused by several things, but ESG being number one. Also, for a long time, the big companies didn’t make any money and investors bolted. So those two issues, ESG and minimal returns over a long period forced a structural change,” Adkins said.

“We don’t have nearly enough capacity and it will take a long time to rebuild that capacity. At the same time you have industry being responsible with capital. I think the next five years is going to be incredibly good for our industry.”

Mooney advised audience members to pay down debt and focus on returns in order to sustain the supercycle.

“Don’t chase new equipment and return capital to your investors. Investors want what they want. They want buybacks. They want to know that as the cycle gets better, your cash flow goes up, and a higher percentage comes back to the investor than goes into your equipment, so that we can elongate the cycle.”

Jim Mooney, Carlson Capital

Tull focused on the energy transition and stated that although there are game-changing technologies in the market that will be good for a changing climate, he doesn’t advise his oil and gas clients to pursue the energy transition.

“I don’t see traditional oil and gas going away,” Tull said.

KEYNOTE: FORMER SECRETARY OF ENERGY DAN BROUILLETTE

Matt Armstrong, Baker Hughes, and Dan Brouillette, President, Sempra Infrastructure and former Secretary of Energy

Keynote speaker Dan Brouillette, President, Sempra Infrastructure and former Secretary of Energy offered Members the opportunity to hear his thoughts on energy transition, the challenges and opportunities the industry faces following the invasion of Ukraine, and energy as the driver of the economy.

“America should do what it has always done best and that is lead. Energy underpins every single economy in the world. If you want to grow your economy, you will need more, not less energy. We should support all forms of energy.”

Dan Brouillette, President, Sempra Infrastructure and former Secretary of Energy

Brouillette said as a leader in the industry, he’s proud that oil and gas provides economic security to employees and their families, as well as energy security to the United States and the rest of the world.

“The entire economy depends on us coming to work every day, and I’m quite proud of that,” he said.

INDUSTRY AND SERVICE AWARDS

Leslie Beyer, Toby Rice, EQT Corporation, Mike Reeves, Shawcor, and David de Roode, Lockton Global Energy & Marine

The Council recognized a number of industry leaders during its awards programs. Toby Rice, President & CEO, EQT Corporation, was awarded the Industry Influencer Award for his outstanding and personal dedication to advocating on behalf of the energy services and technology sector.

“The most important thing we can do to be a driving factor behind human progress is give people access to cheap, reliable, clean energy. When you do that, quality of life skyrockets.

Toby Rice, EQT Corporation

“LNG is the biggest renewable initiative on the planet because the biggest issue facing the world today is foreign coal,” Rice said. “If we want a thoughtful policy on how we are going to fix the climate, it’s not about what we do here in the United States, it’s what the United States can do for the world. And what we can do is unleash American shale. The innovation and the ingenuity in this room can send our resources overseas to replace foreign coal.” 

Sivasankaran “Soma” Somasundaram

Other industry award honorees included Apache Corporation, which received the ESG Accelerator Award, and Milestone Environmental Services, which was presented with the Member Engagement Award.

Individual service awards included the DEI Champion Award, which went to Sivasankaran “Soma” Somasundaram, President & CEO, ChampionX. The ESG Champion Award was presented to Celine Gerson, President and Group Director, Americas, Fugro. Mark Reed, General Sales Manager Exploration, Mustang Cat, took home the Industry Advocate Award, while Simao Silva, Global Account Director, Oceaneering International, received the Emerging Executive Award. The Chapter Champion Award went to Jody Helbling, General Manager, Energy Drilling Company, who is the Chair of the Natchez Chapter.

“This award is a reminder of the continuous journey we are on at ChampionX in this important area of work. And you know, this journey is consistent and we are united behind our purpose as a company in improving lives. I’m sure you join me in the belief that diversity and inclusion is not only important for our company’s ongoing performance, but also for meaningful societal advancement.”

Sivasankaran “Soma” Somasundaram

KEYNOTE: CHRIS CAMPBELL, KROLL

Chris Campbell, Kroll

During his economic keynote address, Chris Campbell, Chief Strategist, Kroll, discussed inflation, supply chain challenges, the likelihood of the economy going into a recession later this year, and the geopolitical challenges the world could face.

“We have been forecasting that inflation will be here for quite some time. Inflation was here before the war in Ukraine, and it has accelerated since. We will probably see another acceleration as supply chains change. We are also seeing geopolitical shifts. If China sides with Russia, there will be a massive shift in our supply chains as companies source and manufacture in different locations.”   

Chris Campbell, Kroll

Campbell was optimistic about the creativity of the private sector, and the overall power of the United States economy.

“The private sector and entrepreneurs are in the forefront of the changes happening in the global economy, and it is being driven and accelerated today because of technology. We are an economy of the future. Our lives in the very near future will be so changed and so different and the way we interact will be changed.”

PANEL: WINNING THE NARRATIVE

Winning the Narrative Panel

One of the most challenging issues facing the industry today is outside perception. The “Winning the Narrative” panel drilled down on ways to better communicate the clean energy production practices in the U.S. and how the nation’s oil and gas industry is leading the world in safer, cleaner production.

Energy Workforce & Technology Council CEO Leslie Beyer moderated the panel discussion. Participants included Liz Schwarze, Vice President Exploration, Chevron; Danny Wesson, Executive Vice President and COO, Diamondback Energy; and Andrea Passman, COO, Caerus Oil and Gas.

Passman stated that one way to increase the reputation of the industry was to look from within.

“We have to create raving fans within our industry. We naturally should look internally. Our company is doing listening tours, engaging employees, asking them questions. When we get them the answers to those questions, we develop raving fans.”

Andrea Passman, Caerus Oil and Gas

Schwarze discussed the diversity of the industry regarding career specialties.

“Arguably, there is a job in our industry for just about every kind of degree that someone can get from a university, every kind of specialty someone can get from a trade school. And we haven’t talked about that enough.”

Liz Schwarze, Chevron

Wesson said traditional energy is essential for economic and energy security.

“I was talking to someone about energy transition, but transition is the wrong word. The world needs more energy, not the same or less energy. There’s a large portion of the world that lives in energy poverty. Traditional energy has brought more people out of poverty and into the middle class than any other energy resource.”

Danny Wesson, Diamondback Energy

PANEL: UNLOCKING THE CHAIN

Unlocking the Chain Panel

Andrew Little, Vice President, Business Development, Premium Oilfield Technologies, moderated a discussion on supply chain challenges in the energy services sector during the “Unlocking the Chain” panel.

Joining him in the conversation were Keith Chometsky, President – MS Directional, VP SCM – Procurement, Patterson-UTI; Mary Atkinson, Director of Supply Chain, Grayson Mill Energy; and Brandi Rauch, General Manager Supply Chain – Shales, U.S. Supplier Diversity Program Manager, Shell. All panelists recognized that supply chain variations tend to be cyclical.

Regarding trends and what the future may look like, Chometsky said “Over the next six to 12 months, we will need an all-of-the-above strategy, as it pertains to suppliers. Trends will flow over time. Rather than saying your portfolio is one source, you need to look at all sources — domestic, closer to home and global suppliers.”

Atkinson discussed the current state of the supply chain.

“The supply chain is in a state of chaos. With everything going on, there are two main things – you have to be nimble, and you have to be resilient. You also have to collaborate with your suppliers. The trend is no longer who has the bigger stick; it’s about how we can collaborate and move forward.”

Mary Atkinson, Grayson Mill Energy

Rauch discussed supplier diversity and stated this needs to be built into a company’s strategy.

We have integrated supplier diversity into our U.S. DEI plan. We are talking about diversity of experience, background, inclusion and innovation. No longer just numbers, this is about impact, social obligation, and sustainability for our entire sector.”

Brandi Rauch, Shell

POLITICAL PANEL

Political Panel

Council Senior Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley led a panel discussion with Castlen Kennedy, Vice President Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Apache Corporation; Tim Stewart, President, U.S. Oil & Gas Association; and Hugo Gutierrez, Director of Government Relations, Marathon Oil, on policy issues facing the energy services sector, including permitting, energy expansion, proposed SEC reporting rules and energy security.  

Kennedy discussed energy expansion and why that phrase is a better representation of what the industry is facing than energy transition.

“At Apache, we like to say energy expansion or energy evolution. The future is not one where hydrocarbons have disappeared. Rather than framing it as moving from one form of energy to another, we know that oil and gas will be part of the energy mix for years to come.”

Castlen Kennedy, Apache Corporation

Gutierrez commented on the proposed Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) climate disclosure rules. “What the SEC is asking is something we have never had to do. Trying to calculate what the scope 3 emissions are, and the end use of crude oil will be very challenging. I think the rule is going to create a tremendous amount of uncertainty,” Gutierrez said.

Stewart emphasized the importance of coalition building. “In January 2021, we pulled together a new coalition of small trade associations. We had an incredible ability as small trades to move the needle, including impacting the Senate Banking Committee on tax issues, and the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Federal Reserve,” he said.

STATE OF THE COUNCIL

Leslie Beyer, Energy Workforce & Technology Council

In her State of the Council speech, Energy Workforce & Technology Council CEO Leslie Beyer outlined the past year’s accomplishments and challenges the industry is facing today. She called on the Biden Administration to drop negative rhetoric about the oil and gas industry, as well as encourage investment and increased domestic production by reducing unnecessary regulatory barriers.

“We know there is an ever-growing global demand for energy, and oil and gas must continue to be a part of the equation when meeting this demand for energy security in the U.S. and the world.

Leslie Beyer, Energy Workforce & Technology Council

“The U.S. must not abandon its posture in the oil and gas industry if the Administration really wants to meet its clean energy goals,” Beyer said. “We know we are the best option to increase production as we produce oil and gas in a cleaner, safer manner than our foreign counterparts. Your roles are critical to providing the energy necessary to meet this growing global demand while also investing in technological innovations to reduce emissions.”

BREAKOUT PANELS

Energy Policy Panel

In one breakout panel, Members received an update on Energy Policy: Orphan Wells, Energy Access and Methane Regulation. Energy Workforce Senior Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley led the discussion with Board Member Matt Armstrong, Vice President Global Government & Regulatory Affairs, Baker Hughes; Board Member Todd Ennenga, Director of Government Affairs, Halliburton; and Advisory Board Member Lucas Gjovig, COO, GO Wireline.

“The policy debate, the policy discussion in Washington and all over the world, especially when it comes to energy, has completely changed. The war in Ukraine has dramatically changed the geopolitical environment, especially when it comes to energy.”

Tim Tarpley, Energy Workforce & Technology Council

Ennenga said the industry will figure out how to work with the Biden Administration and engage with Congress to increase leasing on federal lands and waters, push back against tax hikes and make the industry’s voice heard when it comes to regulatory affairs.

HSE KPIs Panel

“We’ll figure it out. We’ll get through the supply chain issues, the workforce issues. That’s what we do as an industry. We’re very good at it,” Ennenga said.

Another breakout panel focused on HS&E KPIs: Charting the Pathway from Beginning to Mature ESG Programs. Energy Workforce COO Molly Determan led the discussion with Gary Childress, Vice President – Health, Safety, Environmental & Sustainability, Oil States International; Jonathan Howell, Assistant HSE Director, ClearWell Dynamics; and Kevin McDonald, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, NexTier Oilfield Solutions.

The panelists discussed how ESG KPIs tie to different stakeholders and how to create effective strategies.

“You have to consider all stakeholders and determine what they need. You obviously know what your customers want. You also have a stakeholder of investors, as well as new and potential employees. We’re even starting to see vendors care about these things. At the end of the day, each company has to take inventory of various stakeholders and align that with your overall business strategy.”

Kevin McDonald, NexTier Oilfield Solutions

Childress recommended engagement with governmental regulators and the SEC.

“We have to understand the issues and address those in advance. If regulations come out of left field and we’re not prepared, we’re going to have a complete set of new regulations, requirements, penalties, fines and permits on top of what we’re already doing.”

Gary Childress, Vice President – Health, Safety, Environmental & Sustainability, Oil States International

Energy Workforce COO Molly Determan delivered an update on the IPAA/Energy Workforce Education Center programs and presented the IPAA/Energy Workforce Education Scholarship to Mark Bentick, an Energy Academy graduate and current engineering student at the University of Texas. Bentick was part of the extern program, a nine-month program that includes skills development, energy industry overview, resume development and leadership training.

Mark Bentick

“It was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to be at the Energy Education Center as an extern in 2020. Although my externship was done remotely, it brought a lot of value as it opened my eyes to a future in the energy industry. These experiences have changed my life for the better. I want to work in this industry, and I want to be a part of the great things you are doing.”

Mark Bentick, IPAA/Energy Workforce Education Center Scholarship Recipient

The Council would like to thank all participants, speakers and sponsors. Plans are under way for the 2022 Summer Meeting in Westminster, CO, and registration is currently open.

The 2022 Annual Meeting would not have been possible without the generous support of the following sponsors.


Corry Schiermeyer, Senior Director Communications, writes about governmental policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.
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