Delivering value to members while right-sizing the association has positioned PESA to help the oilfield services and equipment sector survive the pandemic and thrive in its aftermath, chairman Rod Larson, Oceaneering International, and President Leslie Beyer told members during a virtual State of the Association call.WATCH THE PRESENTATION
The association has supported members with virtual meetings that bring people together, with skilled advocacy work and with new research — while also maintaining focus on long-term issues such as ESG and inclusion and diversity.
During his remarks, Larson highlighted the importance of PESA’s ESG Center of Excellence, the OFS sector’s first of its kind Inclusion and Diversity Business Champions Program, and establishment of the Task Force on Racial Equality.
“As a sector, we have considerable work to do in each of these areas,” Larson said. “PESA is making sure we have what we need to create measurable change within our companies.”
While expressing optimism about the long-term future of the OFS sector, Larson said it’s critical to acknowledge near-term uncertainty.
“Any forecast of the next few months or years must be viewed with skepticism because they’re based on assumptions about the pandemic that may not be accurate,” he said. “There’s good news from Europe and Asia and we’re likely to see economic recovery in those regions. But COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in the US, which could lead to additional quarantines and a prolonged economic downturn.”
Whatever course the pandemic takes, Larson said the OFS has a vital role to play in the future of energy.
“With increased calls for decarbonization, more than ever the energy sector needs the innovative men and women of the OFS sector to help deliver the clean, reliable and affordable energy supply the world needs,” Larson said.
During her remarks, Beyer summarized the work done to right-size the association’s staff and budget, including adjustments to the plan when it became clear that quarantines and suppressed demand would last longer than originally forecast. Despite a smaller team working remotely since March, PESA has conducted 72 virtual meetings and heard from top minds in the industry, Beyer said.
PESA “…kept a close watch on legislative activities and guidance from government agencies to ensure members have access to state and local orders, as well as federal programs designed to support businesses during the crisis,” Beyer said. “We’ve worked with policymakers, media and industry allies to make sure provisions that help the OFS sector are included, and we’ve held virtual meetings so the OFS could hear from three members of congress.”
PESA’s investment of time and energy in its ESG work was a strategic decision, Beyer said.
“ESG isn’t something to be put on the back burner until the crisis passes,” she said. “Rather, ESG issues are critical during the crisis and are at the forefront of many challenges we currently face.”
Beyer emphasized that it’s important for OFS companies to take action on inclusion and diversity issues and highlighted formation of PESA’s Task Force on Racial Equality.
The association’s work is led by 20 active member committees that provide expertise, feedback and strategic direction. The pandemic raised issues that put five at the forefront of the sector’s response — Government Affairs, chaired by Todd Ennenga, Halliburton; Human Resources, chaired by Bonnie Houston, NOV; Health and Safety, chaired by Gary Childress, Oil States International; ESG, co-chaired by Jock Pool, Oceaneering International, and Valerie Banner, Exterran; and Inclusion and Diversity, chaired by Dave Warnick, Weir Oil & Gas.
Ennenga told attendees the Government Affairs Committee has taken its work of educating state and federal lawmakers and policymakers on legislative and regulatory issues impacting PESA members and customers virtual since the pandemic.
“Since early March, the committee has been holding biweekly townhall meetings,” Ennenga said. “We developed PESA’s OFS Federal Policy Recommendations, presented clear and actionable information on how members could access Paycheck Protection Program funds, and provided regular updates on federal, state and local government actions affecting our sector.”
The committee brought in experts from the Small Business Administration, EX-IM Bank, and BIPAC political analyst Jim Ellis, and maintained strategic relationships with congressional representatives, including Reps. Brian Babin, Lizzie Fletcher and Michael Burgess. The committee also advocated for extending Section 301 tariff exclusions that will save members tens of millions of dollars.
In the coming months, Ennega said the committee will focus on how a new presidential administration could affect regulation of the OFS sector and energy industry, and continue work on other strategic projects, including:
- building strategic relationships with members of congress
- promoting OFS technology advances
- highlighting carbon reduction and progress against energy poverty
- advocating on key OFS issues such as COVID liability protections and extension of the CARES Act
- expanding state-level advocacy in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma
In his remarks, Pool said the ESG Committee promotes and shares best practices on environmental, social and governance issues to PESA members. The committee hosts events with speakers and panelists and will oversee an industry training program for CDP and other ratings agencies providing investment firms with ESG risk scores for individual companies.
During the pandemic, the committee launched the ESG Center of Excellence to provide a clearinghouse of ESG related resources and news. The committee is focused on adapting the Knowledge Sharing Program to provide practical guidelines during the pandemic and the current price environment, Pool said.
“Looking ahead, our goal is to have PESA and its member companies as leaders on ESG issues,” Pool said. “We’ll need to meet customer demands as operators accelerate carbon goals and capitalize on opportunities for the sector to expand its footprint through diversification, digitalization and new partnerships.”
The committee is designing a training program for launch in 2021. It will provide attendees with resources to build ESG programs at their companies and help mature the OFS sector’s ESG programs.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Recent events have kept PESA’s Health and Safety Committee busy over the past few months, Childress said. They created an HSEQ Task Force to identify best practices for managing the array of health, safety and remote work issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since late June, the committee has been working on return to work policies and which best practices policies should remain in effect when the pandemic has passed.
“As we turn to the future, there’s no shortage of issues we need to address,” Childress said. “As a committee we’ll continue the townhalls to work through the NIOSH-CDC collaboration, liability issues around COVID-19, onboarding in the COVID-19 environment, shortages of HSE personnel, and preparing for another COVID-19 wave.”
Warnick discussed PESA’s Inclusion and Diversity Business Champions Program and formation of PESA’s Task Force on Racial Equality. The Business Champions program is the first of its kind in the OFS sector and provides participants with what they need to create internal change by helping their companies create action plans and build organizational cultures that value inclusion and diversity, Warnick said.
“The Task Force, comprised of leaders from the HR and Diversity committees, aims to create a platform that members can support,” Warnick said. “We want to empower, develop and advance underrepresented employees, encourage cultures of inclusion within member companies, and demonstrate the OFS sector’s commitment to listening, learning and creating solutions towards racial equity,” Warnick said.
An HR Townhall was the first PESA Remote Event, Houston told attendees. The committee has met biweekly since the pandemic began to provide members with information and resources on the trends affecting OFS companies.
“HR townhalls have provided participants with a forum to discuss challenges and to share best practices and lessons learned,” Houston said. “This has allowed companies to adapt their HR strategies and procedures to provide a cohesive response to unprecedented events.”
The committee delved into topics including internal crisis communications, creating guidelines for types of leave and extended absences from work, strategies for obtaining or selling PPE, issues around remote working, workforce reductions, employee travel and much more.
“The collaboration between members and staff gave us the opportunity to work through all the issues raised by the pandemic, to find solutions that could help everyone and then communicate them to members,” Houston said.
Beyer closed the meeting inviting members to get more involved and reiterating PESA’s commitment to member companies and the OFS sector.
“PESA is here to serve as a resource for all our members,” Beyer said. “If you want your team to get more engaged or get involved with a particular issue important to your company, please reach out to anyone on the PESA staff. We’re ready to help. These are difficult times, and though PESA will adapt to keep pace with a changing sector, we will continue the focus on reinvesting in people and technology to deliver value for our members.”WATCH THE PRESENTATION