Energy Workforce and Technology Council Permian Basin Chapter hosted Midland Mayor-Elect Lori Blong, owner and operator of Octane Energy, at its luncheon on November 9.
“Let your voice be heard at the federal, state and local levels, because the services sector is the heartbeat of the industry and has the ability to change the narrative of how the oil and gas industry is perceived.”Midland Mayor-Elect Lori Blong
Mayor-Elect Blong discussed the importance of having leadership at the civic, city and county levels that understands what it is like to walk through the ups and downs of the energy industry.
“Right now we’re doing well, and we don’t know exactly what the outcome will be for commodity prices and rig counts in the future, but that we’re in a good place today,” Blong said.
Blong noted several headwinds the industry faces that will impact the Midland community, one of which being the EPA non-attainment zone in New Mexico. If the EPA designates the Permian Basin in Texas as a non-attainment zone, the region will not be able to have road construction. She advised if the Permian is designated as a non-attainment zone due to emissions from road construction, then many businesses, from drilling and construction to dry cleaning, would be impacted. This is a community issue, she said.
She also spoke about the workforce and supply chain issues that not only affect energy, but every industry. She noted the city doesn’t have a huge role to play in streamlining the process but said one of the things the city is working on is putting together programming for training high school, Midland College and The University of Texas Permian Basin students to address the regions workforce needs.
“Drilling is a mystical combination of science, engineering and art. Its beauty invades the soul. It is a blend of simplicity and complexity that intrigues the imagination. The art of drilling is addictive.”Midland Mayor-Elect Lori Blong
Another issue is capital restrictions and under investment that the Permian is facing.
“We have these big guys and these small guys who have access to capital, but it’s the people in the middle who have trouble,” she said. “Many of you with midsized service companies are in that middle tier where you can’t get traditional loans while also not on the radar of private equity companies and large investment groups. The reality is these two ends of the barbell are getting their funding the way they need to, and we need to make sure that we’re having the conversation to be able to bring some of those capital opportunities to midsize companies to advance technology.”
Energy Workforce would like to thank sponsors Estis Compression, GR Energy Services, ProPetro, Silvertip Completion Services and TechnipFMC, as well as strategic partners Chevron and SLB.
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For more information about Energy Workforce membership, contact Director of Operations Roni Ashley.
Roni Ashley, Director Operations, writes about Energy Workforce’s membership and regional chapters. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.