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News & Field Trips

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1. Legendary oil tycoon Pickens closing his energy hedge fund.


Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has struggled with health problems as he ages,

and is finally throwing in the towel on his energy focused hedge fund after a 22



“It’s no secret the past year has not been good to me, from a health perspective

or a financial one,” said Pickens in his recent Linkedin post.  He’s suffered from

multiple strokes over the last year. 


“If you are lucky enough to make it to 89 years of age like I have, those things

tend to put life in perspective,” he said.  “I’ve thrived and profited on the volatility

in the energy space. But for me, personally, trading oil is not as intriguing to me as

it once was,” Pickens said.


2. Russia hints that they me be looking to exit OPEC deal.


Russia is dropping hints that they may be on their way out of the OPEC output

reduction deal, according to the country’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak.


“We see that the market is becoming balanced. We see that the market surplus is

decreasing, but the market is not completely balanced yet and, of course, we

need to continue monitoring the situation,” Novak said.  And he then went on to

say that Russian oil majors have been complaining about the deal and how it is

holding them back from expansion plans.


Reuters is reporting that Novak might discuss the country’s potential exit from the

pact in Oman next week.  


3. International Renewable Energy Agency publishes report saying renewable

energy will be cheaper than fossil fuel in two years.


Renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels in two years, according to a

new report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA).


In the report, they cover the fact that continuous technological improvements

have led to a rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in recent years, meaning

some renewable energy sources can already comfortably compete with fossil



The report predicts the trend will continue, and that by 2020 “all the renewable

power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to

fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range”.


“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one.” Says the report

1. Oil prices flatten out as rising US output offsets OPEC worries.


After hitting $61 per barrel, the highest prices we’ve seen since 2015, oil is leveling off this week and holding steady.  Oil prices saw little change today as political concerns in some OPEC nations offset projections for higher US oil production.  Ongoing protests in Iran, combined with the recent detention of several princes in Saudi Arabia, have bolstered geopolitical concerns, stalling any significant price increases in the near future. 


Brent futures gained 16 cents to settle at US$67.78 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 29 cents, to settle at US$61.73 as of Monday.


2. Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund expired on December 31st, and is yet to be renewed.


For over 30 years oil companies have been levied a 9 cents-per-barrel tax on domestic crude oil and imported crude oil and petroleum products to build up a fund for federal oil-spill response efforts. The fund is Intended to help the US government respond quickly to accidents on land or offshore. 


The fund generated an average of $500 million in federal revenue per year, according to the Government Accountability Office, and currently has at least $5.75 billion in reserve.


Although Congress chose not to renew the tax in December, they are considering reinstating it retroactively in an “extenders” bill that would revive several recently expired taxes.  Industry officials noted that the U.S. Coast Guard or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could always ask Congress to reimpose it the levy if either felt it was needed.


3. The Middle East is looking to diversify its energy sources in 2018.


As we enter 2018, it’s important to realize that many Middle Eastern countries have started to look above ground for generating energy as a way to diversify away from crude oil.


Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, are just a few of the countries that have set ambitious goals to boost the construction of clean energy facilities and the use of renewables in their energy mix in the long run.  As global solar and wind costs continue to drop and make those energy solutions increasingly competitive, the Middle East is expected to continue to move ahead with renewable projects this year

Josh Levs is the top global expert on modern dads at work and a past keynote speaker at HERWorld. You can learn more about Josh and his work here.


Oprah WinfreyFor more than a year now, I've been saying there are hopeful signs that no matter what goes on in Washington, we the people still have the power to move our culture forward. Last night's Golden Globes were the latest sign of that. We can stand up, demand change and make it happen.

I hope that feeling helps inspire you for 2018.

My kids and I spent last week on our first-ever cruise, making memories. (While my wife, who hates the idea of a cruise, had work and the house to herself!) I'm recharged and ready to hit the ground running. What are you going to achieve this year? Know it, own it, rock it.

My experience has taught me, repeatedly, that when you commit to make changes in your own life while fighting the good fight for a better society, people are ready to help you. They'll join with you. So as you think ahead, here's the message I delivered in my TEDx Talk: Break the system to achieve what other people believe to be impossible. Be the cups and ice.


We have a lot of work to do this year. Big on my list are, of course, the battle for gender equality, the war on ignorance and the efforts to engage men in all this in bigger ways than ever. I'm psyched. We can do this.

And a reminder: I have events coming up in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Philadelphia, Brussels and more. For info on all this, including bookings, visit my website

Thanks. Here's to 2018.

Big love,

Ashley RabornAshley Raborn’s career is a testament to the power of hard work and a strong network — and starting early with both.


Ashley, a functional analyst at ConocoPhillips, majored in industrial engineering and management at Oklahoma State University while minoring in mathematics.  She was an active part of the college community there and a member of the Kappa Delta sorority and the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) Student Council, CEAT Ambassadors (which gave tours to prospective students), and the Honors College.


She also took on the planning for the CEAT Career Fair the summer leading up to her junior year. That role put her in contact with a lot of companies and allowed her to start building a network.


And when it came to find a job of her own, all that networking worked in her favor.


“I actually attribute me getting my first interview at ConocoPhillips to someone that went to OSU who works here,” Ashley says. “He knew what all was involved in planning the Career Fair at OSU and recommended I get an interview.”

She got the interview and the job — and has been with ConocoPhillips ever since.


Raborn did not always see herself going into the energy field.


“The only person in my extended family that was even an engineer is one of my uncles and he works for Lockheed Martin,” Ashley recalls. “My family went to visit him in my senior year of high school, and we talked a lot about engineering and the types of careers that are possible.”


She’s had the opportunity to experience quite a few of them since she joined ConocoPhillips back in 2009.

Her first role in the company was in business process mapping, and Ashley was able to use her industrial engineering background to help teams look at their processes and find places they could eliminate waste.


From there, she moved through several different roles until she joined the large group she is in now in January of 2015. 


“Since I joined the team, I have had the ownership of ServiceNow reporting,” Ashley explains. “ServiceNow is an application we use here in IT to submit customer issues, requests, manage infrastructure, etc. In being owner of reporting, I’ve learned a lot about data structure in ServiceNow and have been able to develop my analytical skills.”


Moving groups a lot at the beginning of her time at ConocoPhillips, Ashley learned the importance of balancing self-initiation and assistance from her supervisor. She also collected valuable advice from her parents that continues to resonate as her career progresses.


“My mom has been working for almost 40 years at the same company. I truly value the professional advice she has given me not only as my mom, but also a working woman,” Ashley says. “She always told me to never give up on what I want and that I’m my toughest critic.”


And she credits her father with giving her the piece of advice she passes on the most.


“The best piece of career advice I can give someone came from a quote my dad gave me, which is: ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it,’ from Peter Drucker. I firmly believe you have to take control of your future to get where you want and do what you want,” Ashley says.


Ashley says she found ConocoPhillips to be the right place for her because of its focus on its people.


“We have what we call SPIRIT [Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation, Teamwork] values where the P stands for ‘People,’ and I really believe that is one of the best parts of our company. I love our culture here and firmly believe in our SPIRIT values,” Ashley says.    


Now, Ashley is looking to take a more active role in supporting the people around her.


“I’m going to start participating in a mentoring circle here at work and am hoping to learn more about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In book and how it can help me in my career,” Ashley says. “I’m also part of the IT Inclusion Mentoring program that we are working to start here and have been able to talk with other women and men that see value of finding a mentor to help you along in your career, which I think is very helpful as a woman in the energy industry.”


To that end, Ashley says never giving up and having self-confidence are essential for women trying to get ahead in a male-dominated industry like energy.


“If you have an idea of what you want to do, don’t be afraid to try it and put yourself out there. I also think it is smart to surround yourself with other women that have the same goals/values,” Ashley says.

There's nothing I love more than to see women in our industry get the attention they SO deserve. 


Up until a few years ago, this space around women in energy, visibility, and influence was pretty status quo.  No one knew about women in energy unless you were IN energy.  It was a very insular sector and why I got out of the corporate chair and into the one I'm in now, to do something about it.  


And when I was in that old chair, I was among the lucky to speak or attend women's conferences.   My manager would insist I go given I had the passion for women but what I found is they all had the same topics, speakers, and were pretty exclusive.  They didn't include men, field women or job seekers.   Nothing was open and you didn't dare invite external people or views.   And it was a MUST that everyone come together in a hotel with awful food and pay thousands for a seat.  Event companies made millions because there were no other choices.


A year after Pink Petro launched, in early 2016, commodities were at record lows, but our community did an amazing thing: we created HERWorld -- an experience, and not another women's energy conference or ceremonial awards banquet.  With budgets and time constraints, the community crowdsourced a way to learn using a digital/in person hybrid model.  Our tribe loves to give me the credit but I say the credit is all of yours.  


And it TOOK off! 



In 2016, we hosted 300 in one hub location on the Halliburton campus and streamed live to locations around the globe, like this one at GE London. 


Women and men huddled together in conference rooms, auditoriums, and on rigs and plugged into learn.  We also hosted a second session HERWorld Connect, a focused workshop on taking challenges and putting them into action.   


In 2017, we hosted 6 live public sites with over 750 in person and 7500 worldwide and then again with HW Connect we held, just post Harvey, 100 in the room and several hundred online.









Pretty cool huh?


After spending a lot of money AND time at conferences over the years I took note of a few things.


  • People want fresh original content and want to hear diverse perspectives and see different people.  They also want to understand how the industry connects to the bigger picture.
  • Not everyone can afford to go, but they still want to get great content.  Ergo, why digital bridges that gap. Streaming just rocks.   
  • Attention spans are thin.  Most do best with a 1-1.5 days of "conference".  Less is more and generally drives greater impact.
  • Attendees hate rubber chicken venues.  They want to be inspired and "experience" learning. 


HERWorld is fresh, affordable, inclusive, diverse, short and sweet, and packed with engagement.  And dare we serve chicken...we create experiences people walk away from inspired, impacted and ready to put the learning into action.


HERWorld has brought fantastic insightful speakers from across the world including Gloria Feldt, Josh Levs,  and Jeff Hayzlett.  In Dr. Jen Welter will Headline HERWorld18!


New to HERWorld 18 this year is our first annual The Difference Makers: GRIT Awards -- GRIT awards are the furthest from rubber chicken and status quo.  They award the difference makers and people who don't necessary get the recognition they so deserve.  It's an honor for me to leverage the platform we've built collectively through Pink Petro and HERWorld to elevate them.  I hope you'll nominate.


I hope you will join us on March 8. 

Suzanne ShortFor Suzanne Short, a former longtime ConocoPhillips employee, her junior year of high school in Houston, Texas, was a turning point for her future career.


That year, she attended a recruiting fair for the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Gulf Coast Section (SPE-GCS), which brings together students, recruiters, and engineers for scholarships, networking, and volunteer opportunities.


Short was intrigued by their talk of the generational gap within the industry, so she stayed in contact with SPE and made plans to major in petroleum engineering at Texas Tech. It gave her insight into the industry — and resources to set her career off on the right foot.


The best advice I’ve ever received is to grow a thick skin, which I’m still not very good at,” Short says, laughing. “One of my best mentors came to the U.S. from Colombia not speaking English. He learned English, went to college and earned a degree in petroleum engineering. I thought that if he could overcome that barrier, then I have no excuse.”


That has been her mantra for just about everything in life. She went on to spend a decade at ConocoPhillips, in a range of roles. She’s spent five days hiking the Chilkoot Gold Rush Trail. She’s an avid rifle big-game hunter. And now she’s pursuing a master of business administration from Texas Tech.  


“Engineers need an advanced degree to set them apart in this modern era,” she says.


Suzanne Short taj mahalShort landed her first job with ConocoPhillips, a multinational energy corporation headquartered in Houston, Texas, after completing her bachelor of petroleum engineering degree from Texas Tech. At ConocoPhillips, she was a part of an 18-month rotational program as an upstream engineer. During this time, she worked in “all aspects” of petroleum engineering, ranging from project proposals to drilling rotations to writing procedures for hydraulic fracturing.


Short spent a total of 10 years with the company and held three different job titles: upstream engineer, production engineer and drillsite petroleum engineer.


“I spent five of those years in Texas and the other five in Alaska.  The last three of the years I was in Alaska, I was living a two-week rotational schedule on the North Slope,” Short says.


During her time in Alaska, Short was positioned as a production engineer in a processing facility, where she was responsible for solving day-to-day problems, preparing procedures to repair down-hole oil wells and supporting field operations.


“The people [in Alaska] are colorful and amazing,” she says. “It was hard work and exhausting, but I’m glad I did it.”


After her time at ConocoPhillips, Short decided to go back to school. The two-year master’s program at Texas Tech has Short devoting herself full time to earning her degree.


When asked about her ideal job within the energy industry, Short says she would like to do something that will allow her to diversify her background. She hopes an MBA will help her move into a broader role at a small to mid-sized company.  She describes moving around and seeing different fields within the industry and working in production engineering, as well as seeing different types of equipment and working on the East Coast, offshore or even overseas.


“What excites me about the energy industry are the technical aspects, types of equipment and new technology,” Short says. “The industry is always growing and changing.”


Suzanne Short bisonWhen she isn’t busy studying for her master’s degree or attending a SPE event, Short enjoys rifle hunting, hiking, backpacking and traveling.


“I take every chance I get to rifle hunt and visit different areas,” she says. “I recently shot a bison in South Dakota. I traveled a lot overseas when I was working in Alaska and I successfully hiked the Chilkoot Gold Rush Trail, which was 33 miles.”


Short notes that the unwelcome feeling many women working in the energy industry have experienced is something she has never felt.


“Inclusivity is important to me because women bring a different viewpoint to the industry, as well as unique talents,” she says. “Women may choose other paths because [the energy industry] is too difficult or unwelcoming, but I have never found that to be true for me.”


That said, Short recognizes the industry still has a long way to go to achieve greater inclusivity. So when asked about her advice to other women, she reiterates the importance of a thick skin.


“Put yourself out there, be fearless, and be confident in your skills,” Short says. “Don’t be scared off.”

muscleI’m ready.


2018 is here. We’ve got so much work to do. So many exciting experiences on the calendar. So much potential for impact in our immediate future.


And I’m ready for it — all of it.


2017 threw our industry and so many of our members for a loop, but the best way to roll with work and life is to come back from it better, stronger and wiser.


And we don’t have to do it alone. That’s why you joined Pink Petro — to be part of a community committed to helping each other and this industry accomplish big things. We’ve packed our first quarter with learning experiences to do just that. And in true Pink Petro form, we’ve included everyone — harnessing the power of digital so you can choose how to engage best.


First up, we’ve got our Jumpstart Series, designed to teach you how to ask for what you want (and get it), forge powerful connections and make strong first impressions:

  • The Art of the Ask: Start the new year off right and join Michelle Peavy, Pink Petro's Director of 'Cool' Careers, for a workshop on how toget off your ask and transform your career. Two sessions: Jan. 10 (online) Jan. 24 (in-person).  
  • The Art of Connecting: I’ll be taking the reins on this one, teaching you how to make the valuable, powerful connections you need to get ahead. I built my success in corporate and now my entrepreneur life around community, and I’ll tell you everything I know. Two sessions: Feb. 1 (in-person) Feb. 14 (online)
  • The Art of Presence: Marilynn Barber, a presence expert and Pink Petro coach, will lead this workshop focused on creating a personal brand that is clear, consistent and easy-to-understand. It's the key to success in your career! Two in-person sessions: Feb. 7 Feb. 22   


All that is leading up to our main event: On March 8, International Women’s Day, we will host our third annual HERWorld Energy Forum. Our theme this year is The New Energy Playbook: GRIT — Growth, Resilience, Innovation and Transformation. We’ve already lined up some incredible speakers, including Dr. Jen Welter, first female coach in the NFL; Melody Meyer, a board member at BP and AbbVie; and — you’re reading it here first! — Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative in Europe.


That’s only scratching the surface of the powerful content we’ve got planned, all focused around GRIT. It isn’t just our theme of the event; it’s our mantra for all of 2018. We don’t just want to move on from all the hardship of last year. We want to evolve from it so we can achieve something greater. As I mentioned in my post last week, that’s why I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I got rid of them years ago and now focus on “evolutions.” What can I do today to make myself, my world and those around me better than yesterday? And then I go do that.”


I’m ready for action in 2018. Now my question is, are you?

Pink Petro is on a mission to find the difference makers...women and men who are creating the new future for energy.


A GRIT award is for the unsung leader that is down in the trenches getting the job done regardless of what recognition may or may not come their way. 


The furthest thing from a ceremonial award, the GRIT awards recognize leaders that boldly step up to the occasion, whatever it may be. It’s for women that lead, but it’s also for men who recognize the value of women and are advocates for their progress in energy.


Receiving a GRIT award is one of the highest honors because it’s a nomination from peers; from someone that has seen first-hand exceptional behavior and ability. Always reliable and always working to be better, GRIT award nominees are examples for those looking for role models to show them anything is possible. 


Do you know someone who fits this description and needs to be acknowledged in a big way?




  • The only requirement when nominating someone is that he or she must be in the energy sector (corporate, entrepreneur, student or even someone unemployed) and accomplishing specific things that embody GRIT (growth, resilience, innovation/new ways of working, inclusion, and talent).  Awards will be provided to all levels and disciplines submitted.
  • The nominee will receive a questionnaire once the nomination period closes. Additionally, though not required, nominees will be encouraged to submit a letter of recommendation and a resume.

Selection method
  • Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges Nominees will be evaluated based on professional accomplishments, personal philanthropic efforts and other qualities you define in the nomination.
  • All honorees and finalists will be recognized at HERWorld18 on March 8 2018 and online through our social media. 



All honorees and finalists will be recognized at HERWorld18 on March 8 2018 and online through our social media.  This award is opened to energy professionals worldwide.

You might be wondering what donuts and career tips have in common.  Actually, very little...except for the analogy I created about making changes in our lives.  I wrote the following piece several years ago when I was writing a blog about personal change.  Given it's January and many of you are setting goals and making resolutions, a piece about change seemed relevant.  I hope you enjoy it!


"Each day after I take my niece and nephew to school I turn left out the school parking lot.  I turn left, in the opposite direction of my home, travel a mile or so out of my way and pull into the local donut shop.  It is run by a nice couple whose name I don't know, but I know about their family, their travels, their ancestors and the current state of the donut business.  I get a small coffee and a donut then head on my way.


This is a nice break in the morning and I used to do it occasionally.  Now it's a habit.  In fact, it's hard for me NOT to turn left and go to the donut shop...even when I don't feel like having a donut. 


Here's the problem.  Caffeine does not agree with me.  It makes me irritable, impatient and generally tense.  Sugar does not agree with me. It makes me irritable, impatient and generally tense.  And it makes me want more of it.  So why do I go to the donut shop?  I've convinced myself that this is a reward for getting the children off to school successfully.  Why do I reward myself with something that makes me feel bad?  It's become a habit.


I'm changing directions.  When I pull out of the school parking lot, I now turn right.  I WANT to turn left...but I turn right and head towards the office or the gym.  I miss the owners of the donut shop and will occasionally stop in because I believe in supporting local business.  But for my health and well being, I turn right."


In 2018 where do you plan to "turn right"?



1. Oil prices have the strongest opening since 2014.


2018 is off to a good start.  Oil prices posted their best opening to a year since 2014, with crude rising to mid-2015 highs.  Prices have been driven by large anti-government rallies in Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia.


U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures (CLc1) were at $60.61 a barrel, their highest since June 2015. Brent crude futures (LCOc1), the international benchmark, were at $67.12 a barrel.  This is the first time since January 2014 that both crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel.


2. South Korea seizes another ship with oil headed to North Korea.


According to customs officials, South Korean authorities have seized a ship flying the Panama flag suspected of transporting oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions.


The seizure is the second reported by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the uncooperative North following its nuclear and ballistic missile testing.


3. UAE And Saudi Arabia End Tax-Free Living.


The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have long provided tax-free and heavily subsidized living for foreigners.  However, recently they introduced and International Monetary Fund (IMF)-backed value-added tax (VAT) starting January 1.  The general consensus is this is due to oil prices slumping and causing significant budget shortages across the board for the countries.  The 5% levy is imposed on most goods and services and aims to boost revenue after the collapse in crude prices over the last couple years. Although it threatens to slow economic growth at a time when it is already sluggish, the UAE is expected to raise around $3.3 billion from the tax.

1. Oil prices hits $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015.


Oil prices jumped levels we haven’t seen in over 2½ years.  The news of the pipeline explosion in Libya combined with increased US output has caused the boost.  International benchmark Brent crude rose $1.81, or 2.8%, to $67.06.  Additionally, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped $1.50, or 2.6%, to $59.97. 


2. Reports show China has stopped oil product exports to North Korea.


Recent Chinese customs reports with November data show China exported no oil products to North Korea.  This is above and beyond the sanctions imposed by the UN.   Last week, the U.N. Security Council imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year.  Tensions have been high over North Korea's ongoing nuclear and missile programs, pursued in defiance of years of U.N. resolutions.


3. Oil discoveries hit 70 year low.


As we close out 2017, major oil discoveries have tumbled to their lowest levels in more than 70 years.  Without the incentive of high oil prices, as drillers across the world have struggled to justify the cost of new projects that are lucrative enough to provide investor returns. 


2017 will end at only 7 billion barrels of oil and gas discovered.  Compare this to 2012’s 30 billion barrels identified, and we see it’s quite a stark difference.  According to Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy, the falloff could translate into supply shortages and sharply rising prices in the future. 


"We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," senior Rystad analyst Sonia Mladá Passos said in a report. "We have to face the fact that the low discovered volumes on a global level represent a serious threat to the supply levels some 10 years down the road."

From our founder, Katie Mehnert.


2017 is winding down, and for many of us, it’s about time.


Time for change, something new, a fresh start. Time when most of us start drafting our resolutions for the new year.


But I don’t believe in resolutions. I got rid of them years ago and now focus on “evolutions.” What can I do today to make myself, my world and those around me better than yesterday?


And then I go do that.


It’s a focus on action because that’s what we need more of in 2018:


  • Strategies to change the stagnant statistics found in the annual Women in the Workplace report from Lean In and McKinsey. Right now, in 2017, one in five C-suite executives is a woman. One in 30 is a woman of color. That’s unacceptable.
  • Policies and culture shift to advance the change that started with the Silence Breakers — the women taking the brave steps to talk about harassment and assault in the workplace. A transparent world is a safer, more productive and more profitable one, so how do we turn that grassroots movement into a transformation of corporate culture?
  • Plans to improve the dismal employee engagement numbers in the business world. How bad is it? Gallup found that 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. That leads to $7 trillion in lost productivity and means our offices are filled with unhappy, unfulfilled people. We need to figure out how to empower them to make an impact.


It all comes down to talent and culture  — what I call the new T&C’s of energy.  As I wrote in Forbes this month, if your culture sucks, talent can’t thrive. And that’s something our industry just can’t afford. So how do we help companies see the value in building a transparent, inclusive culture — and then help them built it?


That’s my evolution in 2018: to offer up a new energy playbook built around GRIT — growth, resilience, innovation and transition. It’s the theme of our annual HERWorld Energy Forum on International Women’s Day in March (which will be EPIC so get your mainstage tickets today!), but it’s also the theme of our year. 2018 is about GRIT in a transparent world.


But we can’t get there alone. Pink Petro has formed powerful partnerships with more than 25 organizations around the world because we know we are stronger together than we are alone. We are connecting companies who get the importance of an inclusive workforce with top talent to broaden our community and our impact and transform the industry from the inside out. And we have become a trusted resource for all our members, who lean on us for information, support and, above all, connection.  


There’s a lot more of that coming your way in 2018.  If you are a member, we hope you will engage in our new members-only app or jumpstart your own new year with our career series on asking, presence, and connecting


If you’re not a member, we hope you’ll  join our community in 2018 and our collective effort to bust the gender gap and create a new, inclusive future for energy. Join for the community, for access to game-changing professional development opportunities, and for industry connections you can’t make anywhere else.  I guarantee it’s well worth it.


So here’s to action in 2018, and evolving (not resolving) to get things done.


We can’t wait to get started!   What are your evolutions? Tell us!  

Oil prices are predicted to close out 2017 around 15% up, and the market seems more stable than it has in years. The question is: What does 2018 have in store for us?


Many experts think 2018 will bring more of the same – inventory declines, moderate shale growth, a slow increase in oil prices and potentially the end of the OPEC deal. All this being said, a lot remains uncertain.


Here are five key things to pay attention to in 2018:


1. U.S. Shale Growth


We all know that U.S. shale output is continuing to rise, but nobody knows for sure at what magnitude it will grow. At the beginning of 2017, outlets such as EIA and IEA made bullish estimates for shale output, with the EIA predicting U.S. output to average 10 million barrels a day in 2018.


As 2017 wore on, many warning signs began to pop up, raising many questions about the health of the shale industry. Drilling costs were on the rise once again; a few shale companies ran into operational issues; drilling activity diminished when prices dropped below $50 per barrel, which was an indication that the average breakeven prices of the shale industry were not as low as once thought; rig count dipped; and investors started wanting more restraint and a slower pace of drilling. All of these problems combined, many started to believe shale was sputtering.


With this in mind, recent data really suggest that shale is back on track with strong production gains in September. Recent December reports from IEA and OPEC predicted that U.S. shale would add 870,000 bpd and 1mb/d of new supply in 2018. These estimates threaten to overwhelm demand growth but to what extent the actual increase lives up to expectations remains to be seen and will help determine the pace of rebalancing in 2018.


2. OPEC Compliance


OPEC production dropped in November for the fourth month in a row, this time falling by 130,000 bpd from a month earlier. This sharp decline puts the group’s compliance rate with the production reductions at 115%, the highest rate yet. OPEC’s ability to stay with its commitments is a positive sign heading into the next year that they’ll keep compliance rates high. To be clear, involuntary dips in Venezuela are somewhat hiding less-than-100% compliance from Iraq and the UAE, but a reduction of supply is still a reduction of supply.


The real question is the long-term resilience of high compliance throughout 2018. If the oil market rebalances suddenly, OPEC members might be led to abandon their pledges, tempted by higher oil prices. Russia has signaled that it is more than ready to leave the deal once inventories reduce to average levels once again. We must also consider the opposite end of the spectrum as well: a steep decline in oil prices could tempt members into cheating as they become desperate for more revenues.


3. The OPEC Exit Strategy


OPEC brought much-needed stability to the oil market through its determination to preserve output limits, and the strong cooperation, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Russia, relieved the oil market at the last OPEC meeting.


Even so, both countries did not detail their OPEC exit strategies, giving the June 2018 meeting, even more, weight, especially as the inventory surplus reduces. Leaving the production cuts behind is highly dangerous as even the slightest hints of a return to full production could scare jumpy oil traders. Top OPEC officials were hopeful to push off the conversation for this reason alone, however, by Q3 of 2018, they won’t be able to avoid the issue any longer. It’s likely OPEC will choose some kind of glide path which is a gradual reduction of the production limits, but we won't know for sure until then. 


4. Fluctuations in Inventories


OPEC’s 2018 strategy will largely depend on what happens to global inventories. OECD commercial stocks decreased by more than 40 million barrels in October, setting total stocks at 2,940 million barrels, the weakest level in more than two years. The stock surplus is now near 100 million barrels which is more than the five-year average, down two-thirds from the beginning of 2017. It's likely that the large surplus will be erased during 2018, at which point OPEC will be under pressure to abandon its production limit agreements.


However, the IEA said in its December Oil Market Report that it anticipates inventories to start rising again in 2018, mostly because of blistering increase from U.S. shale. In the first half of 2018, the IEA predicts it will see inventories increase at a pace of 200,000 bpd. If the agency is right, zeroing out the surplus could prove difficult.


5. Unpredictable Incidents


All of these forecasts and predictions fall by the wayside should supply disruptions occur. Just days ago, cracking along the Forties pipeline caused a shutdown, and the pipeline's operator announced force majeure on oil shipments. The 450,000-bpd pipeline could be down for weeks which will lead to closures at North Sea oil fields. This event is exactly the type of incident that can catch the oil market off guard, causing a sharp and sudden price increase even if the rest of the world is operating just fine.


There are plenty of possible flashpoints that could lead to supply outages in the next year. The most obvious is Venezuela, which is experiencing steep and continuing declines. Venezuela's output fell by 41,000 bpd in November from a month earlier, after experiencing a decrease of 26,000 bpd in October 2017.


Production in the country is at a 30-year low and is moving south. Other outages are possible in unpredictable countries like Nigeria and Libya. Additionally, any conflict between the U.S. and Iran would be an entirely different animal, with serious implications for the oil market. Then, other potential outages are unpredictable altogether.


Incidents like the crack in the Forties pipeline, the spill from the Keystone pipeline in the U.S. and the massive wildfires in Alberta in 2016 are just a few examples of incidents that nobody saw coming. It only takes one vital disruption to upend even the most carefully predicted oil forecast.

One of our favorite things to do at Pink Petro is to talk to our members. You all have incredible stories to tell, and we love helping you share them with the rest of this community.


Throughout this year, we have shared lots of those stories. Here’s a look back at some of our most popular.


Want to be featured on Pink Petro? Email today! 


Carmen SegoviaMarathon Oil’s Carmen Segovia


Carmen Segovia has quite a few “firsts” under her belt. For example, she’s a first-generation Mexican American. She’s also the first member of her family to go to college.


Needless to say, she’s comfortable with forging her own path—which has brought her to her current role of Advanced Information Technology Business Analyst at Marathon Oil.


Read more about Carmen here.


Emerson’s Stephanie Sirt


Growing up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti—where her parents were missionaries—you could say that Stephanie Sirt’s life and career story are anything but typical.


Now working as a Senior Director of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Business for Emerson Automation Solutions in Houston, Texas, we chatted with Sirt to get the lowdown on her journey, her current role and her very best career advice.


Read more about Stephanie here.



Michelle PeavyPink Petro’s own Michelle Peavy


“Get off your ask.” If you know Michelle Peavy, you know that’s her slogan, her catchphrase, her mantra. She’s passionate about “the ask” because she’s seen it work, in her own career and in the careers of others.


“I am the queen of questions, and I believe how you become successful at doing anything is by questions and curiosity,” says Michelle, Pink Petro’s director of ‘cool’ careers. “That’s what made me successful at what I do.”


Read more about Michelle here.



Elizabeth Cambre


Want proof that women are powerful additions to the technical teams in oil and gas? Meet Elizabeth Cambre. Cambre has worked in technical roles throughout her career, first at Schlumberger in Oman and UAE, and then at Baker Hughes, where her positions spanned from fracturing and acidizing technical instructor to global product line manager. She left Baker Hughes a few months ago and is now strategizing her next move — while she focuses more intently on building up other women in all aspects of energy.


Read more about Elizabeth here.


Yetunde OkedijiYetunde Okediji


Born in Nigeria, Yetunde Okediji is no stranger to the energy industry. While she spent her late elementary to early high school years in Nigeria, she views the Fort Worth, TX area home — it’s where she’s lived the majority of her life. Having obtained a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering and a Master of Science in Natural Gas Engineering and Management—both from the University of Oklahoma—she’s managed to create a career that we can only describe in one word: Impressive.


Read more about Yetunde here. 


Women Offshore’s Ally Cedeno


There are those people who do amazing things in their careers. And, then there are those people who take things one step further. They don’t just climb the ladder themselves — they also turn around and offer tools, resources and encouragement to help other people make their way up each and every rung.


Without a doubt, Ally Cedeno fits into that latter category. Not only has she built a successful career and traveled all across the globe, but she also launched — a website dedicated to helping other women make names for themselves in energy.


Read more about Ally here.

1. New US tax bill will open up drilling AND continue incentives for renewable energy.


The Republicans' introduced their tax package last Friday, and from an energy perspective, the highlights are it would boost traditional forms of energy such as oil and gas while still supporting renewable energy such as wind and solar power, and also extend tax credits to buyers of electric cars.


The new bill will open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling while preserving tax credits for wind power and other clean energy.  Opening the remote Arctic refuge to oil and gas drilling has long been a Republican priority that most Democrats oppose for fear it would harm the wildlife.  The 19.6-million-acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife. 


However, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee says new technology allows for drilling to be done safely without harming or disrupting the wildlife population.


2. Exxon Mobile and Shell are working toward a greener future.


Exxon Mobil and Shell are showing they are committed to a greener future in their most recent SEC filings by publicly adopting plans to disclose the risk climate change poses to their core business and roll out investments in renewable energy projects. 


Earlier this month Exxon reported it will begin reporting the "impacts" that climate change and environmental policies have on the company, including implications of the 2 degrees Celsius warming limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.  They will also report their plans and progress toward creating a "lower-carbon future."


Shell, is taking its climate commitment a step further by announcing earlier this month that they have pledged to reduce its net carbon emissions 20% by 2035, and 50% by 2050.


3. North Sea pipeline still shut down.


Prices are up this week for a number of reasons: Threat of Nigerian Oil Union strikes, US oil rig count is down...  but a big one is also the fact that the Forties Pipeline is still down with an unknown restart date.


The 450,000-barrels-per-day (bbl/d) link that provides a good portion of the physical crude underpinning Brent has been shut down since Dec 11th


“There is still no reliable information about how long the repair work will last and when the pipeline will go back into operation,” stated a representative from Commerzbank, “this should preclude any fall in the Brent price for the foreseeable future.”