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2016

Structure of Safety

Posted by julianaherman Sep 29, 2016

It's been almost two months, but I would like to share my first custom event for my new company (going on a year in November).  We put on a Safety of Structure half day event at San Jacinto College-Central Campus in Pasadena on August 4th, 2016.  I have received good feedback and am planning my budget to include more learning events like it in 2017.  

It was a ton of work but a great experience for all involved.  How many people get to set up their event building (in a parking lot no less) and how many people have been inside a blast resistant air shelter?  I can tell you; it is a very select group. 

I have been participating in some career path and career change posts, and I will say, I never saw this coming.  I have been with large corporations most of my career and am now with a small innovative company with exciting products.  As many of us have been discussing advice for our past selves or the future workforce, I would say, don't take a "path" too seriously.  In this role I did not see coming; I am combining my clothing and textiles degree with my experience in Oil & Gas, product development experience with sales, and  strategy background with event planning.  Be open to challenges, and know what challenges you (but still look for something you believe in and can have fun with!).  

Our speakers were followed by a tour around the shelter by the inventor and founder of Dynamic Air Shelters.  

Facility Siting Challenges and Blast-Resistant Design - Charles J. King, PE, PSRG

Development of a Blast-Resistant Air Shelter - Harold Warner, Founder, DYNAMIC AIR SHELTERS

Testing Protocols and Human Vulnerability - Steve Parks, Owner and President, ORA INC.

A

Structure of Safety 2016 | Dynamic Air Shelters 

 

 

Let me know what you think of events like these and if you have any comments or suggestions.  And thank you, Katie Mehnert for encouraging me to share my experience.

 

 

David Brancaccio
NPR Marketplace - Sept 27, 2016

 

Despite some modest progress in the last few years, women are still underrepresented in the workplace, according to a new joint study from the nonprofit Lean In and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

 

The study found that the proportion of women relative to men declines at every step of the corporate ladder. Women receive less access to leadership opportunities, face more pushback during workplace negotiations, and are less likely to receive feedback and guidance from senior leaders.

 

Alexis Krivkovich, partner at McKinsey and lead researcher of the "Women in the Workplace" study, joined us to talk about the findings. 

 

On the early setbacks women face:

 

We’re seeing that corporate America is still quite far behind when it comes to gender parity in this country, and in particular that women are falling behind early. It’s those first promotions that are really holding them back, and they continue to lose ground at every step.

 

 

On how gender disparity affects women of color: 

 

It’s absolutely especially acute for women of color. We see that early on, women of color are represented relative to their position in the U.S. population, but by the C-Suite, they’re virtually not present. We only see 3 percent of them at the senior executive level.

 

 

On what researchers discovered about early promotions in terms of gender: 

 

Well, this was really surprising to us because we would expect that first promotion as a point where women and men are perhaps facing the most equal experiences, both in the workplace and in the home environment. It’s also where we tend to see most of our youngest generation and millennials, and a lot of people expect to see a lot of change there. And unfortunately, what we found in the research is really the reverse, which is that for every 100 women that are promoted at that first entry-level to manager, 130 men are. So women are falling behind quite acutely at that very first step-up moment.

 

 

On women not receiving workplace feedback at the same rate as men: 

 

The encouraging piece is that men and women both state that they’re asking for and they're interested in feedback at the same rates. But women are stating that they don’t receive it nearly as often. They’re in fact 30 percent less likely to get monthly input. And when it comes to difficult and critical feedback, while managers think that they’re giving it to the same degree to men and women, women are saying they’re not receiving it at the same rates. And that’s a real problem when you think about the input you need to really elevate performance over time.

 

 

Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio

NPR Marketplace - Sept 27, 2016

Pink Petro Staff

Who's Who in Energy

Posted by Pink Petro Staff Sep 26, 2016

The American City Business Journals is seeking industry leaders who are involved in the energy sector for their yearly multistate publication, "Who's Who in Energy."

 

Business journals in four cities - - Houston, Denver, Pittsburgh and San Antonio - - will partner on this undertaking, listing some 500 business leaders who are shaping today's ever-evolving energy market across sectors and states.


Honorees can work in positions throughout the energy industry, including (but not limited to) finance, law, engineering, renewable, manufacturing, advocacy/education/training and energy companies themselves.

 

To read more check it out here: http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/nomination/81132 

1. OPEC meeting in Algeria this week.

 

OPEC has plans to hold an informal meeting in Algeria this week to discuss what actions should be taken to stabilize oil prices following our recent two year decline.  14 OPEC nations met earlier year with Russia and Qatar to consider the prospect of a freeze in oil output, but that ultimately failed because both Saudi Arabia and Iran refused to cut back their production, stating they feel it would decrease their market share.  Most think a similar solution will be considered in this week’s meetings, but the thought is that similar inaction will result.  It will be interesting to see if anyone’s stances have changed in the last couple months.

 

2. Japan looking to buy global energy assets.

 

Japanese lawmaker look to issue a bill soon that will provide more financial muscle for Japanese companies to compete for global energy assets.  Similar to other resource-hungry Asian economies such as China and India Japan hopes to benefit from the sale of depressed oil assets.  Previously the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) has been restricted in their ability to purchase foreign energy resources, but now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet is hoping to revise a law governing JOGMEC that will allow the state-run agency to partake in purchases of foreign oil and gas companies.

 

This bill come at a time when oil-producing countries are being forced to recover funds by selling stakes to offset falling revenue due to sinking oil prices.  However, it is uncertain how much appetite Japanese trading houses and oil companies will have for new investments in energy projects given the amount of write-downs on their resource assets last year.

 

3. Duke Energy agrees to $6M fine.

 

Settling and incident that occurred back in 2014, Duke Energy Corp. has agreed to pay a $6 million fine for a large spill that coated the Dan River with liquefied coal ash.  The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is holding Duke Energy accountable for violating federal water protection laws in the spill that coated 70 miles of the river on the North Carolina-Virginia border after a pipe burst at a holding pit at Duke Energy’s power plant in Eden.

 

Duke Energy is glad to have the incident behind them, and stated, “We are accountable for what happened at our retired Dan River facility. This agreement is another important step in bringing the accident and its aftermath to a close.”

By Anindya Upadhyay and Debjit Chakraborty, Bloomberg
Image:  freepicturesweb.com

India is targeting a more than sevenfold expansion in its biofuels market over the next six years, stepping up the country’s efforts to cut its reliance on energy imports.

 

Blending five percent of biodiesel with regular diesel and 10 percent ethanol with gasoline could boost the market to 500 billion rupees ($7.5 billion) by 2022, from about 65 billion rupees now, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Wednesday. India would require 6.75 billion liters of biodiesel and 4.5 billion liters of ethanol for blending over the six years, he said.

The $2 trillion economy has struggled for about a decade to blend more ethanol with gasoline, and biodiesel with regular diesel. The goal this year is five percent blending for both gasoline and diesel. India, whose crude consumption growth is expected to outstrip all other nations in the decades ahead, imports about 80 percent of its crude requirement. It is aiming to reduce its overseas energy purchases by 10 percentage points by 2022, through increased domestic output and greater use of alternative fuels.

 

“Growth in the biofuels market will help India reduce import dependence,” Pradhan said at a conference in New Delhi.

Biofuel Projects

 

State-run fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. are together investing 90 billion rupees to develop infrastructure for biofuels and build ethanol plants, according to the oil ministry.

Companies such as Austria’s Munzer Bioindustrie GmbH, India’s Praj Industries Ltd. and CVC India Infrastructure Pvt. are also planning biofuel projects.

 

“We are preparing to build multiple biofuel projects for nearly 30 billion rupees over the next two years and will also raise funds for the same,” said Pramod Chaudhari, executive chairman at Praj Industries.

To help achieve the blending targets, the government will consider meeting the shortfall between the costs and estimated revenues from biofuel projects to make them viable.

 

“The ministry of new and renewable energy and oil ministry are working on a new scheme for providing viability-gap funding for biofuel projects,” Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, who also handles the power ministry, said at the conference.

©2016 Bloomberg News

We heard through the grapevine… Yekemi Otaru, Pink Petro member and founder of YO! Marketing Limited®, was named one of Scottish Business News Network’s 40 Under 40 for 2016.

Yekemi Otaru

 

“The published list recognises (sic) and celebrates the range of young talent that exists in the Scottish business community through profiling forty leading individuals aged under 40 who are currently making a significant contribution to the Scottish business landscape,” states an article about the list on the Scottish Business News Network's website.

 

Otaru, 37, is a chemical and petroleum engineer who transitioned to business marketing roles and recently celebrated the February release of her first book, The Smart Sceptic’s Guide to Social Media in Organisations. Based on interviews with marketing experts from GE, Dell, IBM, SAS and EMC, Otaru’s book outlines a three-step framework for rolling out social media campaigns and soliciting the help of employees.

 

The Smart Sceptic's Guide to Social Media in Organisations by Yekemi Otaru

“I'm particularly keen on social capital and business network theories in understanding how progressive energy companies have achieved innovative outcomes through big data initiatives,” said Otaru, of Aberdeen, who is pursuing a doctorate in business administration at Strathclyde Business School. She is now in her second year of the part-time program and has immersed herself in researching the conditions for positive market outcomes in digital innovation.

In July, she founded YO! Marketing, a strategic marketing agency that works with engineering and advanced manufacturing companies across the United Kingdom to connect business goals to the business’s marketing and digital strategy.

That is a lot to have accomplished in under 40 years. Congratulations from the Pink Petro community!

 

We are accepting nominations for our Good News Grapevine. Please nominate yourself or other Pink Petro members by dropping us an email at membership@pinkpetro.com.

Source: Houston Business Journal

 

Six months after listing a whopping 350,000 square feet of downtown office space on the sublease market, Houston-based Shell Oil Co. is completely vacating its namesake downtown tower.

 

Shell Oil, the U.S. arm of the Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A, RDS-B), announced Sept. 20 it will vacate One Shell Plaza and move those employees to the company's campuses in west Houston. Roughly 3,400 employees will move from the Central Business District to Shell's Woodcreek campus and its Shell Technology Center, the spokesperson said. The employees will move in the first quarter 2017.

 

Six months after listing a whopping 350,000 square feet of downtown office space on the…more

FILE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only employees in Shell's trading and supply division at 1000 Main will remain downtown. It's unclear how much additional space at One Shell Plaza will be added to the sublease market.

 

It's also unclear if the vacancy will prompt a name change of One Shell Plaza. Houston-based Hines manages One Shell Plaza and couldn't be reached for comment. In 2014, shortly after Shell vacated 400,000 square feet at 811 Louisiana– then known as Two Shell Plaza – Hines renamed and renovated the 26-story tower with a new look, a new entrance, lobby and updated aesthetics.

 

The decision to vacate One Shell Plaza was made "in an effort to meet the ever-changing market conditions and optimize resources for future opportunities," the Shell spokesperson said.

 

"Shell values our position and presence in the Houston area – for our ongoing business, offshore and onshore training needs, and long-time relationships in the community. Houston also remains critical to our core business; it’s where we have much of our expertise, including engineering and operations support, as well two technology/research centers," the spokesperson said.

 

In addition to the 350,000 square feet at One Shell Plaza, Shell also has 299,257 square feet at BG Group Place on the sublease market. BG is vacating its namesake building after being acquired by Shell in February.

Cara covers commercial real estate and construction for the Houston Business Journal. Follow her on Twitter for more.

Japan-flag-icon.pngOpportunities on the Rise for US-Japan Energy Trade

 

January 22 — Last Tuesday at the Westin Hotel in Houston, the US-Japan Business Council and Pink Petro Executive member Donna Cole of Cole Chemical invited US Energy Attaché Jeffrey Miller to speak to a room full of Houston business officials on Japan’s energy industry. Executive member Denise Sanders with Atwood Oceanics was also in attendance.

Japanese_Energy.jpg

 

The lecture’s topics ranged from an overview of Japan’s energy and nuclear non-proliferation achievements in 2015, to the liberalization of the country’s power policies and its growing production of renewable energy. Throughout it all, one point was made clear: the future is looking bright for US-Japan energy trade.

 

In 2011, when all of Japan’s Nuclear Plants were shut down in response to the Fukushima Daiichi incident, the country saw an almost 30% loss in domestic energy production capacity. Since then, it has sought new sources of energy to fill its consumption demands. Though its renewable energy output has over doubled since 2012, with particular advancements in solar energy, Japan is still 86% reliant on fossil fuels, most of which are imported. In the past, these imports came primarily from the Middle-East, but now Japan is looking to diversify in order to provide, as Trade and Industry Minister Motoo Hayashi said last December, “a stable supply of energy resources and the strengthening of national security for Japan.”

 

This focus on diversification comes just as the US lifts its 40 year ban on oil exports, and, unsurprisingly, Japanese companies have already begun to target the newly opened US market. By February, over 300,000 barrels of American crude oil, sourced from areas such as Eagle Ford, Texas, are slated to leave for Japanese shores. The shipment, purchased by Cosmo Energy Imports, is due to arrive in April, where it will be refined into gasoline and petroleum products. 

 

However, Japan’s energy focus is not only for oil. JERA, a joint venture set up between Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power, is set to become the world’s largest buyer of LNG by the end of the year. Again, the timing is ideal for US-Japan trade. With the low production cost of US natural gas and several Gulf Coast liquefaction terminals such as Freeport LNG and Sabine Pass coming online, US LNG will soon be an attractive alternative in the world marketplace. Furthermore, the US’ new LNG export capacity coincides with the completion of the expanded Panama Canal, which will enable the passage of modern 1,000 foot long LNG tankers and drastically reduce the cost of transporting LNG to Asia markets. With all of these market factors working in tandem, it’s no wonder that Mr. Miller is confident that 2016 will be a good year for the US-Japan energy trade.

 

Reporting by: Mayor's Office of Trade & International Affairs

1. Trump is scheduled to discuss energy in Pittsburgh.

With Western Pennsylvania and neighboring areas in Ohio and West Virginia becoming a center point in this election cycle, Donald Trump has announced he will be speaking at the annual Shale Insight conference in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday. The event is expected to draw approximately 1,500 industry professionals, and focus on shared economic, environmental, and national security topics.  Hillary Clinton was also invited, but is unable to attend due to prior scheduling conflicts. 

To this point the Republican nominee has positioned himself as a strong supporter of the American energy industry, stating in his newly released economic policy proposal that he plans to “lift unnecessary restrictions on all sources of American energy.” While his proposal doesn’t spell out which restrictions he would lift, it did clarify his support of coal production, safe fracking, energy production in “appropriate areas”, and offshore energy production.  We will look to this speech to further clarify his policy and stance on variance energy related topics.

 

2. Energy Sector continues to lead the charge as Federal Reserve meeting looms.

Crude oil rebounded today helping to push the markets upward. The S&P 500 was up 0.52%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.6%, and the Nasdaq improved 0.4%.  West Texas intermediate crude oil is up 2.1% to $43.92 a barrel.

It can be generally assumed that the boost in crude oil comes after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said a deal between Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries and non-OPEC countries to curb output was “close”.

This is all coming before the upcoming Federal Reserve's September meeting. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will be meeting for two days (9/20 – 9/21), and is expected to hold press conference from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday afternoon.

There is a variety of opinions regarding the outcomes of the meetings. Weak retail, industrial and inflation data for August have most thinking the Fed will err on the side of caution and hold rates flat. However, the markets are preparing themselves for the possibility of a rate increase – if not this week, perhaps by the end of the year. 

 

3. General Motors is moving to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

General Motors just declared they are setting out on an ambitious plan to power all of their global operations with 100% renewable energy within the next 35 years. This includes power for its 350 operations in 59 countries, and the energy will be generated from wind, sun and landfill gas.  GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra stated, “This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.”

Q:A_AmandaJones.png

We sat down with Amanda Jones a geologist to talk about her career.

 

What did you want to be when you were younger? 

I have always been most interested in science. There were times throughout my educational journey that I was more drawn to a particular field of science.  My focus went from biology and medicine initially and then to the geosciences.

 

How did you get into the energy industry? 

By getting hired upon graduating with a M.S. degree.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  

I’ve been fortunate to have received a lot of good advice from many.  I would have to say the one piece of advice that applies to many situations in life is, “It’s a marathon, not a race. Stay the course.”

 

What’s been your favorite memory working in energy?

Field trips that involve studying the formations that are drilled in the subsurface, in outcrop.

 

In one word, describe the energy industry.

Unpredictable!

 

What’s your favorite thing about the industry?

The overall nature.  It’s fast-paced, offers professional growth and is never boring!

 

What’s your least favorite thing about the industry?

The pervasive male-dominated culture.  While much progress has been made by increasing the number of women in energy there is still a good-old-boy culture that is difficult to penetrate.

 

Where do you see the industry in 10 years?

I think we will see GDP growth and improved energy efficiency technologies which could result in flattened demand. There will be a continued effort to rely less on fossil fuels but at the end of the day fossil fuels will prevail.

 

Why did you join Pink Petro?

Women in energy are outnumbered 4 to 1 by men.  It is difficult to make and maintain connections with other women in energy and PP is a diverse community of like-minded scientific and energy professional women who face the same challenges that I do and are also striving to attract, retain and empower women in energy.

 

How do you see Pink Petro impacting the industry?

I see PP having a positive effect by helping to bring more attention to women in energy. Historically, women are less likely to bring attention to themselves and that can often mean that their accomplishments and hard work are overlooked.

 

Interested in being profiled for Pink Petro?  Drop me or Robin Dupre a note.  We'd love to tell your story!

Source: The San Antonio Business Journal

  

Valero Energy Corp. has elected two women — H. Paulett Eberhart and Kimberly Greene — to its board of directors, both of whom have been CEOs of companies.

 

Valero's (NYSE: VLO) announcement comes on the heels of reporting its second-quarter financial results, in which the San Antonio-based company saw its revenue and net income decline but nevertheless exceeded expectations.

Eberhart is chairwoman and CEO of HMS Ventures, a privately held business involved with technology services and real estate, and she previously was president and CEO of CDI Corp., which provides engineering and information technology outsourcing and professional staffing services. She also was president and CEO of Invensys Process Systems Inc., a process automation company.

Meanwhile, Kimberly Greene is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), an electric and gas utility company. And she previously was president and CEO of Southern Company Services Inc. She has also held multiple high-level positions at the Tennessee Valley Authority, including chief generation officer, chief financial officer, executive vice president of financial services, chief risk officer and group president for strategy and external relations.

 

“We are very pleased to welcome Paulett and Kim to our board, as both are outstanding additions and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge,” Valero President and CEO Joe Gorder said in a news release.

 

Both women also have experience serving on boards.

 

Eberhart, who is a certified public accountant, is on the boards of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC), Ciber Inc. (NYSE: CBR) and LPL Financial Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: LPLA).

 

Greene is on the board of the Electric Power Research Institute.

August 1, 2016
Tony Quesada Editor-in-ChiefSan Antonio Business Journal
Tony oversees the San Antonio Business Journal newsroom
Image from Valero's website

| Reuters

 

Qatar Petroleum is interested in the Mozambique gas business of Italian energy group Eni and could opt to join Exxon Mobil in buying a multibillion-dollar stake, sources familiar with the matter said.

State-controlled Eni is looking to reduce a 50 percent stake in its giant Mozambique gas acreage as part of plans to sell 5 billion euros of assets over the next two years.

 

Last month sources told Reuters Exxon had reached a deal that could give it an operating stake in the onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant, while leaving Eni in control of the Area 4 gas fields feeding it.

Qatar Petroleum is in talks with Exxon and Eni on some kind of involvement in Mozambique which could involve a joint investment with the U.S. major, one senior QP source said, adding the deal was not a classic joint venture structure.

A second Doha-based source, who declined to be named as not authorized to speak publicly, said Qatar Petroleum had been looking at Eni's Area 4 field as well as adjoining acreage of Anadarko Petroleum Corp but added the focus was on Eni.

 

"The expectation is that Qatar Petroleum and Exxon will go in on this together," the source said, adding a Qatar Petroleum delegation planned to visit Mozambique before the year end.

The sources cautioned no decision had as yet been taken by the Qatari company.

Qatar Petroleum did not respond to requests for comment and Exxon and Eni declined to comment.

Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar Petroleum CEO, recently confirmed the group was looking at assets in Africa.

Located in Mozambique's Rovuma Basin, Eni's Area 4 is one of the biggest discoveries of recent times, holding about 85 trillion cubic feet of gas.

 

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, who has spoken of selling a stake of up to 25 percent, said earlier this month a detailed agreement had been reached with a partner.

In 2013 Eni sold 20 percent of Area 4 to China's CNPC for $4.2 billion but since then oil and gas prices have dropped by more than half.

 

A banker with knowledge of the matter said a 25 percent stake in the field could be worth in the region of 2 billion euros

Exxon and QP are already close business partners in Qatar, where Exxon's technical know-how helped the tiny Gulf state to develop its gas resources and become the world's biggest as well as lowest-cost LNG producer.

Since then, both companies have jointly moved to exploit international LNG growth opportunities, including plans to build the Golden Pass liquefaction plant in the United States and bidding for exploration acreage in Cyprus.

 

A moratorium on new Qatari gas production since 2005 has hobbled domestic expansion opportunities at a time of intense competition for global LNG market share as new producers such as Australia challenge Qatar's dominance.

"The (Mozambique) gas will go east and so having Qatar on board with all its experience makes a lot of sense," a banker with knowledge of the matter said.

 

(Writing by Stephen Jewkes, additional reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic in Milan, editing by William Hardy)

A criticism I often hear about renewables is that they only account for a fraction of the U.S. electricity system.  This is usually mentioned with the fact that the government has invested outrageous amounts of money and federal subsidies to build a tiny fraction of the energy market with minimal ROI. 

 

While this is “sort of” true with the "newer" renewable energies such as wind and solar power, It’s overlooking one important point.  Conventional hydroelectric power, such as the Hoover Dam, is also renewable energy.  Yes, it’s true that wind accounts for a little over 4% of U.S. electricity production (roughly one-tenth what coal provides), but when you combine that with hydroelectric and other sources such as solar you start closing in on about 15%.

 

Keep in mind that the U.S. has the second-biggest electricity system in the world!  If wind power is 5%, that “small” piece of pie is a big slice!  Just to put it in perspective, the approximately 60 gigawatts of wind power installed in the U.S. has more electricity-generation capacity than entire countries.  And not the small ones… we’re talking Australia, Saudi Arabia, or Mexico. It's about half of what France or Brazil would need.

 

The point is this:  yes, renewable energy is a “smaller” portion of the pie right now compared to the other energy options, but don’t be fooled.  It’s still a very large and significant source of energy…. And it’s growing!  

Three Houston companies made Fortune’s “100 Best Workplaces for Women” list this year.

 

Camden Property Trust (NYSE: CPT) jumped to No. 13, Transwestern took the No. 60 spot, and Houston Methodist ranked No. 70. Camden and Transwestern both made the list last year, ranking No. 40 and No. 70, respectively.

 

Two-thirds of Camden’s executives and managers are women, as are 45 percent of all employees at the company, according to Fortune. At Transwestern, those figures are 52 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

 

Of the three Houston companies, Methodist had the highest percentage of female employees companywide at 74 percent. However, 59 percent of its executives and managers are women.

Overall, 11 Texas companies made the list, including No. 1 Texas Health Resources in Arlington. Seven companies from the Dallas-Fort Worth area made the list.

 

The “Best Workplaces for Women” list is compiled as part of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.

 

View Fortune’s main “Best Companies to Work For” list and the magazine’s other lists, such as
Best Workplaces for Millennials” or " 50 Best Workplaces for Camaraderie.”

Olivia Pulsinelli is the senior web editor for the Houston Business Journal's award-winning website. Follow her on Twitter for more.
Image:  skyguard.co.uk

Our survey highlights the need for diversity to help navigate oil and gas sector disruption and the value diversity brings to the bottom line. Respondents also emphasize more action should be taken to propel women into leadership roles. Companies choosing to put gender parity on their agendas will find they have a more engaged workforce, perform better and maintain higher retention rates.

“Men or women is not the main issue. What is more important is how we create the right culture and process that can inspire and motivate humans to work and engage with integrity, trust and commitment to achieve success.”

Oil and gas survey respondent

Gender parity in the oil and gas industry is close. Think again.

The majority of our respondents (51%) expect to see a slight increase in women in leadership roles, and though this is a positive outlook, it doesn’t represent the full story. Currently only 11% of senior leadership positions are filled by women, and small steps won’t get us to gender parity any time soon.

What will you do differently to create a diverse tomorrow?

The oil and gas industry won’t change. Think again.

98% of our survey respondents agree we are experiencing a time of monumental change within the oil and gas industry. Disruption due to the fall in oil price, geopolitical instability and financial and environmental regulatory policy change are driving a fundamental shift in the industry. Companies are changing business models, adjusting supply chains and reworking their portfolios to improve value.

Gender diversity doesn’t help navigate disruption. Think again.

Our respondents agree overwhelmingly (94%) that diversity of thought and experience are key to navigating the disruption in the industry. Developing diversity across a company isn’t a quick fix but is a long-term business imperative.

Without diversity, companies will continue to miss out on innovation and insight to capitalize on future opportunities and the drivers of growth. Board and senior management need to create and invest in a diverse talent pipeline across all levels and mentor individuals to eradicate the unconscious bias currently holding back some of their top talent.

Diversity doesn’t affect business performance. Think again.

61% of our survey respondents say that diversity does impact financial performance; a further 77% said it affected nonfinancial performance. Given the challenges within the oil and gas industry, it’s hard to understand why companies wouldn’t want the financial benefits diversity can bring.

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics report women leaders can add 6% to the bottom line, which can make a real difference in this challenging time. So it’s surprising that more companies aren’t taking advantage of the gains to be made.

 

Talent doesn’t have to be diverse. Think again.

With the underlying disruption running through the industry, as well as the additional aging workforce, managing talent is essential so that the business shifts with the times and thrives in the new environment.

73% of our respondents agree that more needs to be done in attracting, retaining and promoting women. Companies must work harder to demonstrate the possibilities and career opportunities for women that match their skills and ambition.

To diversify their leadership ranks, they must provide high-performing women the strategic and finance-related experiences necessary to lead. They should also encourage their senior male and female leaders to become sponsors for female employees.

 

With the underlying disruption running through the industry, as well as the additional aging workforce, managing talent is essential so that the business shifts with the times and thrives in the new environment.

73% of our respondents agree that more needs to be done in attracting, retaining and promoting women. Companies must work harder to demonstrate the possibilities and career opportunities for women that match their skills and ambition.

To diversify their leadership ranks, they must provide high-performing women the strategic and finance-related experiences necessary to lead. They should also encourage their senior male and female leaders to become sponsors for female employees.

EY research is based on interviews of 236 oil and gas employees over 35 countries.

EY.com/oilandgas/women   #WomenFastForward

Free VERGE Virtual Event 

Posted by kmillspaugh Sep 16, 2016

 

Sep 19 -22, 2016  - Santa Clara, CA , Santa Clara Convention Center

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  • Thought-provoking VERGE mainstage sessions exploring the latest trends and technologies that will accelerate the clean economy.
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If you're unable to attend VERGE conference and expo in person next week, register for the free VERGE Virtual livestream (Sept. 20-22) to watch all VERGE mainstage sessions, submit questions to speakers, watch exclusive interviews, connect with fellow virtual attendees and more. Hear from 30+ mainstage speakers, including the President of the University of California and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, the Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft, the Vice President of Sustainable Business & Innovation at Nike, Lead for Sustainability at Google and many more.

 

Plus — even if you can't watch live — registering for VERGE Virtual guarantees full access to the archived videos and presentation slides following the event. Check out the full VERGE Virtual program and save your spot here: Save your spot here Best, Liza

 

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Liza Boulet Community Manager GreenBiz Group Email: liza@greenbiz.com Twitter: @lizaboulet

Resilient, driven, and tough. They’re all positive adjectives—and they’re also all words you’d use to describe Tina Peters.

 

As the CEO and Owner of Mallard, Inc., a full-service environmental consulting firm, she knows a thing or two about facing adversity, tuning out the naysayers, and going after what you want anyway.

 

After successfully running her own business for the past 20 years (and still going strong!), she’s living proof that you can make a big name and an even bigger career for yourself—no matter how male-dominated the industry may seem.

 

We caught up with Tina to hear her story, learn from her experiences, and find out just how she does it all.

Where It All Got Started...

Born and raised in northwest Florida, Tina knew from an early age that she was destined for a life in the environmental field. She spent a great deal of her very first years with her grandfather on his farm, and she credits that experience with shaping her interest in the great outdoors and the world around her.

“At just a few months old, I was being held by him while he was on the tractor,” she remembers, “I took every step he took.”

 

“I learned from birth the quality of clean soil, water, and hard work,” she adds, “A farmer is the hardest thing you can be, as well as the most self-rewarding.”

 

From there, Tina’s interest in the environment only grew stronger. Following high school graduation, she landed a job with a local county agency, where she assisted in the development of the Public Works Department. The county ended up being in serious violation with the state regulatory agency.

 

Tina—being a self-driven go-getter—was handed all of the rules, regulations, and information about the violations and began communicating with the state to bring the county into compliance. From then on, she was hooked.

 

Eventually leaving the agency, she moved on to a career with a consulting firm that the county had been using. Tina helped them start up three separate offices and grow the business from 24 people to over 100 employees by the time she left to pursue her own business.

 

Tina’s nearly 13-year-old chocolate lab, Sierra Grace, is often with her in the field. She has both a hard hat and a safety vest to keep her safe on the job sites, and Tina has also outfitted her portable trailer with both heat and air conditioning. She lovingly refers to Sierra Grace as both her company mascot and her boss.

Taking a Leap of Faith

In August of 1996, Tina waved goodbye to her role with the firm in order to open her own environmental consulting firm: Mallard, Inc.

 

With her raw passion and pure drive, Tina found that she had everything it took to begin her own successful company—despite the fact that she didn’t have piles of money or a huge roster of existing clients to her name.

 

“People think that it takes a lot of money,” she explains, “But, Mallard was started with less than $10,000—which was enough to pay for the necessary insurance, rent for a few months, and some other miscellaneous expenses. I didn’t have any contracts lined up.”

 

Of course, this leap of faith meant that Tina was met with her fair share of doubts and criticisms—even from those who loved and supported her.

 

“I was told by several people that I should get a real job,” Tina shares, “Even by some family members. But 20 years later, and I’m still here—and I’ve seen many companies come and go, and people jump from job to job.”

 

The first year or two, I didn't know if this was the stupidest thing I had ever done, or the smartest.

 

Needless to say, Tina’s hard work and commitment to her business has paid off. Fresh off celebrating her 20 year anniversary in business, she’s looking forward to an even brighter future.

 

“The first year or two, I didn’t know if this was the stupidest thing I had ever done, or the smartest. But, I do know that Mallard was started—and continues to exist—by God’s grace and a lot of hard work.”

 

On stressful days, Tina can often be found taking this toy duck—which she refers to as “Quack Waddle” for a walk. It was given to her as a gift when she first started Mallard, Inc.

Making a Name in a Male-Dominated Industry

When we asked Tina how she felt about owning her own business in such a male-dominated field, she was quick to respond with, “Add ‘good ol’ boy system’ on top of male-dominated!”

 

And, it’s true. This industry still tends to be very heavy-handed toward the men. But, that attitude and skepticism of the things she’s capable of only makes Tina stronger.

 

“My experience was typically something like, ‘Honey, this is too hard for you. You need to find something easier.’ Ultimately, that’s what fueled my fire,” she explains.

 

Now? Tina loves the satisfaction that comes along with being the boss—even if it ends up surprising a lot of her male counterparts.

 

“I love overhearing men inquire if the guy that owns the company is good to work for,” she adds, “The look on the guy’s face at the end of the day when I hand him a business card, or take control of the drill rig, dozer, backhoe, or excavator is priceless. Believe me, I’ve been known to make 6’7” guys weighing over 300 pounds cry.”

Finding Pink Petro

So, needless to say—like so many women—Tina found herself in a place of needing some female comrades in an otherwise male-dominated field. And, this is exactly why she was relieved to find Pink Petro.

 

“I first came to know Pink Petro when I saw a post by Katie on LinkedIn,” Tina explains, “I pulled up the website and then immediately sent her a message on LinkedIn. I read enough that just by gut feeling—believing her purpose—I knew I wanted to become a part of it.”

 

Today, Tina remains a very active and treasured part of the Pink Petro community. She’s always eager to respond with an insightful post or thoughtful comment, and she’s excited to help grow Pink Petro in any way she can.

 

When it comes to advice for other women, Tina has a few works of wisdom for all of us about getting what you want. And, looking at how much she’s accomplished throughout her years so far, we’ll definitely take her advice on this.

 

You never know unless you try, and life's too short to regret not doing. 

 

“If there is something that you cannot stop thinking about or feel that you have a calling, go for it! Do not allow anyone to say you can’t—just don’t listen to those that say you cannot, you should not. You will never know unless you try, and life's too short to regret not doing.”  

Pink Petro member and petropreneur™ Claudette Hayle is known for being her own boss. Claudette, with all of her 
experience with start ups, provides consulting services as well as access to capital for financing partnerships 
aimed at providing profitable solutions that incorporates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors for solving local and global challenges. I got the chance to talk to her about her business ventures, as well as what she does when she isn't hard at work managing her firm, Cygnus Energy Group, LLC. 

 

 

Me: Where did you go to school? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

Claudette: I attended York University, where I studied Math and Computer Science. At the time, I was a young parent. I worked for the CVS Superstore for Financial Systems, and three years later, I started my own company. I began by providing technical professionals to work as consultants. This was during the time many companies were going from paper to online. This began my journey as an entrepreneur. I sold the company and began advising other women led companies about capital raising and capital structure. I found myself on Governer Pattacke’s board of advisors. I began to get more involved with women entrepreneurship. I learned how to be a government contractor. More specifically, I learned how to leverage your skills and how to leverage your opportunities.

 

Me: Did you think that you would end up working in energy while you were in school?

Claudette: Not exactly. I wanted to be in technology and entrepreneurship. However, it was visible that energy and finance converged. As I looked at the hedgefund market, I saw how people traded energy, and I became very interested. From an entrepreneurial perspective, I wanted to be on the side where the fuel was going to be a refined product. Upstream takes a different kind of capital and a different kind of skillset. Downstream is where a lot of the action takes place.

 

Me: You have been in various positions, one of them being a congressional candidate. Could you tell me about your experience? Would you do it again?

Claudette: It was a great experience. As an entrepreneur, you think about politics and taxes and regulations and how it will affect your community. As a congressional candidate, it was my job to think about the issues, community development, and to really see how entrepreneurship plays into the community. I was invited to do it, and through the experience, I learned that I did not want to be a politician. The whole experience gave me a lot of perspective, but I don’t believe I would do it again.

 

Me: You are a mentor to students at Baruch College. How do you think mentors had a role in your career?

Claudette: I had very significant mentors. My mentors made me look at business from a common sense perspective. They taught me that human capital is very important, and most of all, they taught me to always be my own boss. In my experience, you are handed opportunities to make a difference. It is your job to always go in from a perspective to make things better. Have a passion. For me, that was running a business. Business becomes a person that you are obligated to. There are multiple days where the day is longer than your typical 9-5 job. It becomes more of a 24 job, but it is important to remember that employees come first. Sometimes you will make sure that you take care of all the business before you take care of yourself, but it is important to remember that for the business to thrive, you have to thrive.

 

Me: As a mentor, do you do any work to empower women and help advance their careers?

Claudette: I have a different mentor guide for young men and women. They have different issues that they are thinking about. I worked with a young man who was very bright, but also had to be very grounded.  When someone outside of your direct circle is telling you that you are able to do something, it can be affirming and they can go out and perform well. It is all about the evolution of confidence.

 

Me: What is the best piece of advice a mentor has given you?

Claudette: Whatever you have decided that you are going to do in your life, you have to be passionate about it because if you are not passionate about it, you will not sustain when difficulty comes. Be excited about your work. When you do so, your brain is working in a heightened state. Accomplish the things you are passionate about. Passion is your fuel.

 

Me: How do you achieve your perfect work-life balance?

Claudette: Schedules! Also, setting a list of goals. I am organized in my mind so I am motivated to accomplish certain goals. I also take a day off where I don’t work at all. Instead, I turn my phone off and read, allowing myself to recharge.

 

Me: In all your different projects, did you ever have to deal with any discrimination?

Claudette: I understand that discrimination exists, but I never go into a situation thinking that someone is going to discriminate against me. I was raised in Jamaica and came to the US when I was 18. I grew up seeing people of color being the people in positions of power. I never thought anyone was going to discriminate me because of the color of my skin. I never let that stop me. Your mind is a powerful tool, greater than any external forces. You control the way you are perceived and what you can accomplish. Your mind is your power. Don’t attract negative energy to you.

 

Me: Of all the things you have pursued in your career, which has been your best/most memorable experience?

Claudette: One of my most memorable experiences was when I was on an interview to pitch to a government contractor who had planned to give a huge contract to the subcontractors who were selected. I went in as one of the only minority applicants and they looked surprised. I pitched my company well and in the end, my company was awarded the grant. In fact, the man who was at the head of the contracting company became one of my mentors. Never judge a book by its cover, and don’t let things discourage you too much. They might think you are just a fly on the wall, but it is your job to show how hard you can fight to win.

1. US Based energy giant, Shell continues to affirm its plans to expand operations in India.

At a recent event hosted by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), Shell’s president (Bruce Culpepper) stated, “By 2050 world energy demand is projected to double, most of that growth will come from developing countries like India as its per person energy use is expected to increase more than 550 during that time frame.”

As the world’s largest integrated gas player, Shell sees this as a massive opportunity based on their incredible capabilities to produce or acquire natural gas, liquefy it, load it to a specialized tanker and ship it to developing countries such as India.

Look for Shell to continue its efforts to establish itself as a trusted partner with the Indian government and the people of India by providing energy solutions in the years to come.

 

2. Following the release of recent inventory data, Energy stocks continue to surge.

Energy outperformed most sectors in the S&P 500 late last week, as oil prices increased following the release of positive inventory data.

Contrary to the increase of 225,000 barrels that most experts had expected, last week U.S. crude stocks decreased by 14.5 million barrels, the biggest weekly drop in stockpiles since January 1999, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled at just under $48 per barrel, and the top performers included Chesapeake Energy, Diamond Offshore Drilling and Murphy Oil.

And looking at the bigger picture, the energy sector is also the top performer in the S&P 500 this year, achieving more than 17% increases.

 

3. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, plans tour of coal country.

The Obama administration's top energy official will be visiting West Virginia coal country on Monday for extended meetings regarding the region's energy future. Afterward, he plans to take a tour of the Mountaineer State's more advanced coal power plant.

The visit is spurred by the recent actions the White House has taken to send nearly $40 million to West Virginia and other coal-dependent states to help retrain and retain miners after a flurry of coal company bankruptcies and mine closures left thousands unemployed. The coal industry is finding itself facing rough times with the shift away from coal to natural gas for electricity production, anti-coal regulations by the Obama administration, and a significant decrease of global demand for U.S. coal.

From: Alistair Cox, Chief Executive Hays plc

 

Around the world, millions of students have recently graduated from university and college and for many, September often marks a milestone month as they enter the world of work. 


Unfortunately, this won’t be the case for everyone. In the UK, more than half of graduates are working in non-graduate roles, while in the US graduate unemployment and underemployment (those who work part-time but want full-time roles) currently stands at 5.5% and 12.6% respectively. After years of study and expense, what a shocking waste of talent and money and dreams. Year after year however I listen to concerned clients of Hays who are worried that each fresh wave of graduates simply will not possess the skills required to excel in the modern world of work, or even get their foot in the door.


What is going wrong? 


There remains a fundamental mismatch between market demand and supply of skills. The longstanding concerns around a drought of STEM and digital talent have been well publicised, but the issue extends beyond that. Students are graduating with degrees offering neither technical nor vocational knowledge, yet these are what employers are often looking for first.

 

Recent research in the US found that while 87% of recent graduates feel well prepared to hit the ground running in their new job, only half of hiring managers agreed. The shortfall across hard and soft skills is plain to see – one in four roles go unfilled due to the technical skills gap and hiring managers report worrying gaps in graduates’ critical thinking, communication and leadership skills. Around the world, many graduates simply aren’t employable in the roles being created today, yet will have spent at least 3 years racking up debt to study a course that will not help them find a relevant role. 

 

If steps are not taken to address this, then I genuinely fear for our graduates, employers and the global economy. We are already seeing the skills gap widening into a skills chasm.

 

So where does the blame and solution lie? With educational institutions, employers, governments or the graduates themselves?

 

In my opinion, all four are culpable.

 

Sad to say but I've seen at first-hand how many schools, universities and colleges are unable to provide students with worthwhile career advice that allows them to consider all the options available for on-going education and where this can realistically take them. It's understandable when most of these institutions are staffed solely by professionals from the world of education that they may not have the insights required to advise on careers outside their own field. But it does leave a big gap of information for their customers, the students. In my view too, the education system is often focused far too much on league table positions than actually ensuring that young people know which courses have the best employment opportunities before applying and are prepared for a career once they walk out the door. I’m a big admirer of the approach taken by the Rochester Institute of Technology, who use data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics to provide prospective students with a frank guide to how various careers are set to fare in coming years. This treats incoming students as adults, honestly informs them which careers are set to be in demand and highlights which qualifications or skills would be favoured in these careers. I would like to see this or a similar approach become the norm for higher education providers around the world.

 

Governments have been too quick to assess educational institutions on grades alone, a short-sighted approach that puts frankly unfair pressure on universities and ignores the long-term economic impact. Our political leaders should instead encourage universities to focus on providing the skills that will be vital to driving employment, businesses and our economies. We should be incentivising our students to opt for courses that will keep talent pipelines well stocked. In the UK over recent years, undergraduate fees have increased dramatically and almost uniformly across all courses and institutions. Yet employment prospects vary tremendously based on course and college. As the government looks for ways to build a long-lasting economy and itself spends billions on educating the future workforce, it makes sense to me to use pricing to incentivise behaviour, making the high-employability courses and institutions free or significantly cheaper via subsidies. This would lower the fees for in demand subjects such as STEM and digital, as well as valuable vocational courses, incentivise more young people to study the subjects that business and the economy need and would pay economic dividends as higher numbers of graduates emerge with the skills that employers are crying out for. Those who still choose to follow a course of study that will likely lead to no relevant job can still do so, but they would have to recognise that will come with an appropriate personal price tag attached. For the first time then we would have government fiscal policy around education aligned with business' need for skills and the appropriate incentives and rewards in place. 

 

Business leaders should be approaching top colleges and universities, asking how they can help prepare the future workforce with careers advice, informing them which areas their business is struggling to recruit in. We must combine the vast amounts of insight and data available in both worlds and put it to good use in shaping our curriculum and courses. We also hear all too often that graduates join the workforce lacking crucial professional skills and industry awareness. By playing an active role in liaising with educators, businesses have the opportunity to emphasise the importance of specific technical and soft skills while also providing future candidates with industry insight – all before they even set foot into the interview room. 

Our young people also have a responsibility to focus on acquiring skill sets that will benefit them. A recent Accenture study of US college graduates found that only half believed their area of study would provide them with a good long-term career. This number struck me as appallingly low – entering higher education is a costly experience, and students have a duty to themselves to ensure that neither time nor money is wasted on frivolous qualifications that mean little to employers. We need to be encouraging our young people to consider the future jobs market before choosing what to study. At the very least they should weigh up whether a particular degree will provide them with vocational or soft skills valued by employers. It’s up to the rest of us to provide them with relevant guidance that will help them make an informed choice. 

When I first arrived at the University of Salford to embark on an engineering course in the late 1970's, university attendance was far lower than today and there was a general understanding that acquiring a degree would dramatically improve your employment opportunities. It was almost taken as a given that we would all graduate into interesting and rewarding relevant jobs. I chose engineering because it’s a subject I’m passionate about, but at the same time degrees were heavily weighted towards providing both deep theoretical knowledge and vocational skills – both were put to the test after my graduation as I worked as an aerospace engineer and on North Sea oil rigs.

Today, the intense focus on making higher education accessible to all - an admirable goal which I believe has been mishandled - means there’s an incredibly wide range of qualifications on offer. Unfortunately the focus on skills, hard or soft, has been lost along the way, and the guidance given is often woeful. I’m sorry to say that many of those currently looking for post-graduation employment will have emerged from university with a degree that just isn’t valued by employers. They would have been served far better to follow a different course of study or a different education path entirely, such as a trade apprenticeship. Sadly in the UK at least the last 15 years of policy has enshrined that the only valuable person for the workforce is one with a degree. That is just so wrong as it has coerced young people into higher education that is totally inappropriate for them and their career prospects, and has seriously undermined the true value that other non-degree roles offer the world. I benefited from an apprenticeship alongside my degree and for many people the vocational or technical training around a trade is far more appropriate than studying at university. 

As the global economy continues its slow recovery, now more than ever we need to ensure we have the talent required to steer ourselves through. Success depends on our employers, educational institutions and governments providing the tools and opportunities for young people to take up much-needed skills. We owe our future graduates the guidance they deserve – and they owe it to themselves to choose qualifications that will drive their career and tomorrow’s economy.

 

Discrimination is surprisingly difficult to root out. Implicit association tests reveal that prejudice lingers in the subconscious. Informing people about their biases won't necessarily stop them from committing the same mistakes over and over again.

As Taylor Swift put it, “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Prejudice operates like muscle memory. It takes constant vigilance to catch our (often inadvertent) moments of sexism or racism. It takes hard work. It takes practice.

“Put bluntly, changing behavior means work that the vast majority of us are not motivated to do,” writes Harvard professor Iris Bohnet in her book, “What Works: Gender Equality by Design.”

Every year, Bohnet says, companies spend $8 billion on diversity training despite scant evidence that these brief workshops do any good. They might even backfire — worsening discrimination by reinforcing stereotypes or by making people complacent about their prejudices.

What if we gave up trying to change people’s minds? Bohnet, a behavioral economist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, makes a provocative proposal: Instead of striving to make everyone less sexist, we should change the system so it’s harder for sexism to thrive.

To prevent discrimination in hiring, why not hide the names of applicants? If female employees are reluctant to ask for flexible work schedules, why not make flex time the default for everyone? And if women are hesitant to guess on standardized tests, why not eliminate the penalty for guessing?

Bohnet’s book is a collection of these ideas and the research that underpins them. Recently, we had a chat about why it’s important to fix our institutions, and why that might be easier than trying to fix our bias-prone minds.

Tell me more about why you wrote this book.

Iris Bohnet: I am a behavioral economist, and that's really where the thinking started for the book. Behavioral scientists for a very long time have been trying to understand biases. And not just biases related to demographic characteristics like gender — cognitive biases in general.

What we’ve found is that biases are very stubborn. They are very hard to overcome simply by trying to change mindsets.

For instance, people tend to interpret information in a self-serving way. It’s called the “self-serving bias.” A number of researchers have been trying to tackle this bias, which often leads people to be too optimistic about their own bargaining positions. Often it causes negotiations to end in an impasse. When I taught negotiation [at Harvard], I was struck by how difficult it was to get people to understand this.

Informing people that this bias exists does very little. If it does anything — and this tells us something about the human mind — it backfires. People become more aware of the bias in others. They say “Oh, now I see why my counterpart was negotiating so assertively.” But they don’t recognize the problem in themselves.

Simple awareness itself doesn’t do the trick. Researchers have tried a number of different things. What eventually worked was for people to force themselves to write down counterarguments to their own beliefs. You have to have a little bit of your brain always playing the devil’s advocate. Write down five reasons you might be wrong. That helps people de-bias themselves the best. It’s super hard to do and only works if people are extremely conscious of the kinds of tricks their minds play.

The argument you make in the book is that we should change the world so it’s harder for our biases to harm other people.

Bohnet: Yes, so one intervention that has huge potential for organizations are blinded evaluations. We have very good evidence that they work.

In the 1970s, the major symphony orchestras in the United States began making musicians audition behind a curtain. They found that this made women 50 percent more likely to advance to later rounds. It contributed to an increase of female musicians in major orchestras in the U.S.,  from 5 percent in the 1970s to almost 40 percent today.

This example is important to me for two reasons. First, it drives home the idea of unconscious bias. These weren’t bad selection committees. They were convinced that they cared only about the music, not whether somebody looked the part. Still, they fell prey to their biases.

That’s the kind of work sample test that I suggest we should use much more often.

Still, companies aren’t going to get rid of interviews, right? So how do we make them better?

Bohnet: First, companies should completely abolish unstructured interviews — these are conversations where we just ask random questions and interviewers are free to talk about anything.

A candidate might share my nationality, or is a fan of the same sports team, or have gone the same high school, and then I will be naturally inclined to like that person and think that person would make a great hire — even though I know that being synchronized swimmer, for instance, has nothing to do with being a great economist. But our minds are not able to tease apart the useful information from the irrelevant information.

What the research suggests, basically, is that unstructured interviews are noise.

What’s interesting is that we’re seeing the opposite happening in some places. In Silicon Valley, there’s this toxic trend of emphasizing “cultural fit” — looking for people you want to hang out in the office and play ping-pong with. And they’re very transparent about this. They’re very clear that cultural fit is something they care about. But this seems like an easy way to be inadvertently discriminatory.

Bohnet: Yes, I think there are two ways to think about cultural fit. Fundamentally, I completely share your concerns. Cultural fit is where bias creeps in.

Lauren Rivera [a sociologist at Northwestern University] did a number of very interesting studies where she asked interviewers what they were looking for in a candidate.

And people would regularly say, "I use myself as a measuring rod, and I kind of look for people like myself because that’s all I have to go by." That’s almost a literal quote from her work, and it very directly speaks to your question. How are we going to measure cultural fit without being biased? That’s something I’m very concerned about.

Now, here’s just a little bit of hope. What companies really care about is whether somebody is going to succeed and be productive in the company. So the right way to think about this is to use data. Don’t just tell me that cultural fit is important. If you need to consider it, at least measure to see if cultural fit is in any way predictive of a person’s future success at your company.

We’ve been talking a lot about discrimination at the hiring level, but how can we also deal with bias in promotions and raises?

Bohnet: There are two practices that companies should be especially concerned about.

Commonly, when employees are being reviewed, they have to first evaluate themselves. They share their self-evaluation with their manager, and only afterward does the manager write his or her evaluation of the employee.

What we found — and this is no surprise to behavioral economists — is that managers are swayed by these self-evaluations. It’s called anchoring. In a negotiation, it’s hard to forget the opening offer.

A lot of evidence suggests that women are less self-confident than men, and if that is true, women may give themselves lower ratings than the men, which will make their managers biased against women. I haven’t come across any studies showing that sharing self-evaluations does any good.

The second thing we have to be concerned about is that many companies evaluate their employees in two ways — according to their past performance and their potential. Performance is more easily measurable. But evaluating potential lends itself to a lot of bias. Leadership is generally associated with men, so we cannot easily imagine that women would want to climb up the career ladder, so we’re less likely to see potential in women than in men.

The point about self-confidence is really interesting. In the book, you mention Muriel Niederle at Stanford, who has done a lot of work showing that women tend to be less competitive and are often less likely to take risks.

Bohnet: Yes, we’re good friends! Here’s a true story. A doctoral student of mine, Katie Baldiga Coffman, came to me and wanted to study gender differences in self-confidence and risk-taking — she was influenced by some of Muriel’s work.

She came up with the idea of studying multiple-choice test-taking. She brought in people and had them do SAT-type questions, multiple choice questions where there were five possible answers. You could fill in an answer or skip the question.

She used the same kind of incentives that the [old] SAT used, which is that you would get a point for every right answer and a quarter point would be deducted for every wrong answer. Rationally, if you can exclude at least one of the answers, you should guess.

Then she had them take another test, in which she forced everyone to answer all the questions. So she could measure how much people knew.

And what she found was that, between equally able people, men are much more willing to guess on a question, and women are much more likely to skip it.

What’s interesting is that the new SAT [which debuted in March] is now gender debiased — they took out the penalty for guessing wrongly. This has the effect that we basically legalized guessing, and now everyone feels entitled to guess.

I interviewed Muriel [Niederle] recently about her research, and I asked her: So how do we get women to be more competitive? How do we encourage them? And she said something that really struck me. She said, well why do we need to do that? Why is competitiveness something that we have to value so much?

Bohnet: Muriel and I are completely aligned on this. Why don’t we de-bias the system? Why don’t we change the way we do things?

The very same logic applies to negotiations. Women are less likely to negotiate. They’re less likely to ask for things. But does everything need to be negotiable?

For example, at the Kennedy School, faculty members used to have to ask for parental leave. If they didn’t ask, they wouldn’t get it. We’ve changed that policy now, partly because of my colleague Hannah Riley Bowles’s research, which shows that women don’t ask.

Why did women have to ask for parental leave? Now we’ve made it the default. Automatically, you get parental leave unless you opt out of it.

We have to think harder about how we do things. What are our norms? How do we run our organizations? Are they inadvertently biased against certain parts of the population?

This year’s IADC Asset Integrity and Reliability Conference was certainly unique.

 

The conference, which is part of the IADC Maintenance Committee, is to facilitate the exchange of information regarding maintenance, regulatory compliance, and equipment performance through the exchange of best practices among its committee members, equipment manufacturers, service providers and the industry.

 

The goal is to deliberately and intuitively steer our industry towards the correct alignment of personnel, planned systems, relevant processes, and ensure resources are in place to facilitate the deterministic effective functioning of well-control equipment; its required maintenance in a fit-for service condition that optimizes reliability, availability, cost effectiveness, with no compromise to health, safety, and the environment.

 

With the new regulations now in effect as of July 28, 2016, clearly we all need to be on the same page. Our industry collectively MUST work through these regulations together to achieve and remain in compliance.

At this conference some of the leading global onshore and offshore drilling organizations and contractors had the opportunity to learn about the unique challenges facing our industry. In addition, they also learned more about the regulations affecting them that are currently taking effect.

Time is of the essence and now is when we need to be prepared for what lies ahead – surely for an industry that will return, and when it does, it will be swift.

This is the key message I walked away with. The all-important and critical challenge of the OEMs, operators, and service providers working together will spawn new challenges to establish fidelity in how we effectively communicate, and improve on how we mutually beneficially conduct business alongside each other in the best interest of the industry we all serve.

 

The common theme was compliance:

  • Compliance with the regulations and regulatory bodies
  • Compliance and competency within the workforce, which also has the right safety culture
  • Compliance with management systems
  • Compliance with contract terms

 

The new relationship requirement between drilling contractors, operators, and third-party verification companies will ensure compliance through well-control equipment inspections and audits. Emphasis is high on processes to make certain that operations are conducted according to criteria derived from operational standards, classification societies, regulatory compliance requirements, standard practices, manufacturer technical documents, bulletins, and operation and maintenance manuals.

 

Along with compliance, we heard about equipment reliability, aging assets, effective regulations for safe offshore operations, the changing customer base, and what the face of the new oil and gas customer looks like.

 

If you attended this conference, I would love to hear your feedback, even if you did not feel free to share your thoughts. Do you have a strategy for being in compliance? Conferences are great formats to learn more about your business initiatives and needs.

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes is implementing a pay cut to its employees as the industry continues to adjust to the low oil price environment.

In an emailed statement to Rigzone, company spokesperson Melanie Kania confirmed that in response to challenging industry conditions, Baker Hughes implemented “a temporary 5 percent pay reduction for certain U.S. employees during the last 14 weeks of 2016.”

Affected employees will receive four additional paid holidays. Baker Hughes did not disclose which departments would be affected.

The pay cuts were implemented as a way to prevent further layoffs.  

Baker Hughes laid off 18,000 workers last year and 2,000 employees in 1Q 2016. The company reported revenue of $2.4 billion, according to its second quarter earnings report, down $1.6 billion (39 percent) compared to 2Q 2015.

In a post-earnings conference call July 28, Baker Hughes CEO Martin Craighead said he “didn’t subscribe to the hopeful commentary,” Reuters reported. Craighead also said he believed oil prices needed to be a minimum of the upper $50s per barrel for a sustainable recovery in North America. 

-Valerie Jones with  NEWS |  Rigzone 

Photo: Shutterstock

MOSCOW —The world’s two largest oil producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Monday agreed to act together to stabilize global oil output, though it’s unclear what that might entail.

Energy ministers Alexander Novak and Minister Khalid al-Falih met Monday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 nations’ summit in China. A joint statement released by Russia said both ministers “recognized the need to restrain an excessive volatility of the oil market” and agreed to act together “in order to stabilize the oil market.”

Novak and al-Fatih said they would chair the first Russia-Saudi task force on oil and gas in October.

Russia, which is not a member of the oil producing nations’ group OPEC, this year supported calls to freeze production, but the efforts fell through after OPEC member Iran opposed the plan.

It was not clear from the joint statement what exactly Russia and Saudi Arabia would be prepared to do to help prop up the markets but the Russian minister mentioned a production freeze.

“We believe that the market right now is taking too long to balance out, it’s been two years, and joint steps which were considered earlier this year including a production freeze could be a great help in helping to balance the markets as soon as possible,” Russian news agencies quoted Novak as saying.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, al-Falih, the Saudi minister, said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency that the freeze “is not the only solution” but refused to elaborate.

The price of oil jumped on the countries’ statement. The U.S. contract rose 2.2 percent, or 99 cents, to $45.43 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Associated Press

Image: Creative Commons