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As 2016 draws to an end, we are closing out one of the worst years for the oil and gas industry in decades, even though the oil prices are rebounding. In 2016, the U.S. oil and gas industry defaulted on $39 billion in high-yield energy debt, more than twice as much as the $15 billion in defaulted debt in 2015, according to Fitch.


Ever since the oil prices starting falling in 2014, many oil and gas companies were able to weather the storm at the end of the year and for much of 2015, only to run out of room this year. According to Fitch, one in three U.S. oil and gas exploration companies defaulted on high-yield bonds in 2016. Looking at the scenario from a broader perspective of energy companies rather than just oil and gas, one in five companies defaulted on high-yield debt. That stands in stark contrast to the less than 1 percent of energy companies that defaulted in 2014.


However, it isn’t applicable only to the U.S. companies.


Fitch points to Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA, which has $13 billion in high-yield debt that is probably most in danger of default. PDVSA has seen production drop and has been raided by the Venezuelan government. With both the sovereign and the company essentially broke, it could be a matter of time before a default arrives. PDVSA succeeded a few months ago in convincing creditors to extend maturity terms on some of its bonds, buying it a bit of breathing room.


A few other noteworthy bonds that are in shaky territory include Brazil’s Odebrecht Offshore Drilling, which has $3 billion in outstanding debt; California Resources Corp., which has $2.8 billion; and FTS International, a well completion company based in Texas, which has $800 million in high-yield debt.


As it turns out, 2016 was a horrific year for the high-yield sector. However, Fitch says that 2017 will be much better. Rising oil prices, are bringing in new optimism and will keep most companies out of danger. Fitch projects just a 3 percent default rate.


The rebound across the oil and gas industry is still in its infancy, but there are positive signs that the sector is on the mend. With just a few days left in December, only two upstream North American energy companies have declared bankruptcy, the lowest number since the beginning of 2016. According to Haynes & Boone, a Dallas-based law firm, more than 220 upstream and oilfield service companies have declared bankruptcy since the start of the downturn in 2014; but two-thirds of those came this year.


“The worst is over with oil prices moving up. Prospects are a lot better than they were a year ago,” Eric Rosenthal, an analyst at Fitch Ratings, said in a report. “The recovery of oil prices probably saved a few of them.”




New Site & Katie

Posted by Dec 28, 2016

WOW  !!!

5 stars for Katie and everyone with Pink Petro.

To see the changes in a short period of time is an inspiration.  

I am so excited to see the amazing things to come in 2017.

From discreet talks about OPEC deals being structured to the hardly inconspicuous occasion of Trump assuming power; 2016 hasn't exactly passed without incident. As the year draws to a close, a review of the mostly unprecedented Industry events that filled a year almost gone by:-


  • The much talked about OPEC deal: The first output cut deal in fifteen years between OPEC and non OPEC producers finally fell through. And what's more? Oil gained 1.5% on Tuesday. 
  • The Permian Basin: After several companies kept announcing acquisitions throughout the year and drilling kept reassuring profitable returns, The Permian Basin has safely been established as the gift that keeps on giving. 

  • Dipping drilling costs: This is not a drill, pun unintended. As soon as January this year, had operators reporting a staggering 30% dip in costs.

  • Deepwater Exploration in sunny Mexico: On December 5, several Oil and Gas majors came together to invest in exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, thereby keeping deepwater exploration alive despite unfavorable market conditions. 

  • Rise in Expected Ultimate Recoveries: Process improvements and advancing technologies were also largely responsible for a dramatic uptick in EURs during 2016. Drilling times were shortened, new hydraulic fracturing technologies enabled producers to better identify sweet spots and access more of the formation rock during each frac job, and gathering and pipeline infrastructure continued to be built out in younger play areas, allowing more efficient takeaways for associated natural gas and liquids. 

  • Hydraulic Fracturing exonerated: Due to certain last minute hush-hush changes made by top EPA officials to a five year old study that linked fracking to deteriorating conditions of america's drinking water, the technology has now been given a clean chit. Scientists announced that the changes lack evidence. 


Source: Forbes

Some US oil policies are likely to shift significantly when Donald Trump assumes the presidency next year.



Relations with the Middle East and OPEC


Donald Trump has been critical of both Saudi Arabia and Iran during the campaign. He said that he was not a "big fan" of the Saudi government in a 2015 appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press" and told the New York Times in March that he might stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries unless they committed ground troops to combat Islamic State or reimbursed the U.S. for its efforts.

Trump is also opposed to the nuclear deal with Iran that unlocked the country’s oil exports. He said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington in March that his “No. 1 priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” While tearing apart the accord is "technically possible," it is “extremely unlikely” that the other world powers that negotiated with Iran alongside the U.S. -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany -- “would follow our lead," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in April.

Speaking at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota in May, Trump also promised independence from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, although he didn’t elaborate on how that would be achieved.


Keystone Boost


At a press conference prior to the North Dakota event, he said he would approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, in return for the people of the United States being given "a piece, a significant piece of the profits."

Trump has also pledged to renegotiate or terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which limits the cases in which Canada can restrict energy exports to its southern neighbor. Ending that agreement could leave the U.S. more open to disruptions to supplies from Canada, although this seems unlikely given the country’s lack of alternative export options.


Support for U.S. Oil


At the same North Dakota press conference, the president elect said he would remove any restrictions on U.S. energy exports and that he would support hydraulic fracturing, although he didn’t elaborate on either.

Trump’s victory will support U.S. oil and gas production, with less regulation on exploration and a lifting of drilling restrictions in certain locations, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Damien Courvalin and Jeffrey Currie said in a Nov. 9 report.

His support for the U.S. shale oil and gas industry has not been unequivocal, though. Trump had earlier caused concern among energy executives in Colorado when he said in July he supported letting local residents vote on fracking bans. In a statement after a meeting with oil executives in Denver last month, Trump’s campaign said he supports "safe hydraulic fracturing" and "energy production on federal lands in appropriate areas."

“America is sitting on a treasure trove of untapped energy —- some $50 trillion dollars in shale energy, oil reserves and natural gas on federal lands, in addition to hundreds of years of coal energy reserves,” Trump said during a keynote speech at the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh, a summit of natural gas producers. “I am going to lift the restrictions on American energy and allow this wealth to pour into our communities."


Wider Policies


Trump said he would open federal lands for oil and gas production, and free up offshore areas to energy development.

The biggest impact on crude markets may not come from Trump’s oil policies at all given the importance of decisions that influence wider economic development, trade, and international relations.

He pledged during Wednesday’s victory speech to double economic growth during his tenure. That would imply annual expansion of 3 percent, a level last exceeded in 2005.

Against that, he’s questioned climate-change science and vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement to limit global warming, measures that would potentially redefine the nature of global energy consumption if coal returns as a growth fuel for power generation.

Lastly, observers including UBS AG and Nordea are now considering whether the U.S. will become more protectionist. Before the vote, Trump said China was a "grand master" at currency manipulation and was stealing American jobs. He threatened punitive tariffs of up to 45 percent on the country’s imports.


Source: Bloomberg

Congress Authorizes DOE to sell.


With the green light from congress, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could begin to sell off some of its strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) as soon as January.  The main motivation to sell crude stems from a DOE report issued to Congress last September, which warned them about the condition of the reserve. “This equipment today is near, at, or beyond the end of its design life,” the report said. The sale "will allow the Department to take necessary steps to increase the integrity and extend the life”


The multi-year process to shrink the nation’s stockpile of oil will begin with this first approval from congress for the sale of $375.4 million worth of oil in its recent budget resolution.  The boom in domestic drilling has eased their concerns about supply, allowing them to proceed with this sell off and maintenance.


Russia is on board with cuts.


Russia publicly announced it will cut crude oil output and cooperate with OPEC to support global oil prices.  Even though it was generally thought they would cooperate, President Vladimir Putin confirmed this at his end-of-year news conference last Friday.  Putin said he hoped this would help oil prices stabilize at current levels, above the average oil price of $40 per barrel factored into Russia’s budget.  Putin said the country’s oil-dependent budget would receive an extra 1.75 trillion rubles (~290 billion dollars) next year if oil prices averaged $50 per barrel.


Oil continues its run.


With its longest streak since August of this year, oil continues to climb upward in anticipation of OPEC and other producing nations beginning their output reductions to stabilize the market.  West Texas Intermediate for February delivery rose as much as 32 cents to $53.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $53.21 in Hong Kong (in the AM). There was no trading Monday because of the Christmas holiday.  Total volume traded was about 85 percent below the 100-day average. Prices are up 44% this year.

Saudi Arabia is planning to sell almost half of Saudi Arabian Oil, the world’s largest oil company, al Eqtisadiah reported.
A stake amounting to 49% will be sold within a decade, according to the Riyadh-based newspaper, which cites an unidentified senior government official. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had given a statement in April that an initial public offering has been planned for the year 2018, or even a year earlier, with the country planning to sell less than 5%.

This move has resulted from the fact that Saudi Arabia has been under pressure due to lower crude prices. The share sale has been planned as a part of an effort to generate revenue and reform its economy. The government hopes to raise about $100 billion from the IPO of its flagship asset. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will use the proceeds, and eventually control more than $2 trillion and help wean the kingdom off oil.
“Going from 5 to 49% is a huge jump but if you do it gradually over 10 years and in small chunks it is possible,” said John Sfakianakis, head of economics research at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh. By doing so, the Saudis are planning their sources of revenue beyond ten years, in order to diversify their non-oil income.


The Saudi government relies heavily on oil sales for revenue, and its finances have taken a blow since prices started tumbling in 2014. Total projected revenue this year, at 528 billion riyals ($141 billion), is less than half what it collected in 2013, when oil was trading above $100 and made up 90% of revenue. Brent crude, the global benchmark, closed Friday at $55.16 a barrel.
Taking a company as large as 
Aramco to the market may pose challenges for Saudi Arabia. Selling any part of Saudi Aramco to the public will require “full audits and a large amount of transparency,” Paul Sullivan, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, said by email on Saturday.


Source: Business Standard

With the world standing on the brink of alternative energy exploration, the oil industry must brace for five energy “tsunamis” that threaten to drag prices as low as $10 a barrel in less than a decade, according to Engie SA’s innovation chief.


The falling cost of solar power and battery storage, rising sales of electric vehicles, increasingly “smart” buildings and cheap hydrogen will all weigh on crude, Thierry Lepercq, head of research, technology and innovation at the French energy company, said in an interview. Which leads us to believe that the industry must prepare for the eventuality that one or more of these trickles of energy sources might turn tsunami level feasible in the upcoming decade. With Tesla running an entire island on solar power, and France initiating the world's first solar panel road to power streetlights, that's not exactly a question of high faith.


“Even if oil demand continues to climb until 2025, its price could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand,” Lepercq said at his office near Paris, which would be the case if a powerful alternate energy source comes into play. Crude last slumped to that level in 1998. “Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve,” he said. “Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable-energy system, but technological bricks already exist.”


The former French gas monopoly, which is now the world’s largest non-state power producer following a decade of acquisitions, is investing in renewables while selling coal-fired plants and exploration assets to shield itself from commodity-price swings. It plans to spend 1.5 billion euros ($1.57 billion) by 2018 on technologies including grid-scale battery storage, hydrogen output, “mini-grids” that serve small clusters of homes, and smart buildings that link up heating, lighting and IT systems to save energy and cut costs.


“In the months to come, we expect to announce the first major steps of projects, investments, partnerships and potential acquisitions in these areas", said Lepercq, a former banker and entrepreneur who in 2006 co-founded Solairedirect, a solar developer that was bought by Engie for about 200 million euros in 2015. “We’re talking about technology platforms in which massive value can be created from comparatively small investment.” This step will have the dual benefit of giving more than what goes in, and at the same time, providing a safe and eco-friendly energy production procedure.


The cost of solar power will probably drop below $10 a megawatt-hour before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places, according to Lepercq. “As carmakers offer more electrical vehicles with a range exceeding 500 kilometers, charging stations being progressively deployed and more cities banning gasoline and diesel cars, a shift will progressively take place,” Lepercq said. A stastic to support this claim indicates that the number of battery and plug-in vehicles around the world has surged in recent years to top 1 million, according to the International Energy Agency.


Tackling the hydrogen aspect, Lepercq said, “We’ll have the possibility to transport energy that’s produced very cheaply in remote places,” . He said he’s encouraged by the development of the first liquefied hydrogen carrier by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. as part of a Japanese plan to import hydrogen from Australia, and believes “hundreds” more will be launched in the coming decade.


In France, Engie recently conducted a “very deep modeling” of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of 5 million inhabitants, showing it could run entirely on renewables by 2030 for as much as 20 percent less cost than the current energy system, Lepercq said. Solar, wind, biogas, large-scale battery storage and hydrogen would be key elements. “The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here,” he said.


Hence, the oil and gas industry must come to terms with the significant outreach of its up and coming competitors in the energy sector, and start effective planning on how to symbiotically progress in harmony with all of them for a more secure and much brighter energy sector of the future.


Source: Bloomberg

Barack Obama, in a new and surprising move, has permanently banned new oil and gas drilling in most US-owned waters in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, a last-ditch effort to lock in environmental protections before he hands over to Donald Trump.


The use of a 1953 law was made that allows presidents to block the sale of new offshore drilling and mining rights and makes it difficult for their successors to reverse the decision.


However, Obama’s ban – affecting federal waters off Alaska in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea and in the Atlantic from New England to the Chesapeake Bay – is extraordinary in scale and could be challenged by Trump in court.


Trump has expressed his sentiment to unleash the country’s untapped energy reserves and exploit fossil fuels. He has previously questioned the science of climate change, threatened to tear up the Paris climate agreement and appointed climate-change deniers in his cabinet. All of these happenings, led to a scramble from environmentalists calling on Obama to impose whatever regulations and executive orders he can to protect his climate legacy.


Tuesday’s move came in a joint announcement by Obama and the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who also put a suspension on new oil and gas leasing in its Arctic waters, subject to periodic review.


Obama, currently on holiday in Hawaii and with only a month left in office, said in a statement that these joint actions are required to protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region of the face of the Earth. He voiced his concern regarding the significant chances of oil spills in these regions despite high safety standards, which may lead to disastrous consequences. “By contrast, it would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region – at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels”, Obama said.


A Department of Interior analysis shows that, at current oil prices, significant production in the Arctic will not occur. “That’s why looking forward, we must continue to focus on economic empowerment for Arctic communities beyond this one sector,” the statement said. 


The announcement was welcomed by campaigners as the decision will help protect existing lucrative coastal tourism and fishing businesses from offshore drilling, which promises smaller, short-lived returns and threatens coastal livelihoods. Few energy companies have expressed a wish to drill any time soon off the coasts thanks to abundant cheap shale oil in North Dakota and Texas. Exploratory drilling in the Arctic is costly and risky.


But with Trump in the White House, the obscure law could face a challenge. Dan Naatz of the Independent Petroleum Association of America told the Associated Press: “Instead of building on our nation’s position as a global energy leader, today’s unilateral mandate could put America back on a path of energy dependence for decades to come.”


Canada will designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment.

Source: The Guardian



BP agreed to buy stakes in West African licenses held by Kosmos Energy for $916 million as the British producer builds its natural-gas business following an acquisition in Egypt last month.

BP will become operator and acquire a 62% working interest in licenses at four deepwater blocks off Mauritania, as well as an effective 32.49% interest in permits at two blocks off Senegal, the companies said Monday. Kosmos will keep 28% and 32.51% of the Mauritanian and Senegalese licenses, respectively, and will remain exploration operator.

“The deal gives BP a leadership position in an emerging world-class, low-cost gas basin with advantaged access to global gas markets,” the London-based company said.

Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said the project “brings together all the elements” needed to create a new liquefied natural gas hub in Africa. The Mauritania-Senegal basin will become an “important profit center” according to BP’s upstream CEO, Bernard Looney. The company last month purchased 10% of Eni SpA’s Zohr field in Egypt for $375 million, giving it access to one of the world’s largest natural gas discoveries in recent times.

Larger rival Royal Dutch Shell strengthened its position in natural gas and LNG with the $54-billion acquisition of BG Group in February.

Financial Capability

While energy exploration has slowed in Africa with the slump in oil prices, Kosmos and Cairn Energy have made discoveries off Senegal. That includes Kosmos’s mid-2015 discovery of the Greater Tortue complex, which is estimated to hold 25 Tcf of gas, according to Will Hares, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

“Kosmos is an explorer, and brings in an experienced operator with deep LNG experience and effectively funds their work program for the next several years,” Hares said.

Kosmos and BP also entered into an exploration partnership covering potential new ventures in Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia, according to the statement.

BP “brings financial capability, deepwater development and LNG expertise,” said Kosmos CEO Andrew Inglis, who was formerly BP’s upstream chief.


Source: World Oil

Oil prices, last week, ended largely where they started with the strong gains from the non-OPEC deal having worn off as the week progressed. The credibility in the collective cuts from OPEC was duly strengthened with the non-OPEC deal, with an expected 1.8 million barrels per day slated to be pulled off the market in early 2017. However, on Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve poured cold water on the party with its interest rate hike – the strong dollar did a number on commodity prices. Markets regained faith in OPEC’s compliance to the deal, as oil prices closed the week in the green.


Libya and Nigeria set to boost oil exports.  In order to bring disrupted oil production back onto the market, a key oil export terminal as well as a pipeline in Libya are about to come back online,. Production in Libya has been doubled from 300,000 to 600,000 bpd since September. More capacity is speculated to come online as the political situation improves. Separately, the Nigerian government signed a deal with ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Eni and Chevron to resolve a dispute over back payments of $5 billion on JVs. The deal could pave the way to more investment and lead to a resurgence in Nigeria’s output, which is down to 1.8 mb/d from a peak last year of 2.2 mb/d. If the two OPEC countries, Libya and Nigeria, restore capacity, it could threaten the efficacy of the OPEC deal.


IEA: Oil demand in 2017 to slow. The IEA has released a statement that global oil demand growth will slow to just 1.3 mb/d next year, down from 1.4 mb/d this year and 1.9 mb/d in 2015. The growth rate will be the smallest since 2014 and as a result, it would pose as a threat to a market on the mend. Other analysts put the 2017 growth rate much lower – Citigroup thinks demand will only expand by an unimpressive 1.1 mb/d.


Goldman Sachs increases oil price forecast. A revised oil price forecast for 2017 was issued by Goldman Sachs, to reflect the effects of the non-OPEC agreement and greater confidence in the compliance of OPEC members to their historic deal. The investment banks expect WTI to average $57.50 in the second quarter of next year, up from its previous estimate of $55. Brent will average $59 instead of $56.50. The assumption being made here is an 84 percent compliance rate from OPEC, which will lead to cuts of 1.6 mb/d from the cartel instead of the announced 1.8 mb/d.


Pioneer expects $70 oil. Pioneer Natural Resources is a lot more optimistic with it’s forecast as compared to Goldman Sachs.. The Texas shale driller sees WTI rising to $70 per barrel by the end of 2017 as the world quickly draws down on storage levels. A statement was made by the COO to Bloomberg that his company has hedged 85 percent of its production through 2017, but has declined to hedge much for 2018 as it plans on profiting from much higher prices.


WTI faces pressure from inventories at Cushing. While U.S. oil inventories are slowly coming down, they remain near record highs at the key oil hub of Cushing, OK. Part of that is a seasonal phenomenon as Gulf Coast refiners put extra product in storage in Cushing for tax reasons. But also refiners process less in winter months. Another reasons is that production is booming in Texas, keeping pressure on storage tanks. The inventories are pushing the market into a deeper contango than what has been seen in recent weeks, and also putting pressure on the WTI-Brent differential.


Statoil to sell off Canadian oil sands. Statoil announced its decision to sell off its oil sands assets to Athabasca Oil Corp. in a deal that could be worth up to $832 million. After having spent nearly a decade in Alberta’s oil sands, it will exit the play with a loss of at least $500 million. Apparently, this deal is in accordance with Statoil’s strategy of portfolio optimization to enhance financial flexibility and focus capital on core activities globally.


Chesapeake Energy’s “Prop-a-geddon.” Chesapeake Energy is conducting the largest frac job in the history of the Haynesville shale in Louisiana, a process the company is calling “prop-a-geddon.” The natural gas well the company is drilling is an experiment in economies of scale, drilling a well that is 2 miles deep and runs 2 miles horizontally, using 51 million pounds of sand. The monster frac job, Chesapeake believes, is a world record. Shale companies have been figuring out ways to use more frac sand, or drill longer laterals, to improve well economics, but Chesapeake is arguably pushing the bounds further than anyone. Chesapeake hopes it can cut costs by 75 percent compared to the average well. The WSJ reports that the experiment is integral to the turnaround of a deeply indebted company.


Trump selects Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) for Interior. The Republican Congressman was chosen to lead the Interior Department, a former Navy SEAL. He is a supporter of oil and gas drilling, as expected, but he has also shown a bit of an independent streak, bucking his party on matters of public lands. While many Republicans want to privatize public lands to accelerate industry development, Zinke has fought to keep public lands public, offering a small sliver of hope for environmentalists fearing an onslaught from the Trump administration. Still, Zinke will likely oversee greater drilling opportunities on public lands.



1. As OPEC looks to cut supply, US increases.

As other oil producers around the world are colluding to decrease the supply of oil, the US is not only opting out of the agreement, they are increasing oil production. For over seven weeks now, drilling for new oil has increased.  Drillers added 12 oil rigs in the week to Dec. 16, bringing the total count to 510, the highest since January.  This is still below 541 rigs at this time a year ago, but shows that US oil production is rebounding. 

According to U.S. bank Goldman Sachs, "Since its trough on May 27, 2016, producers have added 194 oil rigs (+61 percent) in the U.S.,” Because of this, U.S. oil production is trending up, and has risen from below 8.5 million bpd in July to nearly 8.8 million bpd by mid-December.

2. BP Continues its shopping spree, increasing its oil and gas reserves.

On Monday BP agreed to buy stakes in gas-heavy exploration areas off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal from Kosmos (KOS.N). This comes days after announcing the long-awaited renewal of an onshore oil concession in Abu Dhabi, and BP's purchase of a stake in Eni's giant Zohr gas field offshore Egypt for $375 million before that.

The combined deals come to approximately $3.4 billion and will add much needed oil and gas reserves to BP's books, as they are still working to pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

"BP's shopping spree is the company's response to what the investor community has long been concerned about: long-term growth and resource sustenance," stated Brendan Warn, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

3. Trump picks Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.

President-elect, Donald Trump, has formally named the former Texas governor Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy. In a statement from Trump’s transition team, the president-elect referenced Perry’s experience leading Texas, a leading oil-producing state from 2000 until 2015.

“Rick Perry created … a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as secretary of energy,” Trump said in the statement.

Speed, Agility Key to Oil, Gas Independents Strategy, Success

In today’s environment, two components are needed for a successful independent oil and gas company – good people and good assets – Kris Nicol, principle analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s corporate service practice said.

“You have to be in the right parts of the right plays, particularly if you’re focused on the onshore Lower 48 [U.S. states],” Nicol commented. Independent oil and gas companies also have to have the right strategy in place to facilitate growth, which often or not includes a strong balance sheet. Whether a company has maintained its hedge through the downturn is another factor of continued success. Companies that have continued to invest, maintained consistency in their approach and haven’t taken on too much risk will be successful, Nicol said.

The key to independent oil and gas companies’ success has been their speed and agility to react to the market, scaling their organizations and shifting their strategy, Linda Castaneda, U.S. Oil & Gas Advisory Leader with Ernst & Young, said.


The competitive nature of the independent oil and gas landscape has meant that independents, particularly smaller independents, need to innovate and adapt very quickly to technology, Thomas McNulty, director of Navigant Consulting’s transaction advisory services practice in Houston, said.

The smaller size of independents has also allowed for more agility. This is true of both midsize and large independents, the latter which include multi-billion companies with operations across multiple continents, said Castaneda. By comparison, the supermajors structurally are very challenged in terms of trying to make changes, Nicol said.

“Steering a supermajor is like trying to turn a supertanker around,” Nicol commented.

At smaller independent companies, communication is lightly to be more direct compared with a company with thousands of employees. Unlike major oil and gas companies with deepwater and oil sands assets, independent oil and gas companies have also had more flexibility in cost cutting during the past two years.

In larger companies, analysis paralysis can also occur as companies continue to gather data but fail to move forward with a decision. This is understandable due to the higher cost of being wrong. Independents, on the other hand, are able to make decisions quickly, but backtrack if they make a mistake, Castaneda said.

Another factor in mid and larger-size independent oil and gas company success is their ability to get the right data to make decisions, Castaneda said. Companies that have fully embraced Big Data and Internet of Things technology to gain access to data will be able to quickly integrate data.

“The supermajors also have spent a lot of money on technology, but it is how independents have been able to implement that technology at low cost that has made them more effective in the shale space,”

Castaneda believes that the independents’ investment in technology and ability to make and learn from mistakes, will remain a recipe for success.

“However, even the independents know that, to survive in today’s new price culture, fundamental changes will need to be made to cost structure. Rather than just laying off workers and rehiring when prices recover, companies will need to become more digitized and truly transform their workforce for success,” Castaneda stated.

The challenge for these companies has been to implement the right infrastructure and global processes without losing the culture and small company mentality that has made them successful, Castaneda said.

Sources : Rigzone

Over the next decade, mobile, the Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics, and blockchain technologies will change a great deal about how the oil and gas industry works.

Five technologies will change the oil and gas industry: mobile will speed oilfield transactions, increase efficiency, and improve safety by removing people from harm’s way; the Internet of Things (IoT) will reduce the cost of repairs; machine learning will provide ever more optimal solutions to field challenges; robotics will upend the question of who does the work, and blockchain will make contracting faster and smoother than ever before.

Adopting these technologies will be a challenge for many in our industry, requiring a change in mind-set. Engineers tend to focus less on investing for the future than on fixing what’s broken now, as do companies trying to maximize their return on investment. But investments in these transformative technologies now will mean less to fix in the future, and more time to innovate, operate, and develop resources as fully as possible—which is what we’re all trying to do, correct?

Let’s look at how a repair for a typical production well might play out just a few years from now using mobile, the IoT, machine learning, robotics, and blockchain.

The case of AB-123’s leaky gasket:

Something is up with well AB-123. A machine learning program called WellHealth, which monitors thousands of wells, has looked at 27 similar incidents and suspects a leaking gasket. WellHealth sends a text to the duty engineer asking permission to dispatch a field technician to inspect AB-123.

The engineer sends a text back, asks about the cost, and when the next scheduled visit to the well will be. WellHealth looks up the ten most recent field visits and reports that an inspection visit will probably cost $150 and that the next scheduled visit will be in 90 days.

The engineer texts, “OK, and send me the results,” and WellHealth issues a work bid request to TheRoughneckList, an online marketplace for service requests. The bid request specifies the required certifications for a field technician, sets a minimum supplier review rating, describes the job in detail, and provides the delivery window. Thirty minutes later, WellHealth has received and considered 22 offers. It selects Hrishika, who bid $99, and included a free LIDAR survey of the well site. WellHealth sends Hrishika a smart contract which she accepts. The bot puts $99 into a blockchain-based escrow account. Hrishika receives confirmation of the deposit, hops into her truck, and drives to the site.

When she gets to the turn-off from the main road, she launches a drone from the back of her truck to fly ahead and locate the well. She does this to avoid time-wasting wrong turns and to scout washed-out roads. As it guides the truck to well AB-123, the drone begins to inspect the well with visible, infrared, ultraviolet, radio, X-ray, and acoustic sensors. Hrishika reviews the drone’s data as the truck drives itself the last 2 kilometers to the well. When she arrives, she goes straight to work. It looks as though WellHealth was right; a gasket is leaking. After taking a look to confirm, Hrishika emails a report to WellHealth and quotes a price to replace it. WellHealth confers with the engineer, who approves.

The gasket does not weigh much, so WellHealth orders a replacement gasket kit from DigitalOilfieldSupply and 35 minutes later a drone drops the package at the well site where Hrishika is waiting.

While DigitalOilfieldSupply’s drone was on the wing, Hrishika watched a YouTube video describing exactly how to replace the gasket. She read in the comments section that the valve cover is heavy and can fall on your feet if you don’t secure it before you remove the bolts.

The gasket in hand, tools in the pouch, she executes the repair in the standard 90 minutes, each step recorded and audited by the camera on her hardhat, and by the drone circling behind her.

When she has packed up all her gear, her chatbot, WorkReports, presents a work package of forms, videos, annotated photos, and inspection scans for WellHealth’s approval. After Hrishika has made a small edit, WorkReports sends the package; WellHealth reviews it; checks that AB-123’s pressure has returned to normal; releases the escrow funds; awards Hrishika a 5-star review on TheRoughneckList; updates the maintenance logs; and sends a partial billing statement to working-interest owners, per their contracts.

While elements of this story may seem a little far-fetched today, every single component we have mentioned either is available, or at an advanced stage of development.

The five technologies:

The five technologies that will change the way the industry operates—all of which played a role in the story of AB-123 and its leaky gasket—are mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, robotics, and blockchain.

  1. Mobile technology is familiar to us all and has already transformed thousands of processes such as calling a taxi, or accessing schematics on a job site. In ten years, our grandchildren will laugh as we try to explain what a boarding pass was, or how we went to a store to buy music, or to a bank to get cash—whatever cash was. Even physical passports may have disappeared. And, in the oilfield, mobile technology will let technicians like Hrishika bid for a project, accept the assignment, and file the work report when they have finished, no matter what time it is or where they are.

While there are no revolutionary breakthroughs expected in mobile, what is happening is a continuous march down the cost curve. As a result, the ability to provide connectivity to smaller and cheaper components, in more and more remote areas, continues to grow. We expect that by 2025 every well in the Western Hemisphere will have access to 4G cellular at a cost-competitive rate.

  1. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings, and others—equipped with electronics, software, sensors, and Internet connections that enable them to collect and exchange data. We already have many networked sensors in our industry for the remote monitoring and control of refineries, pipelines, pumps, and platforms. However, as the cost of devices continues to drop, we will see many more applications in well-monitoring, drones, and vehicle guidance, to name a few.

An example of the profound change occurring can be found in the registration of cellular telephone numbers. Many new cars today have hidden cell phone systems that transmit performance data, download maps, and so on. In the first quarter of 2016, more cars were registered for phone numbers in the US than were personal cell phones. A report issued by the networking company Cisco estimates that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, collecting and sending information, and receiving instructions. That is more than seven devices per living person.

  1. Machine learning is the capability of computers to understand how to do something without having been explicitly programmed to do it. A high profile example is a system that, by watching videos of people driving a car, “taught itself” how to drive. If a computer can teach itself new strategies gleaned from its experience, then its analyses will improve over time without the need for human intervention.

In this way, the WellHealth bot will get ever better at understanding the underlying problems—and the optimal solutions—indicated by out-of-spec conditions at a well. Opportunities for machine learning–based systems cover a wide range, from invoice processing, through failure prediction for equipment and control rooms, to autopilots for helicopters.

  1. Robotics is probably the oldest known technology in this list, but it has undergone dramatic changes in the last five years. Where once limited to fixed locations such as factory assembly lines, the development of high-quality electric motors, and low-cost navigation systems have caused an exponential increase in the number of flying, driving, and swimming robotic systems. In almost all cases their main benefit is that a person does not need to place themselves in a potentially risky situation to either gather the same data or execute a task.

We expect that the number of robotic systems working in oil fields around the world will be nearly a million by 2025. Some will live permanently at a facility such as a refinery, while others will be a part of a technician’s toolkit, as we saw in the story of AB-123. As prices continue to fall, the number of uses for robotics systems will multiply.

  1. Blockchain is a digital ledger that records financial transactions. It is best known as the technology that underpins the virtual currency, Bitcoin, but, it is poised now to simplify contracting and transacting everywhere. Financial services companies, for instance, are testing it as a way to remove clearinghouses and other intermediaries from financial transactions.

In the oil and gas industry, anywhere a contract for performance is required there is a chance it will migrate to a blockchain-enabled agreement. Such contracts may include land royalty, production sharing, or service execution contracts. In each case, the promise of the technology is that agreements can be created, executed, and maintained in a cheaper, more transparent and efficient manner.

These technologies will increase safety and save you money.


These technologies will be key to operating more effectively, and safely, at lower costs. Given what we know about the availability of supply and known reserves of unconventionals that can be brought online quickly at each price level, the next ten years likely will be an era of industry restructuring and cost optimization. But that cannot be done at the expense of safety. These five technologies are critical enablers. Together they can significantly increase the overall efficiency of routine processes by eliminating steps and reducing downtime between tasks. Moreover, they will improve safety, for instance by saving our field tech the need to drive to fetch supplies.

Over the next few years, it will be important for oil and gas companies to track them and their applications, and to participate in their development and adoption. Some applications may rise gradually in the industry; others may rapidly reach a tipping point where processes shift overnight to the new way of working. The move from employees to freelance contractors for field work (the Uber paradigm) could occur quickly under certain conditions; for example, continued cost pressure, a viable “marketplace” app, and rapid adoption in a region. However these technologies evolve, and at what pace, it will be better to run ahead of the curve than behind it.

Source: McKinsey and Company

To some, making the switch from a career in post-secondary education to the energy industry might seem like a drastic leap. But, to Amy Daveler, it’s just another chapter of her career journey.


Despite getting her start in various fields and positions, Amy eventually found a spot that feels like a completely natural fit—working as a Fuel Products Manager for an energy company in her home of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


We talked with Amy about how she discovered the energy industry was the right place for her, as well as how exactly she built up some credibility and authority in a male-dominated industry.  


Taking the Leap

Graduating with her degree in Communications from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Amy has worked in sales or sales management for the entirety of her career.


But, 10 years ago, she decided to make the switch to the energy industry. “I decided it was time for a change,” she explains, “I was working in post-secondary education admissions, and I wasn’t having fun anymore. So, I took a little time off to really explore my options.”


In doing that, Amy came across an opportunity for a position with an oil and propane distributor. And, despite having no experience in the industry, she decided to go for it. “I took that and jumped with both feet,” she shares, “I had no education in this sector—no idea about oil heat, other than when I was a kid we had oil heat, and my sister and I used to pretend the oil tank was a spaceship in our basement.”


However, Amy didn’t let the learning curve intimidate her. Instead, she did everything she could to learn the ins and outs of the business right from the get-go.


“I was very eager to learn,” explains Amy, “Being a woman, I knew that I had to be knowledgeable to be credible. I was working in sales of oil and propane to residential, agricultural, and commercial accounts. I rode with fuel drivers and pulled the hose in bad weather, I cleaned furnaces and boilers, I rode along to fill up at the rack—anything I could do to learn the trade, I did.”


Since then, Amy has managed to continue to learn, grow, and excel in the energy industry, leading her to her current position as a Fuel Products Manager. “I handle all of the inventory, the truck fleet, and drivers. I route and dispatch deliveries, plus I handle all new residential, commercial, and agricultural sales for all distillate products. I’m very busy and, again, learning new aspects of the industry.”

Making a Name for Herself

Like so many women, Amy didn’t necessarily have an easy time forging her own path in an industry that’s overrun with males. “When I first started in this industry and I would try to talk with men about their fuel needs, I felt really patronized,” she shares.


But, rather than letting that discourage her, Amy used that as inspiration to become even more informed about her work and her field. “I have found that by being knowledgeable and educated—attending industry meetings, lunch and learns, and staying on top of industry news—that I have now evolved into the role of product expert and industry go-to person,” Amy says.

Finding Pink Petro

While Amy managed to ignore any naysayers and charge ahead to build an awesome career for herself, she knows as well as anybody that it’s still nice to have a way to connect with like-minded professionals—particularly fellow females in the male-dominated energy industry.


“I discovered Pink petro through an industry email that I received,” she shares, “My experience has been excellent. I really enjoy reading the articles and ‘meeting’ new people. We all have a common goal and it’s a great way to stay in the loop without having to go to meetings.”

What’s Next?

One other thing that proves Amy is nothing short of amazing? She just celebrated her five-year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. The experience only increased her zest for life, and she’s excited to continue moving forward in order to leave her mark on the world.


“My passion is the education and training of customers on the benefits and nuances of their heating products and systems,” says Amy. She plans to continue to use that passion to move forward in her career—ideally to a role as a General Manager, a CEO, or the head of a training department for a large energy company.


With her drive, her willingness to learn, and her infectious can-do attitude, we just know Amy is destined for big things. And, she offers similar advice to other women aiming to make a name for themselves in the industry. “Grow thick skin and soak up all of the information and knowledge that you possibly can,” she adds, “Be a ‘doer’. Stay ahead of the proverbial ball.”

Amy receiving a certificate after her last cancer treatment.


And, most importantly, Amy says you need to find and build a career that you love. “Enjoy what you do. When you stop having fun, it becomes work.”

Here at Pink Petro, we work hard to develop resources and build a community around empowering women and closing the gender gap. And, while we don’t do it ever expecting an ounce of recognition, we’ll be the first to admit that it’s always nice to be applauded every now and then.


That’s why we’re thrilled to share that Pink Petro has been included on Ellevate Network’s list of Top Resources for Professional Women under the category of “Disruptor”. As Ellevate Network explains, “Disruptors are innovators in the world who turn business on its head to create something truly unique.”


It’s so exciting to be recognized on this list that features so many other companies, enterprises, and initiatives that are kicking major tail when it comes to closing the gender gap. And, it’s even more exciting that many of these companies are our partners. Our amazing partners were included in the following categories:


Advocating for Women at Work: Fairygodboss

Professional Development and Education: Lean In, Glassbreakers, Take the Lead Women

Women in Leadership: Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (honorable mention)

Thought Leadership and Media: Women@Forbes

Supporting Entrepreneurs: Circular Board


Yes, we’re honored by this inclusion on Ellevate’s prestigious list of awesome companies. But, honestly—as arrogant as it may sound—we aren’t all that surprised.


Why? Well, we’re so overwhelmingly proud of what we’ve managed to create here at Pink Petro. From our inspiring members to our incredible partners, we know we’re making great strides in closing the gender gap in the energy industry—we can quite literally feel it. And, we have all of you to thank for that progress.


We’re so looking forward to continuing to disrupt in 2017. We know there are plenty more big things to come—and, to us, that’s the most exciting part.

Global oil and gas exploration should return to profitability in 2017 after 5 years of only single-digit returns, research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. says in a report.

“The industry has a good chance of achieving double-digit returns in 2017,” commented Andrew Latham, WoodMac vice-president of exploration. “Smarter portfolio choices and lower costs are already paying off."

WoodMac’s analysis of the 2017 global exploration outlook shows exploration will continue its transformation to a smaller, more-efficient industry, with overall investment, at best, matching $40 billion spent in 2016. Lower costs mean that well counts may hold up close to 2016 numbers, and flat budgets could mean exploration’s headcount cuts are now mainly in the past.

The firm believes the majors and “a handful of bolder independents will drill most of the wells to watch” just like in 2015-16. The firm expects the best discoveries to come from new plays and frontiers, despite greater emphasis on infrastructure-led drilling from many explorers.


“More than half of the volumes are expected to be found in deep water,” Latham said. “Here some well costs will fall to $30 million or less, with full-cycle economics that are positive at less than [$50/bbl].”

According to the report, exploration’s share of upstream investment will dip to a new low of just 8% in 2017. An eventual return to historic norms depends on a recovery in crude oil prices. WoodMac expects the Brent oil price to rise sharply from 2019, averaging $77/bbl in real terms for the year. Under that scenario, a recovery in exploration spend will follow 1-2 years later.

“The industry is focusing on acreage capture and reloading for the longer term,” Latham explained. “Companies willing to sign acreage with firm 2017 wells may be spoilt for choice. A spate of new licensing in outer slope plays will continue as explorers digest news of better-than-expected reservoir quality and source rock potential in these ultradeepwater settings.”

He added, "After a decade in the doldrums, the majors’ returns from conventional exploration improved to nearly 10% in 2015. The rest of the industry is heading in the same direction. Fewer, better wells promise a brighter future for explorers.”


Source: Oil & Gas Journal

1. Oil prices are rising after additional countries agreed to production cuts.

OPEC and other oil producing countries continue to march to production cuts. Over the weekend, 11 oil producers agreed to join the OPEC and reduce production by 558,000 barrels a day.  This agreement wasn’t didn’t’ quite hit the 600,000 barrels target they were hoping to reach, but it’s still the first deal that Russia and the other nations have agreed to in 15 years.

Brent crude rose 3.7% to $56.36 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate is up 4% to $53.58 a barrel. Energy stocks are also benefiting from the news, with a general rise across the board.


2. Not official – Sources are reporting President-elect Donald Trump will nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.

Tillerson grew up in Texas, where his father was a modestly compensated administrator for the Boy Scouts of America. Tillerson became an Eagle Scout, and continues to be an active supporter and contributor to the scouting program up to this day. He is an engineering major at the University of Texas, in Austin.  He joined ExxonMobil in 1975, and has spent his entire career with ExxonMobil.

Trump met with Tillerson earlier this week, and sources are saying the president-elect was very impressed. No announcement is official, but expected soon.


3. New $1 billion clean energy investment fund created and led by Bill Gates.

Yesterday (Sunday, December 11, 2016) Bill Gates and more than a dozen wealthy investors and individuals announced a new $1 billion investment fund focused on fostering advancements in clean energy production.

The 20-year fund is backed by a mix of technology heavyweights and energy industry tycoons. members include Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Inc., Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group Ltd., Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., John Arnold, a billionaire natural gas trader, and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the founder of Kingdom Holding.

The fund will invest in risky, long-term energy technology that could “dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.  Last year, a number of these investors joined Gates in announcing the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, and this fund marks a more concrete step by this group toward their stated goals of clean energy.

President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency.


"Attorney General Pruitt has great qualifications and a good record as the AG of Oklahoma, and there were a number of qualified candidates for that particular position that the President-elect interviewed and he settled on Attorney General Pruitt and we'll look forward to the confirmation hearing," Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday.


It's a signal the Trump administration is intent on reversing President Barack Obama's moves to curb climate change.


In a statement Thursday morning from the Trump transition team making the nomination official, Pruitt was quoted as saying, "The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses."


Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal,” according to an article posted by The New York Times. 


Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, sources told Scientific American.

Trump also lined up leaders for its Energy Department and Interior Department teams. Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is heading the DOE team; former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt is leading the effort for that agency, according to sources close to the campaign.


Ebell is an outspoken, longtime skeptic of the scientific consensus that human activity is dramatically changing the climate. He often refers to warnings about global warming as climate “alarmism” and is a vocal critic of President Obama’s climate change regulations. Ebell has argued that the Clean Power Plan is illegal and that the Paris climate change agreement is unconstitutional.


The Republican presidential nominee’s EPA would be responsible for implementing his ambitious agenda of dismantling major pieces of Obama’s climate legacy, like the Clean Power Plan for power plants and the Paris agreement.


Republican energy lobbyist and strategist Mike McKenna is heading Trump’s Department of Energy transition team, and David Bernhardt, a lawyer at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and former Interior Department solicitor under President George W. Bush, is leading the transition for that department, E&E reported.


AMSTERDAM, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Netherlands will gradually phase out subsidises for renewable energy and shift its climate change strategy to areas such as energy saving and carbon capture, the government said on Wednesday.

A week ago, the Netherlands announced a 33 percent increase in subsidies for solar, wind, geothermal and other projects to 12 billion euros ($12.9 billion) in 2017, from 9 billion euros in 2016, as it struggles to reach 2020 targets.

But the "Energy Agenda" published by the Economic Affairs ministry on Wednesday - setting out how greenhouse gas emissions can be cut to 80-95 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 - said subsidies would be phased out as renewables become more viable.

Offshore wind turbines will no longer require subsidies by 2026 and the government intends to designate new areas of the North Sea for wind energy, the paper says.

The Energy Agenda also says there will be a minimum 20 billion euros of investment in the electricity grid and a reduction in vehicle emissions to zero for all new cars by 2035.

The government intends to encourage power companies to make it easier for individuals to invest in renewables, such as wind and solar farms, partly to undermine "not in my backyard" sentiment which hampers such projects at the planning stage.

Read full article


Image source:

In 2015, the White House Administration implemented the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative. According to the White house website; this program is a coordinated effort, involving multiple federal agencies, with the goal of effectively aligning, leveraging, and targeting a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector. Not only does the White House have a vested interest in making federal policies to combat changes in the coal industry; they are working to make sure everyone involved is taken care and that there is a proper balance is maintained in the energy industry as a whole.


According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) not only is oil production on the rise, so is natural gas. These projections come from a growing resource base and quickly improving production efficiencies that ultimately mean we have much more oil and gas at our disposal than people think. In 2015-2016 the EIA Annual Energy Outlook projected for the U.S. crude output in 2030 to increase over 20 percent. A significant reason for the increase in production is due to the amount of oil rigs in the U.S. According to oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S has climbed by three in October of 2016, to total 428.  This recent increase shows that the oil rig count has been generally rising since the beginning of the 2016 summer.


An increase in the number of oil rigs in the U.S. means more production overall. That is why the EIA has projected such a significant increase for oil in the coming years. With many federal policies working to find balance in the energy industry, it’s reasonable to assume that no policy is trying to deplete oil production, only maintain a balance that works for everyone’s benefit.

Alaska Dispatch News | Author: Alex DeMarban


An Alaska Native corporation hoping to provide jobs and cheaper energy to its shareholders reported it has finished drilling a natural gas exploration well and will soon conduct tests to determine if gas exists in the targeted zone.

Ahtna said the two-month drilling at Tolsona No. 1, located about 12 miles west of the company's Glennallen headquarters in the Interior, was delayed by challenging geology and zones of high-pressure water. It had to be drilled 700 feet deeper than planned, but the company was able to isolate the potential gas-bearing zone from the water about a mile beneath the surface.


The drilling rig will be demobilized so it can be used again by Hilcorp, the dominate producer in the Cook Inlet region. Hilcorp allowed rig owner Schlumberger to extend the rig contract to finish drilling, Ahtna said in a statement.

Well-testing is expected to begin in mid-December, with a wireline truck lowering perforating guns down the well using a steel cable to blast holes in the pipe with explosive charges, officials said. The holes will connect the pipe to the reservoir thought to contain gas.

Read full article


Image: Bill Roth / Alaska Dispatch News

Anne Neely-Beck MAFCA (Model A Ford Club of America) Era Fashion Committee
Business_Women.doc Page 1 Rev. 12/31/06

There were business women in the Model A era, but most women’s magazines did not portray the women outside the house. During the 1920's, one in four women over the age of 16 were part of the work force. They mainly held jobs traditionally thought as female, such as in the fields of nursing and teaching. Thirty percent of women wage workers were involved in clerical and sale work. Clerical work or white collar positions were “respectable” during the era. White women born in the United States largely filled these positions.

During the 1930's, women workers faced heavy discrimination and social criticism. This was the Depression and it was thought that women were taking jobs away from men and that they were also abandoning their families in a time of extreme need. Most of the media railed against working mothers.

I did find some advertising by Pond’s during the late 20's and early 30's that made reference to how a working woman could manage to maintain fresh beautiful skin even while working, if she used Pond’s cold cream. It was “believed” that if women worked outside the home, they would lose their charm and delicate beauty.

The business women of the Model A Era, whether she was an executive or a secretary (clerical worker), could be smartly dressed. “The right clothes and smart clothes are part of the business of work, and in the day of excellent copies of originals, the secretary may be as well dressed as her employer.” This is a quote from a business woman in the April 1930 issue of Delineator Magazine. Articles written in the February and October 1930 issues of McCall’s talk about the importance of dressing correctly for the work place.


Suggestions were given by several business women on how to plan a wardrobe on a budget. One thought was to decide on a color and stick to it; then add one green, red, and black frock. With these three colors, add one good set of black accessories, bag, pumps, and a hat would complete the wardrobe and do the trick. Another suggestion was to add one piece of good jewelry if it fit into your budget.


Also it was suggested to start with a black wool crepe coat with an uneven hem, then add a black skirt and several blouses. The blouses could be white and pastel for variety. If the budget permitted one or two frocks, a black and white print or perhaps a pink or yellow print on black background all with uneven hemlines. Also purchase a plain pair of black suede pumps, black gloves, black hat, and one or two pieces of black and white jewelry.


Read the full paper

- Levo article | June 04, 2013

“I believe in pink.” – Audrey Hepburn

For the past year peplum has been a very hot trend. I personally love the whole peplum movement because it is so unabashedly feminine. It is practically like adding a little lace petticoat to whatever you are wearing. Forbes even wrote a piece recently on how to wear peplum to work because it is so trendy and doesn’t exactly scream corporate. But before we all rush out and buy peplum tops in every color, I have to ask, is it possible to dress too feminine for work?


A recent CareerBuilder survey found that pink and red are the least preferred choice (1% or less) for CEOs. The presumption is that these colors are too girly and are not taken as seriously as the corporate world’s favorite colors, the always exciting navy blue and black (navy blue was the top choice at 36% amongst CEOs, with black falling behind at 26%).


But does that mean that women should dress like men? Haven’t we been trying to move away from that? Women have proved they can be powerful and feminine. And yet, there is still prejudice against pink.

Fashion blogger Marion Green posed the question of “Can You Wear Pink to Work?” last year. She wrote on her blog that a female CFO friend of hers said,

“I had to earn the right to wear red.” Berry said it took this woman, who worked in banking, 25 years of wearing beige, black and grays before she could inject more color. Perhaps you have to earn the right to be feminine?”


What is very interesting though is that a recent Cotton USA study claims to have discovered that men who wear pink shirts earn an extra $1,600 a year and are found to be better qualified, more confident, and get a greater number of compliments from female colleagues than their male colleagues wearing blander clothes. No waiting period there! So why don’t women get this kind of praise when they wear pink?


Pink is the color of power when it comes to fighting a disease that is major killer of women and it is Katy Perry’s go-to hair color, but this color can also make a significant impact on you and your environment. In the late 1970s, researchers discovered that a certain shade of pink could help decrease aggression. Two US Naval officers named Baker and Miller painted an admissions cell at the U.S. Naval Pepto-Bismol pink. After monitoring acts of aggression for those in the pink cell versus other cells, they found that prisoners held in the pink cell calmed down more quickly than their normal cell counterparts. In 1981 this effect was looked at closely by researcher Alexander Schauss. He found that when participants (often obstreporous youth) were exposed to Baker-Miller pink (often in an entire room painted pink) they experienced physiological changes including lower heart rates, breathing rates, and strength.


Hmm, when could having a lower heart and breathing rate be useful? Maybe in super stressful situations? You may want to rethink that LBD for today and go for a LPD (Little Pink Dress).


New research has also revealed that women who wear skirts and jackets are viewed as more confident, higher-earning and more flexible than those opting for a trouser suit.


This is by no means advice to throw out your power suit, but don’t throw away that pretty pink blouse either. Your clothes help convey power and seriousness, but it mainly has to come from the woman behind the clothes.

Photo: Thinkstock

McGill Reporter | Doug Sweet | 

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We’re almost out of election season, and for many it can’t come soon enough. An economic meltdown might seem welcome by comparison. Agony aside, a prolonged period of political activity can prove instructive.


One thing the autumn of 08 has revealed is that when it comes to politics and the media, a double standard some would call sexist is alive and kicking.


Whether it is the familiar and faintly paternalistic use of Hillary” in a headline instead of the more formal “Clinton,” or stories that focus on wardrobe choices (this extends to the brutal and detailed criticism of Michelle Obama’s red and black election night dress in the next day’s press) or the gleeful, indeed, savage way the media feasted on Sarah Palin’s shortcomings, one thing has seemed constant: Little or none of this would have been said or done about a man.


I can’t recall lengthy discussions about the cut of John McCain’s suits or the unnatural crispness of Barack Obama’s luminous white shirts. But there has been much written and said about Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits and Sarah Palin’s eyeglasses, hair, wardrobe and, according to one CBC blogger, “porn-star looks,” whatever those are.

(One exception to this rule comes from the 2006 Quebec provincial election when Jean Charest’s rumpled frumpiness was observed. It doesn’t seem to be an issue this time.)


While the media certainly had a field day with former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle, who, in retrospect, seems to have been head and shoulders above Palin in terms of qualification for higher office, I don’t think anyone cared where he shopped.


In a way, it’s not necessarily the media’s fault.


The focus on style over (or sometimes alongside) substance springs from a crucial difference between male and female politicians: the men essentially don a uniform; the women must exercise far, far greater choice in what they wear, how they present themselves. And women pay a heavy price if their choices are deemed improper. When it comes to women in political life, and that includes the wives, every reporter is reborn a fashion critic.


The male uniform means you’ll never get stories about the shape of Obama’s ankles the way snipers targeted Clinton’s “cankles,” and, unless he takes to wearing Hawaiian shirts in the National Assembly, Charest’s daily dressing decisions will never be as important as whether Pauline Marois has a big (and expensive, meaning extravagant, meaning out-of-touch-with-the-little-people) gold pin holding her pashmina in place.


(Oh, and would a male political leader be described as “un snob,” the way Marois’s own party apparatus has branded her? Arrogant, perhaps, as in the case of Michael Ignatieff or Pierre Trudeau, but probably not a snob, and never that kind of criticism from within.)


How much a public person spends on clothes is easily more evident for women than men; I know Brooks Brothers suits look good and that they’re expensive. But I defy most casual observers, and that would include the vast majority of voters, to, at a glance, distinguish between a $5,000 suit and a well-fitted $500 model. Don’t know, don’t care. A Louis Vuitton handbag, however, is a dead giveaway.


But what about Stephen Harper’s sweaters? The Canadian media wrote at length about the way the prime minister’s stylists tried to portray him as so much more warm and fuzzy than his public persona had heretofore suggested. It can be argued that here the story was more about campaign calculation and strategy than fashion; how the Tories were trying to trick us into believing the prime minister is actually a living, breathing human being who likes dogs and little kids. Until the sweater ads, we hadn’t really seen him that way.


And that means it was the party and not the prime minister who was making the wardrobe choices. Have you seen him in a sweater since Oct. 14?


It is not that media are dominated by men who have developed a sexist prism through which female candidates are viewed and presented. Some of the more devastating commentary on Palin, Clinton and Marois has come from females. It would seem more that the media’s view of women is a reflection of a broader, deeply imbedded and socialized double standard that evaluates men and women according to different criteria.


Male politicians, by donning the uniform and largely taking away the issue of fashion judgments, can then be evaluated more according to their performance and positions. Women, who have yet to escape the fashion-judgment issue, continue to be evaluated on those choices as well as on their platforms (not the shoes) and comportment.


It’s the old comparison between Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. She did everything he did, only backwards and in high heels.


Doug Sweet is Director of Media Relations for McGill.

by  Suyin Haynes  |  Motto | This article originally appeared on Motto.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has faced backlash over a pair of pricey pants from some critics, whilst others have been left wondering what all the fuss is about.

May was criticized by members of her own Conservative Party and the media after it was revealed last week that a pair of brown leather trousers she wore in a photoshoot for the British newspaper The Sunday Times cost over $1,250.

In an interview with The Times, May’s colleague Nicky Morgan said that the expensive garments featured in the photoshoot had been “noticed and discussed” in local Conservative Party circles. “I don’t have leather trousers. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on anything apart from my wedding dress,” Morgan commented. 


May was also accused of being “out of touch” and faced criticism on social media for the clothing choice.

Other commentators have responded to the backlash by noting that while the Prime Minister has been criticized for her clothing many times before, her male colleagues have not been subject to the same level of scrutiny. Last year, a tailor whose bespoke suits cost around $2,500 was photographed entering 10 Downing Street, reportedly for an appointment with then-Prime Minister David Cameron. When Hillary Clinton came under fire for a $12,000 Armani jacket earlier this year, commentators pointed out that criticizing female politicians’ clothes is sexist, regardless of which party they belong to.
Read full article

Image Source:  Carl Court—Getty Images

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc signed an agreement to assess three of Iran’s largest oil and gas fields as OPEC’s third-biggest producer looks to boost output with the help of international companies.

Shell signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the Azadegan and Yadavaran oil fields near the Iraqi border, and the Kish gas deposit in the Persian Gulf, Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, deputy director of the National Iranian Oil Co., said at a signing ceremony in Tehran on Wednesday.

“We’re happy to resume working in Iran,” Hans Nijkamp, Shell’s vice president for Iran, said at the ceremony. “We are hoping to have a fruitful cooperation with NIOC on these fields.”

International oil companies have re-established contact with Iran since sanctions were lifted in January. However, no final contracts to develop oil fields have yet been signed. Total SA reached a non-binding $4.8 billion agreement to develop a natural gas field last month.

The fields are some of Iran’s most attractive, Homayoun Falakshahi, an industry analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd., said by phone from London. “If you had a look at the list of the three or four biggest fields to be awarded, you have three of them here.”

Earlier Wednesday, an Oil Ministry official said Shell and Total would sign deals to develop the three fields, in what would have been a major step forward for Iran’s oil industry. The official later said talks were still ongoing with Total for other fields, but no agreement was expected imminently. Total declined to comment.

Iran hopes Shell will invest in the Azadegan and Yadavaran fields to boost recovery rates, Manouchehri said. Iran aims to produce 4.28 million barrels a day of crude oil by 2020.

Read full article

by  Karen Boman | Rigzone


Innovation will continue to play a role in the oil and gas industry as companies seek to remain competitive, not only in terms of cost and efficiency, but attracting the next generation of workers.

Rigzone’s inaugural Ideal Employer Survey highlights what our readers think are the most innovative companies in the oil and gas industry. Damon Vaccaro, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, told Rigzone he is seeing more and more of the firm’s oil and gas clients focusing on their innovation practices and building the capability to innovate within their organization. Vaccaro also expects to see more digital type thinking and capabilities permeating the oil and gas sector.

In recent years, the oil and gas industry has been exploring technological innovation, such as digital technology, to gain more insight and derive more value from exploration and production. This discussion has continued through the downturn as companies look at how technological innovation can help companies better integrate their operations.

Oil and gas companies are now looking at realizing efficiencies wherever they can, including the digitization of the paper-based process, Yanda Erlich, founder and CEO of Parsable, said in an interview with Rigzone. Parsable has been working with companies such as Schlumberger – also on Rigzone’s Ideal Employer Survey list of most innovative companies – to not only extend operational excellence across Schlumberger’s global business, but allow the company to capture the knowledge of retiring workers.

Royal Dutch Shell plc ranked among the top five most innovative companies. Innovation has led to Shell’s many industry firsts, from building the first oil tanker deemed safe enough to navigate the Suez Canal in 1892, to the opening of the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project at an oil sands facility in Canada last year, Yuri Sebregts, chief technology officer at Shell, told Rigzone. Shell continues to push the technology envelope, responding to challenges such as ever increasing field complexity, new customer requirements for more sophisticated oil and gas products, and the changes in global energy markets.

“As the energy system transitions, innovation and technology will continue to play a critical role as we seek to meet the world’s growing energy needs with less environmental impact,” Sebregts said.

Chevron Corp. – also ranked as one of the top five most innovative companies in the survey – has thrived for over a century by continuously finding new technologies and approaches to reliable, affordable energy while improving environmental performance from production to consumer’s end-use emissions, Melissa Ritchie, Chevron spokesperson, told Rigzone in an email statement. Since 2007, Chevron has invested nearly $6 billion on research and development, and is involved in every step of the technology development chain. One example of Chevron’s work with innovative technology includes its use of drones for early detection of unanticipated emission releases.

Innovative Strategy, Structure, Work Practices Needed in Oil, Gas

Innovation is not only needed in oil and gas technology, but in the industry’s business practices, strategy and hiring practices. This innovation is needed as industry will seek to address is how to be more agile, more autonomous in real-time, and how to react to market conditions quicker, Vaccaro told Rigzone.

Going forward, companies will need to pay attention to weak signals, or signs that indicate a possible future direction for an industry, Vance Scott, Ernst & Young’s (EY) Americas Oil & Gas Transaction Advisory Services Leader, told Rigzone. Scott referenced E&Y’s three-box solution, in which most companies will focus 100 percent of their effort on the first box, or activities and things that have helped them succeed in the past. But this can create a blind spot for market changes that can occur. Technology is one factor that can change a business.

Business models, changing regulations, demographic changes and consumer preferences are other factors. These can start very slowly and gain momentum. Using a portion of company resources to look at emerging trends can better position a company for future success.

Innovation is also needed in the future underlying operational philosophy of oil and gas companies. Major oil and gas companies are still looking to pursue innovation in this area as they strive to become more competitive in plays such as shale.

“The success of major oil and gas companies is still built around large-scale, expensive capital projects. Successfully managing these projects – such as a field development project with a liquefied natural gas train or the construction of a deepwater floating, production, storage and offloading vessel – requires all the moving parts to work flawlessly,” Scott said.

While the stage-gate process works for large, offshore projects, shale operations present different risks. A shale well can be contained quickly if a problem arises, and the associated loss is not as big.

Read full article

“Dream, Girl” Director Erin Bagwell initially shot down her own childhood dream of creating a film because it seemed too big. She took a corporate job, but was unhappy, her work was undervalued, and then her boss made an inappropriate comment about her clothing.


Erin Bagwell, Director of "Dream, Girl"

“But in my time away from the office, something wonderful happened: I found inspiration from a community of feminists I found online,” Bagwell says in the movie. “These women were strong, passionate, and supportive. I realized I wasn’t alone. I felt empowered and wanted to pass this feeling along to other women.“


Bagwell founded her blog Feminist Wednesday and eventually followed her dreams right out of her big corporate office’s front doors. And the women’s stories she’d been sharing through her blog materialized into the premise for “Dream, Girl”.






“Our mantra is to give people role models,” Bagwell said of the film crew. “We wanted to give women an arsenal to support them whether they’re starting their first or their third company. Having a community is something women need, but especially women entrepreneurs. It’s really draining, really exhausting, and that can be really difficult if you don’t have a great tribe around you.”


More and more, women are taking the leap to start their own businesses, and this significant growth has outpaced that of their male counterparts.

“Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45%, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses,” states the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. “Therefore, over the past nine years, the number of women-owned firms has grown at a rate fully five times faster than the national average.”

Fun facts:

  • 78% of these net new women-owned firms are firms owned by women of color
  • 842 net new minority women-owned firms launched on average each day over the past nine years
  • About 11.3 million total women-owned businesses in the United States
  • Nearly 9 million people employed by women-owned businesses
  • More than $1.6 trillion ($1,622,763,800,000) generated in revenues by women-owned businesses each year

“We need more brave women in the entrepreneurship realm; it took my second bout with cancer to get me out of the corporate chair,” said Pink Petro founder Katie Mehnert, who was one of the film’s Kickstarter backers. “Pink Petro is not just about ending the gap in the workforce. We see the supply chain as a place where we have plenty of work to do: That is to say that more women-owned businesses are out there. We need to find them and give them a chance to bid and be a part of the energy sector. This is another way we’ll get at the gap.”


The film features interviews of elementary-aged girls talking what they want to be when they grow up alongside larger vignettes of women entrepreneurs and investors who are fulfilling their wildest dreams.

Katie Mehnert, Founder of Pink Petro

One such entrepreneur is Suzanne West, President and CEO of Imaginea Energy Corp., a private oil company in Calgary.


Suzanne West, founder of Imaginea Energy Corp.


The “Imagi-who?” section of its site says, “We produce oil and gas. Over 5500 boe/d…for now. But what’s really interesting is the way we go about it. We’re defying industry stereotypes by focusing on sustainability and community responsibility in everything we do. We’re the oil company for the 21st century. We care about the planet and people just as much as we do about profit—which is to say, a lot. We believe the energy industry can be a force for good.”


Its slick, modern site features profiles of what appears to be the entire Imaginea family—not just the top leadership—and sprinkles in words like “hellbent” and “Aces” to describe their drive and personnel, respectively.


“Business has done a bit of a disservice in teaching us that being vulnerable is weak,” says West in the film. “It is absolutely wrong. Being vulnerable is one of the most powerful places that we can be. It’s where we deeply connect with people and engage people in causes that are bigger than themselves.”


She knows plenty about putting herself out there after having raised $300 million for Imaginea, the latest of five startups in her 15 years as an entrepreneur.


“[Pitching] is a wildly vulnerable place to be because you are sharing everything about you—what you think you’re great at. No one is going to give you money if you do not share and if you do not believe that you rock.”


Bagwell pitched herself to her online audience, and raised $100,000 on Kickstarter to produce “Dream, Girl”. She and Komal Minhas, who is featured in the film as one of the girl bosses and later became Bagwell’s business partner, are even bucking the trend of how films are distributed. Rather than selling their film and walking away with a lump sum of cash, in true girl boss fashion, they have created jobs by licensing their film directly to individuals for public and private screenings.


Bagwell (left) with business partner Komal Minhas (right)


Since its White House launch in May on the South Court Auditorium for The White House Council on Women and Girls’ Women and Entrepreneurship Event, “Dream, Girl” has been screened 96 times in 19 states and 8 countries.


“Our goal every day is to make sure everyone in the world knows the power of the female economy, and what happens when we stop telling girls they can be anything they want to be and actually show them what it means to be a leader,” states the film’s site.


And it appears to be working. Girls and women of all ages approach them after screenings with encouraging feedback.


“Suzanne’s story and the stories in this film show me it’s possible and keep me going knowing I’m not alone,” said Mehnert. “I’m honored to be a part of this sisterhood that Erin and Komal have created.”


To host your own public or private screening of “Dream, Girl”, visit the film’s screening page.

Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) joins Pink Petro as the online community’s first WISE (Women Investing in Self and Energy) program members. This move is part of a larger initiative spearheaded by the association’s Engagement Committee.


“We host training, and when you look around the room, and much like the rest of the industry, it’s male-dominated,” said PESA Vice President of Communications & Member Relations Molly Smart. “Our members wanted to change that. We are starting with the association.”


Molly Smart, VP Communications & Member Relations at PESA


The engagement committee’s first goal was to diversify the ranks of PESA leadership by putting women and people of color on its board, advisory board, and committee chairmanship with metric-based goals to measure progress. The second goal was to raise awareness for the need for diversity within the energy industry’s service, supply and manufacturing organizations.


“PESA represents the sector, and when we prioritize that it will be recognized,” said PESA President Leslie Shockley Beyer. “I think some of the companies we represent have gone well and beyond the things we represent. Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and countless others have done extraordinary things, but some could do better. So as the umbrella organization, we are trying to show this is a priority.”


Leslie Shockley Beyer, President of PESA


Beyer cautions that this effort isn’t diversity for the sake of diversity.


“Successful organizations recognize the need for a diverse workforce and are ready and willing to spend resources to realize the benefits, such as increased adaptability, broader service range, variety of viewpoints, and more effective performance,” said Beyer.

Joining forces with Pink Petro confers added value to PESA members with highly discounted memberships and broadens the organization’s reach. For current Pink Petro members, PESA brings with it a history of hosting high-level networking and superior training events for technical and non-technical audiences.


“There are a lot of great opportunities for job growth in the field positions so this is a natural fit for us,” Pink Petro Founder Katie Mehnert said of PESA, calling the association a “progressive advocate” for the industry. “I’m thrilled to see the industry come together through the WISE Program at a time when we need to do something different to attract, retain, and develop women in our industry."


The WISE program is one of many recent efforts across the industry, such as mentoring programs targeting women and minorities for leadership roles and education efforts. These initiatives seek the interest of girls and minorities to enter STEM careers to create a pipeline of talented professionals to fill the ranks of oil and gas companies while closing the gender gap.


In fact, these workers may be critical in staffing the future of the oil and gas industry.


“Nearly 1.9 million job opportunities are projected in the oil & natural gas and petrochemical industries through 2035,” according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). “Women and minority workers represent a critically vital and available talent pool to help meet the demands of the projected growth and expansion.”


API projects that women will account for 16% or 290,000 of the job opportunities, while African Americans and Hispanics will staff 38% of the jobs, 131,000 and 576,000 jobs respectively.


If realized, this could represent yet another disruption within the energy industry, but organizations like Pink Petro and PESA appear poised for this change.


If you are a PESA member, you can now join Pink Petro for $25 by using promo code PESA25. This is a 75% discount and is a direct benefit of the WISE program partnership.

Women’s Network for Energy, Environment & Transportation (WNEET) is proud to be another founding association of the WISE (Women Investing in Self and Energy) Program powered by @PinkPetro. The PinkPetro WISE Program will bring together associations, organizations, women’s networks, and gender initiative leaders to harness the power of human capital – specifically, women in the energy industry, relevant content, and tremendous technology.


WNEET has a membership base of more than 300 women and men in energy in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  The Network will be the lead association hosting HERWorld 2017 in New York City on March 8, 2017, which will bring women and men together worldwide to tackle current energy topics and issues.    


WNEET Members will have access to the PinkPetro platform of services at a discounted rate, and gain the opportunity to engage with this outstanding network. PinkPetro was born out of becoming the most influential global community of women and men in energy, looking to do something serious about the gender gap, and attracting new talent into an unsung industry.


“I’m thrilled to see the industry come together through the WISE Program at a time when we need to do something different to attract, retain and develop the next generation of talent in the industry.  We’re excited to have WNEET take the lead in hosting 2017 HERWorld NYC on international women’s day, March 8, 2017,” said Katie Mehnert, CEO and Founder of PinkPetro.


If your company or a New York City-based academic institution is interested in sponsoring Pink Petro, WNEET, or HERWorld NYC, please contact WNEET’s HERWorld NYC Ambassador, Kanan Mehra at



The Women’s Network for Energy, Environment, and Transportation, Inc. (WNEET) is dedicated to fostering women’s career development by providing educational and networking forums for dialogues on substantive issues related to women, energy, the environment and transportation.   WNEET is a 501 (c) (6) membership organization formed under New York state law and is a non-partisan, policy-neutral organization.



Wanda Bell is presently the sole proprietor of WJB Management Consulting, an entrepreneurial endeavor utilizing her professional and academic experience in energy, management, logistics and policy.


Prior to graduating in May 2008 from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Ms. Bell worked for JPMorgan Chase and Co. in Capital Markets, managed a commodities operations group at Morgan Stanley and was a senior analyst on the risk side of the physical business at Hess Corporation.  It was at Hess she made the transition to the logistics side of energy as a marine coordinator, scheduling 6 Oil in New York Harbor and managing refinery supply.


Ms. Bell is the founder of the non-profit, Women’s Network for Energy, Environment and Transportation, Inc., which is dedicated to providing quality networking, mentoring and educational opportunities for women in the aforementioned industries.


Ms. Bell has also studied energy, environment, and transportation policy and management in France, Brazil and Spain. 



Kanan is an Oil Market Analyst at NYC-based energy data startup, ClipperData. She specializes in global refined products markets, with a focus on fundamental analysis. Kanan holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she concentrated in international energy management and policy. She earned her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College, where she studied economics.


HOUSTON—Surrounded by Pink Petro members, friends, family, and even neighbors, Pink Petro Founder Katie Mehnert looked into the crowd gathered in the lobby of Republic Square on Thursday evening and said, “I am so happy to have a home.”




Katie Mehnert addressing open house attendees

Since launching her online community for energy professionals in March 2015, Mehnert has gone from a few desks tucked away in another company’s office to establishing Pink Petro’s Global Headquarters in Republic Square, a wooded 35-acre campus in the heart of Houston’s Energy Corridor that was previously home to Exxon Mobil.


According to the property’s website, Republic Square is “poised to serve as a new community gathering place and hub for flexible work space. Current amenities include a central lake, 11-acre festival field, 20,000-square-foot meeting and event center and Republic Square I, a 320,000-square-foot office building with commissary kitchen. Future plans call for hotel, office, multi-family and retail development.”


Mehnert referred to her company’s new location as “a startup within a startup” and mentioned other exciting work neighbors, like Houston Technology Center, a technology incubator that is now a short stroll down the hall.


Rolling out a new website complete with global career board

As the ever-busy businesswoman Mehnert is known for being, the event wasn’t just an open house to check out her new office space. She announced that Pink Petro would launch a simpler, more user-friendly site that would include a jobs board on March 8, International Women’s Day and the second anniversary of Pink Petro’s founding.


“We don’t officially have jobs yet, but our women are finding jobs through the relationships they’ve made on Pink Petro,” she said excitedly, adding that the addition of the careers platform is the result of listening to members and industry companies through a site-wide survey conducted earlier this year.

This came as good news for Pink Petro member May Yong: “I’ve been in Houston 15 years, and this is probably the worst downturn I’ve seen.”

Her expertise is in downstream process controls, and the oil price has affected her personally. She is now “in transition.”


Taking action to close the gender gap


And, as always, Mehnert is hammering away at the gender gap. Prior to the 6 o’clock event, Pink Petro hosted an afternoon workshop with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to deliver and discuss Pink Petro’s Response to the WEF’s Call to Action to end the gender gap in the oil and gas industry. The detailed plan was the result of several meetings spearheaded by Mehnert and sets forth a framework of policies for tackling this disparity. 


“I believe in her cause—her manifesto—and I want to be part of what she’s doing,” said Karina Izaguirre, a global human resources leader for EthosEnergy, Pink Petro member, and HERWorld Energy Forum advisory board member. “For me, it’s more about the longer term—the mission. I’ve got two daughters. I’ve experienced the [gender gap], I’ve just had male sponsors and male mentors along the way. I want to make sure others have different opportunities.”


Promoting HERWorld

Mehnert also plugged the HERWorld Energy Forum, which is coming up on March 8. The event will be hosted by Rice University and already boasts a list of "dynamic" speakers.  


George Andrews, Associate Dean of Degree Programs at Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business

“We want to partner with the people with domain expertise, and we are so excited to do that,” said George Andrews, Associate Dean of Degree Programs at Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, to the audience, referring to the graduate school’s relationship with Pink Petro.


Rice University, Andrews told the crowd, is also working to increase minority and female enrollment in in his department through a six-point plan created by colleague Lina Bell, Executive Director for MBA for Executives. And on January 20, Rice University is holding a diversity conference to create a dialogue about diversity and to give all students the skills to discuss these challenging topics.


Andrews said he hopes these efforts are at least part of the answer to the question, “How can we transform students to be more inclusive when they go to the workforce?”


Shell, one of Pink Petro’s founding partners, plays a large role in putting on HERWorld.


Johnna Van Keuren, VP Shell Wind Energy Inc.

“When I look out and see the people in this room, I see what is likely the future of this industry,” said Johnna Van Keuren, VP Shell Wind Energy Inc., who will be speaking at HERWorld. “I am really looking forward to March and talking about the energy transformation we are in.”


Connecting energy professionals to higher education opportunities

In her speech, Mehnert said, “If you’re not staying relevant, you’ve got no opportunities.” According to Mehnert, training is one of the top four areas of concern for the energy industry: 1) bad reputation, 2) the demographic cliff of “Great Crew Change”, 3) accessibility and cost of training, and 4) the gender gap.


Not coincidentally, Mehnert has formed a relationship with University of Colorado Denver’s Global Energy Management (GEM) Program, hybrid-online Master of Science degree program, which was designed to develop future leaders in the energy industry.  This year, Mehnert also formed a partnership with Rice University and their Energy and Environment Initiative, giving Pink Petro community members access to education online that connects them to policy making, the issues, and energy education.


Catherine Steffek, GEM’s Director of External Affairs

“We’ve got a lot of synergies with what Pink Petro is trying to do,” said GEM’s Director of External Affairs Catherine Steffek said. “1) We have a passion for the energy industry and the energy industry’s biggest asset: its people, and 2) we utilize technology to bring education to a worldwide audience.”


Tackling the “Great Crew Change” with research

Prior to the main event, the lobby’s hallway was lined with vendor booths manned by supporters and other affiliates of Pink Petro, such as the Houston Business Journal, which first reported on Mehnert’s aspirations to start Pink Petro.

At another booth, consulting firm KCA and gleXnet, the creator of the Expert Alumni platform, distributed the Energy 2021 Report they spearheaded along with Pink Petro. The original work of research shows the long-expected “Great Crew Change” has already happened and puts forth ideas for tackling the issues related to this significant and sudden loss of experience.


Mehnert poses with attendees inside Pink Petro's Global Headquarters


The eventful evening was complete with a tour of Pink Petro’s Global Headquarters, drinks, catering, and cake.

| CleanTechnica |   by Joshua S Hill 


Texas grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced that on Sunday, wind electricity generation hit a new peak record and represented approximately 45% of total electric demand at the time, topping 15,000 MW for the first time.


new transmission lines for texas wind powerThe Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) made the announcement earlier this week, however, its website has been misbehaving ever since news of the record hit the wires. According to S&P Global, which picked up the story on Tuesday, ERCOT set a new wind electricity generation record of around 15,033 MW on Sunday the 27th, at 12:35 pm, representing approximately 45% of total ERCOT electricity demand at the time.


Throughout the day wind played a significant role in providing electricity to ERCOT, ranging from about 35% to more than 46%, and averaging nearly 41% throughout the whole day.


Specifically, more than 8,800 MW came from wind farms in West and North Texas, 3,800 MW from South Texas, and around 2,300 MW from the Panhandle region.


“We saw high wind output throughout the day, ranging from just over 10,000 MW during the late night hours to this peak output during the noon hour,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin. “Over the years, ERCOT has taken a number of steps, such as improving renewable generation forecasts, to allow us to operate the grid reliably on days like this.”


Texas currently has more than 17,000 MW of wind installed throughout ERCOT’s grid, and is expected to grow even further by the end of the year, topping off at 19,000 MW by the time the year ends. ERCOT wind generation for November is actually down on last year’s average, down 6% to an average of 137,300 MWh/d.

Image source:  Clean Technica

Oil and gas drillers in the Gulf of Mexico lobbying for fewer rules and regulations may have a friend in the Trump administration, CNBC reports.

The report says President-elect Donald J. Trump's promise to open more federal waters to drilling will likely take years to fulfill, but efforts to peel back or change oil and gas regulations could gain more traction more quickly. Industry has complained tighter regulations add cost as low oil prices cut into operating margins, crippling projects.
"Under a Trump administration, operators may have a sympathetic ear," Wood Mackenzie Senior Manager Imran Khan wrote in a research note to clients.

The report highlights three areas where policy changes under a Trump administration could benefit drillers, including lowering the royalty rates offshore drillers pay to the federal government, easing new rules that require drillers to commit to covering the cost of removing offshore facilities and extending lease terms.

Read the full CNBC report.

Reuters | By Liz Hampton |

The U.S. Army's denial of an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, after permitting and legal obligations were followed, sets an uncertain precedent for new projects despite President-elect Donald Trump's promise to support energy infrastructure.


The decision came after months of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others who said the line could desecrate tribal grounds, or a spill could contaminate drinking water.


While most of the 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline is complete, Energy Transfer Partners, the line's owner, needed an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to drill under Lake Oahe. The lake, a water source formed by a dam on the Missouri River, has been the focus of protesters.


The Army's intervention sets an unsettling precedent, analysts and industry groups told Reuters, because Energy Transfer had undergone the necessary environmental reviews and permitting processes to move ahead with construction.


"I think it sends a horrible signal to anyone wanting to invest in a project and I strongly suspect those policies will be discontinued on Jan. 20th," said Brigham McCown, the former head of the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) under George W. Bush, referring to the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Still, the decision to deny the easement tempers some of the optimism pipeline companies assumed following the election of Trump, who is seen as more supportive of oil and gas projects.


Energy Transfer Partners said in a statement the decision was politically motivated and it did not intend to reroute the line.


Native American 'water protectors' celebrate
Native American 'water protectors' celebrate that the Army Corps of Engineers has denied an easement for the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline inside of the Oceti Sakowin camp as demonstrations continue against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson



Beyond the federal approval issues, state and local governments have also mobilized against pipelines. Earlier this year, Georgia's state legislature passed a bill to restrict pipeline developments, stopping a gasoline line from Florida to South Carolina from being built.


Energy Transfer chief executive Kelcy Warren, a donor to Trump's campaign, said his election was a positive. Last week Trump for the first time voiced support for the Dakota Access project.

Trump has also said he would support TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL, which the Obama Administration rejected last year.


Denying permits for an already-approved pipeline adds a new level of uncertainty to projects. Oil companies have already been facing growing resistance from environmental groups that have resulted in delays or unanticipated costs.

Equipment used for the Dakota Access line has been set on fire, and in October, a group of protesters turned off valves on pipelines transporting oil from Canada to the United States. Together, those lines had capacity to move some 2.8 million barrels per day of oil.



"Until you see that Trump has a track record of approving things and showing that things can get built in time, it's tough to say it's not a murky environment for pipelines," said Sarp Ozkan, manager of energy analytics for Drillinginfo.

That means pipelines could face higher risk premiums and have a harder time getting volume commitments from shippers that underpin such projects, Ozkan said.


Energy Transfer has said it expects to lose almost $84 million each month the Dakota Access pipeline is delayed, and that losing shippers could result in its cancellation, according to a court filing.


"I think midstream companies will hope that each project can be decided based on necessary permitting approvals, but there will be increased risk where agencies like USACE are involved," said Sandy Fielden, director of research in commodities and energy at Morningstar.


While the Standing Rock Sioux have said they would support a rerouting of the line, others, such as the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), want it canceled.


"Given Trump's support of the Dakota Access, and the Keystone XL, we remain cautious," said Dallas Goldtooth, a spokesman for IEN.





Nairobi, Kenya, Africa / Houston, Texas 


Women in Energy and Extractives Africa (WEX) is proud to be the international founding associating of WISE (Women Investing in Self and Energy) Program Powered by PinkPetro. The PinkPetro WISE Program brings together associations, organizations, women’s networks, and gender initiative leaders to harness the power of human capital, content, and tremendous technology across the globe.


WEX aims to be the engine behind bridging the gender gaps within the mining, oil and gas and alternative energy sources in Sub-Saharan Africa. Around the world, women and young girls encounter complex traditional, cultural, physical and socio-economic barriers in accessing education at all levels. Through investing in these women and girls we are creating safe spaces for them to be empowered assisting them in skills development and breaking the cycle of gendered poverty through access to finance and economic opportunity. Recognizing women as stakeholders in their own right not only taps upon their economic potential but further cultivates a favorable environment that results in the reduction of poverty and sustainable development.


WEX members will have access to the PinkPetro platform of services and gain the opportunity to engage with this outstanding global network. PinkPetro was born out of becoming the most influential global community of women and men in energy looking to do something serious about the gender gap and attracting new talent into an unsung industry.


“I’m honored to welcome the WEX network to the Pink Petro global platform. We want to see all girls and women succeed in energy, and WEX is an important international relationship in bringing the world together to develop the next generation of our energy future on our platform that allows greater visibility, connectivity and opportunity,” said Katie Mehnert, CEO and Founder of PinkPetro.


“Coming together with Pink Petro as our first international partnership is exciting and couldn’t be more imperative at a time like now in the midst of global commodity markets beginning to recover. It speaks volumes as women and men joining hands around the world in the quest of raising awareness and advocating for gender parity, increased female participation, and women economic empowerment in the extractive industry remain a number one agenda," says Lucky Ogutu Okudo, CEO and Founder.


To sponsor WEX or learn more about this phenomenal organization, visit their website. here and make sure to connect with WEX members on the platform soon!

by Joel Garfinkle

You are good at what you do. You’re competent, your team thinks highly of you, and your boss gave you a great performance review last quarter.


Still, even with nearly everyone around you agreeing you’ve got what it takes, you can’t just rest on your laurels or wait until someone notices that you deserve recognition.


Everyone -- men and women -- must put themselves to work when it comes to getting ahead. Many women find this to be more difficult; it can be daunting to assertively ask for more, and studies show that women are less likely to even try. An expensive mistake.


Lack of self-advocacy during salary negotiations costs the average working woman nearly $500,000 in lost wages by age 60. Still, other research indicates that being overly aggressive can be just as damaging for women.

So what works best for those who want to get the bigger projects, get a raise, or get that promotion?

Not all strategies pay off equally, and what works for men doesn’t always work for women. Studies show that the following tactics are the top picks for women looking to advance:


Make your work known. Nothing is as important to career advancement as self-advocating. Yet women are often reluctant to take the steps necessary to make sure everyone knows how good they really are.

Here’s a tip: Men are uncomfortable with self-promotion, too, and they also worry that co-workers and bosses won’t like them for being too assertive or too boastful. The difference? Men are less likely to let uneasiness stop them. When you feel that discomfort, try the following, rather than giving up or staying silent:


Tip for pushing through self-promotion discomfort
Credit: Joel Garfinkle


Network inside and outside your organization. it may seem like a big step to join a professional group or even presumptuous to insert yourself in a certain “league,” but persevere. It can be key to join and stay connected with a professional network that can help you advance and may even tip you off to upcoming opportunities.

Inside your company, find a mentor, male or female, who can help you navigate the internal politics, advocate for you higher up and coach you on your career development. Don’t be afraid to reach -- studies suggest women don’t aim as high in the corporate chain as their male counterparts when seeking mentorship, and as such don’t reap as much reward.


Actively plan your career. First, as your own best advocate, it’s wise to have a solid plan for having your work recognized. Whether you plan to build on your career internally by climbing the ranks or you prefer to keep your eyes open for an external posting, (or you hedge your bets by doing both), it really does pay to have an action plan.

Rarely does coasting reap the same rewards.


Statistically, the best avenue may be career advancement within the company where you’ve proven your worth, but in the rapidly changing business landscape, many companies are actively seeking female talent anywhere and everywhere, so it pays to keep abreast of opportunities outside your organization.

If you’ve achieved career advancement, what did you do? Did you get that promotion? What strategies worked for you?


Joel Garfinkle is the author of “Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.”  As an executive coach, he recently worked with a newly promoted leader helping her manage the new responsibilities, lead her team and manage high-level priorities. Sign up to his Fulfillment@Work newsletter (10,000+ subscribes) and you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”


Image source:  Pixabay

The U.S. shale industry, gutted by 2 1/2 years of bankruptcies, writedowns, credit downgrades and layoffs, is poised to step back from the brink, thanks to an old enemy: OPEC.

Abandoning a policy that sought to starve shale explorers and other high-cost drillers into submission, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries relented on Wednesday and agreed to curb output by 1.2 million barrels a day. Other producing nations that aren’t cartel members also signaled plans to cut back by as much as 600,000 barrels, OPEC said.

The deal could boost prices through at least the first half of 2017, according to Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors. The result: U.S. shale fields could raise the amount of crude produced within four months, said Antoine Halff at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. First to pounce should be drillers in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, home to gushers prolific enough to spur a recent land rush.

If the deal holds, “U.S. oil production growth is all but guaranteed to return in 2017,” said Joseph Triepke, founder of Infill Thinking, a Dallas-based oil research firm, and a former analyst at Citadel LLC’s Surveyor Capital unit. “All U.S. tight-oil plays will benefit, but none more than the Permian, where we estimate as many as 150 rigs could be reactivated next year.”

Read full article

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1. OPEC agrees to production cuts.


For the first time in eight years, OPEC has agreed to work together in an attempt to reduce global oil inventories.  The deal sent crude oil prices soaring.  Benchmark oil prices jumped nearly 10 percent in New York and the share prices of energy companies around the globe shot up along with the currencies of large oil exporters.


The effectiveness of the deal is still TBD.  It all depends on how strictly members of OPEC stick to the agreement, something they have struggled with in the past.  The deal brings together OPEC’s three largest producers -- Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq – and surprisingly extends beyond OPEC with the inclusion of Russia as well. 


2. Dakota Pipeline easement denied.


The Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday that they would not grant an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and would instead "explore alternate routes."  With this news thousands of protestors that have been gathered at the Standing Rock site over the last couple months celebrated. 


Following the Army's announcement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said, "We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision."


3. Canada approves one pipeline, denies another.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned down a proposed Enbridge Inc. pipeline to the West Coast that had become a focus for protesters, while approving the less controversial expansion of a Kinder Morgan Inc. corridor that will boost oil-sands producers’ access to export markets.


The Enbridge’s pipeline would have carried 525,000 barrels a day of crude oil along 730 miles to the port at Kitimat, British Columbia.  The project was widely supported by Canadian oil sands producers, whose only significant export market is the U.S., but faced significant opposition from local environmental groups.  However, Prime Minister Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline, which will nearly triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels of crude a day.

by  Deon Daugherty | Rigzone Staff

But there are other issues to consider that may alter OPEC’s scope. In the short term, how U.S. shale producers respond will be a factor. The adherence of other non-OPEC producers can also have a role, said Michael Burns, a global energy partner at Ashurst LLP.

Without a doubt, OPEC still has influence, Burns said. And part of what makes this deal remarkable is that it shows the cartel is willing to change course.

“The idea before was to produce as much as possible and now, it’s not to produce as much as possible,” he said.

But ascertaining OPEC’s impact is weeks, months – even years – away, Burns said, as normalized inventories move the level of oil prices.

“If that level is enough for some of the shale producers to make money, then they may well turn the taps on and you may see an adjustment to the price,” he said. “It’s only then that we’ll be able to see the power that OPEC has. To take the logic on, if shale depressed the price again, then OPEC would have to cut further, and the question is, would they be prepared to do that?”

The initial reaction from the oil market was to jump about 8 percent – tantalizingly, just slightly above the $50 per barrel mark – but it won’t necessarily last.

“It’s a big increase on a daily basis, but the point is, that’s only back to the level it was when the conceptual deal was announced in Algiers a couple of months ago,” Burns said. “I’m not sure that what is happening here is going to make a remarkable difference going forward. But I think it does hopefully give a bit of stability – at least in terms of knowing where OPEC stands.”

Showing that OPEC is prepared to reduce supply sends out a strong signal to give stability to prices.

“But I don’t think it gives the signal that we need to see $70 prices tomorrow,” Burns said. “I suspect it may give stability for a period rather than any rapid increase.”

Read full article

Image source:  Rigzone

by  Deon Daugherty | Rigzone 

Along with almost across-the-industry relief that OPEC managed to agree on a crude oil production cut, investors are also showing real concern the cartel won’t adhere to its 

On Nov. 30, OPEC announced it would trim its production by 1.2 million barrels per day – more than initially proposed when the group last met in September. Add in another 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) cut from non-OPEC nations, and you’re really starting to cook. Surprising to almost everyone, Russia came onboard and pledged to cut its production by half the non-OPEC total.

But before the industry plans a parade, there’s this to consider: historically, OPEC isn’t great at fully complying with quota. And Russia is a mixed bag.

“Naturally, implementation will be a critical question mark, and history teaches us not to expect 100 percent compliance,” analysts at Raymond James said in a note. “That said, this is still a very bullish outcome, as it signals that OPEC is back in the game of managing the oil market and it helps an already improving global oil supply/demand picture.”

Investors remain skeptical, though, and that is one of several factors that may keep oil prices in check, analysts at Morgan Stanley said. Reported OPEC production will likely be higher than suggested based on recent trends and history.

To wit – between 2000 and 2008, OPEC out-produced its quota by 883,000 barrels per day. If that overlap carries into the 2017 agreement, Morgan Stanley said, OPEC would actually be producing 33 million barrels per day (MMbpd) – significantly more than the 32.5 MMbpd stipulated in the latest deal. Goldman Sachs OPEC generally met roughly 60 percent of its production goals in the last 17 cut announcements, from 1982 to 2009.

And as for the 600,000 bpd that’s to come from non-OPEC nations, it’s unclear if that is based on declines – such as in Mexico – that have already been forecasted. Russia’s commitment to cut its production by 300,000 bpd is tempered by its track record of compliance, too. The nation adhered to cuts in 1998, but opted to increase – not decrease – its production when others were cutting in April 1999 and January 2002, Goldman Sachs noted.

There is still a long way to go before we begin to see production counts from January. OPEC has a meeting scheduled Dec. 9 to ascertain non-OPEC participation. It’s unclear what Libya and Nigeria will do. And questions remain on overall compliance, Morgan Stanley said, “given likely cheating, seasonal demand swings and varying production figures.”


An award-winning journalist, Deon has reported on energy, business and politics for almost 20 years. Email Deon at
Image source:  Rigzone

by DownstreamToday Staff

Shell has completed a debottlenecking project at its 100,000-barrel per day (bpd) Scotford Refinery near Edmonton, Alberta, Shell Canada.


"The completion of this upgrade will enhance the performance and competitiveness of Scotford's integrated operations, which helps secure our position as an industry leader in this important region," stated Lori Ryerkerk, Shell's executive vice president for global manufacturing, in a press release. "This investment, in combination with other recent strategic investments, is a clear demonstration of Shell's ongoing commitment to our refining and chemicals portfolio."


The project boosts Scotford's hydrocracker production capacity by 20 percent and equates to a 14,000-bpd increase in the unit's production, according to Shell. It entailed replacing vessels, compressors and feed pumps to facilitate processing of more heavy crude oil into diesel, jet fuel and gasoline, the company noted.


"Scotford is Shell's oil refining hub in western Canada," added Achim Schempp, general manager of the Scotford site, which also includes a bitumen upgrader, chemical plant and carbon-capture-and-storage unit. "The enhancement of our hydrocracker increases our ability to process crude oil from Fort McMurray and strengthens our refining capability in Alberta. It has been 17 months of hard word to complete this project. I'm proud of the collaboration that delivered this ambitious project safety, on time and on budget."


Shell's Scotford debottlenecking project created 1,000 construction positions, according to the company.

BP Logo  HOUSTON - BP has sanctioned the Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the United States, highlighting its long-term commitment to the country despite the current low oil price environment.

Mad Dog Phase 2 will include a new floating production platform with the capacity to produce up to 140,000 gross barrels of crude oil per day from up to 14 production wells. Oil production is expected to begin in late 2021.

"This announcement shows that big deepwater projects can still be economic in a low price environment in the U.S. if they are designed in a smart and cost-effective way," said Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive. "It also demonstrates the resilience of our strategy which is focused on building on incumbent positions in the world’s most prolific hydrocarbon basins while relentlessly focusing on value over volume."   

In 2013, BP (operator, with 60.5 percent working interest) and co-owners, BHP Billiton (23.9 percent) and Union Oil Company of California, an affiliate of Chevron U.S.A. Inc.  (15.6 percent), decided to re-evaluate the Mad Dog Phase 2 project after an initial design proved too complex and costly. Since then, BP has worked with co-owners and contractors to simplify and standardize the platform’s design, reducing the overall project cost by about 60 percent. Today, the leaner $9 billion project, which also includes capacity for water injection, is projected to be profitable at or below current oil prices.

"Mad Dog Phase 2 has been one of the most anticipated projects in the U.S. deepwater and underscores our continued commitment to the Gulf of Mexico," said Richard Morrison, president of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business. "The project team showed tremendous discipline and arrived at a far better and more resilient concept that we expect to generate strong returns for years to come, even in a low oil price environment."

While BP has reached a final investment decision (FID) on Mad Dog Phase 2, BHP Billiton and Chevron, for the Union Oil Company of California interest, are expected to make a final investment decision in the future.

BP discovered the Mad Dog field in 1998 and began production there with its first platform in 2005. Continued appraisal drilling in the field during 2009 and 2011 doubled the resource estimate of the Mad Dog field to more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, spurring the need for another platform at the field.

The second Mad Dog platform will be moored approximately six miles to the southwest of the existing Mad Dog platform, which is located in 4,500 feet of water about 190 miles south of New Orleans. The current Mad Dog platform has the capacity to produce up to 80,000 gross barrels of oil and 60 million gross cubic feet of natural gas per day.

BP plans to add approximately 800,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day of new production globally from projects starting up between 2016 and 2020.


  • The Mad Dog Field was discovered in 1998 and is one of BP’s largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico to date. 
  • Field production began in 2005 from the initial Mad Dog development, which included a truss spar floating platform equipped with facilities for simultaneous production and drilling operations.
  • In the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, BP operates four large production platforms - Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika - and holds interests in four non-operated hubs - Mars, Mars B, Ursa and Great White.
  • Earlier this year, BP successfully launched a major water injection project in its Thunder Horse field that will allow for the recovery of an additional 65 million barrels of oil equivalent. BP also is moving forward with the Thunder Horse South Expansion project, which will add a new subsea drill center roughly two miles from the Thunder Horse platform.

About BP

Over the past 10 years, BP has invested more than $90 billion in the U.S. - more than any other energy company. BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 14,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 130,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

Oklahoma's earthquakes on the wane after wastewater rules take hold - Christian Science Monitor

By Rowena Lindsay, Staff December 1, 2016


After a sudden increase in earthquakes, which have been linked to oil extraction practices, Oklahoma instituted new limits on wastewater injection. Since then, the quakes have dropped off significantly, according to a new analysis. 


The rate of man-made earthquakes in Oklahoma linked to oil fracking practices has dropped significantly since new limitations took place in May, according to an Associated Press analysis of US Geological Survey data.


Earlier this year, before new regulations requiring a 40 percent reduction in injecting wastewater into energy wells went into effect, Oklahoma was experiencing 2.3 quakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher per day, on average. Since then, that average has dropped to 1.3 per day, although several quakes since then have been damaging. Meanwhile, neighboring Kansas has also seen a decrease in quakes after putting limits on wastewater injection.


"Definitely the rate of quakes have gone down," USGS geophysicist Robert Williams told the Associated Press. "At the same time we had more magnitude 5s this year than ever before historically in Oklahoma. It's good news on one hand. It's heading in the right direction, but troubling to see these large damaging quakes in Pawnee and Cushing."


Before 2009, the state averaged just one magnitude 3.0 or higher earthquake a year, before the sudden jump in recent years, which many scientists blame on the injected wastewater. Fracking and other types of oil extraction require a great deal of water, which becomes contaminated. In order to prevent pollution of drinking water, oil extraction companies dispose of the wastewater below ground, where they add more pressure to small fault lines. 



Earlier policies in Oklahoma, instituted in March 2015, were targeted at reducing those stresses, as The Christian Science Monitor reported in August, with a "traffic light system" to monitor seismic activity and inform decisions about wastewater disposal. 


Kansas has seen a similar trend in man-made earthquakes. From 2000 to 2013, Kansas did not have more than four earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater per year. In 2014, however, the state better known for tornadoes saw 154 such earthquakes. However, since putting limits on wastewater injection, the number of earthquakes has begun to drop.

Solutions are not one-size-fits-all, however. Each state's geology is unique, Ryan Hoffman – the director of the Kansas Corporation Commission, the agency that issued the March 2015 order to put a cap on well injections – told the Monitor last January. "Rather than approaching the issue on a statewide or national scale, it is important to identify the areas more susceptible and take whatever actions are necessary for that specific area," he said. 


In Oklahoma, however, quakes are on a trajectory to eventually return to pre-2009 levels, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.


"We're not out of the woods yet. There is still a possibility for potentially damaging earthquakes," Mark Zoback, a Stanford seismologist and the author of the study, told the Associated Press. "It's going to take a few years for the situation to return to normal."


Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees oil and gas operations, agrees that it will take time to return to 2009 levels, but says regulations could put the state on the right path. 

"Obviously the goal is to bring seismicity down to what, for Oklahoma, would be considered a normal level. That's the goal," Mr. Skinner told the Associated Press. "Things will take time, but we're going to move ahead with actions that will hopefully make that time sooner rather than later."


This report includes material from the Associated Press.

Image Source:  Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman/AP/File

The Economist | Oil prices surge as Saudi Arabia and Iran sign on to a deal at OPEC’s meeting in Vienna

Dec 3rd 2016 | VIENNA

EXACTLY two years after Saudi Arabia coaxed its fellow OPEC members into letting market forces set the oil price, it has performed a nifty half-pirouette. On November 30th it led members of the oil producers’ cartel in a pledge to remove 1.2m barrels a day (b/d) from global oil production, if non-OPEC countries such as Russia chip in with a further 600,000 b/d. That would amount to almost 2% of global production, far more than markets expected. It showed that OPEC is not dead yet.

The size of the proposed cut, the first since 2008, caused a surge in Brent oil prices to above $50 a barrel. Some speculators think it may mark the beginning of the end of a two-year glut in the world’s oil markets, during which prices have fallen by half and producers such as Venezuela have come close to collapse. As long as prices continue to recover, Saudi Arabia can probably shrug off the fact that its previous strategy damaged OPEC at least as badly as non-members, and that this week’s deal gave more breathing space to its arch-rival Iran than it would have liked.

The rally’s continuation, however, depends on non-OPEC members such as Russia reliably committing to cut output at a meeting on December 9th. It also hinges on the speed at which American shale producers step up production, and on Donald Trump’s dream of oil self-reliance.

Since the end of September, when OPEC sketched out a deal in Algiers to cut production, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih (pictured), and his Iranian counterpart, Bijan Zanganeh, had engaged in a game of brinkmanship that at times seemed likely to doom this meeting. Oil prices have staged frenetic swings since then (see chart). Days before the Vienna gathering, some analysts gave it a mere 30% chance of success. The betting was that failure would push prices well below $40 a barrel, and possibly bring about the collapse of OPEC.



But Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, realised that pragmatism was its best option. Its promised 4.6% cut in production is mirrored by many other OPEC members, though Iran was permitted a token increase as it recovers from nuclear-related sanctions. That may be galling for Saudi Arabia, but it is likely to benefit far more than Iran from the rise in oil prices, if sustained, than it will lose from lopping 486,000 b/d off its total output. It promises to cut to 10.05m b/d, which is not far below its level in the first quarter of 2016.


Moreover, the government’s plans to modernise the economy and partly privatise Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, depend to some extent on higher oil prices, says Bhushan Bahree of IHS Markit, a consultancy. Counter-intuitively, he says that the kingdom needs higher oil revenues as “a bridge” to becoming a less oil-dependent economy. OPEC argues that a modest cut now will spur investment in new sources of crude that will prevent harmful oil shortages in the future.


The cuts take effect from January 1st and will last for six months. During that time, traders will monitor oil-tanker traffic to ascertain whether fewer are leaving port. They cannot monitor Russia’s pledge to cut 300,000 b/d of production, because much of its production moves by pipeline, says Abhishek Deshpande of Natixis, a bank. But he believes that even so the agreement will start to cut global oil inventories next year. Non-OPEC output has fallen this year, adding impetus to the cartel’s efforts.


Some speculators were bullish even before the deal. Pierre Andurand of Andurand Capital, a hedge fund, says the OPEC agreement could push oil above $60 a barrel within weeks. He notes that speculators were mostly betting on an OPEC failure, and that big oil consumers may need swiftly to protect themselves against rising prices. Airlines, for example, could scramble to hedge against soaring fuel costs.


If oil prices continue to rise, American shale producers will ramp up output, in effect capping the oil price. This may not happen as swiftly as some think. After all, there are suspicions that, to coax Wall Street investment, shale producers have exaggerated their ability to produce low-cost oil. But many of them are still standing, despite OPEC’s best efforts to kill them off. The cartel cannot declare even Pyrrhic victory from the past two years.


Oil, ethanol industries join forces to save EPA fuel program | Washington Examiner  - By JOHN SICILIANO 12/1/16 A group of strange bedfellows, namely the oil and renewable fuel industries, are coming together in a rare call of support for the Environmental Protection Agency's renewable fuel program.

The groups, which can sometimes be found suing one another, sent a letter Wednesday night asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy not to sign off on a change proposed by refining giant Valero and Monroe Energy to the Renewable Fuel Standard that would fundamentally change the program and create even more havoc for oil and renewable fuel companies.

The program requires refiners to blend higher and higher amounts of renewable fuel into the nation's gasoline and diesel supplies. One need only glance at a fuel pump to see the fingerprints of the standard, usually a sticker that says the fuel contains 10 percent ethanol.

But Valero said it has become incredibly costly and burdensome to comply with the standard given consumers' lackluster demand for higher blends of ethanol in gasoline above 10 percent. The company petitioned the EPA and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to rearrange the program to put the fuel retailers that deliver the fuel to local convenience stores and gas stations on the hook to meet the requirements, instead of the refiners.

The EPA had said earlier in the month that it does not plan to adopt Valero's proposal. But the groups want McCarthy to ensure it is official soon. The agency is expected to open a 60-day comment period on the petitions, which now include a petition by the refiners' lead trade group, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Others on the API letter include the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Association of Truck Stop Operators, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and the Advanced Biofuels Association.


The American Petroleum Institute, which represents companies such as Shell that own large refineries as well as drilling facilities, is one of the principal groups opposing the Valero proposal, with the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy that represent some of the largest ethanol producers in the country.

The alliance will become even more important after the Trump administration takes office in January, when reform of the fuel standard is expected to be a front-and-center concern, say observers. A major point of contention in those discussions will be the "point of obligation."

Valero argues that it would help the EPA meet its goals by providing incentives for chain stores and others to install the necessary pumps to provide higher blends of ethanol.

But given that the largest oil trade group, together with the largest ethanol trade groups, are standing in opposition to the idea, it doesn't seem to have that much traction. But Valero is a large company with a lot of sway.

"There is no sound public policy rationale for moving the point of obligation and further, such a change would add complexity and uncertainty to the current RFS program," the letter stated. Convenience store representatives have warned that the change would cause an "upheaval" in the nation's fuel market by adding costs for retail providers of fuel, which in turn would mean higher prices for gasoline.


Image source:  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File) 

What’s the state of American wind power manufacturing? - Into the Wind


Manufacturing may be a struggling part of the American economy, but not for the factories, workers and companies that build wind turbines.

Over 500 factories build wind-related parts and materials in 43 states, making everything from major wind turbine components such as nacelles, blades, towers, and gearboxes, to internal components like bearings, slip rings, fasteners, and power converters. These facilities supported more than 21,000 manufacturing employees in 2015. Overall, 88,000 U.S. wind jobs exist across all 50 states.


factory map 2

Wind energy manufacturing hot spots


Ohio boasts the highest number of wind-related manufacturing facilities with over 60 plants, followed by Texas (38), Illinois (35), North Carolina (27), and Michigan (26). Although much of the Southeast currently lacks wind farms, it’s a wind manufacturing hub, with more than 100 wind-related factories.

The U.S. wind industry supply chain includes eight utility-scale blade facilities, nine tower facilities, and four turbine nacelle assembly facilities. Last year, 88 percent of the wind capacity installed in the U.S. used a turbine manufacturer with at least one U.S. manufacturing facility. According to LBNL, the share of domestic manufacturing content for nacelle assembly exceeds 85 percent, while towers are between 80 to 85 percent. Blades and hubs also have strong domestic content, estimated between 50 to 70 percent.

All three of the top wind turbine manufacturers in the country, as a share of installed capacity, have domestic manufacturing facilities:

  • U.S.-based GE Renewable Energy has a turbine manufacturing facility in Pensacola, Florida and a blade facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as an advanced manufacturing research center in South Carolina. GE also recently acquired LM Wind Power, which has two large-scale blade facilities in Arkansas and North Dakota.
  • Vestas has a turbine nacelle facility, tower facility, and two blade facilities in Colorado. Combined these four factories employ around 3,200 people.
  • Siemens has a nacelle facility in Hutchinson, Kan. with about 360 employees, and a blade facility in Fort Madison, Iowa with about 600 employees.


Supply Chain Growth

However, it’s not just the major players that create manufacturing opportunities– wind energy has an expansive supply chain since each turbine contains over 8,000 parts. Wind-related manufacturers up and down the chain are expanding facilities and hiring more workers to meet growing U.S. wind industry demand. In the last year, at least nine companies expanded existing facilities or opened new ones. Some examples include:

  • Last August, Vestas added 100,000 square feet of new production space and hired 350 new employees at their blade factories in Windsor and Brighton, Colorado. In January 2016, they sought an additional 100 employees.
  • GRI Renewable Industries is currently building a new tower manufacturing plant in Amarillo, Texas, which they say will employ at least 300 people and make about 400 wind towers a year.
  • LM Wind Power expanded its Little Rock Port Authority facility with a new 44,000 square foot warehouse and pre-molding facility in April 2016.
  • Broadwind Energy is expanding its tower facility in Abilene, Texas that will increase annual tower production capacity by 30 percent.
  • In May 2016, Jupiter Composites completed a 25,000 square foot expansion of its nacelle cover facility in Pensacola, Florida. Thanks to demand from GE’s nearby turbine facility, Jupiter Composites’ workforce grew from 28 to 250 employees in 18 months.
  • Gearbox Express expanded its wind gearbox remanufacturing operations to a new 75,000 square foot facility in Mukwonago, Wisconsin in May 2016 to help meet wind industry demand. The new facility nearly doubles the size of their original building, and they plan to add another 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space to increase annual capacity to 400 gearboxes.
  • In November 2015, MM Composite Inc. started operations at a new plant in Mount Pleasant, Iowa that makes composite components for Siemens wind turbine blades.
  • In October 2016, PGTEX, a company that produces composite materials for wind and other industries, opened a manufacturing plant in El Paso, Texas – its first in North America. They plan to employ 150 people by 2020.

All of this means new job growth and an influx of economic development for local communities. America’s wind energy manufacturing sector is thriving, providing opportunities for well-paying careers that tens of thousands of U.S. workers and their families can count on, and these opportunities should continue to increase for years to come.


By Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso | LONDON 

Royal Dutch Shell, the world's second-biggest publicly listed oil company, is studying acquisitions in the green energy sector, its CEO told Reuters, as it bows to shareholder demands for a strategy beyond fossil fuels.


Shell, which has a market value of $200 billion, produces two percent of the world's oil and gas but rapid technological change coupled with policies to protect the climate have kick-started a shift in energy markets that has put enormous pressure on oil companies to plan for a time after fossil fuels.



"The idea that you can just be a very clever observer and step in when the moment is right, forget about it," Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told Reuters.

"I am convinced that in this space we will play an active role, a leading role and we will plan acquisitions in it."


Major investors, including Dutch pension fund PGGM, have criticised Shell's climate change policies in the past, saying the company should do more to mitigate climate change risks.


"We don't just want them to pay lip service and do it because the industry is under pressure,"  said Rohan Murphy, co-manager of Allianz' Global Energy Fund, a Shell shareholder.

"Shell do seem to be taking the issue of a less hydrocarbon dependent world seriously and are looking at it properly rather than just talking about becoming greener," Murphy said.


Shell owns about 500 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind power capacity in the United States and has a growing biofuels business in Brazil which produces ethanol from sugar that is mixed with petrol and diesel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


It also recently bid to build an offshore wind farm in the Netherlands in a consortium with two other Dutch companies.

"Of course we do believe in renewables but probably more in building the utilities and integrating them into our existing operations," van Beurden said.


That is where Shell's strategy appears to diverge from French oil company Total, which is often referred to as one of the most progressive oil companies when it comes to moving away from fossil fuels.

Earlier this year, Total splashed out $1.1 billion to buy Saft, which makes batteries to store solar energy, and bought a stake in AutoGrid, a startup that has developed a platform to optimize the use of home energy appliances.


Total is also majority shareholder in SunPower, a manufacturer of highly efficient solar panels.

While Total is focusing on investment in green energy technologies, van Beurden hinted that Shell would become an electricity and gas provider, through the integration of utilities. He said there may be value in delivering a service, rather than being the owner of a technology.


In Britain, so-called demand aggregation is already a profitable business model. Aggregators secure commitments from businesses to cut their energy consumption and in return earn a fee from the network operator.

Yes, it’s true.  Shale oil is a highly untapped opportunity for the US when it comes to energy independence.  Proponents are quick to point out that there are more than a trillion barrels of oil locked in the shale deposits of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, more than all the proven crude-oil reserves on the planet, and this would be enough to meet current U.S. oil demand for an entire century.


While I personally am not opposed to the extraction efforts of shale oil reserves, the truth is, it may not be as easy or economical as many think to tap into this resource.  So what’s holding us back?  Three things that I can think of…


The first problem is in the financial and ecological costs of extracting the oil. Shale oil naturally occurs in the form of kerogens, solid, waxy substances with a texture similar to that of ChapStick. Once the kerogens are heated to over 500 F, they exude hydrocarbons, which must be treated with hydrogen in order to be processed into usable fuel—a highly energy-intensive process that releases large amounts of CO2.


The second issue is that just to get at these kerogens, energy companies would need to mine and process millions of tons of shale from the earth.  This would leave toxic heavy metals and sulfates that many think will seep into our groundwater.  This becomes a water contamination issue. 


And the last problem shale oil faces is that the mining and processing of shale requires vast amounts of water.  To produce 2.5 million barrels of shale oil per day would require 105 million to 315 million gallons of water daily. That might be the biggest deal breaker of all for dry and high desert western states.


So while extracting the oil from U.S. shale may technically be possible, when it comes to the cost and scale of such an enterprise – both financially speaking and considering natural resources – it may be a while before the ROI is justifiable compared to other foreign sources.