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2017

You hear it all the time; especially when gas prices are high.  Politicians love to throw out the word “subsidies” when talking about big business (particularly oil and gas) because they know 95% of their audience don’t know what “subsidies” oil and gas companies are actually receiving (SPOILER:  they’re not receiving any), and it’s an easy way to demonize big corporations by claiming they are getting lots of free stuff that normal people aren’t getting. 

 

However, contrary to the political spin you often hear, the oil and gas industries do not receive any taxpayer funded subsidies. Yes, the tax code allows them to claim certain tax credits and deductions to encourage continued investment, but none of these tax credits are subsidies that are funded by the people.  The oil and gas industry get the same credits as other large corporations like Coca-Cola, General Motors, and Microsoft and every other company you can think of.  Even your friendly vegan restaurant owner down the street is getting tax credits.  IN FACT, even YOU enjoy tax credits and deductions, like the deduction for mortgage interest payments you claim every April.

 

But before we go any further, let’s clarify what exactly a subsidy is.  When I take a quick look at Dictionary.com, subsidy is defined three ways:

 

  • A direct pecuniary (That’s a fancy word for financial or monetary) aid furnished by a government to a private industrial undertaking, a charity organization, or the like.
  • A sum paid, often in accordance with a treaty, by one government to another to secure some service in return.
  • A grant or contribution of money.

 

Interestingly enough, none of those definitions state that a subsidy is defined as not paying a certain amount in taxes.  So essentially what politicians are saying is, “We think we should take more money from what oil companies earn compared to what we take from everyone else!” (SPOILER TWO:  They already do that)

 

So, let’s take a closer look at the so-called subsidies oil and gas companies are getting.  Here are five examples that make up a bulk of the “subsidies” oil companies are receiving:

 

Depletion Allowance – This credit is what allows companies to classify reserves in the ground as a capitalized asset, and written off by 15% per year.  Here’s the catch they aren’t telling you… The IRS only allows this “subsidy” to be used by independent producers.  Larger oil companies such as Exxon and BP aren’t allowed to use this exemption. And it’s not just the comparison to independent producers.  Every other industry and company is allowed to depreciate their assets – why not the oil & gas?

 

Domestic Manufacturing Deduction – This example is a classic case of government logic.  In 2004, Congress passed a bill that gave companies tax breaks if they keep their operations in the US.  Now, not even 15 years later, the same folks are claiming this as a subsidy from the American people.  The first thing to keep in mind is this: the US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the ENTIRE world.  If you don’t think it’s cheaper to run plant somewhere else, your head is in the sand.  If tax rates go up, companies will leave.  Have you ever done some research on how much cheaper it is to operate a refinery in a different country? You can probably guess the conclusions of that research before you even start.  And besides this, domestic manufacturing deductions extend to companies across multiple industries and segments – not just oil and gas.  Take it away from one, and you’ll take it away from all. 

 

Foreign Tax Credit – When critics use this as an example of oil and gas subsidies, it’s almost laughable.  The IRS allows EVERY company to deduct taxes paid in foreign countries from their profits.  So, if every company can do this, why then is this a subsidy for oil and gas companies?  It’s not.

 

Master Limited Partnerships -  If you get rid of this “subsidy”, MLP’s would be required to pay taxes before their distributions are passed along to shareholders. That means, any MLP income is taxed at the corporate level and then again at the dividend level.  So, what you get is oil companies paying taxes on money they never saw/had, but more importantly it impacts the shareholders.  Distributions to shareholders would go down substantially because of double taxation. This hurts the people like you and me that hold these stocks in our portfolios and 401K’s.  Needless to say, avoiding double taxation is not a subsidy.

 

Royalty Payment Reductions on Federal Lands - Some people will argue that paying no royalties on a nominal number of offshore plots or reduced royalties in some regions is a freebie. What they’re not telling you is that oil companies are taxed the same for these operations, just like any other income.  I wouldn’t call that a “subsidy”.

 

The truth is this: Oil companies don’t get subsidies from the government.  They get tax credit just like everyone else.  Actually, they get less tax credits than everyone else.  Most years oil and gas companies are the top thee highest tax paying corporations.  The industry as a whole pays an average 45% tax rate.  The myth that oil and gas are getting off scott free is exactly that:  A MYTH.

Carolyn Rodz and Courtenay Siegfried had already experienced corporate success when they founded Circular Board, a collaborative accelerator for growth-oriented female entrepreneurs, about two years ago. Rodz had scaled two companies, including a luxury retail line and a global marketing agency. 

 

In speaking with other female entrepreneurs, Carolyn and Courtenay found that three major pain points tended to emerge above everything else: 

 

 

  • Funding and funding opportunities
  • Marketing and brand awareness
  • Legal concerns/needs

 

Circular Board was born out of trying to solve those issues for female-led companies; it was the first-ever female-centric virtual accelerator in the world. 

 

 

There are three cohorts per year, who participate in a 12-week program with other founders from around the world. Each week focuses on a different module and brings in best practices. To the fundraising pain point, Circular Board has already been incredibly successful: the founders who have gone through the program to date have raised $70M in the past 16 months. 

 

Ironically for a couple of entrepreneurs who teach other entrepreneurs, Carolyn and Courtenay reached their own challenge point: how could they scale the accelerator program to reach even more female-led companies?

 

They came up with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform called "Alice," which looks at the entrepreneurial profile of anyone in a cohort (or wishing to be) and immediately pulls out references of relevance to them. For example, real estate marketing and legal marketing can be very different; a real estate company run by a female needs resources specific to their challenges, not to the legal market. Alice will do this.

 

 

"Time is the most valuable asset anyone has, and especially entrepreneurs," says Courtenay, "and that's what Alice does."

 

“Alice is a female founder’s best mentor, guide and consultant. The current startup ecosystem continues to cycle resources among a very small percentage of well-connected entrepreneurs,  making it difficult for less traditional founders to navigate,” says Carolyn. “Alice instantly filters millions of resources down to the personalized, verified content that enables founders to scale to the highest heights, no matter where they are located or who they know.”

 

This will be helpful in helping female entrepreneurs scale -- right now women-owned businesses employ 7.8M people and drive $1.3 trillion in revenue, but only 2% of female entrepreneurs in the U.S. have ever reached $1M in revenue. The goal of Alice is to flip that stat to 98%.

 

Watch the video from Dell World.

 

Carolyn Rodz, Circular Board & Elizabeth Gore, Dell - Dell EMC World 2017 - YouTube  

 

Photo sources: Dell.com 

Originally from the Netherlands, Maria Talasz’s background is in art, graphic design, and architecture. Now residing in Anchorage, Alaska, Maria works as the Office Manager for Stantec, a global architecture and engineering firm.

 

As an area that was previously developing quite aggressively in terms of energy, Alaska was effected pretty greatly by the industry downturn.

 

We caught up with Maria to talk about what she’s up to now, her advice for pushing forward in your career—even in a disheartening downturn—and how your interests can find you in some unexpected places!

Getting Her Start

While she now works heavily with health and safety management, Maria’s career path was anything but linear. When she moved to Alaska in 2001, she began working at a small aerial photography company—which is now part of Quantum Spatial.

“My job involved branding and marketing, designing graphic and web-based materials and assisting with photo editing for various deliverables,” she explains.

 

Maria loved the places she could explore right from her own desk—just by looking through the various aerial shots. “Especially interesting was the photography that was flown after the earthquake in 2003, where the Trans Alaska Pipeline System was impacted by the activity around the fault line,” she adds, “The pipeline is iconic in our state and is a critical piece of infrastructure.”

Changing Careers

After a few years working for the aerial photography company, Maria decided to make a change. She started at USKH, an architectural and engineering firm. There, she

performed branding, graphics, and web design for seven different branch offices in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

 

In 2012, Shell became serious about drilling in the Chuckchi Sea, and USKH’s environmental services group was eager to help in the development efforts. “We started to work together with Native Alaskan businesses that were part of the Arctic Coalition,” she explains, “I became very interested in the oil and gas industry, as it became evident that it was instrumental in establishing and maintaining how we live in Alaska here today.”

 

With her artistic talents and keen eye, Maria loved her work in marketing. But, in 2014, USKH was acquired by global architecture and engineering firm, Stantec—which means her job responsibilities shifted quite a bit. While she’s still largely involved in marketing, she also took on work as a Safety Coordinator for the company’s Anchorage office, while assisting the other former USKH offices.

 

Stantec has been working on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System for many years and provides a wide range of services to a number of producers and pipeline operators.

An Industry Downturn

In 2014, Maria was at the Arctic Energy Symposium, where she was attending a briefing by Robert Blauw of Shell—which happened to be the very same morning they got the news that the decision was made to leave Alaska and cease drilling. “This was the beginning of a sharp downturn,” Maria says.

 

“It is said that—for every job lost in the sector—another six are in jeopardy,” explains Maria. She mentions that currently every dollar is being looked at to keep the state government funded.

 

However, Maria is managing to stay positive in the downturn, and feels fortunate that the firm she works for is still performing well. “This has historically been a part of life here—boom or bust,” she shares, “In general, things will come back. Maybe they won’t be as they’ve been before, but I’m hoping they’ll be better balanced.”  

Finding Pink Petro

Maria discovered Pink Petro through a few of her friends, and has really enjoyed the sense of community it has provided for her. In fact, Maria and a few other women started their own Pink Petro hub in Alaska to keep women connected. “We try to reach out in the community and create two events a year,” Maria explains, “In Alaska the personal aspect of meeting face to face and local networking are important.

 

As for Maria’s advice to other women who are aiming to push forward in their own careers? “Network, network, network, and keep learning,” she says, “Be present, volunteer, and be involved.”

 

Maria believes that having that go-getter attitude and willingness to learn is exactly what will continue to propel women upwards—even in male-dominated fields like the ones she has worked in. Maria cites her own daughter as an example of that, who she claims has gone further in her career than anyone else in her family. “Each generation,” she concludes, “Girls dream bigger, act bolder, and achieve more!”

1. OPEC meeting comes and goes with little commotion.

 

OPEC had its long-awaited conference in Vienna last week and as expected announced a nine-month extension of its November 2016 deal to cut supply.  Unfortunately for them, it didn’t have the effect they were hoping for.  The markets were indifferent. (Mainly due to the fact that the decision has already been factored into the prices for the last few weeks because Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major OPEC members have been eluding to the cuts for quite some time.)  In fact, the WTI fell below $50 after the news officially broke.   Both Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih and Russian minister Alexander Novak shrugged off the price decreases as short-term fluctuations.

 

2. Iran still not participating in production cuts. 

 

When specifically asked about joining the OPEC production cuts at the Vienna OPEC meetings, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said, “Iran will not reduce its output.” 

 

While all the other OPEC members agreed to extend the current cuts for nine months, Iran continues to argue that they should remain exempt as they work to return to pre-sanction levels of production.  Currently they are producing 3.8 million bbp, and hope to increase its output to 5 million bpd by 2021.

 

3. The future looks uncertain for Venezuela’s oil production.

 

For nearly 50 days now, protestors have occupied the streets of Venezuela to fight against the dictatorial Venezuelan regime.  Since the unrest began, 42 people have been killed, 2,371 arrested and thousands injured as the country slowly but surely marches toward an economic collapse.   Their sputtering oil industry continues to deteriorate, and an outright collapse of their oil industry is looking more and more like a possibility every day.

 

As of April, Venezuelan oil production was at 1.956 million bpd, down 10% from last year, and down more than 17% from 2015.  Additionally, many analysts expect Venezuela to lose another 200,000 to 300,000 bpd this year.

 

What makes this critical, is the fact that as of now, there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight.  The Venezuelan regime is at its lowest ever approval rating, but the government has maintained its strong military presence, making a peaceful solution difficult and unlikely.

One of the most common topics in every election cycle is the topic of US energy independence.  For years, both sides of the aisles have promised to free America from foreign dependence on oil, and for years, they’ve never come through.  So, this brings up the question:  Is US energy independence possible?

 

President Trump seems to think so.  His America First Energy Plan expresses the following:

 

The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil… Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. … We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

www.whitehouse.gov/america-first-energy

 

But is all this really possible?

 

The facts are this:

 

  • The US hasn’t produced as much oil as it has consumed in over 50 years!  Even if we go back to the fracking boom in 2014, BP’s statistics show Americans were burning 7 million barrels per day more oil than was being produced here in the US.

 

And…

 

  • Conventional oil discovery is the lowest it’s been in 70 years despite the oil companies throwing millions/billions of dollars into exploration. 

 

With those two facts in mind, it seems the goal is much more difficult than we think to achieve.  So, what has to happen to achieve the goal of energy independence?

 

As I see it, there are three levers to pull.  Reduce your consumption, increase your production and replace fossil fuels with a different energy source (domestic, of course). 

 

However, let’s be honest; with the population rising exponentially, consumption isn’t going to decrease… Even if we implement new energy efficient technology and roll out massive propaganda campaigns to reduce your personal energy consumption.  It’s just not going to happen.   

 

That leaves us with increasing production and finding new energy sources. 

 

For production to increase we need to do two things:  reduce regulations so oil companies can afford to drill for the domestic oil and invest in technology that allows US companies to get to the “harder to reach” oil.  President Trump seems to be working on these two items, so I’ll give him props for that.

 

For new energy sources to replace oil we again need to invest in the renewable energy technology and infrastructure that goes along with it.  I’m not seeing much of this from the Trump Administration yet.

 

Whether President Trump can pull these actions off, is yet to be seen.  But, if I were a betting man, I would put my money on history and say energy independence is probably a myth for the foreseeable future.

STEM LAB

 

Summer is almost here in the USA and it's time to keep the kids engaged in activities that will nurture their minds. Here are a few of our staff picks.

 

1. Make STEM a part of your daily routine.

 

 

2.  Start your own camp or attend a few of these great ones in energy cities across the USA

 

 

3.  DIY: Do it yourself. 

 

 

What are some of your favorite STEM activities?

Sheryl Sandberg is an amazing woman.  And she's been a crush of mine for years. It's why shortly after our launch in 2015, Pink Petro became the first energy partner to Lean In, and why we launched Lean In Energy, the largest mentoring circle for women in our sector with nearly 1,000 strong. Interested?  Sign up here.

 

Since I read Lean In back in 2013, and recently having acquired Option B, her newest book on building resilience, I've been a big proponent of her work so naturally when I got the call from the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation that she was coming to town, we put together a welcoming committee.  

 

Sheryl Sandberg Katie Mehnert

 

 

And boy you responded.  It didn't take much.  Within days the event in Houston was sold out.  That's the power of community.  In the Pink Petro community we have over 500 companies represented with many of you leading a diversity initiative or network of your own so we pushed this to our Community Council to share the news. 

 

“Sheryl opened her heart to the world when she and Adam wrote “Option B.”  Her strength is allowing generations of people to understand what it means to recover and grow through adversity.  A taboo discussion is front and center thanks to this brave woman.” says Lisa Jaster, Shell.

 

Here are some pictures from the sold-out event.  

 

Big thanks to woman owned Blue Willow Book Shop in the heart of the Energy Corridor for hosting this awesome event and to energy founders, Kathleen Eisebrenner, CEO of NextDecade, Lean in Circle Leader and CEO Rebellion Photonics, Allison Sawyer, and Sean Guerre, Stonefort Group, Founder and Pink Petro board member.

 

ROLL CALL:  Were you there?  

Exxon Mobil

 

Exxon Mobil Pink Petro Lean In

 

BP, plc

 

BP Pink Petro Lean In 

 

Marathon Oil

 

Marathon Oil Pink Petro Lean In

 

General Electric

 

GE Oil and Gas Pink Petro Lean In

 

Home Depot

 

Home Depot Pink Petro Lean In

 

The fabulous Lisa Jaster and Linda Lorelle 

 

Shell Pink Petro Lean In

 

Lean In Circle Leaders: Katie Mehnert & Allison Sawyer

 

GE is renowned for its Crotonville leadership institute. Pink Petro, CEO, Katie Mehnert was invited last week to attend GE's Leading and Learning. This annual event has brought together senior female executives from prominent companies around the world to discuss global trends, innovation, growth, challenges, and leadership.  

 

On the agenda this year were some insightful and amazing speakers.  Here's a recap.

 

“Know Your Value” MIKA BRZENSKI
Mika joined us for dinner Monday evening and gave perspective on the current political environment in the U.S. and around the world. She encouraged every woman in the room to embrace their inner strengths & remain resilient during difficult times, key tenets of her Know Your Value campaign – a nationwide effort focused on empowering women in business. Check out more here.

 

“What difference does it make if you have a seat at the table, but act like everyone else and use your table manners? ” MAE JEMISON

Echoing Mika’s sentiments, Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go to space, kicked off day two with a message to all, no matter your sex, ethnicity or background, to work hard towards your “seat at the table” and once achieved, have an opinion and a voice to make sure your thoughts are valued. She also gave us an inspiring look at her history with NASA, the100 Year Starship initiative, and her guest appearance on Star Trek. And finally, she reminded us that space isn’t just for rocket scientists, and that we need to push harder for radical innovation.

 

“When you're a girl you have to be 3 times better.” TEMPLE GRANDIN 
Temple Grandin does not shy away from a challenge. Diagnosed with autism at an early age, Temple did not let the world around her determine her path. “The world needs all kinds of minds,” she reminds us. Her challenge to everyone in the audience was to be open to and create opportunities for different ways of thinking. Diverse perspectives & alternative paths to solutions provide a potential for great outcomes.

 

“The more people know about the natural world, the more they feel a part of it" HOPE JAHREN 
Lab Girl” Hope Jahren gave us a glimpse into her life as a geochemist, geobiologist and professor of science. Her effortless explanation of the manipulation of plant life to understand external pressures such as light & atmosphere make it clear why she is so often described as an inspiration and role model for young girls looking to get involved in science.

 

“Succeed not despite of who you are, but because of what you are... unapologetically.”JESSICA O. MATTHEWS 
Self-described as the perfect mix of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Beyonce, Jessica blew us away with the capabilities of the renewable energy company she founded at only 22 years old. She talked about building off your struggles to reach success, and the importance of diverse experiences and thought. Learn more about Jessica and Uncharted Play here.

 

“I saw an opportunity to solve a problem in the food & beverage market & I went for it .” KARA GOLDIN
Determined to find a healthier solution than soda, Kara started creating Hint Water at home while pregnant with her fourth baby. Since launching in 2005, Kara has been recognized by numerous organizations for her entrepreneurial success. She talked about what’s on the horizon for Hint, including breaking into consumer products for health & wellness, and how she stays inspired to innovate.

 

“Disability is never the barrier, society and expectations are.”HABEN GIRMA

Haben Girma, the first Deafblind graduate from Harvard Law School, talked about the importance of inclusion and her lessons learned as a fierce advocate for equal rights for those with disabilities. As Haben explained, for every situation there are alternative solutions – whether that is closed captioning for the hard of hearing or speech-to-braille translations to make attending Harvard Law a possibility – it is all of our responsibilities to create and maintain inclusive environments for every type of person.

 

“How is it that in a world with so much abundance, so much talent and innovation, so many go without food?"  KOMAL AHMAD

Moved by a single dinner with a homeless veteran, Komal and her company, Copia, strive to solve the world’s dumbest problem: hunger. One of Toyota’s 2016 “Mother of Invention” award winners, Komal wowed us with the inspiration behind her logistical problem-solving to develop technology to solve food excess & hunger. Learn more about Copia and how to get involved here.

 

“Best advice I ever got was to always take the most adventurous path” — JILL ELLIS
We fan-girled a little over the last speaker of the day, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. After being named head coach in 2014, just 13 months later she led the U.S. to the championship of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Jill talked about her passion for the game, her team, and equality for women in sports. “I’m learning to have a voice,” Jill says, “and I’m working with young women to help move the needle with them.”

 

Big thanks to Beth Comstock, Vice Chair, GE, Susan Peters, SVP, Human Resources, GE and Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE.

 

 

GE Jody Markopolous Katie Mehnert Julie DeWane Jennifer Hartsock Jeff Immelt Katie Mehnert Pink PetroJeff Immelt closed the day long learning event with a session on the future.

 

Immelt spoke of the disruptive times we live in and that GE is making some big bets in the new age of productivity.  

 

On the energy transition, he noted that the notion of going from hydrocarbons to alternatives is hard.  While it's obliterated companies in Europe, the chairman recognizes the big plays the company is making in alternatives and in fossils, citing the Baker/GE deal, a tremendous one for the company.  

 

On the future of work, GE is looking at who will work, how they will work, and where they will work. The company is looking at virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence and how the future of work will change organizational design and help them run more digitally with less layers.

 

On women and diversity, Immelt spoke about the company's "Balance the Equation" initiative with an intense focus on having 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020.   To do this, roughly 50% of all new hires will be female.

 

His 7 pieces of advice to the 300 female executives in the room were simple truths.  The hard part is making them happen...

1.  You have to balance finding good ideas versus building good businesses.  (Means there are bad ideas too--)
  • Know the bus that’s going to hit you.  You cannot dabble into too many things and must SAY NO.
  •  Good idea v good business: Are they investable?
2.  Good companies have long term attention spans and are principled.
3.  Innovation is technology + (plus) the business model, which Immelt says is harder.
4.  Move from “Strength to strength” …challenge legacy; go deeper NOT broader
5.  Harness platforms + CAPability (horizontal versus vertical) … Can you accomplish this through training or is it a part of the culture?  When do you work as a platform versus a vertical?
6.  Don't confuse tailwind with good management.
  • Good leaders know how to tell between tail wind and management. You learn a lot through bad cycles.  
  • You should be more worried about things in good cycles and look at people extra hard in the worst times.
7.  Let things come to you (the “happy briefcase” Syndrome). 
  • Immelt says some people want to know all of the answers but that we have to be okay with letting the story unfold. We don't know and we don't control much.  Wait till Episode 10 says Jeff.

 

 

Photo: Pictured Left to Right:  Katie Mehnert, Pink Petro, Julie Dewane, Jennifer Hartsock GE, Jeff Immelt, GE, Marie Mouchet, Colonial Pipeline andJody Markopoulos, GE

1. Exxon inks a $50 billion-dollar deal with Saudi Arabia during Trump’s visit.

 

Last Saturday the world’s largest oil consumer and the world’s largest oil exporter met and discussed a variety of topics.  Fighting terrorism, large arms deals, and significant investments in the US economy were a few of the topics discussed.  One point of news that impacts the oil and energy industry is the $50B deal between Exxon and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.  The agreement will help build a $20B chemical complex that will boost job growth on the American Gulf Coast. 

 

The initiative will be called Growing the Gulf, and is projected to create over 35,000 construction jobs and 12,000 full-time jobs once completed.  Exxon said project will include 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects and the Saudis will help build one of initiative's 11 hubs.  Exxon and SABIC selected San Patricio County, Texas, for the proposed petrochemical complex.

 

2. OPEC will be meeting this week, and considering “deepening” supply cuts.

 

Oil prices are up today, and most analysts believe they will continue to climb throughout the week leading up to the OPEC meeting.  Prices are trending up because expectations that the “supply-cut agreement” between OPEC and other oil producers, including Russia, to cut supplies by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) would be extended to March 2018; a change from the original agreement to only cover the first half of this year.

 

Prices are also increasing based on the news that cuts may not only be stretched into next year but might also deepened to tighten the market and prop up oil prices.  The meeting is planned for May 25th in Vienna.

 

3. Switzerland votes to invest in renewables and move away from nuclear.

 

Swiss voters turned out to support the government’s plan to invest billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, and simultaneously ban new nuclear plants.  Roughly 58% supported the measure on Sunday putting Switzerland in line with other European countries that are taking the same approach.  Germany is on track to phase out nuclear power by 2022, and Austria banned it decades ago.

 

"The results shows the population wants a new energy policy and does not want any new nuclear plants," Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said in public statements following the vote.  The new law is anticipated to boost domestic renewable energy, cut fossil fuel use and reduce reliance on imports.

 

From KTRK: ABC Houston 13

Step by step, her pink boots have led to the Energy Corridor, but it's a bike that gets Katie Mehnert to work every day.

 

One word can pretty much sum up Mehnert's personality: energy. It's also the industry she has spent her life advocating on behalf of.

 

"It powers everything. It moved us into the modern age," she said. "The reputation is terrible and that's such a challenge to me."

 

Mehnert's father, an oil and gas engineer, felt the pain of the bust of the 1980s.

 

"When my dad was let go, I remember him telling me do not get into this industry. It's a dead end," she said.

 

Now a wife and mother, she defied his advice and learned about tough times in her first job at Enron. From there she worked her way up within several more energy companies.

 

"I've been blessed to have crisis in my life because that has helped me grow into the jobs I've had since," she said.

 

Then came the question on a flight from London that sparked a new fire.

 

"I was sitting next to a gentleman who said, 'What's a pretty young lady like you doing in a dark, dangerous business like oil?' I thought women, energy, what are the stereotypes right here," she said.

 

PinkPetro was born on a cocktail napkin. As oil was plunging, she launched her company in 2014, trading in her big corporate chair for a pink one. The idea picked up steam.

 

"It just overnight became this thing and then it was like, I can't stop. There's no going back," said Mehnert.

 

What was born is a company to promote women and minorities in energy, educate the public about the industry and tell the stories to help change the perception.

 

"I don't even like using the word oil. I saw energy, because it's all energy. Oil is a dirty word," she said.

 

"I think the biggest misconceptions about energy and energy companies truthfully is that companies don't care and that's just so far from the truth," she added.

 

"We're at an inflection point where there's a huge encouragement to get women and girls to take risks. The stats in oil and gas and energy are horrific, we're dead last," she said of women in the energy industry.

 

It will take a lot of steps in those pink boots, but she has no intentions of walking slowly to get there.

 

"Find a place where you can make a difference. Don't run into something safe. Run into the fire a bit. Take some risks," said Mehnert.

 

13 things you didn't know about Katie Mehnert

 

  1. What's your Starbucks order? - Double tall peppermint non fat latte with one Sweet and Low
  2. On your days off, do you sleep in or wake up early? - Days off? I'm a Startup CEO. I'm always up! If I had days off I'd sleep in!
  3. Where is your favorite place to shop? - Some women like purses and shoes. My vice? Hermes scarves.
  4. What's one food that you absolutely hate? - Raw tomatoes. I'll eat salsa, ketchup and pizza sauce but don't ask me to eat them raw!
  5. Who is your celebrity crush? - I'm a big Sheryl Sandberg fan
  6. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? - Cookie Dough
  7. Where did you grow up? - I'm part Cajun... born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  8. Do you sing in the shower? - Yep. Life's too short not to!
  9. What's one thing you can't live without? - I cannot live without coffee in the morning, my admin Linda at work who keeps my head on straight and my amazing family at home!
  10. What's a superpower you wish you had? - The ability to create more time.
  11. What do you order on your pizza? - Ham and pepperoni if I'm splurging.
  12. Where is the best place to take a date in Houston? - House of Pies.
  13. What would your walk-up song be? - Anything by U2

melody meyer world economic forum

 

We congratulate Melody Meyer for her election as a non-executive director to the BP p.l.c. Board at the company’s annual general meeting on 17 May.

 

Ms Meyer has extensive experience in the global oil and gas industry, with 37 years of service with Chevron, including senior leadership roles internationally. Ms Meyer was until her retirement in 2016 president of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production, responsible for the financial and operating performance of the upstream assets in Chevron’s Asia Pacific region.

 

Carl-Henric Svanberg, chairman of BP, said: “The distinctive breadth, variety and geographic scope of Melody’s experience in the global oil and gas industry make her a valuable addition to the board. With a deep understanding of the factors influencing safe, efficient and commercially high-performing projects in a global organisation, she will bring an additional world-class operational perspective to the board.”

 

About Melody

 

Melody Meyer started her career with Gulf Oil in Houston. Gulf Oil later merged with Chevron where she remained until her retirement in 2016. During her career with Chevron, she had key leadership roles in global exploration and production, working on international projects and operational assignments.

 

Ms Meyer became the vice president for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico business unit in 2004 and in 2008 became president of the Chevron Energy Technology Company. From 2011 she was president of Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production, responsible for the financial and operating performance of the upstream assets in nine countries in Chevron’s Asia Pacific region.

 

She was elected a non-executive director of AbbVie Inc. in early May 2017.

 

Ms Meyer was the executive sponsor of the Chevron Women’s Network and continues as a mentor and advocate for the advancement of women in the industry. She was recognized as a 2009 Trinity Distinguished Alumni, with the BioHouston Women in Science Award, and was the ASME Rhodes Petroleum Industry Leadership Award recipient.

Melody Meyer graduated with a BS in engineering science, mechanical from Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, and is now on the university’s board of trustees. She is also on the board of the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Recently, Shell announced that beginning Jan. 1 2018 it will offer at least 16 weeks paid maternity leave to its female employees worldwide.  This move is "a first" in the industry to offer such benefits.   In the U.S., Shell is proud to implement a new eight-week, paid Parental Leave that is gender neutral, encourages broad, equal roles in building both successful careers and families and honors the increasingly diverse ways in which families are established and defined. Therefore, fathers can participate in this new policy.

While parental leave is specific to the U.S. and Canada, each country is implementing the global 16-week standard as appropriate for their local need /requirements. Shell's current maternity leave policies are determined locally, based on country regulation and typically aligned with local market practice. Levels of maternity vary significantly between countries and some 45 countries will be affected by this minimum standard as their local policies do not currently provide this level of maternity leave on full pay.

For example, In Canada, Shell will expand its current offering of 6 weeks paid leave for birth mothers by introducing a 10-week paid leave for all parents, including fathers and adoptive parents, and giving 16 weeks paid leave for birth mothers. This will be paid as a top up to existing benefits and will be in addition to the job protected unpaid leave offered per provincial legislation.

Claire Punins Shell Maternity

On the Shell.com website, Exploration Geologist, Claire Punins, who led the internal program to establish the framework, said,  “For Shell, this is a very significant step in the right direction for equality,” “All women should receive the support they need as new mothers, regardless of where they are in the world,” Punins wrote. “Having a global maternity standard at Shell is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. It makes us more attractive to women seeking jobs, and means they stay with us for longer.”

Downstream Executive Director John Abbott feels this new standard will give prospective employees an insight into Shell’s commitment to being progressive and inclusive. “The true hallmark of our progress is that inclusion is embedded in everything we do,” he says.

“Introducing this minimum standard for paid maternity leave across Shell is good for our people and for our business, and, in my view, is simply the right thing to do.”

Josh Levs, global expert on these policies and author of All In said, "I congratulate Shell.  This is a big step forward in creating an "all-in" workplace.   When companies give everyone an equal opportunity to be a care giver, equality thrives. Making parental leave available to both dads and moms is proven to increase both profits and women in leadership."  

Levs added that implementation is key -- any companies can have the best policies.  Levs works with companies to optimize results.  

To read more about the program, click here.

Yes, it’s true that any time humans interfere with nature, there is an impact of some kind.  Ever since humans started hunting for food, building fires and painting on rocks, we’ve had an impact on the environment.  And even now, you live in a home on a street that was once “nature”.  The more important question is, are we being responsible with our impact on the environment?

 

Although Offshore energy production gets a bad rap, the process is actually quite safe and environmentally sound.  With the new technologies that have been developed over the last 50 years, the oil and gas industry as a whole, is much better when it comes to worker safety and threats to the environment.  Offshore drilling companies and equipment manufacturers have  taken significant steps forward when it comes to protecting the environment, and here are some of the tools and processes they are using:

 

Advanced 3-D seismic and 4-D time imaging: Like never before, offshore operators have the ability to accurately and precisely locate gas and oil resources.  With this technology, it’s becoming less and less about guessing, and that means less drilling and greater resource recovery.

 

Storm chokes: Today, each offshore well has this technology that allows it to immediately detect damage to surface valves and shut down production during an emergency.

 

Blowout preventers: These have also been installed on all operating wells.  They continuously monitor the subsurface and subsea-bed conditions to anticipate unexpected changes in well pressure, thus preventing blowouts.

 

Waste product reuse: This technology takes the typical waste product of drilling (pieces of rock, drilling fluids, etc.) and transforms into reusable raw material for bricks and roads.

These are just a few of the advancements in the last few decades, and they are having a positive impact on the industries environmental impact.  Data from the U.S. Department of Interior show, offshore operators produced 7B barrels of oil from 1985 to 2001 with a spill rate of only .001%. 

 

That’s: POINT  ZERO  ZERO  ONE - Percent!

 

So as you can see… Yes, there is always an impact when you infringe on the natural environment, but the offshore energy production industry has done a very good job of minimizing harm to our environment.

Barbara Brandl Denson, aka BB Denson, author of Gary the Go-Cart: Wind Blows, recently released a new children’s
book that tackles the idea of carbon sequestration, addressing the pros and the cons. In her new title,
Gary the Go-Cart: Carbon Comes Out of the Closet¸ Denson explains the inconvenient truth regarding the politics and money behind carbon storage.

 

What made you start writing the Gary the Go-Cart series?   

I work for an environmental company (Weston Solutions).  My job has been to listen to the problems that Oil and Gas Companies have, with the idea that when I hear about a problem for which we have a solution, I can whip something out of the Weston toolbox and say, “We can help you with that!”.  The more I heard the problems the oil field had, the more I realized that our number one problem is that everyone hates us and we do a terrible job of presenting our side of the equation.  Thus, I started writing these books.

 

More and more people have started discussing carbon sequestration and its benefits as well as its drawbacks. What drew you to this topic?

 

I attended conferences where I heard a multitude of scientists speak on the subject.  They were all quite passionate about how important carbon dioxide is to plant life and the environment and, how wrong it is to accuse it of causing climate change.  I understood what they were saying, however, it required a great deal of charts and graphs and technical terms that the average person either wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t take the time to understand.  I believe the message needs to be simplified.

 

Why is this an important topic for kids to be aware of?

 

The kids are the future.  We can’t have a whole generation growing up making their decisions on false assumptions.

 

You seem to have a passion for environmental awareness. Do you write in hopes of changing the minds of people who are “climate deniers” or are you hoping to just spread more awareness about the subject?

 

I want to encourage a fair dialogue on this subject.  I know that our climate is changing.  However, I also know that it has changed throughout earth’s history and will continue to change, no matter what we do and no matter what Al Gore says.

 

I know that today’s level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is significantly less than it has been in earth’s past and is not driving climate change.

 

 

What shaped your view on carbon sequestration/carbon storage?

 

Hearing the presentations I mentioned earlier.  A particularly good one is by Dr. Patrick Moore and here is a link to it.  Dr. Moore’s study goes back millions of years and shows how increased carbon levels are preceded by increased temperature, not the reverse. Sequestration of our carbon dioxide simply deprives plants of the food it needs.  I doubt many people are aware that commercial nurseries often pump carbon dioxide into their greenhouses to increase plant growth.  

 

The politics of energy has been a popular topic in the recent months. How important is it for us as citizens to be aware of the political process regarding energy related decisions?  

 

It is critical for citizens to be well versed on energy policy.  However, they should learn facts, not simply political slogans.  All too often the rabid environmental side has used fear and false scare tactics to gain monetarily.   Follow the money. Al Gore has made a lot of money off this controversy.

 

This new administration is filled with many climate change deniers. Is this the same as your “climate deniers” that you aim to educate?

 

I am in the camp that believes carbon dioxide is not a pollutant nor does it contribute to our changing climate. That is the message of this latest “Gary” book and one that I hope the public will learn.  

 

This might be a controversial question for you, but I would like to ask you anyways: Even if we continued to produce most of our electricity from burning fossil fuels, we could (in theory), cut carbon emissions by 80-85% through carbon capture and storage. Though the long term effects of carbon storage is not known, why would you say that carbon sequestration is not a viable method for sustainable production of energy?

 

The unnecessary sequestration of carbon is a significant added expense for no real benefit.  Our economy and our country should not be burdened with that expense.

 

Will you be writing another Gary the Go-Cart sequel? Can you give us a little sneak peak of what we can expect?

 

I do have more books planned.  However, the next book will not be a “Gary” book.  The next one is about a little girl who wishes that all oil and gas goes away and then discovers what that would happen to many of the everyday things in her life.

 

How can I get ahold of this book? 

 

If you would like to check out the book online, visit my the books' website, www.desidramus.com

You can also access my book through third party outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other Independent Bookstores

 

(If you are interested in checking out my first book, you can find them at these links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Independent Bookstores.)

 

If you cannot find a reason to find the book, but would still like to support the project, please LIKE the GarytheGo-Cart facebook page !

Last week's Pink Petro TV broadcast was the first of many.  We started on Thursday evening at Shell to share leadership messages across industry.  A few hundred gathered to connect on the common theme -- that it is time we lean in, all in and join in together as an industry and community to drive change forward and build inclusion in our workforces.

 

President of the women's network, Tricia Moss and her team approached Pink Petro several weeks back with the vision to create a cross-industry engagement.  And we did!  Executives, professionals, students and community leaders from Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Phillips66, INTECSEA Worley Parsons, GE Oil and Gas, Emerson Automation, Weatherford, Halliburton, Forum Technologies, Marathon Oil, Southwestern Energy and several other companies came together to talk about the workforce of the future.  

 

Andy Brown, RDS executive committee member and Director of Shell's Upstream delivered a strong message for the need to continue on the journey but that we need to step up and do more.

 

HOW WILL WE MAKE THE FUTURE?

 

 

Together, industry needs to combat two fronts: the gender gap and the reputation gap.  The oil and gas community ranks last in a recent S&P Global report which looks at gender diversity on boards.

 

Pictured left to right:  

 

Lorrie Thompson, Emerson Automation, Global Vice President,

Dana Ledoux-Cortez, Phillips 66, Senior Counsel

Tricia Moss, Shell, TaCIT and Innovation Manager

Katie Mehnert, Pink Petro, CEO

Linda Lorelle, Pink Petro, Co-Anchor

Angela Knight, GE Oil & Gas, Global Diversity Leaders

Josh Levs, Author, Former CNN and NPR Correspondent and Gender Advocate

Patricia Vega, GE Oil & Gas, President 

 

 

On Friday Pink Petro TV covered 2 hours of the women's conference.  

 

Josh Levs : Q/A  -  All In Book and Executive Energy Panel:  65 mins / Starts at 9:00 mins.

 

 

Marianne Robak, Elletra Parnell and Sarita Menon, guests at the Shell women's event enjoying the break.

 

President of the Women's Network, Patricia Moss, Josh Levs (as himself), board executive and former Shell president, Lynn Elsenhans, and Co-President of the Shell Women's Network Lori Freeman.

 

Stay tuned - we'll broadcast live from the KPMG's 15th annual Global Energy Conference |May 24-25 | Houston, TX at the women's breakfast!

1. Oil prices jump on news of extension of supply cuts.

 

It’s been rumored for a while, but now it seems to be official.  Oil prices are up on news that two of the biggest players in the “oil cut” camp have agreed to extend supply cuts from mid-2017 through the spring of 2018.  After a meeting in Beijing China on Monday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and Russian energy representative Alexander Novak publicly announced they have reached a deal to cut crude supplies through March of 2018 in order to prop up the market.

 

Last year OPEC and other oil producers led by Russia, committed to decreasing output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) at least through the first half of 2017, but haven’t seen the effects they would like due to the United States ramping up its oil production.  U.S. energy firms have continued to ramp up the number of oil rigs, and now we’re at 17 consecutive weeks of rig increases.  And from the looks of things, everyone expects the US drilling recovery to extend into 2018.  Current U.S. production is at 9.3 million bpd, up more than 10% since mid-2016. 

 

2. Bloomberg is reporting: China is looking to US to meet increasing crude oil and natural gas demands.

 

As China grows and looks to overtake the US as the highest consuming nation of crude oil, they are looking for suppliers to bolster and sustain the demand.  In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, China National Petroleum Corp Chairman Wang Yilin said China will import more crude oil and natural gas from the U.S. and will consider participating in America’s growing liquefied natural gas export industry. 

 

“The U.S. has very rich oil and gas resources, and as China pursues a diversification of its crude supply the U.S. will of course be one of the sources.” Wang said. “We will consider exploring cooperation in areas such as jointly developing liquefied natural gas facilities and gas transport.”

 

3. Trump's executive order on energy independence hit its first deadline.

 

The Energy Independence and Economic Growth Executive Order signed March 28th reached its first deadline on Friday.  The directive was a multi-agency “energy impact review” to be submitted 45 days after Trump’s order was signed in March.  The order called for an immediate review of "all agency actions that potentially burden the safe, efficient development of domestic energy resources."  It required the heads of agencies to evaluate "all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies and any other similar agency actions (collectively, agency actions) that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources." 

 

Now that the deadline has past, it is anticipated that each agency will submit its reviews to the White House Office of Management and Budget over the next few weeks. 

If you don’t think the US dollar and commodities such as oil, corn, wheat, and soybeans are intertwined, you’re mistaken.  Historically over time, they have shown they are significantly related… inversely!

 

Generally, when the US dollar strengthens against other major currencies, the prices of commodities tend to go down.  Alternatively, when the value of the US dollar weakens against other major currencies, the prices of commodities typically goes up.  While this isn’t always the case, it has held true the majority of the time over that last few decades. 

 

There are multiple reasons why the value of the US Dollar effects commodities prices. The main reason is that the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world.  Because of its stability, most foreign countries hold US dollars as a reserve asset.  That means it’s generally the benchmark pricing mechanism for most commodity trades, and also used for most trades. 

 

With this in mind, let’s take a quick review of your Econ 101 class.

 

When the value of the dollar drops, it effects commodity prices like this:  As the US dollar decreases in value, other currencies typically increase against the dollar and now they can buy more oil that is priced in US dollars.  And when demand goes up, prices go up.  Foreign buyers have greater purchasing power and this drives commodity prices up. 

 

This relationship isn’t a -100 correlation, but it’s pretty darn close over the last couple years at -90.  Yes, commodity prices won’t necessarily tick up or down exactly with every movement of the Dollar Index, but there is a strong inverse relationship that can’t be denied. 

 

So, all you need to remember is this:  When the US dollar goes up commodities such as oil will go down.  When the US dollar goes down, commodities will go up. 

Josh Levs, keynote speaker at HERWorld18 published his latest column in Time, which journals an experience he had long ago with sexual harassment.  (At a small business, when he was an intern.)  He explains in the piece...

 

"In the wake of Ailes’ and O’Reilly’s departures from Fox, a lot of the conversation around this issue has focused on the need to stop the scourge of sexual harassment against women. But this isn’t a battle for women to wage alone. It’s up to all of us to work together to build better, safer work environments."

 

Meanwhile, we were happy to see ABC highlight Josh's response to Jimmy Kimmel's powerful remarks on his son and health care.  


These are two crucial issues of our time that speak to the All In society we can build together.

 

We're pleased to have Josh Levs join Pink Petro TV this Friday at the Shell Women's Conference where Pink Petro TV will broadcast live.  

 

We hope you'll watch here.

Readers of Woman Engineer were asked to name the employers, both in the private and public sectors, for whom they would most like to work or that they believe would provide a positive working environment for women. The employers, listed according to the frequency they were cited by respondents, are listed in their entirety here. 

 

Pink Petro is proud to have four clients on this list: General Electric (4), Shell (18), Halliburton (22), and Emerson (41). They are all great companies for women within our space, and working to improve diversity and inclusion every day.

 

We've salute other industry leaders on the list: Schlumberger (9), Dupont (23), BP (31), Chevron (33), Dow (35), First Energy (36), Caterpillar (38), Hess (43), and Southern Company (45). 

 

Some additional context on the reader survey for Woman Engineer can be found in these series of charts from the issue:

 

 

Family-friendly benefits were increasingly important to the female engineers participating in this survey, but these numbers also bear out that we have road still to cover. Despite these being the top 50 workplaces for female engineers, 38% still claimed fairness "needed improvement," with an additional 21% saying they felt it was "slightly fair."

 

As the journey continues, we're lucky to have these amazing partners, friends, collaborators, and colleagues throughout the industry working on the same push. Kudos to all. 

Douglas CainToday I heard some sad news.  Pink Petro's first male member and huge advocate for women in energy (and especially in the field), Doug Cain died Friday surrounded by his family, the Business Journal reported this weekendDoug and I spoke earlier this year via phone about how the industry was on a rebound.  His pancreatic cancer prognosis had also seemingly turned positive, so when I heard the news I was surprised.

 

When Pink Petro launched in 2015, we received a phone call from San Antonio.   I'll never forget what he said.  "Katie Mehnert, this is Doug Cain with LakeTruck Lines and I want to be the first man to sign up for Pink Petro, so consider it done." said Cain. 

 

Doug was unafraid to talk about tough topics, especially his cancer. It's what I loved about him.  A two-timer myself we spoke openly about the challenges that made us into what Doug called (us), "gritty entrepreneurs".  When we got the chance to meet in 2015 one day in Houston, I remember not being able to keep myself from laughing.  His rousing demeanor yet direct style was something I needed as a new kid on the block.  I just needed to hear a lot in those days that I was going to be okay.  And Doug would reassure me of that.

 

"I lived in the 1980s.  Nothing scares me." he'd say.  Just before oil sank into the $20s, in 2016, Doug called me to see how I was doing.  He'd remind me over and over about how I had grit and just needed to see things through. I was proud to let Doug know earlier this year that despite the worst year ever in industry, I managed to become profitable. His response?  "That's grit for you.  You got this."

 

Doug also talked openly about women in energy, profiling the need for more, and spoke often about the needed change that could come from more women in the industry.  

 

The world lost an amazing man and energy leader last week but his spirit is alive in so many.  His resilience is what makes this industry what it is.  So I'm raising a glass of grit for all of us!

 

Thanks Doug for your mentorship and friendship.  We'll miss you.

 

- The Gritty Entrepreneur

1. Saudi Arabia Energy Minister once again confirms expectations to continue supply cuts.

 

Oil prices are up after last week’s fall with recent comments from Saudi Arabia's energy minister that production cuts planned through June would likely be extended throughout the rest of 2017.  OPEC has been working to increase prices in oil with their cuts to supply, but have faced an uphill battle with the persistent increase in U.S. drilling.

 

Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday, “Based on consultations that I've had with participating members, I am confident the agreement will be extended into the second half of the year,"

 

Saudi led OPEC will meet later this month to make any decisions regarding the future of supply cuts.

 

2. Nebraska becomes state number 18 to pass the gigawatt club.

 

Recently, Nebraska added a 400-megawatt wind farm, and with this addition now in service is officially part of the 1,000 megawatts (One gigawatt) wind-generated capacity club.  Nebraska's wind turbines produce over 1,300 megawatts of capacity currently, and the with the state’s significant wind potential, they have no plans to stop increasing the capacity.  Initial reports state that wind power is accounting for over 10% of the state’s electricity generation; up from just 3% only five years ago.  Additionally, Nebraska is enjoying a high crank rate.  At 45% running time, they have the highest rate in the nation, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

 

3. Warren Buffet is ready to invest in solar and wind.

 

At the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting on Saturday, Warren Buffet gave us all an glimpse into his future investment intentions.  At the meeting he said, “We have got a big appetite for wind or solar… If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we're ready to do it…  The more there is the better."

 

Mr. Buffet and his company Berkshire Hathaway Energy already sell wind-generated electricity in Iowa, and look go build on this.  With his new focus on solar and wind, he’s also exiting from coal.  He stated, "If you're tied to coal, then you've got problems,"

Social media. You know it’s a big deal. In fact, 69% of the population uses some form of social media today.

 

But, beyond sharing photos from your latest vacation or keeping up with what your out-of-state relatives are up to, there are plenty of ways to leverage social media to not only share personal updates—but also to boost your professional reputation.

 

That’s what today’s “Dear Kat” question touches on:

 

“Dear Kat, I love social media. But, I really only use it personally. I know plenty of people use it to further their careers, but I feel really uncertain about how to do that. It seems like such a fine line to walk! Do you have any tips?”

 

I’ll admit that social media can present some murky waters to navigate. Today, our work lives and personal lives are more integrated than ever—and your social accounts are just the icing on that  cake! You want to send the right message about who you are as a professional, without coming across as too stiff or inauthentic.

 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to use social media to elevate your professional reputation—while still being yourself.

 

1. Think Beyond LinkedIn

Despite the fact that the lines have become blurred between our personal and professional lives, many people still try to compartmentalize their social media usage.

 

It goes like this: LinkedIn is for professional use and every other network should be personal. But, believe me when I tell you that definitely isn’t the case.

 

I love LinkedIn, but Twitter is often much more helpful to me when it comes to networking. Instagram has helped me grow a devoted following for my own website and blog posts—even though I still share plenty of personal snapshots of my rescued terrier mutt.

 

If you’re aiming to leverage social media as a tool in your career, don’t limit yourself to thinking that means you only need to step up your game on LinkedIn. There are plenty of ways to use the other networks as well!

 

2. Follow Influencers

Next up, you want to fill your feed with relevant, interesting, and engaging updates that you might want to share with your own audience (more on that a little later!).

 

The best place to start is by seeking out various influencers on your social media platforms. Maybe you want to follow that author you admire on Instagram or LinkedIn. Or, perhaps you want to follow that speaker, leader, or business owner on Twitter.

 

Of course, you can continue to engage and interact with your family, friends, and the people you know personally. But, pepper a few career or industry-relevant professionals in there too! That will give you plenty of content that you can share to boost your own reputation.

 

3. Share Their Updates

Speaking of sharing content, this is a great place to start if you’re just dipping your toes into the water of using social media as part of your professional brand.

 

Generating your own content or coming up with your own things to say can feel overwhelming (and maybe even a little unnatural!) at first. This is why you’ll be glad that you followed those influencers—you can simply share, repost, or retweet the things that they’re posting.

 

Do that, and your own social account will be the perfect blend of some personal touches, while also including some professional updates—so, can rest assured that you look both career-driven and well-balanced.

 

Need an example? Check out this snippet from my own Twitter profile. There’s an article I retweeted (and coincidentally also wrote) about freelancing—a topic that’s obviously near and dear to me—for an industry blog. But, right below it, there’s a more humorous personal tweet about my experience in my first spin class (which, yes, really was that dreadful).

 

Remember, using social media as a tool for your professional identity doesn’t mean you need to be strictly business. It’s called social media—which means people still want to get a feel for your personality.

 

4. Join Groups

Another reason it’s called social media? Because it’s very purpose is to connect you with people.

 

One of the best ways to do that is by joining in on groups or relevant discussions. Join a LinkedIn or Facebook group. Use a related hashtag when posting on Instagram. Find an industry Twitter chat and chime in with your two cents!

 

Despite the name social media, it can often seem like you’re throwing your carefully crafted updates into a giant black hole—the internet can feel almost overwhelmingly anonymous.

 

So, by making the effort to participate in groups and conversations about topics you care about, you’re sure to use social media for its intended purpose—relationship building—while connecting with like-minded (and even not-so-like-minded!) people.

 

When you think about using social media professionally, it’s easy to just think about beefing up your LinkedIn presence. However, all of your accounts can be a great benefit to your professional reputation.

 

I’ll admit that it can feel challenging to walk that tightrope between keeping things professional—but still personal and friendly—on social media. But, I promise that it’s not nearly as tough as you think!

 

Implement these strategies, and you’re sure to leverage social media to elevate your professional reputation—without coming off as overly stiff, formal, and impersonal.

There is something so indescribably satisfying about flying to the other side of the world to do your research.  This is my seventh and final trip to Australia (for now!).  I must collect every piece of data I can possibly think of so I can finish my PhD in geology.  The pressure is on…but in the best way possible because failure is not an option.  I thrive under this type of pressure and feel as though I was born to travel and do field research for petroleum exploration companies. 

 

This trip is different-I’m traveling with only one master’s student, Piper and it’s her first time to Australia.  I love bringing new students with me…I get to experience Australia for the first time through their eyes.  Piper is special, she has an amazing ability to look at rocks and immediately know their geochemical origin and evolution.  She is literally a walking chemistry lab.  Piper is specializing in understanding the origin of ‘caprock,’ a rock associated with salt bodies, derived from the chemical alteration of salt residues. Caprock is found along the gulf coast of the United States, which is often associated with salt dome mines and shelfal oil production.  For oil exploration, understanding the timing and the geochemical processes related to the formation of caprock is essential – yet few studies to date have been completed to focus on these complex processes.

 

It is our belief that ancient caprock is located in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia.  The caprock in Australia is significantly older than what is find along the gulf coast…potentially 500 million years older and formed when the Earth as we know today looked very different.  Our advisor, Dr. Katherine Giles, has been researching and collecting caprock data for the past 8 years or so and it’s our goal to finish collecting the data and refine a geological model that she first presented at the 2012 American Association of Petroleum Geologists annual meeting. 

 

Why caprock? Caprock forms at the top of a salt body as salt dissolves as the product of the salt’s chemically altered residue. Typical caprock assemblages consist of a vertically zoned sequence of gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, and/or dolomite that display outcrop fabrics and petrophysical textures that are as complex as their geochemical evolution.  As a result, caprock can be very difficult to understand and interpret in the field and often goes unrecognized on offshore seismic data prior to drilling a well – which can have huge consequences for the success of a drilling project. Our small research group ‘Caprock Club’ has come to the point where we feel confident in our geological model interpretation and we will be publishing the results in The Australian Journal of Earth Sciences (AJES).  The Flinders Ranges has been nominated for a World Heritage site and it is our goal that by publishing our research results in the AJES it will help emphasize the scientific importance and demonstrate the need to preserve the land for future generations to explore.

 

Continue to follow our adventure through Pink Petro and other social media outlets over the next month as we take on the Outback as a fearless duo!

 

   

When it comes to nuclear energy, even though most Americans have an opinion, not all of them are fully informed.  This is of course due to the multiple myths that have been circulated over the years regarding the use of nuclear power.  Today we’ll discuss some of those myths and hopefully put them to bed, in hopes that regardless of your opinion on nuclear energy, at least we’ll all be informed.   Here are some common myths about nuclear power and nuclear investment.

 

Myth: Nuclear power plants are constantly giving off radiation and it’s unsafe to live by a plant.

 

This is true and false.  Yes, there is radiation generated from a nuclear power plant, but it’s a tiny amount in comparison to other naturally occurring radiation we’re exposed to.  In fact, of the natural radiation you’re exposed to on a daily basis, nuclear power accounts for only 0.005%.  That is approximately 100 times less than what we’re exposed to from coal and about 200 times less than what you are exposed to when you fly from New York to L.A..  To put it in perspective, it’s about the same as eating one banana per year.   The truth is, compared to other energy sources, nuclear power poses very little threat to the public.

 

Myth: Nuclear power is a major contributor to global warming and climate change.

 

Uuuummmm…. No.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases during operation and it requires less land use than solar and wind power.  If we invested more in nuclear power compared to other energy sources, it would actually help the fight against global warming or climate change.

 

Myth: A nuclear reactor is essentially a nuclear bomb that could explode at any minute.

 

Yes, that sounds scary.  No, it’s not true.  It would be impossible for a nuclear plant to explode like the “nuclear bombs” you see erupt in a mushroom cloud on TV.   Why?  Well, because nuclear weapons contain additional advanced materials that have been specially designed by nuclear scientists to do what bombs do.  You won’t find any of these “additional advanced materials” in a nuclear reactor.

 

Myth: You can’t recycle nuclear waste and it is terrible for our environment.

 

The truth is 96% of all nuclear waste is reused or recycled.  It’s not going to end up in the atmosphere and it’s not going to end up in your backyard. 

 

Myth: We shouldn’t invest in nuclear energy.

 

Decide for yourself, but nuclear energy is proven to be clean, efficient and safe – especially when compared to other energy sources. 

1. Oil drops to its lowest levels in five weeks.

 

U.S. crude output is gaining ground, and that’s making everyone nervous.  Oil prices are down to their lowest levels in over a month because OPEC and investors in general are simply not confident that the cartel’s supply cuts will have enough steam to override the US crude producers and get rid of the global glut.  But it’s not just the U.S.  Countries like Libya and Nigeria are adding to the supply.  As they continue with their sustained recoveries, OPEC cuts lose more and more ground.  An upcoming OPEC meeting on May 25th will determine if their cuts continue.  However, many believe the decision is already made at this point, and this month’s meeting will just make it official. 

 

2. U.S. Interior Secretary rallies for U.S. dominance in oil production.

 

On Monday, the 5th, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spoke at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, TX and made the case for the U.S. to continue tapping into its own natural resources and establishing itself as a dominate player in the global energy arena.  His argument not only focused on the importance of U.S. energy independence, but also the fact that healthy U.S. production also helps to create economic checks and balances on other oil-producing countries such as Iran.

 

“Dominance is what America needs,” Zinke stated.  And from the sound of his speech, that seems to be exactly what he plans to do. 

 

3. $9.7B merger to create one of Canada’s largest infrastructure companies.

 

Canadian giant Pembina Pipeline announced the acquisition of Veresen on Monday, a C$9.7B deal.  The transaction will result in one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in Canada.  Pembina is a major midstream corporation that owns over 7,000 miles of pipelines, mainly in Alberta, Canada.  Veresen owns significant gathering infrastructure in Alberta, and a 50% interest in the Alliance Pipeline, an 1,800-mile pipeline transporting gas from Alberta to Chicago.  The merger between the two companies is anticipated to help them more easily finish and profit from ongoing pipeline projects.