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2017

After 15 long months of no work and no income I finally got the message that I’d almost given up all hope of ever receiving..."You'll be flying out to the rig either this Wednesday or next Wednesday!"

 

There's barely enough adjectives to describe the feelings it evoked as I read it. The initial reaction was utter surprise; disbelief; can this be for real? Then the adrenaline kicked in and cautious excitement took over. I broke into a nervous smile while standing all alone in the new home I had recently moved to. I felt too scared to move in case this moment wasn't real and the text message vanished into the thin air from where it came. 

 

There had been recent communications hinting that it might happen but I never let myself get optimistic about the prospect of going back to work as a wellsite geologist any time soon...if in fact, ever...because I knew there were just no jobs out there. Over the past year I had read so many social media posts/blogs/articles written by geologists who felt they had been “abandoned by the industry” and while that was how the job situation made you feel, the reality was that there just weren’t any jobs out there. Working predominantly in exploration drilling, wellsite geologists, and others involved in the upstream drilling operations, have been severely affected by the downturn.

 

More text messages and emails soon followed with further instructions about my travel arrangements to the rig; people I had to contact, visa documents that needed filling out, mobilisation details to clarify. I was still reluctant to get too excited for fear of jinxing myself or getting too comfortable with the possibility that my luck had finally changed. 

 

As the emails started to come in and the cc list of recipients grew I started to let myself believe this might actually be going to happen...recruitment agency operations manager, operations geologist, overseas onshore logistics specialist, offshore logistics coordinator, travel agent...they all wanted my help in getting the process moving as quickly as possible. After replying to the flurry of emails I took a deep breath and finally allowed myself to accept this was really going to happen.

 

This could have been happening to some other wellsite geologist anywhere around the world but it wasn't, it was happening to me...finally!! I wanted to yell it from the treetops, pop a bottle of champagne...but I didn't have one, nor could I afford one! 

 

It was time to start letting my family and friends know that I was "back". I knew they would probably be even more relieved than I was, knowing they no longer had to tip toe around the subject of me earning no money. The first person I sent a message to was my harshest critic but still a faithful supporter (if only maybe out of familial duty), my driller son. He was almost due to return home from a hitch on a rig himself and replied with the candor and back-to-earth practicalities that I would fully expect from him:

 

"Good luck. Bout fkn time. You gonna be home on Thursday to pick me up from the airport?"

 

I translated that to mean he was happy for me...he's never been one for gushing affection, as you'd expect from a second-generation driller. He may not have been quite as excited about the news as I was but I knew he would have been equally as relieved to know I was finally going back to work and earning money.

 

And just like that I was heading back to a rig within a week. No job application process, no interview, just an almost-random message out of the blue to say I was needed on the rig. Although I knew it might just be a one-off 3-week hitch it still felt like I was finally back in the fray…my knowledge and experience was about to matter once again…I wasn’t “abandoned” any longer.

 

Touching down in Yangon

 

As the Singapore Airlines plane touched down at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar, where I would be getting the chopper out to the rig the next morning, I couldn’t help thinking how good it was to be back. I knew it was just a small step but it was one that at least gave me some hope that things might start to improve from here. It’s the first sign I’d had of that in over a year so I was grateful for even getting as far as mobilising to a rig. At the very least I had already just clocked up one day of travel pay! 

 

 

Amanda Barlow is a wellsite geologist in the offshore oil and gas industry and also a published author of "Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE - Overview of Offshore Drilling Operations" and  “An Inconvenient Life – My Unconventional Career as a Wellsite Geologist”. 

Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE

 

She is also a recreational marathoner who has run over 40 marathons in 16 different countries and is the author of “Call of the Jungle – How a Camping-Hating City-Slicker Mum Survived an Ultra Endurance Marathon through the Amazon Jungle”, an account of her participation in one of the worlds most extreme multi-stage endurance events.

 

You can connect with Amanda through the Pink Petro community, LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/amanda-barlow-wsg or through her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnInconvenientLife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pay Scale released a report today about salary history disclosure.  Between April and June 2017, they interviewed 15,413 respondents who were evaluating job offers through PayScale.

 

The full data can be found here. 

 

  • 43% of respondents reported being asked about their salary history. Nearly one quarter of those declined to answer. 
  • People seeking higher incomes are more likely to be asked about their salary history, but those who were asked and refused tend to make the most.
  • A woman who is asked about her salary history and refuses to disclose earns 1.8% less than a woman who discloses.
  • If a man refuses to disclose salary history, he gets paid 1.2 percent more.
  • Salary history is more likely to come up in an interview as you move up the ladder; 54 percent of Individual Contributors indicated that they did not disclose their salary history and were not asked, vs. only 36 percent of VPs and Executives. VPs and Executives are the group both most likely to volunteer their salary history and with most likely to refuse to disclose.
  • Refusal rates are lower for younger workers. 28% of Boomers refused to disclose their salary history when asked, vs 22% of Gen Xers and 18% of Millennials

 

 

Some interesting stats specific to energy and utilities:

 

52% job candidates say that in the interview process, they were not asked about their salary history nor did the candidate offer.  However 28% of those who were asked, refused to disclose.  Energy ties with the tech industry on that stat which begs to wonder, why did they refuse to share?

 

What say you? Would you disclose salary history in an interview?  Why or why not?  

 

 

 

About PayScale

Creator of the world’s largest database of rich salary profiles, PayScale offers modern compensation software and real-time, data-driven insights for employees and employers alike. Thousands of organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, use PayScale products to power pay decisions for millions of employees. 

1. Two streaks.  Prices are down and rigs are up.

 

As of last week, we reached two significant milestones in the energy industry that are worth noting.  Oil prices declined again over the last week, settling at $43.10 per barrel.  This is a 5-week decline, the longest run of weekly declines since August of 2015.  Even with OPEC cutting supply, the US, Libya, and Nigeria are continuing to increase output – which brings us to our second streak.  According to data from Baker Hughes, the US rig count increased again last week, making it the 23rd consecutive week that rig counts have increased. 

 

2. Tropical Storm Cindy disrupts production in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Tropical Storm Cindy hit Southwest Louisiana on Thursday causing the suspension of operations, evacuation of personnel and power outages across the state.  Although the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression once it hit land, it still disrupted production and shipping and will create delays in imports and exports from the region for the next week or two.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned that 2017 could be an “above-normal” year for large hurricanes, so this may be just the beginning.

 

3. Greece approves exploration for offshore oil.

 

ExxonMobil, France’s Total SA and Greece-based Hellenic Petroleum received the green light from the Greek Energy Ministry to drill for oil and gas off the island of Crete.  Greece has been dealing with a severe debt crisis over the last few years and is hoping the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, both onshore and offshore will lessen their dependence on energy imports and help them sure up their economy for the future.

You’ll often hear people say the U.S. is doing a terrible job of “going green”.  Critics will cite statistics on how much better everyone else is at going green, and how the U.S. is so far behind.  The problem is… it seems everyone has an agenda and only present a one-sided argument, leaving out everything they don’t want to accept or believe.  Today, the question is this:  Regardless of what political side you fall on, is the U.S. really doing a terrible job at going green?  Let’s investigate and see if we can bust this myth. 

 

According to the Energy Information Administration, Over the last thirty years the U.S. has improved its energy efficiency as much as, if not more than most other developed countries.  The average U.S. (per capita) energy consumption in the U.S. dropped by 2.5% from 1980 through 2006.  When we compare that with other countries in the same timeframe, only Switzerland and Denmark top the United States.  And the U.S. even did that without participating in the Kyoto Protocol or creating an emissions trading system like they’re doing in Europe.  A further look at EIA data also shows the United States has been one of the best countries at reducing carbon dioxide emitted per $1 of GDP and the amount of energy consumed per $1 of GDP.

 

Conversely, the United States doesn’t even crack the top ten “recycling countries” around the world, and that means we’re filling up our landfills much faster than others.  So, when busting this myth, it looks like it’s a matter of whether you see the glass half-full or half-empty.  Is there need for improvement?  Yes.  But to say America isn’t keeping up is stretching the truth a bit. 

 

As the U.S. moves toward a more service-based economy and manufacturing/heavy industrial areas decrease, we will naturally see a decrease in energy consumption and pollution.  Things like Computer chips in everything from cars to appliances make us more efficient.  Programable thermostats in everyone’s homes are making us use less energy.  Electric automobiles are gaining in popularity.  Everything is contributing to the U.S. and world goal of “going green”, and even though it’s slower than some would like, it’s still happening, and the U.S. is doing its part to help.

1. Libya to resume oil production.

 

Until last week, Libya was holding back up to 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) of supply, but now disputes have been resolved and production will resume.  Going forward Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and German oil and gas company Wintershall have an arrangement that will allow the German company to tap into oil reserves in Eastern Libya.  This should add nearly 200,000 bpd to the market almost immediately, but they are targeting to get up to 1 million bpd by the end of July.  This new agreement is another blow to OPEC’s efforts to decrease supply. 

 

2. Oil and gas IPO’s dip with oil prices.

 

When oil meandered over $50 a barrel, oil and gas initial public offerings (IPO’s) started picking up as well.  Unfortunately, the resurgence didn’t last long.  Now that oil is back under $50 a barrel, most Energy companies looking to go public are putting plans on hold as they wait for the market to recover.  Energy stocks typically account for nearly one-tenth of all IPO’s, but as long as oil is under $50 a barrel you shouldn’t expect to see much activity.

 

3. EQT Corp to acquire Rice Energy for $6.7B.

 

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. announced today that it has reached a deal to acquire fellow Pennsylvania shales gas company Rice Energy.  EQT will pay in cash and stock worth nearly $6.7 billion, and this acquisition will increase EQT’s footprint in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to approximately 1.5 million acres.  Regarding the acquisition, EQT CEO Steve Schlotterbeck said, "This transaction brings together two of the top Marcellus and Utica producers to form a natural gas operating position that will be unmatched in the industry."  The deal is expected to be finalized later this year.

There’s a myth out there that oil and gas companies are receiving all the money from the federal government and, “We need to do something about all these oil and gas companies making so much money!!” 

 

You’ve probably heard that or something like it, and it’s generally followed by, “we should be investing more money in alternative and renewable energy sources!  We need to invest in clean energy!”

 

Now, let me be clear… I’m not saying we shouldn’t invest in renewable energy sources.  The myth I’m trying to bust is that oil companies get all the money and renewable companies get nothing. 

 

That’s just not true.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

 

And to be honest, financially speaking, renewable energy hasn’t been the best investment for the US government. (Or should I say the American taxpayers)

 

The myth is perpetuated by big names that spout off half-truths (or complete lies), and nobody actually takes the time to investigate or fact check, and before you know it there’s a false narrative out there that over half the country believes.

 

Take for example Elon Musk.  As an entrepreneur, I’m a big Elon Musk fan.  But sometimes it’s important to remember:  Everything from his mouth is not true… and perhaps he has an agenda that drives what he says.  (I’m not saying it’s a bad agenda.  He just wants the best for his companies and investments.)

 

Here’s my example:  Musk has repeatedly badmouthed fossil fuel companies.  (I wonder why?  Maybe it’s because he has an electric car company and a solar power company…)  Now here’s where it gets dicey…  Musk said, “if I cared about subsidies, I would have entered the oil and gas industry.” That’s a funny statement, seeing how his companies have received nearly $5 billion from U.S. taxpayers, and oil and gas companies haven’t received a dime of subsidies (See my previous article on the topic).

 

But, it’s not just Musk and his companies that are taking government subsidies.  The former administration bankrolled dozens of companies that ended up in the gutter with the American taxpayers left holding the bill.  Solar panel company Solyndra happily accepted almost $850 million in low-interest federal loans and tax breaks before kicking the bucket in 2011.  A more recent example is solar and wind giant SunEdison.  They’ve consumed over $1.5 billion in subsidies, and are currently walking the line between broke and bankrupt.

 

So, should the government stop funding renewable energy companies?  I’m not saying that.  All I’m saying is stop pretending that investments in alternative energies isn’t a money pit, and stop pretending that oil, gas and coal are getting all the subsidies and renewable is getting the shaft.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

1. Oil has biggest one-day loss since March.

 

After the Department of Energy released its weekly update last Wednesday, oil prices took a tumble.  The news of higher than expected U.S. oil inventory levels sent prices down to their lowest levels in the last three months. 

 

It looks as though the U.S. is building comfortable stockpiles of crude oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel and this seems to be keeping oil prices down even though OPEC and Russia have been keeping their promise to continue cutting supply.   However, the U.S. producers keep drilling more wells and replacing foreign oil with domestic crude.  As long as this continues, we can expect to see oil prices stay below $50/barrel.

 

2. Poland receives its first natural gas shipment from the United States.

 

Poland took a major step last week toward freeing itself from complete dependence on Russia for all of its energy needs.  On Thursday, the first ever liquified natural gas shipment from the U.S. arrived in Poland.  This is a major milestone for Poland as they look to diversify the sources of their energy imports.  The shipment came from an export terminal in Louisiana, and represents just the beginning of all the natural gas that the U.S. shale boom will begin to supply to the global market in the coming months and years. 

 

3. Iranian oil exports to the West continue to grow.

 

In May, Iran's oil exports to the West hit their highest levels since the lifting of sanctions in early 2016.  Iran used to be OPEC’s second largest oil exporter, but with sanctions had lost ground to rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq.  Now they are gaining ground once again.  Last month they exported nearly 1.1 million bpd to Europe; practically reaching pre-sanction levels.  Even though they are part of OPEC, Iran has been granted an exception from the production cuts, so they could recover from the recently lifted sanctions. 

From the Houston Business Journal, edited for length.

 

We congratulate members Maria Borras, Jennifer Hartsock, and Jody Markopolous for their leadership appointments announced today.

 

As Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) and Boston-based General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) near the closing of their megadeal, the companies have released a list of executives who will lead the newly combined energy company.

The deal to combine Baker Hughes with GE Oil & Gas, which is based in London but has regional headquarters in Houston, could close around the end of June or early July. The combined entity will be called Baker Hughes, a GE Company, and will have dual headquarters in Houston and London.

 

As previously announced, Lorenzo Simonelli, the president and CEO of GE Oil & Gas, will be CEO of the new company, and Brian Worrell, CFO of GE Oil & Gas, will become CFO of the new company.

The rest of the combined leadership team will consist of nine execs from GE Oil & Gas and four from Baker Hughes:

 

  • Maria Claudia Borras, currently GE Oil & Gas’ chief commercial officer, will become president and CEO of oilfield services of the new company.
  • Belgacem Chariag, currently Baker Hughes’ president of global operations, will become chief global operations officer of the new company.
  • Rod Christie, currently head of GE Oil & Gas’ Turbomachinery & Process Solutions business unit, will become president and CEO of turbomachinery and process solutions for the new company.
  • Harry Elsinga, currently vice president of human resources for GE Oil & Gas, will become chief human resources officer of the new company.
  • Jennifer Hartsock, currently chief information officer for GE Oil & Gas, will become CIO of the new company.
  • Matthias Heilmann, currently head of GE Oil & Gas’ digital solutions business, will become president and CEO of digital solutions for the new company.
  • Jack Hinton, currently vice president of health, safety and environment (HSE) for Baker Hughes, will become Chief HSE Officer for the new company.
  • Nicola Jannis, currently head of business development at GE Oil & Gas, will become chief business development officer at the new company.
  • Derek Mathieson, currently Baker Hughes’ chief commercial officer, will become chief marketing and technology officer for the new company.
  • Jody Markopoulos, currently vice president of operations at GE Oil & Gas, will become chief engineering and supply chain officer for the new company.
  • Will Marsh, currently vice president and general counsel of Baker Hughes, will become chief legal officer for the new company.
  • Neil Saunders, currently GE Oil & Gas’ president and CEO of subsea systems and drilling, will become president and CEO of oilfield equipment for the new company.
  • Uwem Ukpong, who currently leads overall integration planning for GE Oil & Gas, will become chief integration officer for the combined company.

GE and Baker Hughes also previously announced the board of directors for the combined company. GE CEO Jeff Immelt will be chairman of the new company’s board, while Martin Craighead, currently Baker Hughes’ chairman and CEO, will serve as vice chairman. 

 

The combined company will have about 70,000 employees worldwide and operations in more than 120 countries.

A recent board report and survey conducted by Women in the Boardroom revealed ten challenges and opportunities experienced by senior-level executive women as they journey to the boardroom.  Founder of WIB, Sheila Ronning's goal was to understand what motivates them, inspires them, stymies them or helps them get that board seat.

 

Here are the ten insights. A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

 

  • Male networks dominate board searches. Ninety percent of women feel that male networks dominate corporate board searches. More than 60% of women agree that male networks function more effectively than female ones.
  • The case for gender diversity in the boardroom is not yet universally made. Only 50% of women feel that gender diversity in the boardroom is broadly understood to be good for business, despite evidence pointing to multiple benefits of gender diversity.
  • Securing a board seat is a mysterious process. Seventy six percent feel that the process of board appointments is opaque and mysterious in comparison to the usual professional career advancement.
  • Women may need to navigate the glass cliff to succeed. Fifty-two percent of women feel that female board director opportunities often represent a “glass cliff” where women were more likely to be appointed in times of crisis — and are therefore more likely to fail.
  • Imposter syndrome impacts women more negatively than men. Seventy percent of women feel “imposter syndrome,” where an individual feels unworthy or unqualified for a role, is more likely to be felt by women than men, and is an active deterrent to female advancement.
  • Women believe opportunities will continue to increase. There is reason to feel confident that women will continue to make this uncertain journey to the boardroom.
  • Many more women are out there, who can show up, stand up, and speak up. The real talent pool for board service is larger than the pool we see. Eighty-six percent of women agree that many women qualified for board service do not realize that board service is an option for them, and don’t put themselves forward.
  • Women are not in this alone. Sixty-one percent have found their network helpful. Fifty-five percent have found help from mentors or sponsors.
  • Board service is hot. Seventy percent of women surveyed consider board service a high or top career priority. 
  • Women are optimistic. Sixty-two percent of women surveyed feel confident that they will get a board seat and feel prepared to serve.

 

About Women in the Boardroom

Founded in 2002 by board strategist and expert, Sheila Ronning, Women in the Boardroom celebrated a milestone in March 2017 with its 125th board opening opportunity offered to its members.

1. OPEC news isn’t good enough, and US drillers keep gaining ground.

 

Oil futures are now at their lowest levels since last November as skepticism continues to run rampant about whether or not OPEC’s cuts can stem the tide of US drilling and a worldwide supply glut.  Oil futures are below $50 per barrel and multiple strategists are predicting it may drop as low as $45 before things start to turn around.  Meanwhile, U.S. shale producers are continuing to build steam.  They are on pace to hit a 10 million barrel day by the end of the year (per Rystad Energy, a Norway-based consulting firm) – a feat the US hasn’t accomplished in nearly half a century. 

 

2. US pulls out of Paris Climate Agreement.

 

Last week, President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement stating that the reason was to protect the US from job-killing regulations.  On CNN’s “State of the Union”, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said, “What President Obama submitted the US to was not achievable under our standards or any other country’s standards.”

 

Critics are upset and saying that the US is ceding it’s leadership role in the international community, but supporters of the mover say it was the right thing to do.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said withdrawing from the Paris Agreement was based on sound financial reasoning and is right for the US.  He stated, “This is a decision that was right for this country from a jobs perspective, an economy perspective, and an environmental perspective. It was not a political decision.”

 

3. EPA puts Obama-era methane emissions rule on hold. 

 

The oil and gas industry is getting a short extension of 90 days on Obama-era rule created to reduce methane leaks from new and modified oil and natural gas drilling wells.  As part of President Trump’s “evaluate all regulations” initiative, the EPA wants to give the oil and gas industry another chance to comment on the rule.  In the meantime, oil and gas companies will not need to comply with certain requirements of the rule while the three-month stay is in effect.