Skip navigation
All Places > News & Field Trips > Blog > 2017 > December
2017

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

3. Oil discoveries hit 70 year low.

 

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

 

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

 

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

From our founder, Katie Mehnert.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And then I go do that.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. U.S. Shale Growth

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2. OPEC Compliance

 

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

 

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

 

3. The OPEC Exit Strategy

 

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

 

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

 

4. Fluctuations in Inventories

 

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

 

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

 

5. Unpredictable Incidents

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Want to be featured on Pink Petro? Email mary@pinkpetro.com today! 

 

Carmen SegoviaMarathon Oil’s Carmen Segovia

 

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

 

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

 

Read more about Carmen here.

 

Emerson’s Stephanie Sirt

 

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

 

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

 

Read more about Stephanie here.

 

 

Michelle PeavyPink Petro’s own Michelle Peavy

 

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

 

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

 

Read more about Michelle here.

 

 

Elizabeth Cambre

 

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

 

Read more about Elizabeth here.

 

Yetunde OkedijiYetunde Okediji

 

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

 

Read more about Yetunde here. 

 

Women Offshore’s Ally Cedeno

 

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

 

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

 

Read more about Ally here.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

3. North Sea pipeline still shut down.

 

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

 

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

 

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

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: 2017 has been one hell of a year.

 

Now that we’ve come to the end of it, we’re taking a look back at the highs and the lows. And the good news? When you take a step back and soak it all in, turns out 2017 was pretty incredible. It changed our world, both personally and professionally, and set us up for even more amazing experiences in 2018.

 

So here it is, our 2017 in review:

 

HERWorld17HERWorld17: Our second annual global energy conference drew more than 7,500 attendees — both live and on-demand — in 25 locations around the world. We hosted 50 awesome speakers, including: Jeffrey Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak; Gloria Feldt, founder of Take the Lead; Sarah Sandberg with Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Beth Powell with New Pig Energy; Susan Morrice CEO of Belize Energy; and Josh Levs, the global expert on modern dads at work. Our theme was Lean In, All In, Join In. And in the words of Ally, my daughter and “Ninjaneer,” it was epic! 

 

Experience Energy: This year marked the launch of Experience Energy, the only global careers platform for women in energy. The industry needed a way to access a high-quality and diverse pool of talent, and many of you were begging for it long before we launched. Women in energy needed a way to find compelling career opportunities in the industry. We brought all that together with a platform that not only unites impressive women with coveted jobs (like this one and this one and this one currently up for grabs), but also provides content to help you grow your career and increase your impact. And there’s only going to be more of that in 2018!

 

HendersonBeer, guns and babes in energy: I took a powerful stance this year on the proliferation of beer, guns and babes in images and marketing tied to energy. Particularly against Dan Henderson, CEO of Henderson Rig, who used all three to market a big after-party during #OTC2017. Quite simply: It’s offensive, rude, lewd and does nothing to brand our industry. It diminishes women and the work they do and the NextGen and it sends a message to the public that we’re who they think we are: greedy good ol’ boys who shoot guns and don’t care about our planet. You, our community, put the full force of your support behind me, and our voices were heard, loud and clear.

 

We're leaning into to energy in a big way: This was the year we launched on a wider scale, Lean In Energy, the global mentoring organization we created in partnership with Lean In, from concept to reality. And you all have fully embraced the opportunity: A thousand of our members have signed up to join or create Lean In circles around the world. We have filed our paperwork to turn Lean In Energy into a 501c3 organization. We’ve launched a fundraising campaign — which kicked off with a matching donation from Linda Ibrahim and her company, Vantage Drilling — to raise $100,000 for Lean In Energy in 2018.  Topping off a great year, it was great to meet with Sheryl Sandberg to talk more about how we can change things for our daughters and sons.  We're connecting to the bigger discussion around women in business, and that's something you can be proud of!

 

Harvey: The 2017 hurricane season wreaked havoc on so many across the U.S. and beyond. It tested us and challenged us to find the GRIT to persevere, even when things were looking bleak. And it reminded us to lend a hand where we could. Pink Petro joined efforts to provide professional clothing to women in need. We worked to give out  Instapots to victims of the storm. And we stayed open — even when it was tempting to shut down and hide from the world — because that’s what you do when things get tough. You stand your ground, rally and fight for a new normal.

 

Suzette ColsonHERWorld Connect:  Sometimes, though, you just need a little help from your friends. At HERWorld Connect in September, that’s what we got. We brought together some amazing women in energy to share stories of resilience — inspirational words when we needed them most. One of our favorites comes from BP’s Suzette Colson: “Through my experiences, I’ve learned life can be very short. You never know what’s going to happen, so there’s a lot of people that plan for the future. I do plan for the future, but not at the expense of the present. We tend to not live in the present, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”  

 

Resilience on the road: In the fall, I got to take the message of resilience on the road, with speaking engagements at Shell in The Hague and in at the Women in Energy conference in Bakersfield, California. I got to tell the sea of women and men in the audience that, when we embrace adversity, we can emerge stronger and more resilient. Resilience is a key skill to the game of work and life.

 

Pink Petro grows: This has been a big year for Pink Petro. We’ve grown 300 percent, despite all the challenges this year has thrown our way, and we’ve grown our team exponentially. Michelle Peavy joined Pink Petro as our Director of ‘Cool’ Careers — running our Experience Energy careers site and offering end-to-end recruiting services to companies looking for diverse talent. Veronica Frantz is now our Director of Membership — basically the engine keeping Pink Petro running, day in and day out. And Mary Johnson is Pink Petro’s new director of content — the one helping us tell the stories of our amazing members, their companies and industry. The hires were strategic, as push toward our overarching mission to bust the gender gap and create a new, inclusive future for energy.  

 

#MeToo: Just, wow. This grassroots movement has taken down some of the biggest names in business and is empowering women across the U.S. and beyond. It’s showing the world the value of an inclusive, transparent culture, and we love it. “We have to build a culture in business and in life that supports speaking up — not just as it relates to harassment and assault but about anything unsafe, unethical or unacceptable,” I wrote in a post on LinkedIn. “Yes, it’s the right thing to do, but also, the survival of our businesses depends on it."

 

Jen WelterHERWorld18 speakers announced: Preparation for HERWorld18 is in full swing, and we’ve already booked two amazing keynotes: Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, and Melody Meyer, a member of the board of BP and AbbVie. Our theme is equally epic: We’re going to be talking about The New Energy Playbook — GRIT, which stands for Growth, Resilience, Innovation and Transition. Get excited, and get registered!

 

HERWorld Celebrate: At the end of a year like this, you’ve got to gather your friends, raise a glass and toast — that you made it through, that you’re beyond blessed and that the future is beyond exciting. That’s what we did on Dec. 7 at our new headquarters, TechSpace Houston. This community came together, shared some professional development insight, got a little silly and shared our collective wins — and as you can tell from this post, there were A LOT.

 

So it turns out 2017 wasn’t such a bad year — and that’s because of you. You energize us and motivate us and inspire us every day. Thank you for that. We hope to repay the favor in 2018.

HERWorld Celebrate2017 was tough — no doubt about it. But it's also been amazing in so many ways. And at Pink Petro, we felt like this community needed a celebration. A toast to the end of one rollercoaster year. 

 

So that's what we did last week at HERWorld Celebrate. This community came together, shared some professional development insight, got a little silly and shared our collective wins: At long last, energy is hiring again. We launched our careers site, Experience Energy, waiting for just such a rebound, and now it's here. Despite a hurricane that wreaked havoc on the energy sector, our founder and many of our members, Pink Petro grew 300 percent in 2017. And we've got a killer year ahead of us, with our first-ever Jumpstart Series focused on the art of presence, connecting and "the ask," and our annual HERWorld Energy Forum.   

 

Check out the video below to see highlights from HERWorld Celebrate. And check out our 2018 calendar of events so you won't miss a thing come the new year! 

 

Fireworks2018 is almost here, and we can't wait for you to see everything we have in store for this community!

 

Read below for a few of the highlights, and click here to start exploring our calendar in full. (You can also download a full 2018 calendar here.) 

 

We are kicking off the year with our first-ever Jumpstart Series. It starts with The Art of the Ask in January, followed by The Art of Presence and The Art of Connecting in February. Learn how to ask for what you want (and get it) and how to maximize your impact and your career potential.  

 

Then in March, it's our biggest event of the year: HERWorld Energy Forum, which takes places on March 8, 2018, International Women's Day. We're hosting a pre-conference workshop plus the main event. Our theme is The New Energy Playbook — GRIT, and we've already got some amazing speakers lined up, including Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, and Melody Meyer, a board member at BP. Learn more here!

 

On top of all that, we've got Coach's Corner, our monthly member's only program on Pink Petro TV featuring career and professional development experts. HERWorld Connect will offer a powerful kickoff to fall, and our partners, including Rice University and KPMG, have a whole host of great events packed with valuable content. 

 

2018 is going to be an incredible year. We hope you'll join us for some or all of what we've got in store! 

https://www.pinkpetro.com/events?date=2018-04-01&view=agendaList

Elizabeth CambreWant proof that women are powerful additions to the technical teams in oil and gas? Meet Elizabeth Cambre.

 

Cambre has worked in technical roles throughout her career, first at Schlumberger in Oman and UAE, and then at Baker Hughes, where her positions spanned from fracturing and acidizing technical instructor to global product line manager.

 

She left Baker Hughes a few months ago and is now strategizing her next move — while she focuses more intently on building up other women in all aspects of energy.

 

“I’m positioned to take a little bit of time to really try to discover my next step and a more meaningful role and also to try to lead this gender diversification,” Cambre says. “Something dramatic needs to change from the top down, where there’s more than an initiative, but a transformation of the corporate thinking.”

 

Cambre got her start in energy right out of college. She studied chemical engineering, with a focus in pharmaceuticals, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. But she lost interest in pharma after working for a pharmaceutical consulting company during her senior year of college. She saw firsthand the amount of time it takes to see a blockbuster medicine through development, clinical trials and into the marketplace.  

 

“For me, I wanted to see more impact and see it sooner,” she explains.

 

Growing up in Colorado, she’d always been familiar with energy companies, and her first interest was to go into renewables — specifically, solar. She also wanted to use the Chinese language skills she’d built up. So she took a job at Schlumberger, and was heading to China.

 

But plans changed, and instead, she was offered the opportunity to go to the Middle East. She took it and headed to Oman as a field engineer for Schlumberger. It was 2008, and Cambre was terrified of losing her job while she was trying to learn everything in the oil industry. But the experience of living and working overseas was life-changing.

 

Elizabeth Cambre in Oman“I lived in a frack caravan in the desert. It was a stressful year, but I got through it. And looking back at it, I learned a lot,” Cambre recalls. “That’s where I really started to see the value that I could bring to oil and gas. I developed a passion for the technology.”

 

Cambre was heavily involved in operations, and introduced Schlumberger’s diversion system for acidizing. She worked on a stimulation vessel and spent her days pulling up to rigs and pumping acid from her boat to the rigs.

 

“It definitely tested me,” she says.

 

From there, she moved to Abu Dhabi and took more of an office role with Schlumberger, with some offshore work designing treatments. But when she turned 30, she decided to move back to the States. She wanted to get married and start a family. She also spotted an opportunity as the Shale boom took off.

 

Cambre moved from Abu Dhabi to Houston and took a job with Baker Hughes as a fracturing and acidizing technical instructor. Three months after her move, she met her husband. Within a year, they were married. Now, they have two daughters: one is 4, the other almost 2.

 

Elizabeth Cambre and familyAs her personal life was growing, so was her career. As a technical instructor, she trained over 200 engineers over the course of two years. She then moved into a global pressure pumping competency role and was asked to take 14,000 employees from a 20 percent competency level to 90 percent within six months.

 

“And we did it,” Cambre says.

 

From there, she was promoted to global product line manager at Baker Hughes, generating $46 million in new product introduction revenue over the past three years.

 

As she began to consider her next career opportunity, Cambre started to notice the difficulties women have advancing in energy.

 

“These females are all highly qualified, very skilled. But they’re just not given the opportunity. And we lose them,” she says. “We have probably 7 percent females in pressure pumping this year.”

 

Cambre is working hard to see progress in this space. While still at Baker Hughes, she was elected to chair the women’s resource group for the company’s satellite facility in Houston. She also reached out to the owner of the Hydraulic Fracturing Journal and asked if he would dedicate an entire issue to female authors. He said yes. She just had to find the authors. 

 

Elizabeth Cambre at workSo she put together a committee that included representatives from Schlumberger, Texas A&M, Halliburton and others, and collected enough abstracts to publish the journal. Now she is putting together a reception on Jan. 22, the night before the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference kicks off, to honor those female authors.

 

While all of this constitutes progress, Cambre sees room for more — much more. She feels strongly that companies need to have a plan in place beyond simply tapping a more diverse pool of talent.

 

“In my mind, it has to be more than an initiative to hire more people. I think that females have to have that sponsorship from a very early time in their career because that sponsorship is what’s holding females from going forward,” Cambre says.

 

That’s part of the reason why Cambre joined Pink Petro. She’s looking to network as she searches for her next opportunity, but she also wants to stay on the frontlines of the conversation around gender diversity in energy.

 

“For me, I see Pink Petro as just a remarkable organization, especially with all the tools that I’ve already identified and taken advantage of,” Cambre says. “I know I’m hungry for it, and I’m sure others are, too.”

1. Iraq and Iran set up a one-year oil swap.

 

Iraq and Iran agreed to a mutually beneficial deal for the next year until they can build a pipeline and negotiate a longer-term deal.  Iraq’s Oil Minister, Jabbar al Luaibi told media that the deal is finalized and in effect, but can be renegotiated at any time.  The deal entails swapping up to 60,000 bpd of crude oil, with the Iraqi oil coming from the Kirkuk field in northern Iraq, and Iran supplying the same amount of similar grade oil to Iraq’s southern ports. 

 

Until recently, the Kirkuk region was under the effective control of the Kurdistan Regional Government, but Baghdad rejected, their independence referendum and retook control of the oil fields a short time ago.   

 

2. GlassPoint Solar and Aera Energy are teaming up on a large solar steam and power installation in the San Joaquin Valley.

 

Set to be California’s largest solar farm, the 26.5-megawatt photovoltaic array and 850 megawatts-thermal solar collectors are slated to come on-line in 2020.  Aera observed GlassPoint for years after attending the 2011 launch of a pilot plant at the Berry Petroleum Company field, also in Kern County. But GlassPoint’s COO and acting CEO, Ben Bierman, said “the stars aligned” recently to make this project viable for Aera.

 

“At first it didn’t make economic sense to deploy solar at our operations,” said Aera CEO Christina Sistrunk. “But over the years GlassPoint has made advancements in their technology to reduce costs and has proven the viability of their solar technology in Oman.”

 

3. U.S. oil production continues to increase, putting pressure on OPEC and oil prices.

 

As of last Friday, the U.S. rig count for this week is up by two to for new oil in the United States to 751, the highest since September, according to Baker Hughes.

 

A higher rig count points to a further rise in U.S. crude production, which is already up more than 15 percent since mid-2016 at 9.71 million barrels per day. This is putting the pressure on OPEC countries that just agreed to extend cuts into 2018 as an attempt to keep prices up.  But the pressure is on because U.S. production is the highest it’s been since the early 1970s, and close to the output levels of top producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

At a recent local WIOG (Women in Oil and Gas) gathering I listened as a panel of four industry diversity champions called for quotas in the industry. While that news was welcomed, it was very disappointing to hear why they were calling for quotas.

 

Despite all the efforts by gender diversity champions within the industry, the reality they all admitted was that there are LESS women working in O & G now than there were 10 years ago.

 

While the companies are doing well at recruiting women in their graduate programs there is an entire demographic of women that are being ignored – the already experienced ones who have worked in the industry, taken a career hiatus to start a family, and then tried to get back into the workforce.

 

Older women who already have prior experience in the industry have more people skills, more experience in workplace safety culture, and a broad range of life skill sets beyond just their professional vocational skills than any graduate, yet they are largely being ignored. If the person doesn’t have just one particular skill then mentor and teach them that skill instead of wasting all their other experience, which they could also be mentoring to other younger workers.

 

There are two main reasons why the statistics are revealing an overall decline in the numbers of women employed in the O & G industry, despite attempts to increase the ranks at the graduate level. These are:

 

1. Thinking you can improve the numbers by introducing quotas only in the graduate programs

 

While companies are boasting about having equal numbers of males and females in their graduate recruitment programs they ignore the fact that after about 10 years many of these females would have left the workforce to start a family. Where does this then leave the “pipeline”? Exactly where we are now, as explained in the WIOG discussion.

 

You can’t just employ 50% female graduates and expect that the numbers will stay at 50% for the lifetime of the company. It’s not that easy. Life gets in the way – and it gets in the way a hell of a lot more for women than it does for men. And lets not forget that each yearly graduate intake accounts for only a very small fraction of the entire workforce within the company. The highest percentage of workers will be employed later in their career so the pipeline needs to be filled along the entire length of it, not just at the start of it.

 

Most graduates are hired with zero practical skills and experience because the companies know they have the knowledge to be able to learn the skills needed very quickly. Why should older and much more experienced women be treated differently??

 

2 . The operating companies don’t include numbers of external workers in their diversity metrics

 

From a workforce perspective, commonly the external workers represents between 30% and 50% of the total direct workforce of large oil and gas companies. And these percentages are likely to grow after each subsequent downturn when large numbers of workers are retrenched but will only be open to opportunities to return to the workforce as contractors because companies are reluctant to put on salary staff again.

 

When the vast majority of upstream workers in their projects are most likely contractors (third party contractors and service providers) these numbers are totally ignored in company statistics - even though it’s the operating companies who directly employ them. The body shops can put forward female workers CV’s but they are ultimately not the ones who employ them on the projects. Only when operating companies recognise that diversity of ALL workers under their control are their responsibility will there be full accountability.

 

As the resource sector continues to turn to an ever-increasing contract labor force, the overall statistics of women working in the industry will continue to decline if this portion of the workforce is ignored and not included in the company metrics. The operating companies are ultimately the ones responsible for procuring the labor, not the service provider companies. The service providers only provide the people the companies specifically ask for. And believe me, these days they are VERY specific. Unfortunately though it’s obviously not in a gender diverse sort of a way because they know they don’t have to show accountability for these workers.

 

As I’ve already mentioned, a high percentage of women will temporarily leave the workforce to start a family and the chances are if they return, they will only be able to find employment as a contract worker. And there the cycle of unaccountability continues. Contract staff doesn’t get a look-in when the gender metrics are reported. There goes the “pipeline”!

 

Conclusion

 

While big corporates continue to deflect responsibility for contract workers, there will be no overall change in the numbers of females in the industry because they will slip through the cracks of accountability. More women need to be employed in both salary and contract positions and those with any experience should be mentored and trained to fill positions that are well within their capabilities, given adequate training.

 

There is a huge untapped resource of highly educated female workers eager to get back into the workforce after having a family but they aren’t given the chance to further develop their skills. It’s time the industry leaders stop the myopic stand they are taking and start employing women over ALL of their operations. It’s time to stop the rhetoric and start REALLY doing something.

 

It’s probably a good time to stop and reflect on the dictionary meaning of rhetoric:

 

rhetoric

ˈrɛtərɪk/

noun

  • language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

 

 

 

Yes, rhetoric is definitely the right word to use to explain what we are hearing from the big operators. And the panel of four people who admitted the poor numbers of women employed in the industry worldwide were all diversity champions from multinational oil and gas companies. Come on guys…stop playing political games and start putting your money where your rhetoric is.

Linda IbrahimWhen it comes to professional development, Linda Ibrahim believes in two things above all else: the importance of education and the power of mentorship.

 

The vice president of tax and government compliance for Vantage Drilling, a global offshore drilling contractor, Ibrahim was the first in her family to earn a college degree — something she pursued with vigor once she realized that hard work alone wasn’t going to be enough.

 

“I had firsthand knowledge of hard-working people struggling to get by, paycheck to paycheck, and not being able to enjoy much comfort,” Ibrahim (pictured at left) recalls. But hard work coupled with a good education seemed to be the perfect recipe.”

 

For Ibrahim, that education gave her the accounting degree that would launch her professional career. It also introduced her to the concept of mentorship — something that has propelled her further than she ever could have gone on her own.

 

In fact, her belief in mentorship is so strong that Ibrahim recently convinced Vantage Drilling to make a matching donation to Lean In Energy, the global mentorship community Pink Petro has created in partnership with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization. That donation officially completed the 2017 and launched the 2018 fundraising campaigns to raise $100,000 for Lean In Energy.

 

Ibrahim’s commitment to mentorship runs deep. Since 2000, she’s served as a volunteer with Junior Achievement, a nonprofit committed to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. And she firmly believes that the best advice you can give to young professionals is to seek out mentors and listen to them — even when they’re critical.

 

“A mentor does not always take your side. Sometimes they have to be impartial and point out when you’re going down the wrong path. It is very important to listen to people you trust and respect, especially when they’re critical of you. Constructive criticism is necessary for continual growth,” Ibrahim says. “Be thankful when someone has the courage to tell you when you’re wrong; these individuals care enough about you to make you better.”

 

That desire to constantly learn and grow in her career is part of what drew her to join Vantage Drilling after a career in tax and accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston, where most of her clients were in the oil and gas industry.

 

“The company encourages its employees to get involved in other areas outside of their direct responsibilities,” Ibrahim explains. “For me, this environment is an abundant learning ground.”

 

Plus, since Vantage is relatively young and small, it relies on key personnel to fill multiple roles. That means Ibrahim’s responsibilities extend far beyond those typically associated with a corporate tax department.

 

“As part of my governmental compliance role, I ensure that the different laws — e.g. labor law, immigration law, corporate law, customs laws and tax law — are aligned. As you can imagine, every statute is distinct and the rules don’t necessarily align seamlessly,” Ibrahim says. “Therefore, much of what I do day to day is align the company’s operations in a manner that is as efficient and as compliant as possible.”

 

And every so often, she gets to do something completely out of her comfort zone — like this summer, when she visited a working offshore drilling rig for the first time in her career.

 

“The experience was full of firsts for me as I have a fear of water and heights,” Ibrahim explains. “There were multiple times when my fear was significant and I wanted to give up. I motivated myself to push through because, when I volunteered for the opportunity, I wanted to experience the challenges faced by our rig crews, and to me, it was important that I demonstrate the willingness of a ‘corporate office’ employee to experience the difficult environment that the crews face every day.”

 

In her philanthropic work with Junior Achievement, Ibrahim works to prepare the next generation of leaders for a career full of challenges, excitement and opportunity — no matter what they want to pursue.

 

“I believe in education, and I know that many children grow up in homes where education is either not valued or is a struggle. Teaching through Junior Achievement makes me recognize the educational disadvantages that many children face, and it is gratifying to know that I can help by inspiring children to learn and have hope.”

 

We’re very grateful that commitment to inspiration and education has now extended to Lean In Energy. Women are poised to take on a powerful role in the future of energy, and Lean In Energy was created to support those women. As Ibrahim has experienced firsthand, the energy industry can be a wonderful place to build a successful and rewarding career.

 

Ibrahim also believes in taking ownership of that career — and keeping a positive attitude no matter what comes your way.

 

“Don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunities that you want. Don’t assume that doing a good job is sufficient. Ask for those interesting and challenging projects, volunteer for special assignments, request candid feedback and take corrective action,” she says. “Your career is your responsibility, and it is about you.”

1. New Senate tax bill would allow oil drilling in Alaskan wilderness.

 

As part of the Senate’s new tax bill, a refuge that has been closed since 1980 will finally be opened up for oil drilling.   The bill barely passed, mainly divided along party lines.  The vote ended at 51-49, with only one Republican voting against it.

 

Alaskan Senators seemed happy with the outcome.  Senator Murkowski, a Republican, praised the measure hours after the Senate approved its version of the GOP tax plan early Saturday. "Today's historic vote is yet another milestone in bringing us that much closer to realizing a decades-long dream of opening the 1002 area of ANWR," she said.

 

Environmentalists, on the other hand, aren’t as pleased.  Multiple environmentalist groups are calling for the reserve to remain a non-drilling zone for fear it would harm the natural habitat.

 

Senator, Dan Sullivan, sympathized with these groups but also argued in favor of developing the 1002 area saying, “we must use the best available technology, and ensure the protection of our incredible species."

 

2. OPEC and Russia agree to extend oil cuts through the end of 2018.

 

In Vienna on Thursday, OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 as they continue their efforts to clear the global glut of crude oil.  However, they did leave room for an early exit from the deal if the market recovers faster than expected.

 

OPEC also agreed to cap the combined output of Nigeria and Libya at 2017 levels below 2.8 million bpd. Both countries have previously been exempt from cuts due to unrest and lower-than-normal production.

 

3. Oil prices are down, and rigs are up.

 

Oil prices are down today after U.S. shale drillers added more rigs last week, but prices didn’t plummet thanks to the OPEC meeting and agreement to extend cuts.  Drillers in the United States added two oil rigs in the week to Dec. 1, bringing the total count up to 749.  According to Baker Hughes, this is the highest rig count since September of this year.  U.S. West Texas Intermediate CLc1 was down 46 cents, or 0.8%, at $57.90 a barrel early this morning.  Brent futures LCOc1 were down 39 cents, or 0.6%, at $63.34 a barrel.