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2018

 

computer and coffeeHave you noticed that one of the new buzzwords is “storytelling”?

 

It seems every time you turn around someone is talking about the power of story. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Stories make people feel. To quote the late, great Maya Angelou, one of the most gifted storytellers of all time, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." 

 

Think fast. What do you remember about the last speech or presentation you saw? Was it those sexy statistics that made your eyes glaze over? Or was it the speech that began with something like “I grew up on the south side of Chicago at exactly the right moment in history".

 

I know what you’re thinking.  I work in the energy industry and who cares where I grew up!  Furthermore, for as long as I can remember, the mantra has been “don’t talk about what you do.” The problem with that is, it leaves the door wide open for someone else to frame your story.  Wouldn’t it be better for you to frame it yourself, to own your story — to speak with confidence and pride about what you do, why you do it and how it helps power our world?

 

In this digital age of social media, instant news and yes, “fake news”, the industry is slowly coming to the realization that it must tell its own story, and you are a critical part of that  Pink Petro is all about changing the energy narrative and HERWorld18 is kicking off with a workshop to help you do just that.  

 

All you have to do is sign up (you can do that here) and join us on March 7, from noon - 4 p.m., the day before HERWorld. This will be an opportunity to brainstorm an upcoming presentation, dissect a prior speaking gig or prepare for the next time you get a chance to tell your story. We'll ask you to do a bit of homework before you arrive, and after we feed you, we’ll get down to business — the business of telling your energy story in a way it’s never been told before.

 

Space is limited — register today!

 

More about Linda Lorelle: Linda is best known as a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist who anchored the evening news for nearly 17 years at Houston’s NBC affiliate, KPRC-TV. Linda is also a two-time winner of the prestigious national Gracie Award, given by the American Women in Radio and Television, as well as numerous other local and national awards. As CEO & Executive Producer of Lorelle Media, Linda now uses her storytelling skills to help clients define and own their stories through compelling video production and presentation coaching.She is also a highly sought keynote speaker, panel moderator and emcee.

 

1. Oil settles lower and the dollar is up.

 

Oil prices settled lower today, pushed down by the strengthening dollar and increasing US crude output.  But even with the slump, prices are still on track for the biggest January increase in five years.

 

Brent crude futures for March delivery dropped to $1.06 to $69.46 a barrel.

 

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped $0.58 to close at $65.56 a barrel.

 

The oil rally has been bolstered by the US dollar's six-week slide.  We’ll see if this is just a hiccup, or if the trend continues. The US dollar is estimated to fall 3% this month. Oil is priced in US dollars, so a falling dollar can boost demand for crude from buyers using other currencies.

 

2. Tesla looking to invest in Chile as a way to stay ahead in the Lithium battle.

 

The Financial Times is reporting that Tesla may be interested in investing in a processing plant in Chile—one of the top-producing lithium countries in the world.  Tesla is looking to ramp up production of its Model 3, which is way behind initial construction and delivery schedules.

 

Lithium prices have been increasing as demand for batteries continues to go through the roof, and nearly every legacy automaker has announced plans to roll out electric vehicles in the coming years.  Tesla is under the gun to get their cars out fast and at an affordable price for the public!

 

3. Iraq plans to comply with OPEC cuts despite efforts to increase its oil export capacity.

 

Even though Iraq has been ramping up its oil export capacity, their Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi said at a conference in London that they still plan to comply with the OPEC production cuts pact in which Iraq agreed to cut 210,000 bpd off its October 2016 level and cap production at 4.351 million bpd.

1. Recent International Energy Agency report predicts U.S. is on track to take the number two spot.

 

According to a report released by the International Energy Agency on Friday, the United States is on track to overtake Saudi Arabia as the second-largest oil producer in the world, behind Russia.

 

The IEA wrote, "This year promises to be a record-setting one for the US.  Relentless growth should see the US hit historic highs above 10 million barrels per day, overtaking Saudi Arabia and rivaling Russia during the course of 2018 – provided OPEC/non-OPEC restraints remain in place.”

 

They then added, "Explosive growth in the US and substantial gains in Canada and Brazil will far outweigh potentially steep declines in Venezuela and Mexico. The big 2018 supply story is unfolding fast in the Americas.”

 

2. RFS comes under attack as major East Coast refinery files bankruptcy. 

 

The parent company of Philadelphia Energy Solutions announced it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to restructure more than $100 million in existing debt and still continue operations.  They blamed the Renewable Fuels Standard for the financial struggles. 

 

Greg Gatta, CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC said in his statement, “In order to complete this process without delay, we will continue to work with the government to address the broken RFS system that is harming smaller, independent merchant refiners like PES. This is a win for the region, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia,”

 

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also chimed in, “I am pleased PES is able to remain operational during this process and retain its workforce for now; however, the mechanism for enforcing the RFS is the primary cause for this bankruptcy filing and it must be fixed,"

 

He continued, "I’ve had extensive conversations with PES management, senior EPA officials, my Senate colleagues, and directly with President Trump in an effort to resolve this situation. I will remain engaged until we find an acceptable solution.”

 

3. Saudi Arabia continues its efforts to develop their solar grid and even become an exporter to neighbors.

 

Saudi Arabia is taking steps to diversify their energy portfolio.  With extremely high solar insolation, they are slowly realizing that it's a lot cheaper to power their grids with solar energy than domestically produced oil, which could be sold overseas.

 

In 2017, Saudi Arabia began exploring the renewable energy business with small solar and wind projects. But, in 2018 The Saudis are planning a more serious investment in solar with 3.25 GW of tenders expected along with another 800 MW of tenders for wind energy. By 2023, Saudi Arabia plans to have 9.5 GW of renewable energy capacity and hopes to be exporting electricity from wind and solar to neighboring countries.

MicrophoneWho's stepping up to the mic? 

 

That's what you really want to know, right?. HERWorld Energy Forum is just a few short weeks away. You're getting registered. You're nominating your colleagues, friends and mentors for our first-ever GRIT awards. And you're getting excited. But the curiosity is taking hold: Who can you expect to see at HERWorld18

 

We've already told you about our keynote speakers: Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL; Melody Meyer, a board member of NOV, BP and AbbVie and 37-year veteran of Chevron; Pratima Rangarajan, the CEO of OGCI Climate Investments; and Kate Sherwood, the senior director of grid modernization for 3M. They are amazing women, and we can't wait to hear them live. 

 

Now we have even more speakers who are joining the jam-packed agenda for HERWorld. You can meet some of them below, and we will continue to update this post as more join in! 

 

 

Galina Antova cartoonGalina Antova — Co-Founder & Chief Business Development Officer, Claroty 

Galina Antova is the co-founder and chief business development officer at Claroty. Prior to co-founding the company, she was the Global Head of Industrial Security Services at Siemens overseeing the development of its portfolio of services that protect industrial customers against cyber attacks. While at Siemens, she was also responsible for leading the Cyber Security Practice and the Cyber Security Operations Center providing managed security services for industrial control systems operators. Previously, Galina was with IBM in Canada in various roles in the Provisioning and Cloud Solutions business. She holds a BS in Computer Science from York University in Toronto, and an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

 

John Baffes cartoonJohn Baffes — Senior Economist, World Bank

John Baffes is a Senior Economist with the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group. He is currently managing the Commodity Markets Outlook, a World Bank quarterly publication focusing on commodity market analysis and price forecasts. John has worked in several units within the World Bank, including Latin America, South Asia, East Africa, evaluation and research. He has published numerous chapters and articles in various academic journals in the areas of economic development, agricultural economics, resource economics, and applied econometrics. John is also teaching an executive MBA course on Applied Econometrics for Commodity Markets. 

 

 

Carol Battershell cartoonCarol Battershell — Principal Deputy Director, Office of Policy, U.S. Department of Energy

Carol is one of the Department of Energy's most senior executives and works closely with members of the Secretary of Energy and Under Secretaries Offices. With the Department of Energy, Carol led multibillion-dollar technical programs; ran the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy field operations office, which at its peak was responsible for approximately $7 billion of grants, research and construction; and was a key contributor on two multi-agency energy policy reviews. Prior to the Department of Energy, Carol worked for 25 years for BP, where she held roles in operations management, strategy development, financial management and policy development.

 

 

Aimee Blaine cartoonAimee P. Blaine — Senior Vice President, Technical, Aera Energy

Aimee leads the engineering, geoscience, and land teams at Aera Energy focused on leveraging and integrating technology across all field assets. Prior to this position, Aimee served as vice president of engineering for the Belridge Asset, the fifth largest oilfield in the nation. She was responsible for reservoir development and recovery optimization and led Aera’s Development Design and Implementation Teams and Centers of Process Excellence. Aimee joined Aera in 2000 as a Reservoir Engineer for the Midway Sunset Field.  She later led Aera’s Belridge and West Coast reservoir teams as manager of technology. 

 

 

Andrew Bruce cartoonAndrew Bruce — CEO, Data Gumbo

Andrew is CEO of Data Gumbo. For busy executives tasked with making / saving the company 100s of millions of dollars Data Gumbo adds your company to an Industrial Blockchain which results in the company being more profitable and you being recognized as an industry leader. Prior to Data Gumbo Mr Bruce was COO for MHWirth responsible for global operations. Bruce was founder of the NOVOS project at NOV.  Mr Bruce holds a patent jointly on Rig Automation. Andrew earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is a member of IADC and SPE.

     

 

Luke Clemente cartoonLuke Clemente — energy veteran-turned-entrepreneur 

Luke's corporate career spans 25 years in management of industrial businesses, which began at Enron Energy Services, prior to his joining GE Power Systems in 1998. In 2001, Luke transferred to GE Transportation as the general manager of business development. In 2003, he was named president of GE Transportation-China, based in Beijing. In 2006, Luke became the general manager of GE Energy’s control solutions business, where he executed a successful turnaround strategy focused on profitable growth. In 2009, Luke joined GE’s electrical transmission and distribution business as the Smart Grid general manager, where he became a consummate customer advocate and change agent for the industry. 

 

Angie Gildea cartoon

 

 

Angie Gildea — Principal, Energy and Natural Resources Advisory Practice, KPMG

Angie is a Principal in KPMG’s Energy and Natural Resources Advisory practice and serves as a Global Lead Client Partner for a Fortune 20 client and the Americas lead for KPMG’s Global Energy leadership team. Angie has 20 years of diverse management consulting experience and specializes in transformation programs related to disruptive and emerging technologies facing multinational clients in the Energy sector. She has extensive experience working with field operations and petrotechnical functions, and has been a frequent guest speaker on the topics related to digital oilfield, corporate strategy, talent management, and emerging technologies. Angie holds a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University. A mother of two young children, she resides in Houston, TX with her family.

 

 

 

Lisa Hamel cartoonLisa Hamel — Senior Staff Landman, Anadarko Petroleum

Lisa Hamil, CPL, has over 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry in both land and land administration. Having worked in the DJ Basin for more than 14 years, she has witnessed the rapid change in technology and the impact those changes have had on landowners and the surrounding communities. Lisa is the founder and partner in Energy360.us, a nonprofit deigned to educate consumers about all forms of energy using an unbiased and well-researched approach. She currently teaches the “Life Cycle of Oil and Natural Gas” Certificate Program through the Global Energy Management Program at the University of Colorado at Denver.  

 

 

Colette Honorable cartoonColette Honorable — Partner, Reed Smith

Colette is a member of Reed Smith’s Energy and Natural Resources Group resident in the Washington, D.C., office. Colette recently served as commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2014 for a term that expired in June 2017. Colette joined the FERC from the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC), where she served since October 2007, and led as chairman from 2011 to 2015. As chairman, Colette oversaw an agency with jurisdiction over 450 utilities and approximate annual revenues of $5 billion.

 

 

Holly Hanbury-Brown cartoonHolly Hanbury-Brown, marketing specialist, Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas 

Holly leads marketing and communications for Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, a Daimler company providing solutions to support the transition to e-mobility. Previously with Green Charge, she was responsible for marketing energy storage systems for demand charge management to commercial and industrial customers. With a degree in Communications from Santa Clara University, Holly is passionate about empowering others to create a sustainable energy future.

 

 

 

 

Danielle Hunter cartoonDanielle Hunter — EVP, GC, chief risk & compliance officer, corporate secretary, C&J Energy Services

Danielle leads a team of 12 other professionals with responsibility for providing critical guidance on the legal, risk and compliance aspects of the business, balancing the dual imperatives of company performance and corporate integrity. Danielle also helps lead C&J’s internal and external communication activities and steer the organization’s employee engagement and development initiatives. Prior to joining C&J, Danielle practiced corporate / transactional law at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., representing public and private companies and investment banking firms, primarily in the oil and gas industry. 

 

Claire Johnson cartoon

 

Claire Johnson — president, CBJ Energy

Claire is a senior operations executive with a proven track record in creating and managing successful businesses and products and driving operations in the clean energy space including founding SunEdison in 2003.  She is currently President of CBJ Energy, a financing, operations, and business development energy solutions firm.   At Department of Energy, she guided the deployment of $11 billion in economic stimulus funds for clean energy while championing policies to expand the impact of public investment through public-private partnerships.

 

 

Deanna Jones cartoonDeanna Jones — VP of human resources and administrative services, Marathon Oil

Deanna joined Marathon Oil in January 2014. She most recently served as vice president of human resources and chief commercial officer for Newfield Exploration Co. Prior to that, from 2008 until 2010, she served as Human Resource director, Reservoir Production Group of Schlumberger. Between 2006 and 2008, Deanna held the position of vice president, North America for Schlumberger Information Solutions and was responsible for leading software, information and the company’s related infrastructure organization in the U.S. From 2003 to 2006, she served as vice president of Personnel for Schlumberger Information Solutions, and was responsible for leading all human resource-related activities for Schlumberger's world-wide workforce.

 

 

Jeannette Jones cartoonJeannette Jones, engineering manager, Noble Midstream

Jeannette has been in the oil and gas industry for 28 years.  Her career has included engineering, compliance & integrity, acquisitions & mergers, planning, and management to senior leadership roles.  Her current role is Engineering Manager for Noble Midstream where she is responsible for large capital project work. She’s been a strong advocate for the industry to ensure pipelines and communities coexist safely and recently participated in the COGCC flowline rule-making efforts. Jeannette has BS degree in Chemical and Petroleum Refining from Colorado School of Mines. She has been a nominee in Denver’s Top Women in Business, Top Women in Energy, and Who’s Who in Energy.

 

 

Ana Kopf cartoon

 

Ana Kopf — Manager, Supplier Diversity & Diversity Outreach, Shell

Ana joined Shell Exploration & Production as a Human Resources Analyst in 1993. In 1999, Ana transferred to Equiva Services LLC, where she helped develop HR policies and programs. Ana moved to Southern California as the HR Manager of the Shell Los Angeles Refinery in 2003. In January 2006, Ana moved to The Netherlands to become the HR Manager, Standards & Delivery, and later the Vice President HR Standards & Compliance. Ana returned to Houston in August 2011 as the Regional Recruitment Manager for the Americas. Most recently, Ana served as the HR Project Manager for the Shell-Motiva Separation. She led HR work streams in the successful Integration of 1800 employees to Shell and Separation of 2200 employees to Motiva and was the HR Integration Lead on the Business/Function Project team.

 

 

Colleen Layman cartoonColleen Layman — SVP & Director of Professional Engineering Services, HDR

In Colleen's role with HDR, she directs the engineering activities and technical staff for industrial client projects, including managing the QA/QC and risk assessment processes. Prior to joining HDR in 2012, Colleen spent nearly 20  years working for various engineering, procurement, and construction firms involved in the engineering design, construction, commissioning, and operation of power generating facilities around the world. Colleen served on the Society of Women Engineers Board of Directors for four years, including a term as Society President and is currently is a member of the International Society of Automation’s (ISA) Executive Board. 

 

 

Dawn Lima cartoonDawn Lima — Director of Subsurface and Development, Bonanza Creek

An engineer with 20 years of experience in the Oil & Gas industry, Dawn graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada as an Airforce Officer and began her engineering career in Alberta, Canada.  Before her U.S. assignment, she worked overseas in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and West Africa. Dawn joined Noble Energy in 2011 as an Operations Engineer for the DJ Basin.  In 2013, she joined Bonanza Creek as a Production Engineer and is currently the Director of Subsurface and Development. 

 

 

Dena Lund cartoonDena Lund — EVP of Operations & Engineering, Sterling Energy

Dena serves is responsible for all operations and maintenance team management and regulatory efforts at Sterling Energy. She heads the Safety Committee and leads all engineering and construction efforts working with business development to meet customer needs. Prior to joining Sterling Energy, Dena served as the Director of Natural Gas Economy Operations at Encana Natural Gas Inc., where she was responsible for marketing, business development, engineering, sales, contract management and operations in both the U.S. and Canada. In 2016 she was named one of Denver Business Journal’s Top Women in Energy.

 

Shelley McCain cartoonShelley McCain — Business Development Manager, Shell New Energies

Shelley is responsible for finding and investing in integrated renewable energy plays across North America, the Caribbean and the Southern Cone in Latin America. Prior to this role, Shelley helped grow the renewable energy business for Shell’s energy trading and marketing arm, Shell Energy North America. Shelley has spent almost two decades in the energy industry and has held a variety of roles in strategy, finance, marketing and business development. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA in Global Energy Management. 

 

 

Brian McShane cartoonBrian McShane — senior vice president, INTECSEA Americas

At INTECSEA, Brian is responsible for all consultancy, engineering and execution support services associated with floating hulls, subsea and pipeline systems. He has over 25 years of experience in engineering, construction and project management of subsea, pipelines and field developments within the oil and gas industry. Brian also has extensive experience in leading engineering and project execution programs for various offshore project developments and environments including Deepwater, Arctic, environmentally sensitive, remote and technically challenging arenas. 

 

 

Tyra Metoyer cartoonTyra M. Metoyer — manager of external mobilization, API

As the manager of external mobilization for the American Petroleum Institute, Tyra leads the Energy Nation program, which is an education and mobilization program for employees of the oil and natural gas industry; workforce of the future, STEM, and education initiatives, as well as outreach to non-traditional allies. Tyra has worked in oil and gas, higher education, nonprofits, and for a range of clients as an independent consultant for more than 12 years. Prior to working as a consultant, Tyra was the director of communications at the Texas A&M University System and director of university relations at Prairie View A&M University, where she managed communications, media relations, web content, marketing and brand activities. 

 

 

Marie Mouchet cartoonMarie Mouchet — CIO, Colonial Pipeline 

Marie is the CIO of Colonial Pipeline, which consists of more than 5500 miles of underground pipe and above-ground storage tanks and pump stations that transport refined petroleum products across 13 states. Prior to joining Colonial Pipeline, Marie was the VP & CIO of Southern Company Operations and Southern Nuclear.  At Southern Company, Marie established a dedicated team focused on cyber security to protect and mitigate security risk for Southern Companies’ generation and transmission assets.  Leveraging her expertise in cyber security, Marie is creating a Security & Information Governance Team at Colonial Pipeline. She is recognized in the energy industry for her technology leadership, cyber security expertise, and overall business executive experience.

 

 

Laura Noble cartoon

 

Laura Noble — managing partner, The Noble Law Firm 

Laura is managing partner of The Noble Law Firm, a firm that has represented thousands of employment law and sexual harassment cases. Laura created The Noble Law Firm in 2009, with the goal of providing exceptional employment law representation to individuals and companies. She is a former New York City prosecutor and workplace incident investigator with over 20 years of diverse legal experience including civil litigation, negotiation, counseling and consulting. And she is an advocate for updating federal and state laws regarding sexual harassment to be defined for modern times.

 

 

Meghan Nutting cartoonMeghan Nutting — VP of Policy & Government Affairs, Sunnova Energy Corporation

In Meghan's role at Sunnova Energy Corporation, a leading U.S. residential solar provider, she works closely with company and industry leaders, nonprofits, state and federal policymakers, and regulators to craft and implement policies that provide a more stable, sustainable business environment for solar electricity generation. Prior to working at Sunnova, she served as the Director of Policy and Electricity Markets at SolarCity for nearly five years. Before that, Nutting worked as a legislative director for New York State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, and as a press secretary for former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. 

 

 

 

 

Marvin Odom cartoonMarvin Odom — Chief Recovery Officer, City of Houston

Marvin was appointed to his role by Mayor Sylvester Turner in September 2017 after the historic damage Houston suffered as a result of Hurricane Harvey. In announcing his appointment, Mayor Turner asked Odum to make bold recommendations and “get us out of our comfort zone.” Odum is retired chairman and president of Shell Oil Company and executive committee member of Royal Dutch Shell. Odum directed a broad portfolio, from traditional oil and gas development to emerging technologies in a wide range of areas, including heavy oil, onshore gas, light tight oil, deepwater, wind and biofuels. He was also CEO of InterGen, a global power development and generation company earlier in his career.

 

 

Cindy Patman cartoonCindy Patman — USA VP of HR, Orica 

In her role, Cindy is responsible for the strategic direction of the Human Resources function for Orica, a global company explosives company based in Melbourne, Australia. Formerly Halliburton’s Senior Director of Corporate Affairs and Diversity Initiatives, she was responsible for providing strategic direction for the Corporate Internal Communications, Community Relations teams, and for leading company-wide efforts to increase diverse hiring and promote inclusion throughout the company. She also managed the President’s Leadership Excellence Program (PLEP) and Business Leadership Development programs for Halliburton’s high potential talent and served as Vice President of the Halliburton Foundation. 

 

 

John Reed cartoon

John Reed, managing principal, Quinn Reed Associates 

John has been a Managing Principal since 2005 at Quinn Reed Associates. He is designated as a Master Executive Coach by Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching, a Master Corporate Executive Coach by the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches and a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation. He has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, an AB from Dartmouth College and, as an organizational psychologist, a PhD from the University of Georgia. A U.S. Navy veteran, he previously worked in the strategy practice of Accenture and the public-sector practice of CGI. 

 

 

Tauseef Salma cartoonTauseef Salma — VP of Global Chemicals, Baker Hughes

Tauseef has over 20 years of experience in leading multi-disciplinary teams in upstream sector of oilfield. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University, Houston, Texas. She is a member of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). She has served on the Advisory Board of Rice University for Professional Science Masters and Energy Advisory Board University of Houston. She has served for over five years in leadership roles in two nonprofit organizations, dedicated to education of children and professional mentoring and development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allison Lami Sawyer cartoonAllison Lami Sawyer, CEO & co-founder, Rebellion Photonics

Allison is the CEO/Co-founder of Rebellion Photonics, which has the world’s only Gas Cloud Imaging cameras that see and quantify gas leaks before they cause explosions or unnecessary emissions on oil rigs, refineries, pipelines, and chemical plants. Sawyer has a BSc in Engineering Physics from the University of Colorado – Boulder, a Masters in Nanotechnology from the University of Leeds, and a MBA in Finance from Rice University. She was named to the Forbes and Inc. Magazine ’30 under 30’. Sawyer and Dr. Robert Kester founded Rebellion Photonics in 2010. Rebellion won a R&D100 in 2012 and was named ‘Start-up of the Year’ in 2013. The company has raised $10.4M in private equity funding and over $5.5M in government grants.

 

 

Kate Sherwood cartoonKate Sherwood — Senior Director, Grid Modernization, 3M

Kate is the senior director of grid modernization at 3M, where she leads the team enabling customers in the energy market to improve their operations, through the implementation of data-enhanced products and solutions. Ms. Sherwood previously spent over a decade in the solar and energy storage industries, where she held leadership roles and built new businesses with Advanced Microgrid Solutions, SolarCity, Recurrent Energy, and SunPower. Prior to solar, she spent over a decade in finance, marketing, and strategy consulting with the U.S. Department of Justice, Sun Microsystems, and Accenture. Ms. Sherwood holds a MBA from The Wharton School and a BS cum laude from George Mason University.

 

 

Anna Thauberger cartoonAnna Thauberger — Construction Category Manager, Xcel Energy

Anna has worked in the field of Supply Chain Management for over 18 years. She specializes in developing complex sourcing strategies for a myriad of commodities and services.  She has worked in the power generation, airline and oil and gas industries. She has previously worked at Marathon Oil, Apache, Linn Energy, Bonanza Creek and is currently the Construction Category Manager at Xcel Energy.  Anna is originally from Saskatchewan, Canada and moved to Denver from Houston in 2011. Anna holds a Bachelor of Administration in International Business from the University of Regina in Canada.  Anna currently serves as the Secretary on the Executive Board of Directors at the Women in Oil and Gas Association of Colorado.  She is passionate about advancing the interests of women in the workplace and she is thrilled to be involved in HERWorld18! 

 

 

Emma Wild cartoonEmma Wild — Head of the Upstream Practice, KPMG UK 

Emma leads the Upstream Practice in the KPMG UK firm, with over 20 years of international experience within the oil and gas sector, as well as financial services. Prior to KPMG, she gained industry experience through various senior technical and commercial roles at Santos, RISC ltd, and Bank of Scotland.  Emma graduated from the University of Adelaide with an honors degree in Chemical Engineering and has lived and worked in the U.K, Australia, and the U.S.A.  She is passionate about gender diversity and draws upon her personal experiences to support the development of future female leaders in the sector.

Melody Meyer Indonesia WEF talk When you ask Melody Meyer, a 37-year veteran of Chevron, what excites her about energy, her mind immediately goes back in time — to when she led the startup of the company’s project in Kazakhstan.

 

She was the manager of engineering for the project and ran a large department. And she decided to host a big town hall. A lot of Kazakh and Russia women — engineers who’d never worked in engineering before Chevron came to the country — came to the event. And they looked at Melody in awe.

 

“They said, ‘Can we do what you do in Chevron, now that we’re part of Chevron?’” Melody recalls. “I was 35, and it was the first time I realized women need role models and women need to help other women. It was from that moment on that I focused on helping other women.”

 

Melody will be one of our keynote speakers for HERWorld Energy Forum on March 8 (register today to attend live or online!), so we sat down with her to talk about her career and perspective as a powerful woman in energy. That memory of those women in Kazakhstan reminds her of just how far we’ve come. (For more from our interview, check out our follow-up story here.)

 

Melody Meyer Thailand“When I looked up, there were no women in top-line management. I never aspired to be a CEO. I never thought it was possible.” Melody says. “Today, it is imperative to have women leading companies and role-modeling for others.  I encourage women today to envision that they can be a CEO and they can be on boards and they can create tremendous value in those roles. I’m encouraged that women are starting to think about that.”

 

There are, of course, still areas that need major improvement.

 

“Statistically, we’re not graduating enough women in STEM. The pipeline is weak. We’re bringing in high percentages of women, but if they are not promoted at the same rate, the pipeline becomes very thin. There’s this big gap in energy of women between 40 and 55 in key leadership roles,” Melody explains.

 

Add to that a lingering bias in the industry, and the fact that many women who do occupy leadership roles in energy are in staff roles, not line jobs.

 

Melody Meyer AustraliaI tell people all the time, ‘You’ve got to stay in line jobs.’ It might be easy to go to staff jobs, but there’s a ceiling with a staff job. And if you stay in the line, you have to work in remote places and deliver superior bottom-line results. You have to be flexible. But at the end of the day, that’s the only way you get to a CEO role,” Melody says.

 

While those are big, complex problems to solve, there are some actions leaders in the industry can take now to support women in energy.

 

“Most men will not give women honest feedback because they’re afraid to or it’s uncomfortable for them. Our male colleagues get a lot of honest feedback, and I think the lack of honest and constructive feedback was probably the only thing that could have helped me more,” Melody says. “I would ask for feedback later in my career, and even then, people were not very forthcoming about it. And when you don’t get feedback very much, you’re more sensitive to it.”

 

A sense of humor also helps.

 

When Melody went to Angola to run the Chevron project there, one of the offshore superintendents came in to meet with her. He told her he’d never worked for a woman before, and he wanted to know: How is it?

 

“And I said, ‘Well, I’ve never worked for a woman before either, so I don’t know!” she recalls with a laugh. “We had a great working relationship from that moment on. He always thought that was so funny.”

1. Legendary oil tycoon Pickens closing his energy hedge fund.

 

Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has struggled with health problems as he ages,

and is finally throwing in the towel on his energy focused hedge fund after a 22

years. 

 

“It’s no secret the past year has not been good to me, from a health perspective

or a financial one,” said Pickens in his recent Linkedin post.  He’s suffered from

multiple strokes over the last year. 

 

“If you are lucky enough to make it to 89 years of age like I have, those things

tend to put life in perspective,” he said.  “I’ve thrived and profited on the volatility

in the energy space. But for me, personally, trading oil is not as intriguing to me as

it once was,” Pickens said.

 

2. Russia hints that they me be looking to exit OPEC deal.

 

Russia is dropping hints that they may be on their way out of the OPEC output

reduction deal, according to the country’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak.

 

“We see that the market is becoming balanced. We see that the market surplus is

decreasing, but the market is not completely balanced yet and, of course, we

need to continue monitoring the situation,” Novak said.  And he then went on to

say that Russian oil majors have been complaining about the deal and how it is

holding them back from expansion plans.

 

Reuters is reporting that Novak might discuss the country’s potential exit from the

pact in Oman next week.  

 

3. International Renewable Energy Agency publishes report saying renewable

energy will be cheaper than fossil fuel in two years.

 

Renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels in two years, according to a

new report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA).

 

In the report, they cover the fact that continuous technological improvements

have led to a rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in recent years, meaning

some renewable energy sources can already comfortably compete with fossil

fuels.

 

The report predicts the trend will continue, and that by 2020 “all the renewable

power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to

fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range”.

 

“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one.” Says the report

1. Oil prices flatten out as rising US output offsets OPEC worries.

 

After hitting $61 per barrel, the highest prices we’ve seen since 2015, oil is leveling off this week and holding steady.  Oil prices saw little change today as political concerns in some OPEC nations offset projections for higher US oil production.  Ongoing protests in Iran, combined with the recent detention of several princes in Saudi Arabia, have bolstered geopolitical concerns, stalling any significant price increases in the near future. 

 

Brent futures gained 16 cents to settle at US$67.78 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 29 cents, to settle at US$61.73 as of Monday.

 

2. Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund expired on December 31st, and is yet to be renewed.

 

For over 30 years oil companies have been levied a 9 cents-per-barrel tax on domestic crude oil and imported crude oil and petroleum products to build up a fund for federal oil-spill response efforts. The fund is Intended to help the US government respond quickly to accidents on land or offshore. 

 

The fund generated an average of $500 million in federal revenue per year, according to the Government Accountability Office, and currently has at least $5.75 billion in reserve.

 

Although Congress chose not to renew the tax in December, they are considering reinstating it retroactively in an “extenders” bill that would revive several recently expired taxes.  Industry officials noted that the U.S. Coast Guard or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could always ask Congress to reimpose it the levy if either felt it was needed.

 

3. The Middle East is looking to diversify its energy sources in 2018.

 

As we enter 2018, it’s important to realize that many Middle Eastern countries have started to look above ground for generating energy as a way to diversify away from crude oil.

 

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, are just a few of the countries that have set ambitious goals to boost the construction of clean energy facilities and the use of renewables in their energy mix in the long run.  As global solar and wind costs continue to drop and make those energy solutions increasingly competitive, the Middle East is expected to continue to move ahead with renewable projects this year

Josh Levs is the top global expert on modern dads at work and a past keynote speaker at HERWorld. You can learn more about Josh and his work here.

 

Oprah WinfreyFor more than a year now, I've been saying there are hopeful signs that no matter what goes on in Washington, we the people still have the power to move our culture forward. Last night's Golden Globes were the latest sign of that. We can stand up, demand change and make it happen.

I hope that feeling helps inspire you for 2018.

My kids and I spent last week on our first-ever cruise, making memories. (While my wife, who hates the idea of a cruise, had work and the house to herself!) I'm recharged and ready to hit the ground running. What are you going to achieve this year? Know it, own it, rock it.

My experience has taught me, repeatedly, that when you commit to make changes in your own life while fighting the good fight for a better society, people are ready to help you. They'll join with you. So as you think ahead, here's the message I delivered in my TEDx Talk: Break the system to achieve what other people believe to be impossible. Be the cups and ice.

 

We have a lot of work to do this year. Big on my list are, of course, the battle for gender equality, the war on ignorance and the efforts to engage men in all this in bigger ways than ever. I'm psyched. We can do this.


And a reminder: I have events coming up in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Philadelphia, Brussels and more. For info on all this, including bookings, visit my website joshlevs.com.


Thanks. Here's to 2018.


Big love,
JL

Ashley RabornAshley Raborn’s career is a testament to the power of hard work and a strong network — and starting early with both.

 

Ashley, a functional analyst at ConocoPhillips, majored in industrial engineering and management at Oklahoma State University while minoring in mathematics.  She was an active part of the college community there and a member of the Kappa Delta sorority and the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) Student Council, CEAT Ambassadors (which gave tours to prospective students), and the Honors College.

 

She also took on the planning for the CEAT Career Fair the summer leading up to her junior year. That role put her in contact with a lot of companies and allowed her to start building a network.

 

And when it came to find a job of her own, all that networking worked in her favor.

 

“I actually attribute me getting my first interview at ConocoPhillips to someone that went to OSU who works here,” Ashley says. “He knew what all was involved in planning the Career Fair at OSU and recommended I get an interview.”

She got the interview and the job — and has been with ConocoPhillips ever since.

 

Raborn did not always see herself going into the energy field.

 

“The only person in my extended family that was even an engineer is one of my uncles and he works for Lockheed Martin,” Ashley recalls. “My family went to visit him in my senior year of high school, and we talked a lot about engineering and the types of careers that are possible.”

 

She’s had the opportunity to experience quite a few of them since she joined ConocoPhillips back in 2009.

Her first role in the company was in business process mapping, and Ashley was able to use her industrial engineering background to help teams look at their processes and find places they could eliminate waste.

 

From there, she moved through several different roles until she joined the large group she is in now in January of 2015. 

 

“Since I joined the team, I have had the ownership of ServiceNow reporting,” Ashley explains. “ServiceNow is an application we use here in IT to submit customer issues, requests, manage infrastructure, etc. In being owner of reporting, I’ve learned a lot about data structure in ServiceNow and have been able to develop my analytical skills.”

     

Moving groups a lot at the beginning of her time at ConocoPhillips, Ashley learned the importance of balancing self-initiation and assistance from her supervisor. She also collected valuable advice from her parents that continues to resonate as her career progresses.

 

“My mom has been working for almost 40 years at the same company. I truly value the professional advice she has given me not only as my mom, but also a working woman,” Ashley says. “She always told me to never give up on what I want and that I’m my toughest critic.”

 

And she credits her father with giving her the piece of advice she passes on the most.

 

“The best piece of career advice I can give someone came from a quote my dad gave me, which is: ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it,’ from Peter Drucker. I firmly believe you have to take control of your future to get where you want and do what you want,” Ashley says.

 

Ashley says she found ConocoPhillips to be the right place for her because of its focus on its people.

 

“We have what we call SPIRIT [Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation, Teamwork] values where the P stands for ‘People,’ and I really believe that is one of the best parts of our company. I love our culture here and firmly believe in our SPIRIT values,” Ashley says.    

 

Now, Ashley is looking to take a more active role in supporting the people around her.

 

“I’m going to start participating in a mentoring circle here at work and am hoping to learn more about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In book and how it can help me in my career,” Ashley says. “I’m also part of the IT Inclusion Mentoring program that we are working to start here and have been able to talk with other women and men that see value of finding a mentor to help you along in your career, which I think is very helpful as a woman in the energy industry.”

 

To that end, Ashley says never giving up and having self-confidence are essential for women trying to get ahead in a male-dominated industry like energy.

 

“If you have an idea of what you want to do, don’t be afraid to try it and put yourself out there. I also think it is smart to surround yourself with other women that have the same goals/values,” Ashley says.

There's nothing I love more than to see women in our industry get the attention they SO deserve. 

 

Up until a few years ago, this space around women in energy, visibility, and influence was pretty status quo.  No one knew about women in energy unless you were IN energy.  It was a very insular sector and why I got out of the corporate chair and into the one I'm in now, to do something about it.  

 

And when I was in that old chair, I was among the lucky to speak or attend women's conferences.   My manager would insist I go given I had the passion for women but what I found is they all had the same topics, speakers, and were pretty exclusive.  They didn't include men, field women or job seekers.   Nothing was open and you didn't dare invite external people or views.   And it was a MUST that everyone come together in a hotel with awful food and pay thousands for a seat.  Event companies made millions because there were no other choices.

 

A year after Pink Petro launched, in early 2016, commodities were at record lows, but our community did an amazing thing: we created HERWorld -- an experience, and not another women's energy conference or ceremonial awards banquet.  With budgets and time constraints, the community crowdsourced a way to learn using a digital/in person hybrid model.  Our tribe loves to give me the credit but I say the credit is all of yours.  

 

And it TOOK off! 

 

 

In 2016, we hosted 300 in one hub location on the Halliburton campus and streamed live to locations around the globe, like this one at GE London. 

 

Women and men huddled together in conference rooms, auditoriums, and on rigs and plugged into learn.  We also hosted a second session HERWorld Connect, a focused workshop on taking challenges and putting them into action.   

 

In 2017, we hosted 6 live public sites with over 750 in person and 7500 worldwide and then again with HW Connect we held, just post Harvey, 100 in the room and several hundred online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty cool huh?

 

After spending a lot of money AND time at conferences over the years I took note of a few things.

 

  • People want fresh original content and want to hear diverse perspectives and see different people.  They also want to understand how the industry connects to the bigger picture.
  • Not everyone can afford to go, but they still want to get great content.  Ergo, why digital bridges that gap. Streaming just rocks.   
  • Attention spans are thin.  Most do best with a 1-1.5 days of "conference".  Less is more and generally drives greater impact.
  • Attendees hate rubber chicken venues.  They want to be inspired and "experience" learning. 

 

HERWorld is fresh, affordable, inclusive, diverse, short and sweet, and packed with engagement.  And dare we serve chicken...we create experiences people walk away from inspired, impacted and ready to put the learning into action.

 

HERWorld has brought fantastic insightful speakers from across the world including Gloria Feldt, Josh Levs,  and Jeff Hayzlett.  In Dr. Jen Welter will Headline HERWorld18!

 

New to HERWorld 18 this year is our first annual The Difference Makers: GRIT Awards -- GRIT awards are the furthest from rubber chicken and status quo.  They award the difference makers and people who don't necessary get the recognition they so deserve.  It's an honor for me to leverage the platform we've built collectively through Pink Petro and HERWorld to elevate them.  I hope you'll nominate.

 

I hope you will join us on March 8. 

Suzanne ShortFor Suzanne Short, a former longtime ConocoPhillips employee, her junior year of high school in Houston, Texas, was a turning point for her future career.

 

That year, she attended a recruiting fair for the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Gulf Coast Section (SPE-GCS), which brings together students, recruiters, and engineers for scholarships, networking, and volunteer opportunities.

 

Short was intrigued by their talk of the generational gap within the industry, so she stayed in contact with SPE and made plans to major in petroleum engineering at Texas Tech. It gave her insight into the industry — and resources to set her career off on the right foot.

 

The best advice I’ve ever received is to grow a thick skin, which I’m still not very good at,” Short says, laughing. “One of my best mentors came to the U.S. from Colombia not speaking English. He learned English, went to college and earned a degree in petroleum engineering. I thought that if he could overcome that barrier, then I have no excuse.”

   

That has been her mantra for just about everything in life. She went on to spend a decade at ConocoPhillips, in a range of roles. She’s spent five days hiking the Chilkoot Gold Rush Trail. She’s an avid rifle big-game hunter. And now she’s pursuing a master of business administration from Texas Tech.  

 

“Engineers need an advanced degree to set them apart in this modern era,” she says.

 

Suzanne Short taj mahalShort landed her first job with ConocoPhillips, a multinational energy corporation headquartered in Houston, Texas, after completing her bachelor of petroleum engineering degree from Texas Tech. At ConocoPhillips, she was a part of an 18-month rotational program as an upstream engineer. During this time, she worked in “all aspects” of petroleum engineering, ranging from project proposals to drilling rotations to writing procedures for hydraulic fracturing.

 

Short spent a total of 10 years with the company and held three different job titles: upstream engineer, production engineer and drillsite petroleum engineer.

 

“I spent five of those years in Texas and the other five in Alaska.  The last three of the years I was in Alaska, I was living a two-week rotational schedule on the North Slope,” Short says.

 

During her time in Alaska, Short was positioned as a production engineer in a processing facility, where she was responsible for solving day-to-day problems, preparing procedures to repair down-hole oil wells and supporting field operations.

 

“The people [in Alaska] are colorful and amazing,” she says. “It was hard work and exhausting, but I’m glad I did it.”

 

After her time at ConocoPhillips, Short decided to go back to school. The two-year master’s program at Texas Tech has Short devoting herself full time to earning her degree.

  

When asked about her ideal job within the energy industry, Short says she would like to do something that will allow her to diversify her background. She hopes an MBA will help her move into a broader role at a small to mid-sized company.  She describes moving around and seeing different fields within the industry and working in production engineering, as well as seeing different types of equipment and working on the East Coast, offshore or even overseas.

 

“What excites me about the energy industry are the technical aspects, types of equipment and new technology,” Short says. “The industry is always growing and changing.”

 

Suzanne Short bisonWhen she isn’t busy studying for her master’s degree or attending a SPE event, Short enjoys rifle hunting, hiking, backpacking and traveling.

 

“I take every chance I get to rifle hunt and visit different areas,” she says. “I recently shot a bison in South Dakota. I traveled a lot overseas when I was working in Alaska and I successfully hiked the Chilkoot Gold Rush Trail, which was 33 miles.”

 

Short notes that the unwelcome feeling many women working in the energy industry have experienced is something she has never felt.

 

“Inclusivity is important to me because women bring a different viewpoint to the industry, as well as unique talents,” she says. “Women may choose other paths because [the energy industry] is too difficult or unwelcoming, but I have never found that to be true for me.”

 

That said, Short recognizes the industry still has a long way to go to achieve greater inclusivity. So when asked about her advice to other women, she reiterates the importance of a thick skin.

 

“Put yourself out there, be fearless, and be confident in your skills,” Short says. “Don’t be scared off.”

muscleI’m ready.

 

2018 is here. We’ve got so much work to do. So many exciting experiences on the calendar. So much potential for impact in our immediate future.

 

And I’m ready for it — all of it.

 

2017 threw our industry and so many of our members for a loop, but the best way to roll with work and life is to come back from it better, stronger and wiser.

 

And we don’t have to do it alone. That’s why you joined Pink Petro — to be part of a community committed to helping each other and this industry accomplish big things. We’ve packed our first quarter with learning experiences to do just that. And in true Pink Petro form, we’ve included everyone — harnessing the power of digital so you can choose how to engage best.

 

First up, we’ve got our Jumpstart Series, designed to teach you how to ask for what you want (and get it), forge powerful connections and make strong first impressions:

  • The Art of the Ask: Start the new year off right and join Michelle Peavy, Pink Petro's Director of 'Cool' Careers, for a workshop on how toget off your ask and transform your career. Two sessions: Jan. 10 (online) Jan. 24 (in-person).  
  • The Art of Connecting: I’ll be taking the reins on this one, teaching you how to make the valuable, powerful connections you need to get ahead. I built my success in corporate and now my entrepreneur life around community, and I’ll tell you everything I know. Two sessions: Feb. 1 (in-person) Feb. 14 (online)
  • The Art of Presence: Marilynn Barber, a presence expert and Pink Petro coach, will lead this workshop focused on creating a personal brand that is clear, consistent and easy-to-understand. It's the key to success in your career! Two in-person sessions: Feb. 7 Feb. 22   

 

All that is leading up to our main event: On March 8, International Women’s Day, we will host our third annual HERWorld Energy Forum. Our theme this year is The New Energy Playbook: GRIT — Growth, Resilience, Innovation and Transformation. We’ve already lined up some incredible speakers, including Dr. Jen Welter, first female coach in the NFL; Melody Meyer, a board member at BP and AbbVie; and — you’re reading it here first! — Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative in Europe.

 

That’s only scratching the surface of the powerful content we’ve got planned, all focused around GRIT. It isn’t just our theme of the event; it’s our mantra for all of 2018. We don’t just want to move on from all the hardship of last year. We want to evolve from it so we can achieve something greater. As I mentioned in my post last week, that’s why I don’t believe in New Year’s 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.”

 

I’m ready for action in 2018. Now my question is, are you?

Pink Petro is on a mission to find the difference makers...women and men who are creating the new future for energy.

 

A GRIT award is for the unsung leader that is down in the trenches getting the job done regardless of what recognition may or may not come their way. 

 

The furthest thing from a ceremonial award, the GRIT awards recognize leaders that boldly step up to the occasion, whatever it may be. It’s for women that lead, but it’s also for men who recognize the value of women and are advocates for their progress in energy.

 

Receiving a GRIT award is one of the highest honors because it’s a nomination from peers; from someone that has seen first-hand exceptional behavior and ability. Always reliable and always working to be better, GRIT award nominees are examples for those looking for role models to show them anything is possible. 

 

Do you know someone who fits this description and needs to be acknowledged in a big way?

 

NOMINATE TODAY.

 

Qualifications
  • The only requirement when nominating someone is that he or she must be in the energy sector (corporate, entrepreneur, student or even someone unemployed) and accomplishing specific things that embody GRIT (growth, resilience, innovation/new ways of working, inclusion, and talent).  Awards will be provided to all levels and disciplines submitted.
  • The nominee will receive a questionnaire once the nomination period closes. Additionally, though not required, nominees will be encouraged to submit a letter of recommendation and a resume.

Selection method
  • Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges Nominees will be evaluated based on professional accomplishments, personal philanthropic efforts and other qualities you define in the nomination.
  • All honorees and finalists will be recognized at HERWorld18 on March 8 2018 and online through our social media. 

DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS: JANUARY 31, 2018

 

All honorees and finalists will be recognized at HERWorld18 on March 8 2018 and online through our social media.  This award is opened to energy professionals worldwide.

You might be wondering what donuts and career tips have in common.  Actually, very little...except for the analogy I created about making changes in our lives.  I wrote the following piece several years ago when I was writing a blog about personal change.  Given it's January and many of you are setting goals and making resolutions, a piece about change seemed relevant.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

"Each day after I take my niece and nephew to school I turn left out the school parking lot.  I turn left, in the opposite direction of my home, travel a mile or so out of my way and pull into the local donut shop.  It is run by a nice couple whose name I don't know, but I know about their family, their travels, their ancestors and the current state of the donut business.  I get a small coffee and a donut then head on my way.

 

This is a nice break in the morning and I used to do it occasionally.  Now it's a habit.  In fact, it's hard for me NOT to turn left and go to the donut shop...even when I don't feel like having a donut. 

 

Here's the problem.  Caffeine does not agree with me.  It makes me irritable, impatient and generally tense.  Sugar does not agree with me. It makes me irritable, impatient and generally tense.  And it makes me want more of it.  So why do I go to the donut shop?  I've convinced myself that this is a reward for getting the children off to school successfully.  Why do I reward myself with something that makes me feel bad?  It's become a habit.

 

I'm changing directions.  When I pull out of the school parking lot, I now turn right.  I WANT to turn left...but I turn right and head towards the office or the gym.  I miss the owners of the donut shop and will occasionally stop in because I believe in supporting local business.  But for my health and well being, I turn right."

 

In 2018 where do you plan to "turn right"?

 

 

1. Oil prices have the strongest opening since 2014.

 

2018 is off to a good start.  Oil prices posted their best opening to a year since 2014, with crude rising to mid-2015 highs.  Prices have been driven by large anti-government rallies in Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia.

 

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures (CLc1) were at $60.61 a barrel, their highest since June 2015. Brent crude futures (LCOc1), the international benchmark, were at $67.12 a barrel.  This is the first time since January 2014 that both crude oil benchmarks opened the year above $60 per barrel.

 

2. South Korea seizes another ship with oil headed to North Korea.

 

According to customs officials, South Korean authorities have seized a ship flying the Panama flag suspected of transporting oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions.

 

The seizure is the second reported by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the uncooperative North following its nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

 

3. UAE And Saudi Arabia End Tax-Free Living.

 

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have long provided tax-free and heavily subsidized living for foreigners.  However, recently they introduced and International Monetary Fund (IMF)-backed value-added tax (VAT) starting January 1.  The general consensus is this is due to oil prices slumping and causing significant budget shortages across the board for the countries.  The 5% levy is imposed on most goods and services and aims to boost revenue after the collapse in crude prices over the last couple years. Although it threatens to slow economic growth at a time when it is already sluggish, the UAE is expected to raise around $3.3 billion from the tax.