Mary Johnson

What we learned @ KPMG's GEC: #MeToo, market optimism and disruptive tech

Blog Post created by Mary Johnson on Jun 12, 2018

KPMG Global Energy Conference - #MeTooOnce again, the KPMG Global Energy Conference did not disappoint.  

Before the conference kicked off, the women in energy breakfast got things going with a topic we’ve all heard a lot about: # MeToo.

The session included a panel of experts, including Betsey Bagley with Catalyst Inc.; Stephanie Cox, VP of human resources with Schlumberger; and Tom Wilson, a labor and employment partner with Vinson & Elkins.


Some key takeaways:

  • 62 percent of women in the room reported having experienced a #MeToo moment. 
  • Much like where we were with safety in the past two decades, #MeToo is now seen as a culture change long needed to provide a workplace where we feel not just physically safe but psychologically safe. 
  • Men are disengaging, and that’s having an impact on women having fewer opportunities.  In some cases, men are afraid to interact at all.


KPMG Global Energy Conference - market confidence Energy Markets and its impact on the Global Economy

The opening session, “Energy Markets and its Impact on the Global Economy,” centered on the face that there’s more confidence in the market this year than in the past few years.  Ninety percent of CEOs are confident in their company’s growth prospects, and 67% are confident in the growth of the global economy.  


Some key takeaways:

  • The balance of power has shifted in the past 20 years.
  • Over the next two decades, Asia will make up two-thirds of the world’s energy demand.
  • Renewables are at a tipping point and the energy mix will be very different a decade from now.
  • Gains in energy efficiency will have a positive impact on the economy.
  • But political and policy uncertainty are the top risks.


KPMG Global energy Conference - oil pricesOil prices

It wouldn’t be an energy conference without asking the perennial question: How high do you think prices will be by year end?

Most of the room said they expect an oil price between $70-80 by the end of 2018, while 18 percent see a price between $80-90.

However, it was recognized pretty fairly across the board that geopolitics are impacting our industry and that business leaders don’t see an end to policy shift in sight — at least in the USA — and that the way we are managing key issues are “policy by tweet”.


(It’s next to impossible to attend anything these days without hearing about Trump. But this year was pretty tame compared to last year’s luncheon where Former Speaker John Boehner called Trump a disaster and the media went nuts.)


KPMG Global Energy Conference - Soledad O'BrienSpeaking of media, media sensation Soledad O’Brien told us something we all know, but that we all need to hear: Energy needs to tell its story. Read our interview with Soledad here. (Interesting fact about Soledad...she’s 1 of 6 kids who attended Harvard. Now that’s a college bill!)


Disruptive technology 

Next, the conversation shifted to tech and innovation — two of my favorite topics.  


It was clear to everyone in the room that the industry is slow to move in this space. But it’s complicated: Moving to new fuels isn’t about capital but about getting people to take risks on unproven technology. That’s no small feat.


But it can, and will, happen. We got a glimpse at what it looks like when the industry embraces digital from Morag Watson, CIO at BP, who spoke about augmented reality, artificial intelligence, quantum tech and block chain — all things that BP is looking at.  


That said, accelerating the journey to innovation is going to take a lot of cooperation between the public, and governments. That was a key takeaway from the session hosted by the World Economic Forum. Countries are on different journeys, which is what’s making it challenging to match motivations and harmonize people towards a solution.


Every year we look forward to being a part of this conference. KPMG is a sponsor of Pink Petro and provides great thought capital to enrich the lives and careers of all our members. We hope you’ll check out their perspectives. We’re proud to have them as a part of our community!