The Business Case for Responsible Energy
With climate change at the forefront of societal and political thought more so now than ever before, reducing hydrocarbon emissions is becoming increasingly important for the oil & gas industry. However, this industry-wide change in attitude is no longer merely led by a desire to change a company’s PR image. A growing number of influential voices within the industry are beginning to suggest that it is not only big business that can drive this change, but that responsible energy production can in fact drive business goals. It is this potential business that may be able to gain the attention of the people that matter, and subsequently, incite change.
Global Petroleum Show is excited to play a part in realizing this change, by bringing together the people that we believe can make a difference to the oil & gas industry. We recently spoke with Iggy Domagalski, CEO at Tundra Process Solutions an upcoming panelist at the conference, who certainly values the importance of progressive thinking when it comes to moving the industry forward into an eco-aware and low-carbon world.
Tundra Process Solutions is an equipment sales, service and manufacturing firm, or in Domagalski’s words, “We exist to help make the industrial energy world a little safer, cleaner and more sustainable.” In this sense, the company builds successful products, with equipment that removes 1.5 million tones of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere every year. Such products are testament to the fact that companies do not have to sacrifice one of either profit or responsible energy production, but in fact new technologies are allowing the two to beneficially dovetail inform business strategy.
It’s not only sustainably successful products that Tundra supplies. Their ‘Acceleration Centre for Entrepreneurs’ (ACE) program is dedicated to helping empower successful people, namely engineers and entrepreneurs, by supporting them in making a difference to both the industry and the environment. The program matches Tundra team with entrepreneurs who have earmarked ready technologies that can potentially make the energy industry more efficient and cleaner. “We give those entrepreneurs free space, marketing, legal, engineering and we also partner with them, to help them get their products in market quickly,” Domagalski explains. “We’re currently working with 8 companies and we’re really proud of it.”
Despite Tundra’s quick growth and the existence of other groups with similar goals, no meaningful progress will be made in this space without significant action throughout the industry, something which Domagalski recognizes is not always the easiest task. “Getting these technologies to market is difficult,” he states, speaking from first-hand experience, “many oil companies are reluctant to change to a new technology, and it’s our job to show them the business case.” In counter to this, he outlines two main fronts on which this battle could be won: through politics and producers.
Regarding the former, he believes that the industry’s biggest resource – money – can be put to better use. “We have smart people who are talented and who can organize, but we need to use the money that the industry has to really speak up about the great things that we do,” he says. His second point involves companies allowing their employees the freedom to fail in the search of new methods or technologies, though it is often financial concerns that also prevent this from happening. “People are interested in making things a little bit greener,” Domagalski ultimately states, “as long as there is a business case to do so.”
Hear Domagalski discuss these topics during the ‘Leaders in Sustainability: Responsible Hydrocarbon Production’ panel at Global Petroleum, where he will be speaking alongside Dan Wicklum (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance), Meghan Harris-Ngae (Ernst & Young), Rod Stearn (Basker Hughes) and Joy Romero (Canadian Natural Resources Limited).
Interested attendees can register early to take advantage of early bird rates, including complimentary exhibition registration until June 1st.
Changing the Industry from the Individual Up: Women in Energy
The emergence of the #MeToo movement in late 2017 has ignited a greater societal consciousness surrounding gender inequality and tangible changes are beginning to be realized in several industries. For example, this year has seen all British companies with more than 250 employees being required to publicly report their gender pay gap. When it comes to statistics however, the energy industry does not fare well. Research shows that approximately only 20-25% of the overall energy industry (in advanced, industrialized nations) is female. This figure drops further when it comes to technical positions (6%), and dramatically, to under 1%, when considering females in top management positions.
It may be 2018, but it still seems that not enough is being done to change the industry landscape. Global Petroleum Show wants to tackle this issue head-on and to do so, we have connected with some of the most influential women currently working in the Canadian energy industry, to hear what they believe needs to be done.
Katie Smith is the Executive Director for Young Women in Energy (YWE), an organization that aims to ‘change the face of energy’ and champion the interests of young women working in the industry. She points toward a tripartite combination of “government policy, workplace culture and individual self-efficacy” as the three main obstacles that women face when chasing advancement, or simply opportunity, in the energy industry. Beyond tackling exterior forces such as government or ingrained cultures, Young Women in Energy place huge importance on enabling women to promote their own values. As Katie Smith rightly says, “We deserve to be there because the women I’ve been privileged to work beside are really impressive.”
However, in Katie’s view, the more traditional approach of organizing ‘women’s only’ industry events is perhaps no longer the most efficient way of breaking down these barriers. While still important, as these sessions certainly help to bridge the gender gap within the industry to some extent, there is a definite need to approach the issue from an inclusive and ‘dual-gendered’ platform. “It’s about removing that ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality,” Katie states, “If we don’t engage with men, we’re almost segregating ourselves further.” There are clear parallels between Katie’s views and gender dynamics involved in the #MeToo movement; both studies and anecdotal evidence has shown an increasing reluctance among male leaders to continue offering one-on-one mentorship to female colleagues, due to the fear of false harassment accusations.
Céline Gerson, President of Schlumberger Canada, echoed these thoughts exactly when we spoke to her on the issue of diversity throughout the Canadian energy industry. Though she was definitive in her praise of the #MeToo movement and its social importance, she raised an increasingly common wariness regarding some of its unwanted effects: “It is driving a suspicious way of thinking that may result in a lack of trust and a lack of ability for women to build relationships with some people at a high level in the organization.” Céline has seen these effects first-hand and understandably views it as a troubling addendum to the already extensive list of challenges that women face in the workplace and the energy industry particularly. Though an upwards battle, there are some key pieces of advice that Céline offers to young women starting out in the industry:
- Women need to be even more vocal in energy than in other industries, as you can’t assume that the company is going to take care of you and your future.
- Find mentors that you trust externally and internally and allow them to help you navigate how to be successful.
- Take projects and/or risks that allow you to differentiate yourself from your male counterparts.
Beyond these three key points, Céline also encourages women to actively work towards building up their own brand. Though, it is the industry’s brand that she takes most umbrage with, believing the current lack of diversity prevents it from being viewed as a progressive or attractive environment to invest or work in. “We don’t really do a good job at marketing our industry and unfortunately our image in the public domain is poor or eroding and the lack of diversity is not helping our cause,” Céline states, “it is critical we aggressively work on changing the profile and the image of our industry and we need to do so collectively rather than on an ad hoc basis”
Global Petroleum Show 2018 aims to do just that. Katie Smith, who is also Proposals, PSS at Spartan Controls Ltd., is part of the Executive Committee at GPS, while Céline Gerson will be speaking as part of the ‘Energy, Security, and Safety: Addressing the Need for Infrastructure’ panel. Alongside them will be a whole host of other influential women, including: Michelle Moore, SVP, Global Product Development at LHH Knightsbridge; Elena Dumitrascu, Co-Founder of TerraHub; and Meghan Harris-Nage, Associate Partner, Climate Change, EHS and Sustainability at EY Canada, amongst others. All of whom are determined to ensure the conference not only raises these problems surrounding diversity, but actively becomes part of the solution.
In Katie’s words: “If you’re going to pitch one industry-focused conference to your boss, this should be the one.”
Tickets for Global Petroleum Show 2018 are purchasable here with complimentary registration available until June 1st.
The elephant in the room: Starting difficult conversations in the energy industry
The global landscape of the energy industry is transforming before our eyes. A tense political climate continually threatens to disrupt confidence and prices, from the Middle East to China. But with Canadian interests in mind, perhaps the situation closer to home demands keener inspection, with both U.S. and interprovincial relations acting as potential kingmakers when it comes to the future success of Canadian companies.
The Global Petroleum Show is committed to initiating these difficult, but necessary, conversations – something that Peter Tertzakian, Executive Director of ARC Energy Research Institute, believes is essential if Canada is to achieve its energy potential. We recently spoke to Peter regarding the “elephants in the room” when it comes to the Canadian energy industry and how best to approach these often under-communicated issues.
With the United States increasing their profile for oil & gas production over the last decade, they have effectively transitioned from Canada’s most important customer, to their leading competitor. With this in mind, it is arguably more important than ever for Canada to identify their unique strengths and work collaboratively to best position themselves in the global marketplace. However, as Peter states: “by virtue of our Constitution, our provinces often act like separate countries.” The unsteady dynamic between Alberta and British Columbia acting as the quintessential example, it is becoming increasingly possible to observe the Canadian market as a direct microcosm of the geopolitics evident in the global energy industry.
Peter Tertzakian cites a “lack of human communication between silos of opinion ” as a major cause for interprovincial turbulence, with the Trans Mountain pipeline at the heart of this debate. However, the pipeline itself is by no means an instant solution to these underlying interprovincial tensions, or more widely, Canada’s energy problems; indeed, if built, it may only provide a temporary solution until the next problem arises. Significantly, Peter closes our conversation with a plea for future discussions: “Let’s just pull in people to discuss the real, root issues of all this stuff and go beyond the narrow perspective of the pipeline.”
The Global Petroleum Show aims to do exactly this. To see just where these conversations might take us, be sure to register for the conference, which runs June 12-14. Of particular interest will be the North American Outlook panel, which promises to interact with these interprovincial questions, alongside other “elephants in the room”, such as indigenous issues and how the energy industry can be part of the carbon reduction solution.
Conference tickets can be purchased here and registration for the exhibition is complementary until June 1st.
Blockchain: Redefining business transactions for oil & gas
There’s a new technological kid on the block, literally. But what does it mean for the energy industry? Keep reading for a preview of some of the invaluable information that will be discussed at this year’s Global Petroleum Show.
Blockchain is a digital decentralized ledger which is the foundation for digital coins such as Bitcoin. In cryptocurrency terms, new transactions are recorded in ‘blocks’, which when confirmed, are added to an existing ‘chain’ of previous payments. Effectively, blockchain technology can be used as an alternative form of banking, as it provides a means to freely distribute the data of your digital transactions online. Moving this process away from currency for a moment, the technology can similarly be used to collate large amounts of information and data in the form of databases, or in this case, digital contracts.
The energy industry is recognizing the disruptive potential that blockchain holds. With the help of James Graham, CEO of leading software company GuildOne Inc., here are the top three reasons why you’ll want to learn more about blockchain for the oil & gas industry:
- Blockchain can dramatically reduce the potential size and length of oil and gas disputes. This is done by creating a digital ‘smart contract’ that is reciprocally agreed upon by all parties, then positioning this checklist of agreed facts (whether measurements, geographical borders, royalty costs etc.) before the transaction itself. As Graham states, “You can think about it as all the counter-parties throwing their conditions into the middle and the smart contract executes everybody’s checklist before the transactions happen.”
- Blockchain can help to eliminate errors through creating consensus. Graham suggests one of the key benefits of blockchain for the energy industry is that it allows companies to transact trust, or value, with strangers, in a totally managed and consensual way. The digital contract that is initially agreed to becomes a collaborative document that allows for proposed alterations through a peer-to-peer structure, yet requires all parties to be in agreement before a change can be enacted. Similar processes are used regularly in the financial sector to ensure that all groups remain on the same page throughout the contractual process.
- Blockchain could oversee a reduction in both the time and money that is currently demanded by existing energy processes. This is achieved by creating a shared data and computing infrastructure that can benefit both consumers of energy, by enabling them to trade directly with energy producers, as well as large energy corporations themselves, by sharing workloads and costs. Graham points toward a visible “net gain” that would emerge over time, “because you’re moving people in the same data infrastructure and those infrastructural costs are borne by multiple parties”.
It’s clear that blockchain is primed to redefine the way we think about the oil & gas industry and how business is transacted – and we’ve only just scraped the surface of its potential. To learn more about blockchain and other digital solutions shaping the future of the industry, be sure to register for Global Petroleum Show before June 1, 2018 to take advantage of the early-bird conference rate and free exhibition pass.