April 2022 /// Vol 343 No. 4)
First Oil: Looking for positivity among all the negativity
In the U.S. and many other countries, rampant inflation is taking place, the various supply chains are a mess, energy supplies are disrupted, and the cost of oilfield equipment and services is jumping higher. It’s hard to ignore all this negativity, but in this column, we’re looking for some positivity, wherever we can fit it.
Well, we continue to experience a most interesting, albeit aggravating set of negative financial and logistical factors at work globally. War conditions have gone on in Ukraine for more than seven weeks, as of this writing. In the U.S. and many other countries, rampant inflation is taking place, the various supply chains are a mess, energy supplies are disrupted, and the cost of oilfield equipment and services is jumping higher. It’s hard to ignore all this negativity, but in this column, we’re looking for some positivity, wherever we can fit it.
Digital transformation aiding net zero initiatives. One of the more positive things in this industry that this editor has witnessed of late was a conference in early April that yours truly participated in. Put on by Ansys, Inc., a firm specializing in engineering simulation software, the Ansys Energy Forum’s working topic was Reshaping the Future of Energy through Digital Transformation.
Assuming that comments from conference participants are reflective of the industry’s overall mood, then the pace of digital transformation in oil and gas is gaining momentum in 2022. In addition, the companies represented in the Houston event emphasized that they are dedicated to achieving net-zero operations and rolling up their sleeves accordingly.
The conference brought together a significant, representative slice of large operators and service companies to discuss what they are doing in this sphere, in terms of goals, strategies, methods and implementation. Represented either among panel participants or attendees were operators such as Shell and BP, along with service firms and technology providers like Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, NOV, Microsoft, GE and Flowserve.
What impressed this editor was that to a person, every panelist expressed the dedication that his/her company has to the digital transformation and net-zero efforts, as well as the sense of urgency that they showed, and the strategies/methods already being implemented. That is one big nugget of positivity.
Canada removes a Bay du Nord stumbling block. Another positive moment occurred a day after the Ansys conference, when the Canadian federal government reversed itself and suddenly approved the environmental assessment for Equinor’s Bay du Nord development project. This came just a month after federal officials on March 4 said that Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault needed more time to review the offshore site and project.
Environmentalists, no doubt, were hoping that the delay would kill the project. But thankfully, someone in the Canadian federal government finally came to his/her senses and put through approval of the assessment. One does have to wonder how much the energy shortage stemming from the war in Ukraine, plus sky-high oil and gas prices, played into this decision. Nevertheless, it’s one giant nugget of positivity.
A final testimonial to one of the industry’s great ambassadors. Last, but not least, among our examples of positivity is the April 1 retirement of Halliburton Vice President of Industry Relations Galen Cobb. After graduating from Oklahoma Christian University in 1975, Galen went to work for Halliburton in what turned out to be an illustrious 47-year career. From 1991 to 1994, he was Director for CIS and China, with oversight in establishing Halliburton’s presence and operations in these emerging markets. Later he was named Director, Executive Sales and Business Development, before being promoted to his last, most notable post in 2002.
This editor has been blessed to know Galen for 30 years. And in that time, he has been a consummate ambassador for both Halliburton and the industry as a whole. Whether dealing with industry companies and associations, federal and state officials, other countries, philanthropic efforts, or the public at large, Galen has been a bastion of effectiveness and positivity. We are going to miss his presence greatly. Best wishes, Galen, on a great retirement!