What Do Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and the Energy Industry in America Have in Common?

They’re all going to be at the Energy Thought Summit.  What’s that?  Well, my friend, keep reading and you’ll find out.  (Maybe watch the video too.)

Energy Thought Summit (ETS) is happening this month in Austin, Texas.  On March 24th – 25th the energy industry is taking over the Paramount Theater for a two-day event that promises to be an excellent forum to discuss and debate the state and the future of energy.   This is an event I’m excited about.

ETS Launch Party

So, what was it about ETS that really sucked me in?  It wasn’t Darth Vader, Chewbacca, the Teslas car, or the game on the ETS site that is kind of addictive.  (Although neither of these hurt, at all.  Something tells me these guys like to have a good time.)  The speaker list did it.  Yes, I’m a bit of a geek and the opening keynote is Steve Wozniak…seriously, it is Steve Wozniak.  You know, the co-founder of Apple and chief scientist at Fusion-io? He helped develop the first computer I ever used!
It doesn’t stop there, though.  Envisioned and created by Zpryme, the company that brings us Smart Grid Insights, ETS has pulled together a speaker list with individuals on the cutting edge of the energy industry.  This event is geared toward the up and comers who will be leading us into the future of energy. Panels surround topics such as:

paramount-theatre-austin-texa

  • Utility Executive
  • Smart Grid Realization
  • EV
  • Game Changers
  • M2M
  • Cybersecruity
  • Big Data/Analytics
  • Utility of the Future
  • Smart Cities/Communities
  • Disruptive Technology
  • Smart Consumer/Home
  • Grid Edge Opportunities
  • Standards, Policies, and Emerging Business Models

With a goal of generating conversation around these topics, ETS has created an atmosphere of debate and discussion both offline and online.  Tickets have been released in three batches.  The initial two ticket releases have already sold out.  According to their website on March 17, 2014, only 103 tickets remained for the entire event.  So, you can still grab a ticket to this event to take part in the dialogue.  Unfortunately, I’m going to have to rely on my colleagues’ notes of the panels they attend. (So, you guys better take some excellent notes for me!  I’m just saying.)

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

 

Travel, Topsides, and NAPE Expo

This week, I’m travelling the country.  Okay, so not the country, but Texas anyway.  I’m spending a couple of days in Galveston before I head up to Houston.  Believe you me, I am grateful for the relief from the cold, snowy weather engulfing my home state right now.  Give me 50’s over 20’s any day!

I’m here for the Topsides show being held at Moody Gardens before going back up to Houston for the Winter NAPE Expo.  These are two industry shows that I really enjoy.  The exhibitors and attendees always have great information to provide, and always friendly and willing to talk.  The Offshore Technology Conference that will be held at Houston’s Reliant Center in May is awesome, but with more than 100,000 attendees, sometimes it becomes challenging to have good conversations with people.

Today, I’ll be at Topsides with Dr. Scott Shemwell, the author of our report on SEMS regulations and an Integrity Management specialist (among other things).  We did a couple of webinars on the topic a couple of months ago, and you can check out the archives on Integrity Management: A Critical Issue in the Energy Industry here and Critical Issues in the Energy Industry here.  As always, please let me know if you have any questions for either myself or Dr. Shemwell.  This is the second year Scott and I have attended Topsides to talk with people about what’s happening in the industry, and every time I talk to that guy I learn something new.  (You know how it is when you get to spend time with really smart people.)  I’m sure tomorrow will be no exception.  Again, I’m always excited to meet readers in person, so if you’ll be there, let me know!

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the NAPE Expo in Houston at the George R Brown Convention Center.  Last year this event was a huge success, and I don’t just say that because I won an iPad. (although, that in and of itself would have convinced me to mark that show down as time well spent!).  PenWell and the Oil & Gas Journal will have a booth at the event, and I’ll be out and about on the show floor meeting new people.  Stop by and say hello.

Well, yesterday was a rainy morning in Galveston. Today, however is crystal clear, cool, and gorgeous. I am a happy camper.  Why?  I had a wonderful hotel room last night.  Normally, I wouldn’t be so excited by the mere existence of a hotel room, but I am especially grateful this time. As the plane’s doors were getting ready to close my phone rang.  It was the website I’d used to book my hotel room.  The hotel I’d booked more than a month in advance was overbooked, and they asked if this was a good time to talk about re-booking somewhere else.  Unfortunately, they frown on telephone conversations on planes.  When my plane landed, I called back and the helpful representative and I spent an hour looking for a comparable room in Houston.  That didn’t work.  I offered up Galveston as an alternative, since…I was working in Galveston this week too.  Finally, we got me set up with a place to lay my weary head.  That’s a little more drama than I care to find in my traveling, but it all ended up working out for the best.  I have a great room at a lovely historic hotel, my window faces the gulf and I can watch the waves, and I got to cut down my travel time for the next couple of days.  Now, if I can get the weather at home to cooperate and get me home on time….
‘Til next time,
Jessica

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Preparing for The Big Crew Change

The Big Crew Change has been a topic of conversation for…a while.  As the energy sector’s workforce gets closer to retirement, the discussion centers around ramping up recruiting efforts to enhance the workforce.  What about all the information and experience that is the current workforce’s legacy?  How do we pass that on to the incoming workforce?

PennEnergy suggests that site licenses from well-known industry publications may be a solution.  The Oil & Gas Journal is one such publication.  It has extensive history, horizontal content, accessible archives, and wide readership. (Bonus: I know a lot about this one because I work with their site license program.)

The Oil & Gas Journal’s first issue was released in 1902, and it has remained a leader in the industry.

Oil & Gas Journal presents news and technical articles and statistics about a specific, vitally important business to professional workers in that business.  It selects articles and facts within articles carefully in service to one standard: usefulness to the target audience.  It anticipates readers’ questions about the subjects and events it covers and pursues and reports answers, in as much operational detail as possible – Oil & Gas Journal Media Kit 2014

The weekly issues cover the depth and breadth of the oil & gas industry with content that appeals to a broad spectrum of oil & gas professionals across the globe. A Signet Ad Study done by the Oil & Gas Journal in July 2013 confirmed their readers include professionals from the following industries:

  • ProductionOGJ
  • Exploration
  • Drilling
  • Financial/Business
  • Gas Processing
  • Pipeline/Transportation
  • Refining
  • Petrochemical

For all of its extensive history, OGJ has adapted with the times.  Oil & Gas Journal is published 4-5 times monthly, and each issue is an interactive, online magazines delivered via email.  However, they haven’t abandoned the rich tradition of the print publication.  Each month there is a print magazine released, in addition to the digital edition,that is, on average, around 140 pages.  However the reader prefers to read their industry news, OGJ is ready to provide.  They even have mobile apps available.

As the current workforce gets closer to retirement, preserving and passing on that information and experience is vital, because while much about the oil & gas industry improves and changes, there is much that stays the same as well.  More than 100 years of covering the oil & gas industry’s news in technology, policy, and comprehensive statistical information, OGJ offers a legacy of rich information the incoming work force will need during this Big Crew Change.

A benefit of the site license program is that it offers their wealth of knowledge through easily accessible archives.  As of today, the magazine has digitized the content back to 1990.  Okay, so let’s do a little math (don’t worry, I used a calculator).  That’s 24 years of issues that are archived and available at the end of 2014.  That would be 1,248 issues of the Oil & Gas Journal are at the fingertips of every site license client.  All the technical information, statistics, surveys, and special reports are right there.

The special reports and features are chosen with great thought each quarter to ensure they are applicable to what is happening right now in the industry.  Some of those features include the Worldwide Refinery Survey, Worldwide Construction Projects, and US Pipeline Economics Study.  Industry experts and editors of the Oil & Gas Journal have contributed to PennEnergy Research’s webinar content.  Sr. Pipeline Editor Christ Smith spoke at a webinar with PennEnergy Research in September and Daniel Johnston who compiles the Complexity Analysis that goes with the refinery survey will be contributing to a webinar on January 28th.

Each site license client’s site license is customized to their needs, and can even include statistical tables and research from PennEnergy Research in addition to the content from the Oil & Gas Journal.  With a current client list of 42 companies including majors, super-majors, and national oil companies, the site license program has become a go-to resource for industry leaders.

Don’t just take my word for it, the Oil & Gas Journal is recognized by B-to-B Magazine as one of the Media Power 50.

Oil & Gas Journal assumes a leadership role within the oil and gas publishing arena through dominance in digital advancement.  It is with great confidence that the OGJ brand continually excels at extending media vehicles not only for readers, but also for advertisers to reach and target global audiences.

For this reason, OGJ received recognition in B-to-B Magazine as one of the Media Power 50 in May 2013.  OGJ is also the only publication within the oil and gas industry to gas such accreditation in 2013. – Oil & gas Journal Media Kit 2014

How does your company plan to handle the Big Crew Change?  Where do you get your industry information?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

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Mars Rover 10 Year Anniversary

English: The MER B launch (launch of the secon...

English: The MER B launch (launch of the second Mars Exploration Rover, the Opportunity rover on July 7th 2003 at 11:18pm from Pad 17B, aboard a Delta II rocket at Cape Canaveral). More information and NASA direct video at http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/detail.cfm?mediaid=20237 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Can you believe that it has been 10 years since the Mars Rovers landed on the Red Planet?  Neither can I.  However, as a kid who had a dream of seeing earth from space, and watching Space Camp way too many times (Yes, I was very disappointed to discover that becoming and astronaut would require lots of *gasp* math.  There ended the dream of heading off into space one day.), I have kept an eye on NASA.   So when it popped up that they were celebrating 10 years since Mars Explorer Rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars…of course I had to check it out!

 

 

 

Last night NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA invited the public to an event for the Mars Exploration Rovers.  The California Institute of Technology’s Beckman Auditorium housed the festivities, admission was free, and entry was based on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

 

 

Mars Exploration Rover’s Spirit and Opportunity were launched by NASA in 2003, and landed weeks apart on The Red Planet in January 2004.  Their prime missions lasted only three months ending in April 2004, but they continued to perform extended missions for years.  Discoveries made by Spirit and Opportunity indicated that the Red Planet may have been favorable for supporting microbial life due to wet environments on ancient Mars.  A few days ago, Opportunity made another startling discovery, which Steve Squyres announced at the event last night.  A “mystery rock” appeared in front of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.  After reviewing pictures at that location from Opportunity’s panoramic camera showing just bare bedrock, the most recent picture shows a rock appearing.  Scientists at MER promptly named it “Pinnacle Island”

 

 

 

“It’s about the size of a jelly doughnut,” Squyres told Discovery News. “It was a total surprise, we were like ‘wait a second, that wasn’t there before, it can’t be right. Oh my god! It wasn’t there before!’ We were absolutely startled.” – Mystery Rock ‘Appears in Front of Mars Rover’, Discovery News, January 17, 2014, Ian O’Neill

 

Spirit's "postcard" view from the su...

Spirit’s “postcard” view from the summit of Husband Hill: a windswept plateau strewn with rocks, small exposures of outcrop, and sand dunes. The view is to the north, looking down upon the “Tennessee Valley”. This approximate true-color composite spans about 90 degrees and consists of eighteen frames captured by the rover’s panoramic camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There’s lots of speculation as to how the rock came to be in the panoramic frame.  The most likely theory is that Opportunity executed a turn in place a meter or two from that rock, and, due to a failed actuator on the right front while, it caused enough disruption as it “chattered” to dislodge the rock.  However, other theories include a meteorite event that disturbed the rock.  At this point scientists can only guess.  The investigation will likely be ongoing for several days.  The dislodged rock offers a unique opportunity for study.  The overturned rock landed on its back, exposing a side of the rock that hasn’t seen Martian atmosphere for billions of years.  

 

 

 

Although Opportunity continues to transmit findings back to Earth, communications between Spirit and Earth stopped altogether in March 2010. Spirit became stuck in a sand pit and likely ran out of juice to continue transmitting.  Now it is just Opportunity and Curiosity, which landed in August 2012.

 

 

 

I love watching the Mars Curiosity landing.  The internet has made it so we can all share in some of these great moments in space exploration.   The landing video is out on YouTube, so whenever I get the hankering to see how far we’ve come, I can go there and check it out.  You don’t even have to go that far, you can just watch it below.

 

 

 

//www.youtube.com/embed/

 

 

 

Wow, just wow.  Every time I watch that, I get goosebumps.  Just think about it.  Humans have landed stuff on another planet…another planet.  Did I mention that there are pictures from things that we landed on another planet?  I get butterflies in my stomach every time I think about it.  What’s next? 

 

This event also had the unexpected benefit of making NASA more appealing to a younger generation.  The appearance of  “the mohawk guy” highlights what NASA is really made of, brilliant young people who want to push the boundaries.  He’s landed guest spots on shows and speaking at conventions such as San Diego’s Comic Con.  The guy even got to meet the President of the United States.  

 

There’s more information online about the Mars Exploration Program here.

 

 

 

‘Til next time,

 

 

 

Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Offshore Achievement Awards Finalists Announced

I love to see great talent and successes recognized across all industries.  Each year the offshore industry in the UK showcases the very best in talent and remarkable successes with the Offshore Achievement Awards.  The OAA’s are hosted and organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers Aberdeen Section in conjunction with sponsor TAQA and yesterday (January 13, 2014) they announced the finalists.  The categories such as safety innovations, technology breakthroughs, and company successes are recognized in addition to individual achievements such as contribution to the offshore industry and collaborative working.

“The Offshore Achievement Awards once again highlight the pioneering work performed within the offshore oil and gas and renewables industry.  This year’s judges were extremely impressed by the talent that the UK industry has to offer,” said Ian Phillips.  Phillips is the director of energy business consultancy Pale Blue Dot Energy limited and the SPE Aberdeen board member who organizes the event. – PennEnergy.com  Oil & Gas: Finals Announced for Offshore Achievement Awards.

Offshore Achievement AwardThe ceremony will take place on March 20, 2014 at the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre with more than 500 industry professionals from across the United Kingdom expected to attend the event.  The OAA’s will be hosted by Sean Lock, a team captain on the popular comedy panel show “8 Out of 10 Cats” and one of the most highly acclaimed comedians in the UK.

The winners will take home unique trophies designed by Kayleigh Cumming’s of Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.  Her design “split sphere” was chosen in a student competition at the university.  Kayleigh’s “split sphere” design features the award details in a glass disc concealed between two hemispheres.

To find further information about the awards or to book a table at the ceremony, you can visit the SPE’ Offshore Achievement Award website

The finalists for the 2014 Offshore Achievement Awards are:

Export Achievement (sponsored by Saltire Energy)
EnerMech
EV
Tendeka

Safety Innovations (sponsored by Petrofac)
AMEC
Stork Technical Services – ERBAS
Viper Subsea

Emerging Technology (sponsored by Nexen)
Aubin Group
Guardian Global Technologies
Ocean Power Technologies

The Innovator (sponsored by BG Group)
Paradigm Flow Services
Tendeka
Viper Subsea

Great Small Company (sponsored by Wood Group PSN)
Accord Energy Solutions
Coretrax Technology
Viper Subsea

Great Large Company (sponsored by Offshore Europe Partnership)
DOF Subsea
Hydrasun
Wood Group

Working Together (sponsored by Aberdeen Business School)
Alba Power/ Petrologistics
Britannia Operator
The Underwater Centre

Young Professional (sponsored by Maersk Oil)
Liam O’Neil, AMEC
Duncan Chedburn, Maersk Oil
Raymond MacKenzie, Nexen Petroleum UK

Inspiring Leader (sponsored by DOF Subsea)
Doug Duguid, EnerMech
Steve Nicol, Halliburton
Trevor Jee, Jee

Environmentalist (sponsored by AMEC)
Cape Environmental Services Offshore
Stork Technical Services
TWMA

Significant Achievement (sponsored by Aker Solutions) will be announced on the evening.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

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Pipeline Explosion Rocks Creek County, Oklahoma

Monday morning an explosion at a natural gas pipeline near Milfay, Oklahoma cut off gas services to several homes in the midst of the polar vortex sweeping the country.  Fortunately no one was hurt in the explosion of the 26-inch pipeline operated by Tulsa, OK based ONEOK, but investigators are still unsure about the cause of the blast.  A resident of nearby Depew saw the explosion.

Theresa McKinzie was tending to her horses near Depew when she saw a massive fireball.

She described it as shooting about 10-15 hundred feet in the air before collapsing.

“Then a few seconds following, there was a very large boom, shook everything, rattled the car everything else,” McKinzie said. – Pipeline Explosion Causes Large Fire Near Milfay, January 6, 2014 5:47PM, NewsOn6 Richard Clark and Ashlei King

ONEOK quickly turned off the gas flow, and the fire was out within the hour. But pipeline officials were forced to wait for the pipeline to cool before completing the investigation and beginning repairs to the gas pipeline.  Although no structures were damaged by the flames, natural gas service to several homes was cut off.  Temporary service is being arranged for those families.

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Train Derailment in North Dakota Sends a Fireball Skyrocketing

Monday, a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed near Casselton, ND, sending a fireball skyrocketing and plumes of black smoke filling the air.  Fortunately, no one was hurt in the explosion, but concern over toxic fumes from the smoke has prompted authorities to call for an evacuation of the town.

As darkness fell, the fire was still so intense that investigators couldn’t get close enough to count the number of cars ablaze, but an estimate put that number at 10.  With temperatures below zero, the heat radiating from the blaze could be felt at least half a mile away.

Hannah Linnard, 13, said she was in the bedroom of her friend’s house about half a mile from the derailment, wrapping late Christmas presents.

“I looked out the window and all of a sudden the train car tipped over and the whole thing was engulfed in flames and it just exploded.  The oil car tipped over onto the grain car,” she said.  Hannah said she could feel the warmth even inside the house. – Huffington Post, Train Derailment Causes Fiery Destruction In Casselton, ND, Dave Koplack, 12/30/13, 9:54PM EST

The North Dakota Department of Health warned that exposure to the burning oil could cause a variety of symptoms including: shortness of breath, coughing and itching and watery eyes.  People suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema in the vicinity were urged to minimize outdoor activity.

Ed McConnell said early Tuesday that most residents heeded the recommendation to evacuate their homes to avoid the strong winds predicted to shift blowing potentially hazardous smoke toward the town overnight. With forecasts predicting one of the coldest nights of the year, residents were urged to relocate to a shelter at Discovery Middle School in Fargo, about 25 miles away, rather than sleep in their cars.

The rail tracks run straight through the middle of Casselton, a town of 2,400 people about 25 miles west of Fargo.  McConnell estimated that dozens of people could have been killed if the derailment had happened within city limits. ABC News, Mayor: ND Town Dodged a Bullet in Crude Explosion, Dave Kolpack, 12/31/2013 (AP)

According to Oil & Gas Journal statistics, North Dakota produced 242,486,000 barrels of oil in 2012, and a good portion of the production is transported by rail. United States Crude Oil Production By State – Annual, PennEnergy Research.  The number of crude oil carloads has seen a dramatic increase since 2009 as activity in the Bakken continues.