World Trade Center – API Luncheon – July 17th
I remember the morning distinctly. Moments earlier, Russian separatists had shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. This tragic event served as a reminder of the political, social, and economic volatility that exists in other parts of the world. Earlier this week James McFarland, our program director, emphasized the importance of being well informed about geopolitical news because of its direct impact on the energy industry. This relationship between energy and politics was an important theme during our recent field trip to the World Trade Center of New Orleans (WTCNO).
At the WTCNO we had the privilege of attending a luncheon focused on “the shale revolution” delivered by the head of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Jack Gerard. He talked about the economic opportunities this revolution will bring to the U.S. In addition, this event provided the MME class of 2015 an excellent chance to network with many of the members of the WTCNO and local API organizations who were in attendance that day.
Once seated, our professor and chairman of WTCNO’s Energy Committee, Eric Smith, introduced Jack Gerard and the API. API is a major trade organization created to represent nearly 400 oil and gas companies and is well known for taking political positions and discussing them publically. They are also less well known for their publication of industry standards and “recommended practices”. These procedures help companies improve safety and efficiency. In many cases API standards are the prototypes for new formal government regulations.
Gerard’s speech was especially impressive and informative. With great enthusiasm, Gerard expressed his strong belief that energy is fundamental in order to spur economic development. However, he also quoted Charles Dickens in saying that “it is the best of times, it is the worst of times” for the industry. While the U.S. is poised to become #1 in crude production and create over a million new jobs in the next seven years, he explained to us how US policy continuously hampers the private energy sector’s development. Gerard impressed upon us that the business of energy should be kept out of Washington’s hands. And he made a strong case for his position.
At the end of the presentation, Gerard fielded questions on various controversial topics such as environmental concerns, renewables, and the Keystone XL pipeline story. He was very thorough, and afterwards even joined the students in a private room for further discussion. By the end, I felt inspired. It is now clearer to me that we have reached a key juncture, in which we have an opportunity to capitalize on our resources and become an energy superpower. Overall, I believe that our class benefited from this exposure and am even more confident that the MME class of 2015 is poised to step up to the plate and help lead the industry as it reaches for its destiny.
Albert Tyler Goldich
Master of Management in Energy Candidate 2015