Oil and gas industry has changed at a rapid scale as the aftermath of the downturn.  Longer laterals, advanced completions, high-resolution subsurface diagnostics, and other technological advances have become must-haves to survive. While innovation was undoubtedly critical to protect companies’ wellbeing over the last couple of years, it’s imperative to continue to challenge the status quo regardless of the oil price tomorrow.

To capitalize on the ingenuity unlocked by this downturn, SPE GCS INNOVATE committee is organizing a two-day Innovation and Entrepreneurship Symposium on 21-22 March 2018 at Marathon Oil Tower. This event is poised to nucleate oil and gas innovation and the entrepreneurship community in Houston and will cater to the oil and gas investors, entrepreneurs, and innovators within big corporations. On the agenda are keynotes, several panel sessions, workshops, networking breaks, and a half-day shark tank event.

Oil and Gas startups are now welcomed to submit their application for participation in the shark-tank event, where they will have the opportunity to present their business idea to oil and gas investors and initiate funding discussions.


Ticket includes admission to the Networking Reception at the end of Day One.




7:30 AM:       Registration & Breakfast – Networking

8:25 AM:       Welcome & Overview from the conference committee

8:30 AM:       Keynote: Innovation in Oil and Gas

9:00 AM:       Session I: External Challenges

This panel of experts will discuss the external challenges to the oil & gas industry – with a keen focus on   opportunities and threats they create for energy investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs. 

  Moderator: Dr. Ken Medlock, Sr. Director, Baker Institute of Public Policy
  The Honorable Bon Inglis, Former U.S. Representative, 4th Congressional District
  Dr. Michael Webber, Deputy Director, Energy Institute

10:15 AM     Networking & Break

10:35 AM     Session II: Partnership and Collaboration

To test and prove innovative ideas, entrepreurs and businesses have to find strategic partners that are willing to take risk with them and perform a test pilot(s). This panel will provide insight on this process, and look at collaboration from the perspective of the innovator and the investor 

       Randy Johnson, Director, Innovation, Marathon Oil
        Ajay Kshatriya, CEO, Biota Technology

 12:00 AM     Luncheon 

 1:00 PM      **Split Sessions: Workshops I and II**

                     Roundtable I: Digital Roadmap and Automation

New digital technologies are improving communications, data gathering, data analytics, safety, efficiency, and other parameters. What are the possibilities? How does the future look like? How can we get there faster? What are key milestones and metrics?

                        Gaurav Khandelwal, CEO, ChaiOne
                        Mathias Schlecht, VP Enterprise Technology, BHGE 


                     Workshop I: Design Thinking

Design Thinking is one of the innovation techniques that considers the problem from customer’s point of view and encourages empathizing with the user. This interactive workshop will show how to apply Design Thinking concept using the example of oil & gas software.

                        Grace Rodriguez, Co-Founder and CXO, Station Houston

 2:30 PM       Networking & Break

 3:00 PM      **Split Sessions: Workshops III and IV**

                     Roundatable II: Innovative Technologies

To adapt to the lower oil and gas prices, industry must find innovative ways to improve operational efficiencies. This roundtable will discuss some of these novel technologies and techniques that are being implemented and speculate what the future of the industry will look like.
                        Robert Nipper, Founder, NCS Multistage
                        Hossein Rokhsari, Partner, Darcy Partners 


                     Roundtable III: Startup Roadmap and Resources

Interactive discussion on the tools and resources available for start-ups: idea, team, capital. Each topic takes 20 minutes: 5 minutes per Discussion Lead + 5 minutes Q&A 

                        Mike Mueller, Director, HTC
                        Gregory Laake, Managing Partner, Catapult Energy Services Group
                        Chris Robart, President, Ambyint

 4:30 PM       Networking Social Begins 

 6:30 PM       Adjourn of Day One




7:30 AM:       Registration & Breakfast – Networking

8:30 AM:       Keynote: Entrepreneurship in Oil and Gas

9:00 AM:       Session III: Innovation Outside of Oil and Gas

This panel brings together innovation experts from outside the oil & gas industry.  Join them as they discuss ideas that may be applicable in oil & gas.

  Moderator: Chris Reinsvold, Founder, Reinsvold and Associates
  Chris Culbert, Chief Technologist, Johnson Space Center
  Dr. Stephen R. Igo, Co-Founder, Cormedics
  Richard Ward, Sr. Expert, IT, McKinsey

10:15 AM     Networking & Break

10:35 AM     Session IV: Exit Strategies and Sources of Funding

This panel comprises experienced investment firms focusing on oil and gas.  Hear their take on access to capital and what every investor and entrepreneur should be thinking about – exit strategies.   

       Moderator: Omar Abou-Sayed, CEO, Advantek
       Sean Ebert, Partner, Altira
       Charlie Leykum, Founder, CSL Capital Management
       Gary Petersen, Co-Founder, EnCap Investments

 12:00 AM    Luncheon 

 1:00 PM      Shark tank - part one

Selected startups will present their company to a panel of experienced oil and gas investors to initiate funding discussions and get feedback.

                       Moderator: Jim Sledzik, Managing Director, Hall Labs
                       Ryan Gurney, Managing Partner, CottonWood Venture Partners
                       Hossam Elbadawy, Founder and CEO, O&G Technologies
                       Oliver Phillips, VP, Limerock Partners
                       Borre Stokholm, Investment Manager, Statoil Technology Invest

 2:30 PM      Networking & Break

 3:00 PM      Shark tank - part two

Selected startups will present their company to a panel of experienced oil and gas investors to initiate funding discussions and get feedback.

                       Moderator: Jim Sledzik, Managing Director, Hall Labs
                       Ryan Gurney, Managing Partner, CottonWood Venture Partners
                       Hossam Elbadawy, Founder and CEO, O&G Technologies
                       Oliver Phillips, VP, Limerock Partners
                       Borre Stokholm, Investment Manager, Statoil Technology Invest

 4:30 PM       Closing remarks from the conference committee

 4:35 PM       Adjourn of Day Two

















Sponsorship opportunities are available (click to download) 


Startups are welcomed to submit application to compete (click to download)



IES Co-Chairs