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.


 Ticket includes breakfasts, lunches, parking validations, and 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:       Kick-Off

                      Amanda Edwards, Council Member, City of Houston

8:35 AM:       Keynote: The Rice Energy Story

                      Toby Z. Rice, Former President, COO and Director, Rice Energy 

9:00 AM:       Panel: 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 Bob Inglis, Former U.S. Representative, 4th Congressional District
  Chris Ross, Executive Professor, Bauer College of Business
  Dr. Michael Webber, Deputy Director, Energy Institute

10:15 AM     Networking & Break

10:35 AM     Panel: 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 

       Moderator: Richard Spears, President, Spears and Associates
       Randy Johnson, VP, Integrated Performance, Marathon Oil
       Marc Davidson, Sr. Director, Technology, Halliburton
       Ajay Kshatriya, CEO, Biota Technology   

 12:00 AM     Luncheon 

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

                     Roundtable: 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?

                        Moderator: Mikhail Alekseenko, Chair, Innovate Committee
                        Gaurav Khandelwal, CEO, ChaiOne
                        Mathias Schlecht, VP Enterprise Technology, BHGE
                        Tim Kopra, Partner, Blue Bear Capital


                     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.

                        Tanveer Chaudhary, Founder, Design Thinking and Innovation

 2:30 PM       Networking & Break

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

                     Roundatable: 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.
                        Moderator: Tracy Druce, Vice Chair, Intellectial Property, Polsinelli
                        Robert Nipper, Founder, NCS Multistage
                        Hossein Rokhsari, Partner, Darcy Partners 
                        John Hand, Technology Program Manager, ConocoPhillips

                     Roundtable: 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 

                        Moderator: Jon Nordby, Director, Houston Exponential
                        Gregory Laake, Managing Partner, Catapult Energy Services Group
                        Chris Robart, President, Ambyint
                        Dan Carter, Investment Director, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures

 4:30 PM       Networking Social Begins 

 6:30 PM       Adjourn of Day One





7:30 AM:       Registration & Breakfast – Networking

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

                      Maynard Holt, CEO, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

9:00 AM:       Panel: 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
  Stephen R. Igo, Co-Founder, Cormedics
  Richard Ward, Sr. Expert, IT, McKinsey

10:15 AM     Networking & Break

10:35 AM     Panel: 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