Chair's Corner - July 2022

Chair's Corner - July 2022

I have had the opportunity to serve and lead the Gulf Coast section for the past 12 months; it’s been the highlight of my career. I joined the Gulf coast section in the fall of 2012, this year marks my tenth year as a member of this prestigious section. I have grown as a professional servant leader, a friend, and a trusted advisor during these years. I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, and, most importantly, the board of directors. I do not think I would have it this far without them. As I transition to the past chair position, I would also like to thank Simeon Eburi, our outgoing past chair, for the support and mentorship during these months and to the incoming chair and a good friend, Carlos; I wish you the best during the next twelve months. 

A quick recap on what is going on in the industry, The events of the past five months have reminded us of how dependent we are on energy. With the highest gas prices seen in over a decade, we are reminded that anyone can move from “energy-rich” to “energy poor” in weeks. Our salaries were neither lost nor reduced; the cost of living has increased, reducing our “real pay.” But how did we get here? It all began with the push for the “energy transition.” The world has seen several energy transitions across centuries. At some point, the most significant energy challenge was how to pump water out of mines. Today, we intend to power Mars. Between these ends is the insurmountable proof of how intertwined global economic development is with the availability of cheap energy. These were proofs we pointed at when we begged for a sustainable energy transition. But the industry was labeled as “enemies of the earth”, even though we have powered the fastest era of global development.

Now, the choice to ignore energy professionals has left us in a precarious position. It is this extremely weak position that Russia saw and seized to invade Ukraine. Worst of all, Europe is indirectly financing the war, with over $90B worth of energy so far. The US would have significantly reduced that sum if years of under-investment and targeted anti-fossil fuel policies did not leave us also short. Rather, we await, weekly, which dominoes the severely strained energy market would bring down. The end is not yet in sight from LNG to gasoline, diesel, and recently aviation fuel.

In times past, such a situation would lead to a massive inflow of investments. Instead, however, investors are still wary of the mixed signals from the administration. On the one hand, a plea for Saudi Arabia and ExxonMobil to “open the taps…since they make more money than God this year” [they lost more money than the devil last year too]. On the other hand, is a severely restricted lease sales and canceled pipeline permits. All we can hope for is that Americans speak their minds through this midterm. Else, we might yet see the $180 oil this year.

I wish you all the best during the summer holidays.