Energy Influencers #16 – #20

Energy Influencers #16 – #20

Here’s the next group that you’ll get to meet:

  #11 Dan Wilks & Farris Wilks (Co-Founders of Frac Tech Services) 
  #12 Tom Fowler (Energy Writer at The Wall Street Journal)
  #13 Stuart Page (CEO at Glori Energy)
  #14 Mark Zoback (Professor of Earth Sciences at Stanford University)
  #15 Harold Hamm (Chairman & CEO at Continental Resources)


 #16 Denise Whitaker

Director of Information Technology at Axia Land Services

Arlington, Texas

Behind the scenes.  Supporting every oil & gas company are great land professionals, and supporting land professionals is great technology.  And if you’re as fortunate as Axia Land Services, Denise Whitaker is behind all those scenes.

Aided by industry-leading technology, Axia has title analysts and leasing agents behind the scenes specializing in land services including lease acquisition, title curative, GIS mapping and due diligence.  For some clients they produce detailed analyses of mineral rights, surface ownership and comprehensive curative research.  For other clients they’re the in-house land service for those who do not have their own land departments.

Whitaker is even further behind the scenes heading up various teams including social media, web design, marketing and database design projects.  Her teams also support multiple proprietary software applications available for use with clients’ specific needs.  Whitaker provides the industry-leading technology needed to deliver the next generation of land services.

While Axia started off providing land services in Texas and Oklahoma, they are expanding nationwide and recently engaged in new business ventures in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.

So whether you’re independent exploration and production company like Celero Energy with a simple project or a client like Western Production Company requiring an outsourced Land Department, Axia has the services and Whitaker has the technology solutions to support them all…even the Chesapeakes of the oil and gas industry. 

 #17 James Mulva

Chairman & CEO of ConocoPhillips

Houston, Texas

Breaking up is hard to do, but in 2011 it seemed to be the “in thing” to do….Marathon Oil, El Paso, ConocoPhillips…Mulva and ConocoPhillips.

In 2011 Big Oil got a little smaller as several integrated oil companies announced the separation of their refining and exploration-production companies.  While some of the majors like Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron continue to see value in their integrated business models, others decided to start a new trend in the other direction.

In July 2011, just two weeks after Marathon Oil split itself up to increase returns for investors, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer, James “Jim” Mulva, announced that the nation’s third-largest oil company would do likewise.

While most ConocoPhillips 4,000 employees will keep their jobs, Mulva himself will be retiring.  In October the board announced that Ryan Lance will become the Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, the upstream company, and Greg Garland will become the Chairman and CEO of Phillips66, the downstream company.

Mulva will retire upon completion of the separation which is expected in the second quarter of 2012.  In the meantime, Mulva remained active in 2011 launching a natural gas campaign touting the benefits of natural gas while dispelling some of the public fears about the drilling techniques being used to extract it.

Mulva says “We have work to do.  We’re going to have to tell our story.  That’s never been easy for us.”

Breaking up is hard to do too, but maybe new CEO Ryan Lance will now be able to focus on convincing policymakers and consumers that expanded natural gas production can safely provide low-cost energy and high-paying jobs.

Although the all-in-one business model oil majors have preferred for years may be falling out of favor, the new ConocoPhillips cannot afford the demand for natural gas to do the same.

#18 Fadel Gheit

Managing Director & Senior Analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

New York, New York

Fadel Gheit is one of the most influential analysts covering the oil and gas sector.  There are many energy analysts on Wall Street, but none deliver their analysis to the public quite like this seasoned veteran.

Gheit has extensive industry experience including six years in engineering with Mobil Oil and five years in energy consulting with Stone & Webster.   He has been an Energy Analyst for the past 25 years, 18 of them with Oppenheimer.

With his extensive experience in equity research, it comes as no surprise that Gheit has been named to The Wall Street Journal All-Star Annual Analyst Survey four times and was the top-ranked energy analyst on the Bloomberg Annual Analyst survey for four years.

Gheit is also one of the most quoted analysts on energy issues and is a frequent guest on TV and radio business programs, such as Bloomberg, Nightly Business Report and NPR.  Gheit has earned the respect of the public and the media alike for telling it like it is.  Not only is his market commentary frank and insightful, but it certainly impacts the investment decisions of many.

And while he admits that “there are better stock pickers” than himself, as a native of Egypt he will also point out that he knows “what goes on in the hearts and minds of people” in the oil-producing Middle East….a perspective which is critical these days when global fears, demand/supply uncertainty and investor sentiment are able to quickly move markets.

#19 Teryn Norris

Founder & President at Americans for Energy Leadership

Washington, D.C.

Teryn Norris may have just graduated from Stanford University in 2011 but over the past five years he has served as one of the country’s leading young voices for federal policies to strengthen U.S. energy innovation and economic competitiveness.

Norris is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and policy analyst.  He has co-authored several acclaimed economic reports and energy policy proposals (including one for the National Energy Education Act), and has been interviewed on national television, radio and in several leading publications.  He has also founded and advised several other nonprofit projects related to energy and climate change.

In 2011 Norris was a recipient of the Truman Scholarship, the highest award in the United States for young public service leaders.  He was recognized for his already significant contributions to U.S. energy policy.

Norris founded Americans for Energy Leadership (AEL), a nonprofit organization that advanced federal investments in clean energy research and trained young energy policy leaders.  He served as the organization’s President from its founding in 2009 until early 2012 when it merged with the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Program to launch a new national policy initiative, Americans for Energy Innovation.

Look for Norris to become even more influential in 2012.  In March, Norris received a White House appointment (Schedule C) to the position of Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Energy where he coordinates public engagement.

After all these years of influencing energy policy from the outside, he now has one foot in the door…one step closer to the President himself.  Norris has influenced Presidential policy before, he will do it again. 

#20 Claude Gravelle

Vice Chair of Canadian Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee

Ontario, Canada

Not everyone in Canada supports the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines.  Claude Gravelle is concerned that exporting Canadian oil could translate into oil spills, environmental costs and lost Canadian jobs.

As a member of the official left-leaning opposition party in Canada, Gravelle is the New Democratic Party (NDP) critic for Natural Resources and is also vice-chair for Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee.

Gravelle has been a leader among those in Canada critical of the Conservative government’s efforts to encourage the construction of TransCanada’s $7 billion Keystone crude oil pipeline to Texas and Enbridge’s proposed 650-mile Northern Gateway pipeline to the British Columbia coast.

While the Harper government and TransCanada are trying to salvage a plan to build the pipeline to carry oil sands crude from Alberta to the lucrative Gulf Coast market, Gravelle traveled to Washington in November to let American politicians know there are lawmakers in Canada who have mixed feelings about the pipeline.  This stirred up some controversy in Canada.

Because Alberta has limited refineries and is landlocked, 99% of exports end up in the American Midwest.  Gravelle believes there would be more financial security for Canada if there were more oil refineries in Canada, as opposed to piping raw bitumen, and thousands of Canadian jobs, to the United States.

As for the Northern Gateway pipeline, Gravelle believes exporting Alberta crude oil to China is not in Canada’s national interest.  He is worried about environmental disasters which may result from pipeline leaks across the lands of First Nations tribes and tanker leaks along the British Columbia coastline.

While neither pipeline is likely to be stopped, Gravelle is pushing for a collaborative strategy…wrapping together a domestic oil supply strategy, an oil export strategy, a renewable energy strategy and a climate change strategy into one national energy strategy for Canada.


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