Same person, different hats
You’ve probably noticed a new employment dynamic in the upstream oil and gas industry… The line between employees, consultants, self-employed business contractors and business owners has become blurred…
This is likely to continue and even accelerate due to a number of macro factors:
There are other factors in play, ones that we’re all aware of. For example, we no longer need to choose. A side-gig, or multiple concurrent ventures can be launched, even while working full time. (If you can stomach that amount of stress!)
The point is that there is no set career path to follow anymore. The leaders of the future will be the ones who can pivot and solve problems in a creative way. It’s the creatives and visionaries that will blaze the way… In fact, when we think about it, hasn’t that always been the case?
Once you know the next steps in your career path, idea/market validation is crucial. You don’t want to be working on your new invention in the garden shed for 10 years, only to unveil it and find that no-one is interested.
So, the leaders of tomorrow will efficiently validate and market themselves, their products and ideas. You need efficient ways of getting the word out, to the people that you want it in front of.
Which brings me to the point of the post…
I’m a believer in creating not just an online presence, but an online omnipresence (I've written about that before). Demonstrate to the world that you’re committed, willing and able to continuously think about concepts and solutions.
You can be employed by 10 companies, and start 10 of your own. You can collaborate and be a lone wolf at different times.
While the economic activity that you undertake changes, there is something that doesn’t change… Your character, and your ability to create solutions.
These fundamental building blocks of a career can be chronicled, documented and stored online. Not on your hard drive, where they won’t help you, but online. For all of your peers, mentors, students, employers and business partners to see…
Your body of work, your career and life achievements.
Eventually, you might appear in all major news and media outlets, and in every industry association website. In the beginning though, in our path to online omnipresence and career security… We set up profiles and become known in as many places as possible.
Did you notice that I just wrote career security?
Job security is dead…
Long live career security!
Being a serial problem solver, who is willing to learn new concepts and put in the hard work, will likely mean career security. If you’re an amazing chef, it’s possible that you could move from French, to Japanese, to Chinese cuisine. If you use the same skills that you already know, applied to a new set of rules and tactics, you can succeed again and again.
A weak French Chef is unlikely to make the move to another kitchen art…
If you’re a serial achiever, chronicle it online. Create a track record that will allow you to stand out from all other candidates for future job applications. Set up series of online breadcrumbs that will increase the chances of finding your next business partner, supplier or customer.
Are you planning to create career security? Perhaps you already have a sideline or small business? Perhaps you’re set up as a consultant?
Apart form the obvious places that you need to be (Facebook, LinkedIn etc), here are a few places where you can set up a professional or business profile:
(All Oil and Gas/Energy related)
I’ve only listed five, and they’re all free to register on, search around and you’ll find dozens more. Gradually, you can capture more online real estate for yourself and your companies of the future.
Something interesting to share?
Join NrgEdge and create your own NrgBuzz today
Working natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 states totaled 3,519 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending October 11, 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). This is the first week that Lower 48 states’ working gas inventories have exceeded the previous five-year average since September 22, 2017. Weekly injections in three of the past four weeks each surpassed 100 Bcf, or about 27% more than typical injections for that time of year.
Working natural gas capacity at underground storage facilities helps market participants balance the supply and consumption of natural gas. Inventories in each of the five regions are based on varying commercial, risk management, and reliability goals.
When determining whether natural gas inventories are relatively high or low, EIA uses the average inventories for that same week in each of the previous five years. Relatively low inventories heading into winter months can put upward pressure on natural gas prices. Conversely, relatively high inventories can put downward pressure on natural gas prices.
This week’s inventory level ends a 106-week streak of lower-than-normal natural gas inventories. Natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 states entered the winter of 2017–18 lower than the previous average. Episodes of relatively cold temperatures in the winter of 2017–18—including a bomb cyclone—resulted in record withdrawals from storage, increasing the deficit to the five-year average.
In the subsequent refill season (typically April through October), sustained warmer-than-normal temperatures increased electricity demand for natural gas. Increased demand slowed natural gas storage injection activity through the summer and fall of 2018. By November 30, 2018, the deficit to the five-year average had grown to 725 Bcf. Inventories in that week were 20% lower than the previous five-year average for that time of year. Throughout the 2019 refill season, record levels of U.S. natural gas production led to relatively high injections of natural gas into storage and reduced the deficit to the previous five-year average.
The deficit was also decreased as last year’s low inventory levels are rolled into the previous five-year average. For this week in 2019, the preceding five-year average is about 124 Bcf lower than it was for the same week last year. Consequently, the gap has closed in part based on a lower five-year average.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
The level of working natural gas inventories relative to the previous five-year average tends to be inversely correlated with natural gas prices. Front-month futures prices at the Henry Hub, the main price benchmark for natural gas in the United States, were as low as $1.67 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in early 2016. At about that same time, natural gas inventories were 874 Bcf more than the previous five-year average.
By the winter of 2018–19, natural gas front-month futures prices reached their highest level in several years. Natural gas inventories fell to 725 Bcf less than the previous five-year average on November 30, 2018. In recent weeks, increasing the Lower 48 states’ natural gas storage levels have contributed to lower natural gas futures prices.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report and front-month futures prices from New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 14 October 2019 – Brent: US$59/b; WTI: US$53/b
Headlines of the week
Amid ongoing political unrest, Ecuador has chosen to withdraw from OPEC in January 2020. Citing a need to boost oil revenues by being ‘honest about its ability to endure further cuts’, Ecuador is prioritising crude production and welcoming new oil investment (free from production constraints) as President Lenin Moreno pursues more market-friendly economic policies. But his decisions have caused unrest; the removal of fuel subsidies – which effectively double domestic fuel prices – have triggered an ongoing widespread protests after 40 years of low prices. To balance its fiscal books, Ecuador’s priorities have changed.
The departure is symbolic. Ecuador’s production amounts to some 540,000 b/d of crude oil. It has historically exceeded its allocated quota within the wider OPEC supply deal, but given its smaller volumes, does not have a major impact on OPEC’s total output. The divorce is also not acrimonious, with Ecuador promising to continue supporting OPEC’s efforts to stabilise the oil market where it can.
This isn’t the first time, or the last time, that a country will quit OPEC. Ecuador itself has already done so once, withdrawing in December 1992. Back then, Quito cited fiscal problems, balking at the high membership fee – US$2 million per year – and that it needed to prioritise increasing production over output discipline. Ecuador rejoined in October 2007. Similar circumstances over supply constraints also prompted Gabon to withdraw in January 1995, returning only in July 2016. The likelihood of Ecuador returning is high, given this history, but there are also two OPEC members that have departed seemingly permanently.
The first is Indonesia, which exited OPEC in 2008 after 46 years of membership. Chronic mismanagement of its upstream resources had led Indonesia to become a net importer of crude oil since the early 2000s and therefore unable to meet its production quota. Indonesia did rejoin OPEC briefly in January 2016 after managing to (slightly) improve its crude balance, but was forced to withdraw once again in December 2016 when OPEC began requesting more comprehensive production cuts to stabilise prices. But while Indonesia may return, Qatar is likely gone permanently. Officially, Qatar exited OPEC in January 2019 after 48 years of continuous membership to focus on natural gas production, which dwarfs its crude output. Unofficially, geopolitical tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia – which has resulted in an ongoing blockade and boycott – contributed to the split.
The exit of Ecuador will not make much material difference to OPEC’s current goal of controlling supply to stabilise prices. With Saudi production back at full capacity – and showing the willingness to turn its taps on or off to control the market – gains in Ecuador’s crude production can be offset elsewhere. What matters is optics. The exit leaves the impression that OPEC’s power is weakening, limiting its ability to influence the market by controlling supply. There are also ongoing tensions brewing within OPEC, specifically between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The continued implosion of the Venezuelan economy is also an issue. OPEC will survive the exit of Ecuador; but if Iran or Venezuela choose to go, then it will face a full-blown existential crisis.
Current OPEC membership: