DeSanctis: Embracing Diversity to Overcome Energy Challenges

The U.S. shale revolution has not only changed the economic picture of the energy industry, and the economy as a whole, but it has also created an abundance of opportunities for a new and more diverse workforce wishing to enter the industry. And the job opportunities stemming from fracking in shale formations are coming at a time when the industry is already going through a paradigm shift as senior workers move into retirement. This is creating an unprecedented time of opportunity for the industry to take advantage of workplace diversity in solving some of its challenges.

That was the message ConocoPhillips Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications, Ellen DeSanctis, told attendees at a recent Women’s Energy Network luncheon.

The resurgence in the oil and gas industry is creating opportunities not dreamed of in the 1990s. As a result of the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. has access to more natural gas resources in some unconventional formations than all the natural gas resources in some countries, DeSanctis noted.   

One result for the United States of this abundance of accessible supply has been a change – even a reversal – in the geopolitics of buying and selling energy.

“Many believe that we and Canada could become net exporters by 2020. We are no longer as dependent on hostile nations for own crude oil supply. That’s a huge shift in the paradigm.”

Despite some recent price softening due to increases in supply, DeSanctis sees continued strength in the market for some time to come.

“There is still plenty of supply in our country being produced economically, and that bodes well for the future of gas production in our country. In many ways, we are a victim of our success. The more we find, the flatter we make our supply curve. That’s the nature of our business. But you have to believe that at some level, lower energy costs for the world, and certainly for our country, are good for all of us,” she said.


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