Monday, July 2, 2007

Oil Industry In NOLA

Gambit's profile of Frank Glaviano, the head of Shell's office in New Orleans. He was their man of the year. I think Frank, a fellow Tulane Engineer, was the best possible choice. I'm disappointed the Times-Pic didn't hand him a Loving Cup.

An article about the healthy of the oil industry in New Orleans. This is very important for a number of reasons. The oil industry is one of the large white collar employers in the city. Also, a number of New Orleans bloggers are employed by the oil industry to some degree or another {one I whom I ran into today at work :-)}.

All in all, the oil industry is doing well in the city. I wish the article talked about the smaller, independent firms (Taylor, Helis, etc.) more.

One little known fact about the oil industry is most of the oil isn't found by the major companies. It's discovered by wildcatters and independents. Louisiana's offshore oil wealth wasn't discovered by Exxon or Shell or BP. It was discovered by Kerr-McGee. The little guys take risks that the big guys don't bother to.

I've done some work for the little guys. A lot of these companies operate on shoestring budgets and making projects economical is challenging. It requires some real creativity. $70/barrel oil really helps them out. I know of several fields that will have to be shut down if oil dips below $50/barrel. Going from the massive scale projects to the tiny ones is interesting, to say the least. Compared to the offshore projects, these little fields are sort of cute. 'Aw, look at their itty-bitty separator. Isn't it so cute? I separates a whole 100 barrels per day!' Offshore, the vessels are at least 100 times larger!

The contributions of the independents to the city is extremely underrated. Pat Taylor was the most important philanthropist in the city's history since John McDonough (sp?). He was one of the most important people behind the institution of the TOPS program, one of the few things things that isn't ass-backwards in Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana is, GASP!, one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to programs like TOPS. Don't forget the technological push that's come from deepwater drilling.

3 comments:

Maitri said...

Hey, it was nice to run into you at OSS. I still can't remember the last name of my acquaintance from your company.

You do realize that Shell geophysicists discovered the Mars-Ursa basin. However, the little guys are the ones who will produce everything that we have analyzed to death, and cannot produce because of the sheer size of our overhead. Yet, I know ex-colleagues and people who work for Taylor, etc. who don't have access to the data and infrastructure that we do. There are advantages to being David and Goliath.

Pat Taylor was the bomb! I do miss him.

Clay said...

I understand how individual fields are opened up, but that's not what I was talking about. None of the majors thought it was worth their time or effort to explore offshore. It was Kerr-McGee that took the risk. The majors are Johnny Come Lately when it comes to new areas of exploration. They do most of the production, because as soon as an independent proves it can be done (PROFITABLY!), the big guys move in and build massive production facilities.

You knew Pat Taylor? One of the guys at my firm is good friends of one of his security guards (the guard and Taylor went way back to their days in the Marines). That's where I get some of my knowledge of the man.

Clay said...

The best overview of the oil industry ever written is "The Prize."

http://www.amazon.com/Prize-Epic-Quest-Money-Power/dp/0671799320

It's a must-read for anyone in the oil industry.

I heard him say in an interview it took him 20 years to write that book. I don't doubt it.

I've heard he's working on a new updated and expanded edition. Can't wait to get my hands on it.