Plans are developing to get myself more involved in industry developments such as the following:

  1. Studying for a Master of Jurisprudence in Energy Law at The University of Tulsa College of Law, beginning in January 2018.

  2. Being an Advisory Board Member for the AAPG's Pitchapalooza Event at the 2018 ACE in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 2018.

  3. Hosting a Roundtable discussion on Technology Commercialization at the Kayo Women's Energy and Resources Summit in Houston, Texas, June 2018.

  4. Being a Subcommittee Member for the Robotics Pillar of the SPE ENGenious Conference in Aberdeen, September 2018.

  5. Develop Patent Applications for Nonlinear Seismic Imaging technologies.

  6. Perform an Oilfield Evaluation with latest seismic imaging techniques.

As 2017 comes to a close, I look back on this year as one of decisiveness, change and focus as I re-emerge from a period of reflection and pondering on unspoken, deeper thoughts from heartfelt events of life.

I wish everyone the best of luck in achieving goals worthy of pursuing, and dedicate my efforts to a special father, Tawassul A. Khan, who repeated to me, "Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win."

Sofia Khan, President and CEO, Nonlinear Seismic Imaging, Inc. sofia@nonlinearseismic.com

I was touched by the warm and friendly environment of Midland, Texas. Flying in from Dallas, I focused on the view outside and below me, seeing hundreds of oil pump jacks lined up along the surface of the earth, and imagining the activity that has gone on in this region for the past century. 

Historic discoveries since the 1920s like the Yates Field, discovered by the predecessors of Marathon Oil Corporation and is still producing oil through over 360 wells, created the rise of the Permian.  In 1927, the spectacular new Yates Field, nicknamed the "Queen of the Pecos" was spewing out more than 192,000 barrels of oil a day, all without pipelines by which to carry the black gold to refineries. (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/exhibits/railroad/oil/page3.html)

Paying the Price - We Will Have to Compete

The Executive Oil Conference brought together hundreds of producers, investors, technology providers, analysts and retired professionals who were all interested in the exclusive gathering. The theme of the annual conference set in Midland was "Permian Economics Provide a Counter-Punch: OPEC tried to break the back of America's shale revolution, but now Permian producers are punching back and putting some of OPEC's team on-the-ropes. This fight will determine who can survive and thrive with lower-for-longer oil prices. Finding and development costs have dropped as service companies work hand-in-glove with operators' technical teams. Together they've nearly matched Middle East economics and the resulting supply-side elasticity is redefining E&P market fundamentals worldwide." (Conference brochure)

The Permian Basin in considered a world-class asset by operators who have had a long history in the region. With new drilling technologies, there are still billions of barrels of oil to be produced from the known and newer basins. For example, the USGS recently published information about one such area, the Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin:

"The Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin portion of Texas' Permian Basin province contains an estimated mean of 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources. The estimate of continuous oil in the Midland Basin Wolfcamp shale assessment is nearly three times larger than that of the 2013 USGS Bakken-Three Forks resource assessment, making this the largest estimated continuous oil accumulation that USGS has assessed in the United States to date. "The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more," said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator for the USGS Energy Resources Program. "Changes in technology and industry practices can have significant effects on what resources are technically recoverable, and that's why we continue to perform resource assessments throughout the United States and the world." " (https://www.usgs.gov/news/usgs-estimates-20-billion-barrels-oil-texas-wolfcamp-shale-formation)

Productivity is ramping up even further as we enter the age of the digital oilfield, which will help the operators work on all links of the supply chain in a more seamless manner. The goal has been to sustain the effort and increase production from 2.2 million barrels per day up to 4 million barrels per day by the end of 2020. Hurdles thrown at this rapid growth include a limit in qualified workforce, needed infrastructure, the direction of the oil price itself, and available capital to invest in billion dollar projects.

Since August 2016 the rig count is up 100%, with operators keeping in mind they must remain the lowest cost operator they can be. For a detailed post of my thoughts relating to the event, please link to the article on LinkedIn.

Updated: Oct 20, 2017

Recently, CNN has commented on China's record levels of investment in its energy future, in particular renewables and electric cars. Was it a humorous gesture when CNN also used a comparison that the US is going in the opposite direction by investing in coal which is more like an energy choice from the past? When we take a look at the broader view, perhaps we can make better sense of CNN's perspective.

Each nation, based on its own energy security and insecurity, will have to face tough choices for the increasing demand by growing populations. Current population of the newer developed world such as China and India far outnumber the United States, with the developing world's middle class rising at rapid rates. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance and The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, China's and India's current and projected emissions levels exceed the United States by far, and are headed even higher - please review slide below.

Both China and India are fast-growing, insatiably energy-thirsty nations that are top net importers of crude oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuel sources of energy from every part of the world. Based on necessity, they have no technological alternative but to diversify away from much-relied upon hydrocarbon supplies into every possible form of renewable energy source in order to sustain current growth and move their economies forward. They are forced to adopt an "all-in" approach to energy, because there is no one best solution.

If the United States has the same necessity as China has, it would certainly react as boldly. The United States has no shortage of ingenuity, ideas, innovation - it has led in energy resources development that have made the world we live in today. In oil and gas production, US levels are on the upswing while the production costs per barrel of crude oil have been managed well. The United States has strived towards less dependence on foreign oil, led by its domestic oil producers; and with the latest administration, this goal has turned into energy dominance. The reality faced by China is somewhat of a different picture. For example, domestic production of China's Daqing oil field has incurred costs that make production almost unfeasible at today's lower oil price levels. There are sharp declines of major, mature oil fields globally and the "easy oil" cannot be replaced automatically.

In the global context, the United States' investment in clean energy is nothing to scoff at. If we calculate the dollar figure per capita, the United States actually invests more than China, based on population levels in the respective nations (please review Bloomberg New Energy Finance slide above).

A partial analysis by CNN, stating how aggressively China is moving into wind, solar and power, etc., can mislead a viewer who has limited knowledge about the current and future role of oil and natural gas. Let's ask, where did the innovation begin and by whom?

CNN neglects to mention OIL AND GAS in the conversation about the future energy supply. There is no easy answer to the challenges we face in the coming decades. Hydrocarbons will continue to dominate in energy, demand will continue to increase, and the job of replacing the depleted resources with new discoveries and enhanced production from the existing fields will remain the responsibility of the innovators and their technologies.