November 15, 2007

API Live Blog I: Overview Session

We have arrived at the Chevron headquarters in Houston for the start of our two-day briefing on oil technology and energy policy. The building, interestingly enough, used to be the headquarters for Enron until a few years ago; the trading floor that manipulated energy prices was here. Right now, we've already started the first session, which gives an overview of the whole industry. I'll pick it up from about 10 minutes in.

1:41 pm CT - We have been tipped to read NPC's industry analysis. It's a must read.

1:42 - Recommended non-industry publications: Wired and MIT's Technology Review.

1:44 - Chevron believes that the odds of building a new refinery in the US is "very slim". They have to rely on increasing efficiency and capacity at existing refineries. The environmental concerns will keep them from ever building a completely new facility.

1:45 - Their success rate on new exploration is 45%. That seems pretty good, and technology has made it better.

1:51 - Geek moment: their Technical Computing group deals with "petabytes" of information. That came as part of the explanation of their structure as an energy technology company. They also stress that they work on three different levels: proprietary, focused collaboration, and broad collaboration. Chevron feels that they cannot do everything in house and relies on alliances to meet all of their needs.

1:58 - In talking more about their alliances, they mentioned one of their partners is Los Alamos, which came up with a potential solution for dealing with extremely hot temperatures in drilling. Some of the fields they drill can be very, very hot, and it creates problems with the drilling equipment, which expands in the heat. Los Alamos came up with a unique composite material that shrinks in heat, and Chevron has begun working with it to see whether it will allow for more efficient extraction.

2:01 - R&D spending for market capitalization - Shell spends the most, but Chevron hits about in the middle of the industry.

2:02 - The speaker told us that he expected a younger crowd when he heard bloggers would be visiting.

API has underwritten Edward Morrissey’s travel expenses to attend the Chevron location tour in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas. Edward is not required to blog about API initiatives. The only requirement as a condition of underwriting these expenses was to include this disclosure of this relationship on his blog.


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