TU Friends of Finance: ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance speaks
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 7:04 AM
A 2,600-year-old classic story still does a pretty good job of predicting the future for oil and gas companies, the top executive at one of the world's biggest such firms said Wednesday.
"I've read Aesop's Fables 20 times, and the turtle wins every time," ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance told his audience at the University of Tulsa Friends of Finance luncheon. "Slow and steady wins in this business."
Slow and steady is hard to come by these days in the industry, as the shale revolution drives historic production that is projected to make the U.S. energy-independent by 2020. Lance noted that the domestic oil and gas flowing out of places like the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales, and Oklahoma's own Woodford Shale, makes America a potential exporter rather than an importer.
Shale oil and gas, if allowed to develop to full potential, could help add another 1.4 million U.S. jobs and billions in additional revenues over coming decades, Lance said.
The new production is made possible by the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
"We're the third leg of that stool" to fiscal growth, Lance said. "We can help grow us out of this problem."
Houston-based ConocoPhillips was the nation's third largest integrated energy company until April 2012, when it separated the refining and marketing unit into a stand-alone entity called Phillips 66. The companies employ close to 1,700 people each at the support center in Bartlesville, which was home to Phillips Petroleum Co. before the 2002 merger with Conoco Inc.
Lance took the reins as CEO from Jim Mulva when the Phillips 66 separation became final in April. ConocoPhillips now is ranked as the No. 1 independent exploration and production company, employing 16,700 workers and operating in 30 nations worldwide.
Like many other integrated giants, ConocoPhillips for years focused its growth strategies internationally, with partnerships in Norway, Russia, China and other countries. Those operations still exist, but the company is moving more rigs back into American fields.
"In the exploration and production business today, the U.S. is the destination of most capital investment," Lance said. "U.S. production is growing the fastest in the world today."
Slow, steady and supportive leadership, both corporate and political, will be needed to sustain that dramatic growth curve, Lance told the TU crowd.
He warned that federal regulators should not be trying to pick "winners and losers" by mandating certain fuels, but that they should open up more drilling on public lands and reduce permitting delays.
The Friends of Finance Executive Speaker Series was founded in 1985 by supporters of TU's Collins College of Business. The program helps raise funds for the scholarship program, which thus far has awarded more than $600,000 to students.
Original Print Headline: CEO: U.S. energy growing
Rod Walton 918-581-8457
ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance speaks at the Friends of Finance luncheon at the University of Tulsa on Wednesday. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World