From the President, USAEE

James L. Smith
Cary M. Maguire Chair in Oil and Gas Management
Edwin L.Cox School of Business
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX

The heat of summer will soon be replaced by falling autumn leaves, chilly nights, and steaming bowls of soup. How wonderful! But this change of season is also a reminder that the 2016 USAEE/IAEE North American Conference is fast approaching. We will meet during October 23-26 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and you should all make plans to attend.

The conference committee has had plenty of grist to feed the program mill this time around. Due to the proximity of the national election, we have scheduled sessions and speakers who will analyze the differences between the energy platforms and likely policies of the two major parties. And the Republican and Democratic staff directors of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be on hand to discuss the possibility of a comprehensive energy bill emerging from Congress this year—and what it might mean for you.

The election is also a time of transition within many government agencies, at both the state and federal level. Accordingly, we have designed a special track of sessions that will focus on the process and implications (for government staff as well as private stakeholders) as agencies adapt to the arrival of newly elected or appointed leaders.

Disruption in the energy markets remains rampant and we will also explore that theme in Tulsa. Disruption begins with new technology, whether in the oil patch or Tesla’s laboratories, but ultimately impacts prices, incomes, and lifestyles. The new challenges that confront the transport sector will be closely examined in one dual plenary session, while strategies for surviving in a low-oil price environment will be debated in another. Where is the Clean Power Plan headed? What does the future hold for shale oil and OPEC? What about the latest energy developments in Mexico and Canada? Speakers from our neighbors to the north and south will explore the political as well as economic ramifications of the impending demise of Pemex’s monopoly and the recent headwinds that have slowed development of Alberta’s oil sands. How is technology in the electricity sector changing consumer behavior and the potential to achieve greater energy efficiency “behind the meter”? Come to Tulsa to learn about these and many other exciting energy trends. Of course, you shouldn’t miss the closing plenary session, where esteemed members of the illuminati (no, not that Illuminati) will interact with the audience to name the key energy issues that face global society going forward.

We have also organized a special post-conference workshop (in conjunction with the Global Association of Risk Professionals) to provide training in energy risk management and offer tips on turning risk into a competitive opportunity. If you happen to be curious about pumped storage hydropower, you can read the July 22 issue of the Wall Street Journal (which covered the topic briefly) or you can join our full-day tour of the Grand River Dam pumped storage and generation facility to see how it really works.

There will be something for everyone at Tulsa this year, including falling leaves, chilly nights, and steaming bowls of soup. See you there!

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