It has been a long time, over three years in fact, since I last posted on the Pangea Blog site.
A fire on Memorial Day 2012 virtually destroyed our home and set in motion quite a journey as General Contractor on the rebuild. Many lessons from that experience that I will share in the right context.
Shortly before the fire, in December, 2011, I was at Dulles airport about to board a flight to Las Vegas for PowerGen 2011. I got a call from Donna with a request. Her business had started to take off and she needed help. Of course I had to do that. A growing family business requires all able bodies to engage and I soon found myself deeply absorbed in strategic planning, marketing, website development, business process design and eventually investment research and economic analysis, All things I love doing and doing them for the one I love. How good does it get! This is stuff I was trained to do in business school 40 years ago and I had never had the opportunity to apply until now. Amazing how relevant that training has remained. Some of that will come out in future blog posts as well.
By the middle of summer, 2012 the growth of Wood Smith Advisors, the details of an insurance claim, finding a builder and finding temporary housing absorbed all available band width. Building Pangea had taken a back seat. (Actually it was a box in the trunk.) It has remained that way until last summer when the house construction had largely been finished. I started thinking about what next. Oh yes, one other event. Following my presentation at PowerGen I was approached about contributing a chapter to a book the American Bar Association was planning on the Shale Energy Revolution as a guide for lawyers. I had to agree. My evening-weekend diversion became researching and writing the first chapter on the geology, engineering, and resource base of North American shale energy. The Shale Energy Revolution: A Lawyer’s Guide was published by the ABA this March.
So, back to: “What next?” One option was to double down on my work with Wood Smith Advisors. During the fall it became imperative that I obtain a license as Registered Investment Advisor Representative. So I began study in October and scheduled to take the exam the day after Christmas. Not an exercise I would want to repeat, but the outcome is good. My duties though have really settled in as the business process work has gained traction and more time became available even with increased responsibility. I could pursue that full time and really have fun with it.
But, after a lot of thought and many conversations with friends and colleagues, I realized that my “Why?” is oil and gas exploration and production. Simon Sinek in his landmark book “Start with Why?” makes a crucial point: it is not What you do that is important, it is Why. Indeed one should have a why that will make you cry. Well, a little over the top, but you get the point.
My first job out of business school was as an economic analyst with Amoco International and from that first day I have loved the world of exploration and production. There was never a day that I didn’t learn something. Mr. John E. Swearingen, at the time, Chairman and Chief Executive of Standard Oil (Indiana) parent company of Amoco, once commented that nobody would or could know all there was and true comprehensive expertise is an illusion. We can be experts in a niche area, but we always depend on our colleagues to put the full picture together. Many disciplines, skill sets, personalities, strengths and capabilities need to blend to achieve a successful outcome in the world of E&P. But in the end, it is a business and business is the glue that binds, the fluid that lubricates and the air that breathes life into a successful E&P venture. That is what I began to learn all those years ago and that is where I have my greatest contribution to make.
Now Pangea is reborn as a resource for those pursuing the Business of Oil & Gas. Leaders, managers, investors, lenders, suppliers, stakeholders at every level are who I serve. How I serve can be understood in fairly simple terms. Every business is supported by three pillars.
When all three are working in concert good outcomes are inevitable. Whether gaining access to prospective geology, reducing costs, gaining the loyalty of stakeholders or delivering shareholder value, the principle of aligned strategy, process and people inevitably leads to a sustainable business.
I have been blessed to have acquired a pretty good box of tools over the years. I have also had some great teachers, made enough mistakes and achieved some success to learn how best to use them. Now it is back to work striving to help a few clients achieve sustained success.