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Panel moderated by Allyson Book, VP Energy Transition, Baker Hughes

“What’s stopping us from getting there right now? It’s really simple: we need a price on carbon.”
Naomi Boness, Managing Director, Natural Gas Initiative, Stanford University

What does “energy transition” actually mean? Is it the journey or is there an end game?

Mr. Brownstein said that it’s about both reducing emissions, primarily methane, now, as well as providing energy resources that don’t involve the combustion of fossil fuels at all. Ms. Boness, added that it’s important to keep in mind that we have a CO2 problem, not a fossil fuel problem, so we don’t end creating policies that are restrictive. Mr. de Leeuw said there’s a people/society element in here as well, that we need to get it absolutely right—do a fair, sensible transition so everybody comes out better.

Where are traps that we haven’t talked about?

Ms. Boness said that CCUS has to play a major role, and that the oil and gas industry is really the only player with the expertise, infrastructure, and capability to do CCUS at the scale that is needed.

Mr. Brownstein felt that carbon pricing is incredibly important. We added that the industry has been lagging behind and, in some cases, actually working against the development of good public policy to support our objective of getting to net zero by 2050—and that has to change. He’d also ask the industry to do is get better at assessing emissions, because they can’t properly manage what they can’t properly measure.

Do you think there are any good examples of companies that really have it right that you can point to

Mr. Brownstein said it’s clear that Baker Hughes and other companies are on the right track. But, as it is a diverse industry, for every OIC that’s taking the challenge seriously, there are many NOCs and independents who have yet to get engaged. So, it becomes our collective challenge to see that the entire industry goes on this journey.

Mr. de Leeuw said the UK’s destination is clear, and they’ve collectively developed a roadmap. They are, he emphasized, beyond talking about it, that companies have money on the table and they’re making it happen. Mr. Newell agreed that the expression of commitment from corporations is a very, very important first step, but that it’s not enough—to enable companies to compete effectively in providing low carbon services, we need to create value for that.

Closing thoughts

Ms. Boness was concerned we’re headed toward regional solutions. Unlike previous transitions driven by efficiency and economics, she feels this one is driven by a change in people’s value measures; and that we still have a long way to go in understanding how they will impact the oil and gas industry.

Mr. de Leeuw said we have to make sure that the transition works for all populations. If we don’t, he cautioned that we’ll end up with “energy haves” and “energy have-nots” which is not a sustainable outcome.

Panel Partecipants
Vice President of Energy Transition, Baker Hughes

Allyson Anderson Book

Allyson Anderson Book is vice president of energy transition for Baker Hughes. In this role she oversees Baker Hughes’ energy-transition strategy and works to develop new energy products and services that help lower carbon emissions while meeting…

Managing Director, Natural Gas Initiative, Stanford Univerisity

Naomi Boness

Naomi Boness (Ph.D.) is the Managing Director of the Natural Gas Initiative (NGI) at Stanford University, an affiliates program that conducts research on natural gas to maximize the environmental, social and economic benefits. Dr. Boness is an…

Senior Vice President of Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

Mark Brownstein

Mark Brownstein is Senior Vice President of Energy at Environmental Defense Fund, and a member of EDF’s executive team. The goal of the EDF Energy Program is to bend the curve on greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production and use by…

Director Energy Tranisition Institute, Robert Gordon University

Paul de Leeuw

Paul is a senior industry leader and executive with over 30 years’ experience in the global energy sector. 

He has worked in a wide range of companies, including Shell, Marathon Oil, Amoco, BP, Venture Production and Centrica.

He is…

President & CEO, Resources for the Future

Richard Newell

Dr. Richard G. Newell is the President and CEO of Resources for the Future (RFF), an independent, nonprofit research institution that improves environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy…