Global energy veteran David Lawrence is a former executive vice president of exploration and commercial at Shell Upstream Americas. After retiring from Shell, David Lawrence founded Lawrence Energy Group, an energy advisory and investment firm consulting on energy opportunities that have the potential to meet the world’s energy needs.
The world needs more energy and fewer carbon emissions. However, this is not an easy task to fulfill. Already more than a billion people live without electricity, and that number is constantly growing, as more than a million people are born every week. While the world does have enough oil, gas, and coal to meet its energy needs, these sources come with CO2 emissions and the perils of climate change. So how does the world meet its growing energy needs while limiting carbon emissions? A diverse approach to generating energy is the answer.
Fossil fuels account for over 82 percent of the world’s energy production. More investment is required in alternative energy sources like nuclear power, which only contributes 5 percent, renewables like wind and solar, which contribute about 3 percent, and hydropower. It will take plenty of time and significant resources to raise the overall contribution of these alternative sources - hence, fossil fuels will continue to be a key source of energy for the world for decades to come. However, this does not mean carbon emissions are an unavoidable reality. Carbon capture and sequestration at scale will play a critical role in reducing atmospheric CO2. Conservation and efficiency measures can be taken to mitigate emissions. And continued focus can be put on natural gas, which produces half the carbon that coal does, and energy-efficient buildings, home appliances, and transportation methods can be further developed and encouraged to reduce the world's carbon footprint.
David Lawrence is a former oil and gas executive who oversaw Shell’s conventional and unconventional exploration program spanning the globe as part the firm’s energy strategy. His responsibilities also included LNG and Gas to Transport in the America’s, Shell Wind Energy, and America’s New Business Development, including acquisitions and divestments. Presently heading the Lawrence Energy Group, David Lawrence builds on his time with Shell in providing solutions that reflect current trends, and has a particular focus on the ongoing energy transition, conventional and unconventional oil and gas plays, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas markets.
As reported by Freight Waves in early 2019, European countries are preparing to construct infrastructure for the importation of US LNG. With Europe currently maintaining 28 regasification import terminals, Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, describes the onus being on American importers to provide LNG product at a competitive price.
While pipeline imports of Russian gas are relatively cheap, Germany is making movies to bolster its competitiveness and security through new supply sources. Increasing trans-Atlantic trade works to rebalance a situation in which European nations are over-reliant on Russia for energy supplies. At the same time, however, Germany is hedging its bets in partnering with Russia by doubling the annual capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline to 110 billion cubic meters.
Former Shell executive David Lawrence is a respected geologist and energy executive whose work centers on global exploration, natural gas and energy investment. David Lawrence established his own energy consulting firm, Lawrence Energy Group, after leaving his post at Shell. He currently advises clients in the energy sector on the energy transition and its business impacts and on carbon pricing scenarios.
In 40 countries, companies with business models that result in carbon dioxide emissions are charged a carbon price. Carbon prices are calculated ( in part) by putting a value on the estimated range of damages caused by CO2 emissions, as the cost of emitting a tonne of CO2 is proportional to the estimated cost of the potential damage it may cause. This formula produces a broad range of outcomes as it may consider various risk scenarios of costs incurred due to environmental issues, health problems possibly related to carbon dioxide emissions , and the risk of property damage from natural disasters.
Countries can levy carbon costs in two ways. Some governments put a limit on the amount of CO2 that can be emitted in any given year. This system, sometimes referred to as "cap-and-trade", creates a marketplace for CO2 emission allowances. Low-emitting businesses can sell their surplus allowances to other companies, thereby incentivizing companies to reduce their carbon emissions. In some countries, a carbon tax is directly imposed on emitters of CO2. In the long-term, the purpose of both carbon pricing methods is to reduce overall carbon emissions.
David Lawrence is a respected presence in the energy field who has held leadership responsibilities in Texas and Europe with Shell Upstream Americas and Royal Dutch Shell. Currently the CEO and chairman of Lawrence Energy Group, David Lawrence also served as Chairman of the advisory board for the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, which studies energy transition issues and driving mechanisms and effects of global warming and climate change.
One region currently being impacted by climate change is the Peruvian tropical Andes. With potatoes and corn a dietary staple, a changing climate dictates that farming practices may need to be dramatically rethought.
Tropical biologists recently conducted a study which found that temperature increases of between 1.3 and 2.6 degrees Celsius would result in mass death of corn crops from pests and birds. One solution is to plant the crops at higher elevations, but this appears to reduce corn yield significantly.
The potato, on the other hand, with more than 4,000 native varieties in existence, is already being farmed on Peruvian mountaintops. While the potatoes would survive the projected temperature increase, tuber production would decrease and be deformed to such a point where its market value would be negligible.
The need to analyze and rethink agricultural practices comes at a time when food insecurity is a pressing issue in much of the developing world and disruption to the status quo can have potential serious repercussions.
A successful executive who served as the executive vice president of global exploration for Royal Dutch Shell and as the executive vice president of exploration and commercial for Shell Upstream Americas in Houston, David Lawrence is now retired from those positions and serves as chairman of Lawrence Energy Group. In his new venture, David Lawrence focuses on a number of different energy sectors, including natural gas.
Natural gas has emerged in the past decade as an alternative to fossil fuels such as coal terms of major domestic energy production. For this reason, major companies have ramped up distribution networks and are building pipelines throughout the country to take advantage of the growing market. The new pipeline projects not only bring natural gas to areas that may not have had easy access before, but they also aid in job growth.
One other way that natural gas is benefiting communities is through new tax revenue. In rural Ohio, for example, the Cloverleaf school district is reaping a financial windfall due to new taxes put in place on natural gas operation from the new NEXUS pipeline that is being built throughout the state. In the coming years, more school districts and other local government entities will likely find similar ways to piggyback off the expansion of the natural gas market.
An experienced oil, gas and energy industry executive with more than three decades of experience, David Lawrence, chairman of Lawrence Energy Group, LLC most recently served as the executive vice president of exploration and commercial activities for Shell Upstream Americas in Houston. At Shell, in addition to exploration for conventional and unconventional resources, his responsibilities included wind energy, LNG, acquisitions, divestments and gas to liquids in the Americas. David Lawrence draws upon his experience at Shell to help a number of groups learn more about the energy transition, climate change and its ongoing effects.
A small town on the western flanks of the rapidly subsiding Mississippi River delta in Louisiana is one of the first places in the United States to feel the practical effects of local sea level rise, enhanced by climate change. Due to rising waters caused by the ongoing subsidence, compaction, and erosion of the narrow strip of land on which the town is built, as well as sea level rise, the sea been encroaching upon the town for more than 60 years. The residents of Isle de Jean Charles are being advised to relocate within the next five years, with the US government providing up to $48 million in funding to help the people find new homes.
The move will be especially difficult for members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribes, who have sacred ties to the land. With rising waters, however, they will have little choice but to leave their historic homeland behind.
Dr. David Lawrence, Chairman and CEO, Lawrence Energy Group (Houston, Texas), presents the keynote, "Choices and Challenges: Delivering the World's Energy Needs," at the Oil & Gas in the 21st Century Conference on April 7, 2016. The conference was held at Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa and was hosted by The University of Tulsa College of Law.
The founder of Lawrence Energy Group LLC, David Lawrence formerly oversaw Shell Upstream Americas and Royal Dutch Shell in executive roles. With an interest in exploration, David Lawrence shares his expertise through his blog Energy Perspectives, which syndicates on The Energy Collective.
The Energy Collective recently published an article discussing natural gas production in the United States. The article gave an overview of production in 2015, which reached a record high of 79 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), according to the US Energy Information Administration. The amount represented a 5 percent increase from 2014. Marketed natural gas production and gross withdrawals as well as dry natural gas production were factored into the measurement.
Large contributions came from Oklahoma, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. These states made up 35 percent of total production. Of the five, Pennsylvania supplied the most, despite having a significant drop from 2014 to 2015, with 1.5 Bcf/d. Ohio followed at 1.4 Bcf/d, a 41 percent boost from the year prior. The Energy Information Administration expects Ohio to grow in production in the coming years because of its less-developed Utica Shale play.
A longtime executive with Shell Upstream Americas and Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence supported a number of educational initiatives, including the Imperial Barrel Award and the Military Veterans Scholarship Program, sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Since leaving Shell, David Lawrence has established the Lawrence Energy Group LLC and serves as chairman of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute External Advisory Board. Mr. Lawrence writes frequently on energy and environmental issues at http://lawrence1energy.blogspot.com.
As one personal project, he set in place a simple “do-it-yourself” carbon tax. The purpose of this carbon tax is twofold: First, to reduce one’s personal carbon emissions and, second, to save money or tax one’s use to support environmental groups. This five-step project begins with using free online calculators to determine one’s personal CO2 footprint, in tons per year.
From there, an achievable carbon-reduction target is set; Mr. Lawrence selected 10 percent in the first year. There are numerous online resources for specific CO2-reduction strategies, ranging from carpooling to using more efficient home-heating methods.
The third step involves setting in place a carbon price; former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers suggested $25 per ton. As the U.S. average annual emission is 17 tons per capita, this might work out to $400-$500.
The last two steps have to do with how to use the money raised, both in reduced energy costs and from your self-tax. This can involve investing in sustainability-focused organizations and companies and in supporting institutions dedicated to ending energy poverty around the globe.
An experienced geologist and energy executive, David Lawrence was the executive vice president exploration and commercial with Shell until 2013. As part of his duties, David Lawrence guided aspects ranging from new business development to Shell’s wind energy division WindEnergy, Inc.
Founded in 2001, WindEnergy is engaged in eight projects across the United States and one in Europe. Together, its wind farms have more than 700 turbines that produce enough energy to power over 100,000 households. Its European farm, Egmond aan Zee, is located in the North Sea between Great Britain and the continent. Building on its previous experience in offshore energy production, Shell has designed the 36 turbines to last 20 years.
Domestically, some of the company’s largest operations are centered in Texas. With almost 250 wind turbines, the Brazos and White Deer wind farms produce a cumulative 240 megawatts of power for about 72,000 households and are co-owned with Mitsui Wind and Entergy, respectively. The company’s other operations are located in California, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Utilizing decades of experience as a geologist and business leader, David Lawrence formerly held the position of executive vice president with Shell Upstream Americas in Houston with responsibilities including exploration.