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.
After earning his PhD in geology and geophysics from Yale University in 1984, David Lawrence embarked on a career with Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch Shell that lasted nearly 30 years. After retiring from Shell in 2013, he established the Lawrence Energy Group to invest in emerging oil, gas, and renewable energy enterprises. David Lawrence belongs to numerous industry and service organizations and was recently named chair of the external advisory board of the Yale Climate & Energy Institute.
The Yale Climate & Energy Institute is primarily a research and teaching program, established by Yale University to promote and enhance the understanding of energy resources and the earth’s climate systems, as well as the myriad consequences of changes in those systems. The institute supports research and teaching that address mitigation of climate change as well as adaptation to it. The institute also seeks to identify and formalize practical approaches to these issues as policies at the local, regional, and global levels.
The YCEI focuses its involvement in several core programs, including postdoctoral fellowships, grants for workshops and symposia, energy studies programs for undergraduates, and seed grants for interdisciplinary research. It is also developing focused research initiatives that study the relationship between unconventional hydrocarbon resources and the environment, as well as the impact of the climate system on human health.
Although YCEI’s mission is to contribute to the overall approach to climate change, it is also developing specific plans for Yale to adapt to regional climate change during the next century. Typical of the center’s ongoing research projects are contemporary studies of drought in the American West, a study of the climatic genesis of the Black Death and other historic plague epidemics, and the speed with which the climate responds to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
David Lawrence was formerly a senior executive for Shell involved in the areas of exploration and commercial development, LNG and wind energy for Shell Upstream Americas. Prior to this he had international responsibilities as Executive Vice President Global Exploration. Sakhalin Island is one of the locations that Shell's international upstream operation is concentrating on for future energy development. As with his energy industry colleagues, David Lawrence follows the technological progression of exploration and production and LNG in this part of the world.
The largest island in Russia, Sakhalin Island is almost 590 miles long from the north to south and approximately 100 miles at its broadest point. The mountainous region is comprised of almost 30,000 square miles. The island's economy is supported by the fishing trade, as well as the oil and petroleum industry.
The island, which lies within the Arctic region, is adjacent to three offshore oil and natural gas platforms – each of which has been proven to stand up to ice floes, earthquakes, and typhoons. Situated in one of the most active seismic zone worldwide, the platforms are designed to withstand major temblors reading as high as 8.0 on the Richter scale.
The offshore platforms are part of the Sakhalin-2 project, which is one of the biggest export-based gas and oil undertakings worldwide. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced by the project adds to about 4.5% of the world's energy needs for liquefied gas and almost 10% of the requirements for Japan.
Research has determined that the Arctic region itself contains about 30% of the undiscovered natural gas reserves worldwide.
After more than 29 years of service to various companies in the Shell Oil and Royal Dutch Shell organization, David Lawrence retired as executive vice president exploration and commercial of Shell Upstream Americas. During his long association with Shell, David Lawrence developed strong relationships within the industry and established a reputation for providing valuable service to the community, colleagues and energy industry around the world. In 2013, David Lawrence accepted an invitation to become a trustee associate of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Foundation.
Established in 1967, the prime purpose of the AAPG Foundation is to support the geosciences. It accomplishes this objective in a variety of ways, which benefit the general public as well as the geology profession. For example, the foundation sponsors lectureships, awards, and fellowships to recognize outstanding achievement or potential in the geosciences, especially in the area of energy mineral resources and oil exploration.
One of the most eagerly anticipated of the AAPG’s annual events which Lawrence supported through Shell, is the Imperial Barrel Award Program, which pits teams of geoscience graduate students from different universities against each other in analyzing potential oil fields and estimating their reserves. Teams are given datasets about a piece of land, including data about the land’s geology, production infrastructure, geophysics, and other relevant data and, within an eight-week period, must develop a 25-minute presentation to be delivered to a panel of industry experts.
Winning teams are selected on the basis of each presentation’s originality, clarity, and technical quality. Cash prizes are awarded to the winning teams’ schools, and the members of the triumphant regional teams win trips to the AAPG Annual Convention to compete for the grand prize.
Lawrence is also a supporter of the AAPG Military Veterans Scholarship Program. With a goal of getting specific, highly talented individuals who are trained in the armed forces into the geosciences, the AAPG Foundation’s Military Veterans Scholarship Program was created to promote educational advancement and career opportunities in geoscience to the booming U.S. veteran population. Veterans are currently underrepresented in the workforce. They are more likely to begin college than the general public, but less likely to finish. The AAPG Military Veterans Scholarship Program (MVSP) will support these men and women in the pursuit of their degrees, enabling them to gain employment within the oil and gas industry.
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.