Before embarking on his career with Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence earned a Ph.D. in geology from Yale. David Lawrence brings a wealth of knowledge gained from executive roles at Shell to his position on the advisory board for the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI). YCEI aims to advance understanding of the Earth’s energy resources and climate systems.
The institute supports interdisciplinary climate and energy research conducted by faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. One program, the Climate System and Human Health Initiative, focuses on climate changes caused by human activity and how those changes may affect human health. Another initiative, high-resolution climate assessments, studies the potential impacts of global warming on vulnerable regions in the Northeastern United States, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa. YCEI also has a research initiative focused on unconventional hydrocarbon resources.
Through these research programs, YCEI is creating a plan for Yale to adapt to expected climate change over the next 50 to 100 years. In addition, YCEI is providing insight on practical solutions to help the world address the challenges of climate change while meeting global energy demands.
Former Shell Upstream Americas executive vice president David Lawrence has over 30 years of experience in the gas and oil industry, and currently serves as chairman of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI) Advisory Board, Chairman of Lawrence Energy Group LLC and as Director for Stone Energy Corporation. On April 10, 2015, David Lawrence, who had worked for Shell for almost three decades led a panel on "Oil and Gas Exploration and Production in the New Price Environment" and provided a speech for the Yale Alumni in Energy (YAE) Seventh Annual Conference.
The YAE conference took place on Yale’s West Campus and served as a forum for students, faculty, and alumni to discuss energy topics and network with peers. Events on the agenda included presentations by keynote speakers, sessions on the Electricity Sector and Future Grid, and discussions regarding developments in energy law and oil’s new price environment. Guest and keynote speakers included renowned economists, key policymakers, energy industry leaders, and some of the top researchers from throughout the country.
A longtime energy professional who filled several senior executive roles for Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch She'll and its various affiliates worldwide, David Lawrence founded and chairs the Lawrence Energy Group. Committed to energy and renewables, David Lawrence served as Shell’s executive vice president for exploration and commercial and was responsible for the company’s wind business.
The climate change debate is hampered by the fact that most people are not aware of their own carbon emissions; likewise, they often do not see any real value other than satisfaction from taking steps to reduce that footprint. David Lawrence’s Carbon Price Challenge is designed to cut carbon emissions, save energy and money, support innovation and clean energy, and support the reduction of energy poverty worldwide. It provides tools to measure the cost of emissions and the dollar value of conservation efforts.
The challenge involves, first, using one of several online calculators to determine your own annual carbon emissions in tons. Next, establish goals for reducing that footprint, preferably for both the short and the long term. For the sake of comparison, it is estimated that the average annual emissions are about 17 tons per person.
The third step is to calculate your own carbon tax based on those emissions. Although the range used by individuals and companies for this purpose is broad, $25 per ton is a reasonable amount. The average person would thus pay an annual carbon tax of about $425. The fourth step, which can also be done with the online calculators, is to develop a plan to reduce your emissions.
The next step of the challenge is to invest the self-imposed tax in clean energy solutions in one of three ways:
1. Invest directly in enterprises that make and sell products and services that reduce consumers’ carbon footprints.
2. Purchase products and services that reduce your own carbon footprint.
3. Contribute to organizations that conduct research into clean energy.
Step five calls for contributing to organizations like the Ashden Trust, SolarAid, and GRID Alternatives, which work to end what Lawrence calls energy poverty.
An energy executive, David Lawrence most recently led the exploration and commercial division at Shell Upstream Americas and served as the head of global exploration for Royal Dutch Shell. In addition to his ongoing business interests with Lawrence Energy Group, he today writes the blog Energy Perspectives, drawing on his expertise in traditional and renewable energies. The platform serves as a means for him to share his thoughts on energy and climate issues. Since establishing the blog, David Lawrence has been invited to syndicate his content through TheEnergyCollective.com.
With more than 240,000 visitors per month, TheEnergyCollective.com publishes information about energy policies, technologies, fuels, and innovations as well as climate changes that impact the industry. Website articles are written by influential leaders from around the world who have firsthand experience shaping the future of the energy industry. The website receives support from Siemens Energy and Royal Dutch Shell.
In a recent article published on TheEnergyCollective.com website, the policy director for the Idea Bank’s clean-energy team discussed the progress of America in the renewable-energy sector. As of April 2015, the United States is on track to have its cleanest year ever, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This may be due in large part to tax incentives and a decline in the cost of installing solar panels and wind turbines.
Regardless, there are already contracts in place for the construction of solar and wind infrastructure that will produce 18.3 gigawatts of renewable energy in 2015. In addition, ongoing efforts to replace coal-burning power plants with natural gas plants will continue to reduce carbon emissions by half.
As the chairman and CEO of Lawrence Energy Group, David Lawrence leverages executive leadership experience with Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Upstream Americas to invest in emerging opportunities and advanced technology projects in the gas, oil, and renewable energy industries. David Lawrence also draws on his global industry experience with Shell and other ventures, as well as academia and government to maintain the Energy Perspectives blog through the Energy Collective. In his most recent post, he detailed his Carbon Price Challenge, which focuses on individually reducing CO2 emissions and investing in efforts to end energy poverty.
Through energy conservation and efficiency efforts and a self imposed carbon price, David Lawrence explains that individuals can use subsequent cost savings to invest in clean energy and support organizations that work to relieve energy poverty worldwide, such as Innovation: Africa. This organization has completed numerous energy projects across Africa and created its first Eco Village in the village of Ndaula in Malawi in 2011. Before the Eco Village project, the 37,000 people who lived around Ndaula couldn’t access a lit environment to study%2 or receive medical care after sunset.
Innovation: Africa thus focused its power-delivery efforts on two schools and a medical facility in the center of the village. By powering all three buildings and installing a solar-powered water system, the organization helped foster widespread changes for the residents of Ndaula. Citizens can now easily access clean water and 24-hour health care; adults can participate in evening education programs; and the village as a whole can cultivate more crops.
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.
A former executive with Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence most recently served as head of global exploration and executive vice president of exploration and commercial for Shell Upstream Americas in Houston, Texas. Today, David Lawrence is CEO of Lawrence Energy Group LLC, a director for Stone Energy Corporation and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. He contributes articles to The Energy Collective blog on various climate and energy topics, such as the global impact of energy poverty.
Although energy services are often easily accessible in developed countries, nearly 1 in 5 people worldwide do not have electricity in their homes, and millions of others lack safe, reliable, and/or affordable access to energy. In addition, over 2.5 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuel sources—wood, dung, crop wastes, etc.—to heat their homes and cook their food.
This energy poverty stalls human and economic development, leads to health complications, and shortens adult life expectancy. Burning traditional biomass exposes families to harmful indoor air pollution, which causes respiratory illness that is responsible for more than 4 million deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization. Also, hospitals without electricity have trouble treating many curable conditions, especially those related to pregnancy and birth.
A number of government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations are currently working to address energy poverty around the world. Many of these organizations have partnered with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030. For more information about the initiative, visit www.se4all.org.
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.