Claire Farley
Vice Chair - Energy, KKR

Private equity groups have been increasingly active in financing energy projects in the US. KKR, a US investment firm, launched its Real Asset’s Energy Platform in 2012. The platform has since become a major player in asset-based oil and gas investing and today manages over $8.5 billion in energy and infrastructure related assets.
 
On a new episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Claire Farley, who serves as Vice Chair of Energy, advising KKR's Energy Group. Prior to joining KKR in 2011, Ms. Farley was Co-Founder and Co-CEO of RPM Energy LLC, a privately-owned oil and natural gas exploration and development company, which partnered with KKR. Throughout her career, Claire has held numerous roles in the oil and gas industry and started her career at Texaco.
 
Claire and Jason caught up in Houston to discuss her views on the outlook for the energy industry, particularly shale oil and gas, and how private equity investors work around the cyclical nature of the industry.

Other topics include the underrepresentation of women in the oil and gas industry; the role that private capital can play in investing in clean energy and  ‘impact investing’, the role that technology can play in the industry (e.g. artificial intelligence and re-fracking), and the growing demand for low carbon energy sources.

View the Transcript

[00:00:02]

Jason Bordoff: Hello and welcome to the Columbia Energy Exchange, a podcast from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. I’m Jason Bordoff. Shale oil is surging again with monthly production of two million barrels a day over the last two years, but questions remain about shale’s outlook including because of the finance industry’s new found insistence on capital discipline within the industry that and many other questions about the outlook for oil and gas, both in the U.S. and around the work that’s the topic of our conversation today.

 

I sat down with Claire Farley to discuss all of this and more at her office in Houston. Claire servers as Vice Chair of Energy advising KKR’s Energy Group. Prior to joining KKR in 2011, Claire was co-founder and co-CEO of RPM Energy, a privately owned oil and natural gas exploration and development company that partnered with KKR. She has had a long and distinguished career in the oil and gas industry including nearly two decades in senior leadership roles at Texaco.

 

We discussed her carrier trajectory to date, her experience working as a female in this male dominated industry, we discussed her views on the outlook for the energy industry at home and abroad, how private equity investors work around the cyclical nature of the industry. Other topics included how private capital plays a role in clean energy or impact investing. The role of technology like artificial intelligence and the growing demand for L&G and for low carbon energy sources and the business opportunities that she sees in these emerging markets. Here is that conversation. Claire Farley, thanks for joining us on Columbia Energy Exchange.

 

[00:01:45]

Claire Farley: I’m delighted you asked me.

 

[00:01:47]

Jason Bordoff: So, there is so much happening in the energy world these days at home and abroad that I want to talk to you about, but first I just want to help our listeners understand little bit about how you got to the place where you are and it is I think a fascinating career. You studies geology.

 

[00:02:03]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:02:04]

Jason Bordoff: And then, went straight from there to Texaco.

 

[00:02:06]

Claire Farley: Texaco in the Gulf of Mexico, yeah.

 

[00:02:09]

Jason Bordoff: So, nearly two decades at Texaco.

 

[00:02:11]

Claire Farley: That’s right.

 

[00:02:12]

Jason Bordoff: A company I know well, my dad owned the Texaco gas station.

 

[00:02:14]

Claire Farley: Oh! There you go.

 

[00:02:15]

Jason Bordoff: And, and his dad, both had Texaco gas stations.

 

[00:02:16]

Claire Farley: Okay, Wonderful, yeah.

 

[00:02:18]

Jason Bordoff: So, you are the head of exploration of – around globally.

 

[00:02:24]

Claire Farley: Correct. Yes.

 

[00:02:25]

Jason Bordoff: Okay.

 

[00:02:25]

Claire Farley: Around 1999, yeah.

 

[00:02:27]

Jason Bordoff: And, so just talk a little bit about that experience, in a few respects, first I mean I – you are still – there is not a lot of woman in the room, when you are –

 

[00:02:40]

Claire Farley: Unfortunately that’s true.

 

[00:02:40]

Jason Bordoff: When you are in an energy conference in a – as a very senior person in a company like Texaco in the 80s and 90s, I had to imagine that was even more acute. What was the experience like of being a female leader in a company like that at that time?

 

[00:02:56]

Claire Farley: Well, I’m grateful to Texaco that they were so forward thinking. And, I stopped noticing it, and that’s just – I think human nature, because you are the only woman in the room over and over and over again. The advantage was people remembered me. And in a business that you need a lot of partners and deal making and that sort of thing, that’s not a bad thing to have people remember you. The disadvantage as sometimes it just felt lonely, because I didn’t necessarily want to golf and hunt, and that’s what all of my friends in the – not all, a lot of my friends in industry did.

 

So, it was I would say I worked a lot more because of that.

 

[00:04:03]

Jason Bordoff: And that affects – not just lonely, I presume that sort of social interaction through forms like that affects the ability for relationships that –

 

[00:04:11]

Claire Farley: Exactly.

 

[00:04:12]

Jason Bordoff: Allow for career advancement.

 

[00:04:13]

Claire Farley: Exactly, yeah.

 

[00:04:14]

Jason Bordoff: Is that – how big a – how much did you see it changing, how different is that today?

 

[00:04:19]

Claire Farley: Oh! I’d like to believe that’s it’s very different, because when I look around today, there are at least in the technical ranks and in the middle management ranks there are a number of woman, so I would think that you would have a few people that you would say, okay you have some similar life experiences to me which is just that – that makes it a little bit on the margin, a little bit more fun. Our industry is fun, so nothing could keep me away from it. And again I was always extremely welcomed, so it’s not as if I felt that people were trying to keep me out, it’s just – picture yourself if you were the only man in the room over and over again for a couple of decades.

 

[00:05:17]

Does – what did you – I’m just curious, what you thought of the whole Me Too movement that has kind of erupted in a last few months, what was your reaction to that?

 

[00:05:26]

Claire Farley: I’m sorry to say that I was not surprised. I said I’m glad it came out of Hollywood instead of oil and gas industry. I think the reason you haven't heard those kinds of stories bubbling the front of let me just say of very large industrial public companies is because they took steps more than a decade ago to make sure that people were properly trained about what was appropriate, they put in places where you could anonymously report things, the HR departments became very in tune. They reacted to any problems that they say.

 

So, I think that we've made great strides really again as an industry in that regard. But clearly it still is allowed to exist in too many places.

 

[00:06:39]

Jason Bordoff: Do you think – just switching the topics now to Texaco more broadly, do you think in retrospect they made the right call selling to Chevron before the 2000s boom?

 

[00:06:49]

Claire Farley: I do. I believe that for companies positioned like a Texaco, you actually do benefit from scale, a number of ways not the least of which is the leverage that you get. But, in this business, you also want to be able to be very active on portfolio management and capital allocation, so if you just have a larger set of opportunities, more opportunities, then you have capital you get the creaming affect and that’s just a good thing. So, I – yeah, no I applaud the merger, I think that was strategically wise for both.

 

[00:07:39]

Jason Bordoff: And what – I mean a lot of growth and success also challenges, bankruptcy, some highly publicized cases like Ecuador and race discrimination, what do you think was done well when you look back, what lessons do you see today for where may be things might have been done differently at Texaco?

 

[00:07:59]

Claire Farley: Well, specifically on things like Ecuador, I think the lesson is –

 

[00:08:08]

Jason Bordoff: And just to our listeners know, this was a case brought by indigenous groups there for environmental harm, brought about by operations there.

 

[00:08:17]

Claire Farley: Correct. And, what really happened there was the country decided to take over the oil field, said we don’t want the Texaco or anybody like Texaco managing our oil fields, we will do it. And they did not do it up to proper standard, so there was pollution. But then, that’s laid at our feet and any time you try to go in and take care of a problem, if the response by the country is, no, no, just give us some money and we’ll take care of it, I think there is a – there should be an ongoing concern that the proper things won't be done.

 

I think to me as an observer, because I was not a manager of the Ecuadorian assets, but I think that that’s just an overall lesson that from time to time there, there are leaders of countries that will adopt to different standard than your company would.

 

[00:09:31]

Jason Bordoff: And tell – so tell me where it’s right, so nearly 20 years rising to present worldwide exploration and then you go to become and internet entrepreneur and start your healthcare company?

 

[00:09:42]

Claire Farley: And now for something completely differ.

 

[00:09:44]

Jason Bordoff: And that happens.

 

[00:09:47]

Claire Farley: Honestly when I started working at Texaco, I said well this is my Texaco Tech, I really want to spend about 5 years here completely understanding the oil and gas business, and then I’m going to be an independent oilman, oilwoman. It was always interesting, I kept getting new assignments that lead me to learn new things, so 19 years in, I looked up, I said well I’m 40, and if I don’t try to start something now, then I may miss the opportunity all together, because you get complacent and the stock that they award you, becomes quite a nice little price that’s hanging out in the future.

 

So, I said okay, well I’m going to try something else. I thought it would be oil and gas and –

 

[00:10:50]

Jason Bordoff: And eventually it was.

 

[00:10:51]

Claire Farley: And eventually it was. But I did take a detour, because I have a terrible habit of great curiosity and optimism, and those can be a dangerous combination. So, I ran into these two Iranian doctors that were inventing and artificial intelligence, Bayesian network way to imitate the way doctor diagnoses. And it just sounded so fascinating and it had a little bit of overlap with how we thing about things like Monte Carlo Simulations and probabilistic decision making in general that I just had to scratch the edge.

 

[00:11:38]

Jason Bordoff: And the late 90 is lot of new internet companies started –

 

[00:11:40]

Claire Farley: Lot of new internet companies and so –

 

[00:11:43]

Jason Bordoff: So, you did that and then you went to one – an internet startup in oil and gas for –

 

[00:11:48]

Claire Farley: Correct.

 

[00:11:48]

Jason Bordoff: For – in the service sector.

 

[00:11:50]

Claire Farley: That was trade ranger and it was a really good idea, very poorly executed and my friends who are part of that would probably reason be saying that, but there it is. It was the consortium of several large companies, so Shale and Dove and companies that bought a lot of supplies, and they wanted to set up a B to B, so that they could have more transparency around pricing in an easier way to get invoiced and pay.

 

So, again a great idea BP was part of it. The problem was they ran it like a committee, like a consortium, and it really – they should have been saying to an entrepreneur, here are our pain points, we’ll support you, go develop what you think we need, and based on what you build, we’ll either use it or we won't, but they each tried to give input to what they wanted it to do and it became this unwieldy thing that just couldn’t –

 

[00:13:34]

Jason Bordoff: And then you moved into –

 

[00:13:36]

Claire Farley: Launch.

 

[00:13:36]

Jason Bordoff: Asset transaction advisory work.

 

[00:13:38]

Claire Farley: Correct.

 

[00:13:38]

Jason Bordoff: I guess become Jeffery’s.

 

[00:13:40]

Claire Farley: Correct.

 

[00:13:41]

Jason Bordoff: And then started your own upstream company, is that right?

 

[00:13:44]

Claire Farley: Correct. And KKR was our investor.

 

[00:13:49]

Jason Bordoff: So, that’s how you came to KKR?

 

[00:13:50]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:13:50]

Jason Bordoff: Was through that?

 

[00:13:52]

Claire Farley: Yeah.

 

[00:13:53]

Jason Bordoff: And so, talk a little bit about what you are doing now at KKR and what kind of areas the KKR’s practice is focused on investing it.

 

[00:14:04]

Claire Farley: We call it energy real assets, we want to own the oil and gas assets themselves, so as opposed to owning a company as opposed to just backing a management team to go find new acres, some brand new exploration play, we actually would like to own assets that are in the development phase or may be even in the redevelopment phase where you have the opportunity to continuously improve, so we are focused mainly on the resource place in the U.S.

 

[00:14:48]

Jason Bordoff: And how is the oil price collapse affected the way you approach the sector these days? There is a lot of speculation about a large way of M&A activity coming in the U.S. shale patches that –

 

[00:15:00]

Claire Farley: We are seeing it.

 

[00:15:01]

Jason Bordoff: It’s coming.

 

[00:15:01]

Claire Farley: We are seeing it. Unfortunately there were a number of bankruptcies that had to work their way through the system in 15, 16, even on into to 17. I also think there were a number of public and private investors who were expecting a pretty quick rebound in the oil price off of say a $45 level, so that created a disconnect between owners of the assets and the buyers of the assets for a while. Anytime the market changes pretty abruptly, it takes a while for the buyers and sellers to develop a common view of what's market for assets.

 

Meanwhile, the companies all, mostly got religion around are really need to live within cash flow, are need to demonstrate that I have high quality return in my opportunities to reinvest my cash.

 

[00:16:21]

Jason Bordoff: This is like sort of the new push for capital disciplinary.

 

[00:16:23]

Claire Farley: The new push. So –

 

[00:16:25]

Jason Bordoff: From the investment, investors.

 

[00:16:25]

Claire Farley: Exactly, right. So, with that then comes a need to streamline the company, to focus the company, to reduce debt, all of those things usually mean that they will start to shed some assets.

 

[00:16:46]

Jason Bordoff: What does it mean for you a shale production growth if this capital discipline focus holds firm?

 

[00:16:54]

Claire Farley: I think it will be great honestly for the whole industry, because we saw then a flight of capital away from the industry a frustration I think that one the price didn’t rebound as fast as they thought, that the returns were not as advertised for the well drilling and completing. In order to attract capital, and keep capital and I think prevent the industry from moving in a herd that often destroys capital, because everyone is then trying to grow if this one is being rewarded for 5% growth, I’ll say 7, I’ll say 10.

 

And if instead we could focus on return which can be quite reasonable and steady, that would be a benefit to the whole of industry, that’s how we think about it as investors at KKR is we are trying to earn through the cycles, a mid teams return, and this asset class will give you that, from time to time it will give you excess return, from time to time the commodity price moves away from you in a way that’s rapid, that you don’t expect, and you [crosstalk] [00:18:46].

 

[00:18:46]

Jason Bordoff: Do you think that wave of M&A coming, you mentioned a minute ago, does that in any way affect what we think of as the short cycle flexible nature of shale, does it start to be companies with deeper balance sheets that – no company wants to lay off half their workforce and rehire they year later.

 

[00:19:03]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:19:03]

Jason Bordoff: So, we are going to see people whether the storms more in a way that shale production which some people in my view erroneously think of as swing supply, it’s not quite the same thing, but is it going to become – are we going to see less volatility and production and response to price changes because of consolidation.

 

[00:19:18]

I haven't thought about that Jason, but I think that that’s a reasonable, if I look out five years and say consolidation will continue, then yes I think that would be a reasonable assumption. I also think that companies are learning that you really get a lot of more efficiencies if you do pad development and if you have more than one zone staked on top of each other that it’s better to develop the two zones or the three zones, five zones, all at ones. And so, I think that that kind of pad drilling and the lumpiness associated with that, because I've got to put a whole lot of capital up front, I might be six months of spending capital on a pad before I turn the whole pad on. I think that that – then changes that extremely short cycle nature that we were seeing before I think it becomes a little bit more lumpy and a little bit more steady.

 

[00:20:36]

Jason Bordoff: So, you are not worries about the, I call it the Mark paper view, we’ve already drilled the good rock and it’s going to slow down more than people thing, you think technology, productivity improvements, what you are seeing makes you bullish on shale.

 

[00:20:49]

Claire Farley: I am bullish on shale now, I always pause and listen to Mark, because he definitely has been one of the better over decade analyst in our business, on top of being a great leader and company builder and all of that. I just would say, we have seen a 30% to 80% uplift in just changing the completion techniques, one will mix to the other.

 

[00:21:30]

Jason Bordoff: What's the biggest constrain you see for shale’s growth, is it infrastructure, is it government policy, is it something else?

 

[00:21:38]

Claire Farley: I would say it depends on where you in the Permian there are going to be some infrastructure challenges, so certainly Mark’s view of how things look on the ground in the Permian, that’s very real. Does it get solved? Yes.

 

[00:21:57]

Jason Bordoff: We had on this program Scott Sheffield a few weeks ago, and Scott expressed the view that one of the concerns he had about Permian growth was gas takeaway capacity, because you have strict, rules, because I think it is appropriate, and you are getting a lot of associated gas if the kind of numbers got stocking better even close to correct.

 

[00:22:17]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:22:17]

Jason Bordoff: Is that – do you share that concern?

 

[00:22:19]

Claire Farley: I do share that – and again, I would put it in the category of, we see this almost every time there is a new resource that’s very large that hundreds of companies can access, we saw it in the Bakken, we saw it in Appalachia, Eagle Ford we are seeing it now, and –

 

[00:22:40]

Jason Bordoff: Pushing bottlenecks and then they got resolved.

 

[00:22:43]

Claire Farley: Exactly. Investor want infrastructure. If you are in a place that already has a lot of infrastructure, the right away issues tend not to be significant, so it’s really just a matter of the best project that started.

 

[00:23:03]

Jason Bordoff: Does the change in administration of Washington change in a meaningful way the outlook for shale because of – I mean a lot of this is regulate at the state level, but rolling back some EPA rules or permitting pipelines more easily may be?

 

[00:23:17]

Claire Farley: I haven't noticed any, but may be just from my perch, I don’t really see it, I’d have to refer it to others, I have not seen it, so –

 

[00:23:26]

Jason Bordoff: And, what about – so this is – we are talking about shale, there is a view from some including the Saudis talk about this all the time, if global demand is going to continue to be as strong as it has been recently, I’m curious if you think that’s true of if this idea peak oil demand is something people should be taking seriously, may be even more seriously than some are, is additional investment needed and do we see it happening in some of the higher cost longer cycle projects, the offshore, the Arctic, the Oil Sands, do up share that concern that there is not enough investment going into to those projects?

 

[00:24:06]

Claire Farley: Yes, I would agree with that. I will come back to peak demand. But, let’s just presume for no that there is growth in demand, that we are not going – we are not contracting demand. It looks to me that the under investment that the industry has done in things like deepwater, means that there will be three or four million barrels that we traditionally have expected, that won't be showing up inside 2020 to 25.

 

[00:24:54]

Jason Bordoff: Those investments starting to happen now or they are still not?

 

[00:24:56]

They are not. I mean, the things that are being commissioned for the most part are incremental additions to already existing project, so there are very few that are not L&G, there are very few major oil development that are getting sanctioned today.

 

[00:25:21]

Jason Bordoff: And is that because of the thing you said we’d come back to, is that because of there is – we are in a new world of uncertainty potentially about the future of oil demand, how quickly would electric vehicles take off, might we really see soon and then people think peak demand and may be eventual declines in demand, even if we are still using oil for decades to come, that would be a significant change. In the outlook, do you think that’s what's giving people pause about these investments?

 

[00:25:48]

Claire Farley: I don’t think so, because I don’t think that people that would own those kinds of projects are thinking that that’s going to be a problem by say 2025. I think the larger challenge is how do you make those projects work at what may be $50 oil. Most of them are good projects at 65. But if shale surprises to the upside, we have some other supplies.

 

[00:26:28]

Jason Bordoff: And that’s why you see I guess in the futures curve, steep backwardation now, but people expect lower prices in the future, not understanding what you just said which is, if you think… if you think there strong demand growth coming, there may not be enough supply to meet that.

 

[00:26:42]

Claire Farley: So, what a lot of the companies are doing is completely rethinking how they would develop those projects, which is a good think. When oil prices are $80 plus, you are designing project, so that you can get every last drop. If instead you say, no this needs to make a return that beats my cost of capital at 50, then I’m probably going to leave some barrels behind but there are some barrels that I can get from the project because I will do a smaller footprint, I will do something more simple, I will do it modular, so that I can add to it later, but this is the sweet spot that I can drain today. So, they are rethinking how they approach, and I’m hoping that we’ll see some of those projects of that –

 

[00:27:40]

Jason Bordoff: What do you think are some of the majors, European ones mostly I guess sort of trying to reframe they are not just oil companies, that will change its name there, buying battery companies, solar companies, doing offshore wind –

 

[00:27:55]

Claire Farley: Yeah. I think that’s smart. I mean if you have the resources, the balance sheet to be able to do that, I don’t find among the industry leaders that there is anyone that saying electric vehicles will definitely change the demand for oil as a transportation fuel, the question is how much if I win. And I think that just like any good company should, they are going through few different scenarios saying I can't be caught completely flat footed on this, so I have to be developing a business that allows me to migrate do that, but as well all know even if the adoption rate were much, much higher than we expected, you don’t – you first contract demand, demand doesn’t go to zero, to half, to – so – and with global oil declining at an annual rate of pick your number, 5%, 10% --

 

[00:29:25]

Jason Bordoff: Yeah. Five or six million barrels a day, something like that. Just so listeners understands, so that means even if oil demand stop growing, you would need to bring five or six million barrels, they have new supply to the market just to kind of stay in place.

 

[00:29:39]

Claire Farley: Correct.

 

[00:29:40]

Jason Bordoff: Which requires trillions of dollars of new investment, so the question is how quickly do you think demand will decline.

 

[00:29:45]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:29:46]

Jason Bordoff: And what does that mean for new investment.

 

[00:29:48]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:29:49]

Jason Bordoff: When KKR looks at renewables and other clean energy technologies, I mean do you see – does KKR see those as good investments, their money made there, is that where you are putting capital?

 

[00:30:03]

Yeah. There is money to be made in renewables. It depends on what the renewable is and what state you are in, because a lot of it is subsidized. But the – like anything, when you increase the adoption rate, the cost of ownership goes down. So yeah, we would be long term bullish on renewables, there are here to stay. From an investment standpoint every situation is different, so I can't pine on discreet investments, but other than to say it’s a good business and I think that’s right for the world, we need it.

 

[00:30:53]

Jason Bordoff: You mentioned L&G a minute ago, and so we did some work recently about how the projected good in L&G has not shown up yet, demand has actually been quite strong, our estimate of demand will continue to grow, but we’ve seen a collapse in FID for L&G projects the average contract time is coming down, there is not the same willingness for buyers to sign long term, multibillion dollar off take agreements.

 

[00:31:21]

Claire Farley: Right.

 

[00:31:22]

Jason Bordoff: Is that kind of stalemate between buyers and sellers going to get result, how are we going to finances new L&G projects if you are of the view, tell me if you are that that supply is – there will be demand for it.

 

[00:31:35]

There will be demand for it, I am aware of that view, I do think that there is a lot of sand in gears right now, because the buyers are looking at this cheap supply in the U.S. and the willingness of some exporters in U.S. to do more of a tolling arrangement and not have to walk in long term agreements that are tied to oil, because as we were just saying, if we end up with a much tighter supply demand picture, let’s say in 21, and you’ve priced your L&G cargoes as the buyer off of an oil curve, that’s a – that’s completely different price than what you are experiencing today.

 

So, it makes sense that the market would try to find a way to take advantage of some of the abundant, inexpensive gas that’s coming out of the U.S.

 

[00:32:50]

Jason Bordoff: You are making large investments obviously in oil and gas supply in the years to come, and there is the questions about the paces of transition and technological change we just talked about, there is increasing pressure from some investors on companies to say if countries take the kinds of the commitments they made in the Paris Climate Agreement seriously, you will have stranded assets, and there is a risk to the industry and to the financial market, what's your view of the stranded asset discussion?

 

[00:33:21]

Claire Farley: I think that the industry can do a lot to make oil and gas extraction even cleaner than it is.

 

[00:33:38]

Jason Bordoff: The process of extraction, I mean the carbon –

 

[00:33:41]

Claire Farley: Process of –

 

[00:33:42]

Jason Bordoff: With the combustion of the fuel is still what it is, but –

 

[00:33:46]

Claire Farley: Correct. But I think that that there is also a lot that could be done on combustion cars even to reduce the emissions from those – and extend the gas mileage too. So, I’m not ready to say that there will be no combustion engines there, if you said well – I would reframe the question to say, is there more that oil and gas companies could do to reduce the carbon footprint, I think the answer is yes, I think they have already demonstrated a great deal of progress there and I think that the more the market forces demand, that they continue, they can do that. But then gas emissions –

 

[00:34:51]

Jason Bordoff: I guess I would ask you more what you make of – what impact it’s having or what your view of it is when you see pension funds, certain banks sort of saying, we are not going to put our capital into this, the old investment movement, people are saying we shouldn’t be – company should disclose their climate risk.

 

[00:35:11]

Claire Farley: Yeah.

 

[00:35:11]

Jason Bordoff: And that’s – there has been a lot of pressure on many to do that, many of the large rural companies are doing that now in new ways they haven't done before.

 

[00:35:18]

Claire Farley: Yes.

 

[00:35:20]

Jason Bordoff: And some investors are saying we won't put capital behind coal projects or may be certain kinds of oil projects, what's your view of that movement and how much of an impact do you think it is having and we’ll have?

 

[00:35:31]

Claire Farley: I guess what I’m really struggling to say is that certain investors will and should ask that question and they should demand the information, if they are being truly objective, once they see the information, and insisted that that progress continue, I think there are argument of no I can't invest in this asset class just become specious. If the industry instead says we don’t have a problem and I don’t care if you don’t invest, there is another investor behind you, then I think we do have a problem.

 

But that’s not how most of them have responded with I guess I’m not explaining myself well enough, so let me try to give you more data. I do think that sometimes people have an emotional response to oil and gas that can come from any number of experiences that they have had with it, and you may not be able to convince them with facts, but I’d like to believe that the markets are efficient, and when you explain that you really are making it a cleaner and cleaner business you have and you will continue to do so.

 

[00:37:18]

Jason Bordoff: What do you think the right role is for these large institutional investors in these sort of social issues, like what did you think Hillary thinks widely publicized letter calling corporate leaders to think more about the social impacts, how they run their business?

 

[00:37:32]

Claire Farley: I think I most board rooms, they go – but I am doing that. So, I think it does – there is not a mentality of get down in the bunker and – it instead is probably a little bit of frustration of I think maybe you don’t know what I’m doing, so let me redouble my efforts to explain it. Have you ever read a Proxy, Jason? I mean annual report, they go on for pages and pages and pages and so sometimes I think the messages get buried in a way that the average person doesn’t see what's being done.

 

[00:38:22]

Jason Bordoff: So, what's unexpected, what do you see kind of coming around the corner for opportunities for investment in the space that people aren’t fully aware of – there is lot of talk about things like artificial intelligence and how it’s going to transform the economics of the industry just as one example.

 

[00:38:39]

Claire Farley: I think that if you look at all of these big resources places and acknowledge that what _____ [00:38:46] said is largely true that the best rock is of course the one that get drilled up first, and it’s pretty much, well developed in some of these place. But there is also a lot of acreage around that that still holds billions and billions of barrels. This industry is great about of the size of the price is big enough, we will figure out how to get it out, just unless we’ve done with unlocking these resource place in the first place. So, I think things like refracking artificial lift, may be some enhanced oil recovery, I just think we are going to see several more waves of things that will allow us to get more out of what we thought was done.

 

[00:39:44]

Jason Bordoff: Okay. Claire Farley, thank you for spending time with us today. I was – have learned a huge amount when I have a chance to spend time with you. I’m sure our listeners –

 

[00:39:52]

Claire Farley: And vice versa actually.

 

[00:39:53]

Jason Bordoff: Did as well. So, we bearly scratch the surface, many more things that we could talk about, wouldn’t even talk about president is cancelling the Iran deal.

 

[00:40:03]

Claire Farley: Oh! Yeah.

 

[00:40:04]

Jason Bordoff: What that will mean for oil prices and geopolitical risk, I guess we’ll see in the coming weeks and months how that plays out. But hopefully we’ll have a chance to have you in person at Columbia or here on Columbia Energy Exchange soon to talk further. Thanks for spending time with us today.

 

[00:40:19]

Claire Farley: I so enjoyed it, thank you Jason.

 

[00:40:22]

Jason Bordoff: Thanks for turning in to Columbia Energy Exchange. As always, please take a moment to rate our podcast on iTunes or another preferred podcast provider and leave a review. For more information about the podcast or the Center on Global Energy Policy, visit us online at energypolicy.columbia.edu or on social media @ColumbiaUEnergy. From New York, I’m Jason Bordoff, we’ll see you next week.