I emailed current engineer Josh Loch of XTOEnergy a variety of interview questions. He responded within 20 minutes.
|Scooped by Zachary Alden-Brown|
Josh Loch of XTOEnergy Interview
Dear Mr. Loch of XTOEnergy,
If you could please respond to my questions thoroughly and go into great explanation. Thankyou.
1. Why is the Oil Industry beneficial to our country?
The oil and gas industry benefits our country in many ways but I'll cover the main two areas, economic revenue and foreign policy, in my response.
The oil industry provides countless jobs and economic revenue to many areas of our country. While many people see at the direct impact of the individual oil companies providing the internal job opportunities for their company, the industry has a larger effect on alternative companies. Producing oil and gas takes a lot of money to accomplish. From hiring land men to negotiate out lease rights, to purchasing property to drill the well, to drilling the well, and then moving and refining the product to get it to a market. Each step of the process is like a smaller industry. Buying land and lease rights alone involves many lawyers, private citizens, government municipalities and company people all working together to accomplish the process. In Pennsylvania alone the Department of Environmental Protection is constantly hiring people to help process the permit applications for well pads. When it concerns getting the product to a market, many everyday products are made from oil or made possible by the oil industry. All plastics and resins, like water bottles and fiberglass, come from oil based chemicals. Many medicines are formulated with some type of petroleum base. So the oil industry effects many markets. Each new person hired may not work for the oil and gas industry but their job was necessary to support the industry or made possible by the success of the oil industry.
The oil industry in America has given us the opportunity to not rely on foreign powers for something our nation needs such as energy. With national support the oil industry in North America could provide enough energy, with oil or natural gas, to support our country's needs well into the future. With that freedom we can take stronger stances on political issues such as the conflicts in Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Currently OPEC can drastically control our economy by not allowing oil to ship to America.
2. Why is our country dependent on the oil industry?
I wouldn't say that our country is completely dependent on the Oil industry. But we are dependent on energy and economic revenue. The oil industry provides both. The technology isn't developed for wind and solar to be feasible for a mass energy supply. The nuclear industry has some environmental draw backs and a poor track record throughout the world. Coal is a fossil fuel like oil but causes more pollutants to burn than oil and especially natural gas. Oil and gas as an energy source is abundant and relatively environmentally conscious. So while I don't believe America is dependent on the oil industry solely, I feel like it's a good choice for America to rely on oil to provide energy, economics and many other products.
3. How long will oil and gas be our main source of energy? Why?
As a guess I would say anywhere from 50-150 years. With advancements in technology happening so fast I don't see us making it two more centuries without somebody developing a better cheaper alternative. There's also so many alternative energies available that have minor flaws that make the impractical today, but possible in the future. Solar has two major flaws that are fixable but not in the near future. To gather solar energy takes a lot of surface area and a panel that contains very expensive materials, and there is no practical way to store mass amounts of energy efficiently to use when/where the suns not shining. The computer faced a similar dilemma. Motherboards were too large, too expensive and did too little in the 1950s to be practical. But continuously for the last 60 years, every 18 months the computer chip size has been cut in half, the memory it could support doubled, and the price slowly dropped. Now almost every individual doesn't go 1 waking hour without looking at a computer 1000 times smarter than water landed on the moon. Eventually I believe a better mouse trap will be invented but it will take time to refine, and develop into something America will use.
4. What is the positive and negative impact of the oil industry on our country, and what is it that we are doing to change the negatives?
The positives were pretty well covered in question one so I'll try to stick to the negatives. The oil industry is by its very nature an industry. It causes change in whatever environment it goes into. It causes traffic on the roads, lines in the store, rental and home prices to go up and a general hustle and bustle in an area. This can be a great disruption to private citizens. While most of the citizens benefit by the industry economically, either directly or indirectly, some people would rather not be bothered with the impact, whether they are economically benefitted or not. This issue can compound itself when companies working in the industry are unaware of this. Companies can frustrate and irritate many people by just not understanding the impact they are having and trying to take measures to lesson that. While our company makes it a priority to insure we are good neighbors in the areas we work and take every precaution environmentally and otherwise, we have followed behind other companies into areas where the public has been mistreated by a company. We spend a lot of effort to correct those situations.
5. What opportunities does the oil industry give americans?
6. What is the biggest misunderstanding that people have about the industry?
That the oil industry always makes a profit. Many companies are going under and having to sell out during this down turn in the economy and gas prices. The oil industry seems to be either in feast or famine modes. When oil and gas are in demand the industry can be turning in record profits and making millionaires out of private farmers that have a well. All of that makes great news stories, but people rarely pay attention when 20 year established companies who made billions in 2008 are shutting their doors in 2012. Like I said earlier everything in the oil and gas industry is expensive and if you don't have the income on oil and gas sales, it cost a lot to stay in business waiting for it to come back around.
7. What is some facts that most people don't know about the industry?
That they employ many, many people to insure that they are safe and environmentally conscious. Most if not all companies in the industry have a division of their company that only concentrates on doing it safer and cleaner. This department has a loud and often a louder voice then production/operations in decision making and direction for companies. Most people believe that the industry will do anything for a buck but our company and other company will not hesitate to step back from major profit to save a life or an environment.