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Global Supply Chain Week Day 5 preview: Energy, chemicals and mining

Even while undergoing a tough year, the industry looks forward

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Energy’s future and its recent rough past will be the focus of discussions Feb. 26, the fifth day of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week.

The day’s focus on energy, chemicals and mining will kick off with an interview conducted by FreightWaves Executive Publisher Kevin Hill, who sits down with Benjamin Shattuck, director of Wood Mackenzie’s Lower 48 team. The exploration and production activity in the lower 48 of the U.S. has had a wild year with a plunge in prices followed by a slowly rising market that at the time of his interview may have crude oil prices at levels right where they were before the pandemic.

But at the same time, it’s a business that needs a constant infusion of new lending and is a target of divestiture, either for political or business reasons. Shattuck will speak on the need for that capital, whether the industry will get enough of it and whether that may impact it in the future.

Looking back a bit, interviewer John Kingston will speak with two trucking executives from Texas on how they handled the pandemic that flattened prices and sent drilling activity plunging in the first half of 2020, with a recovery in the second half of the year. John Esparaza is the president of the Texas Trucking Association and Bob McDowell is the president and owner of W.M. Dewey & Son Inc., a trucking company serving the oil patch. The two of them discuss how tough it got as the industry imploded around them and what steps they took to bring back the Dewey business or in the case of Esparza, the businesses of so many of the association’s members. 

Kingston also will interview Rana Basu, the founder and COO of Omniflo. Basu’s Omniflo was one of the first companies to try to bring blockchain into supply chain solutions in the oil patch. He’s been able to see the successes and the places where there’s been resistance to the supply chain turning to this solution, which from day one was always viewed as having strong potential to improve logistics.

Tim Sensenig, the chairman and CEO of TMS First, also joins the energy-focused day of the summit to discuss his company’s cloud-based logistics system that leans heavily toward an energy-focused base of customers. TMS First is based in Houston and a hefty portion of its customers are operating in the oil patch with an entirely separate set of logistics needs that his technology solutions seek to address.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.