Saturday, May 31, 2008

Draft Specification - Compliance & Governance™ Module

Compliance & Governance™ provides the methods that the firm deals with the investment community and its associated regulators. (SEC, Tax and Royalty). The unique attribute of how the People, Ideas & Objects™ application provides the compliance, is by using the advanced technologies available to automate as much of the processes as possible. Technologies that the industry inherits in this software development capability and the regulators embrace of technology through their published API's (Application Programming Interface) and Frameworks. The best example of which is the SEC's XBRL initiative.

In this module we are ensuring that the policies and procedures of the People, Ideas & Objects™ application and its users are in compliance with the various regulations and requirements of an organization. In essence, through building this application we are moving the compliance and governance framework of the firm to be in alignment with the four other frameworks of the Joint Operating Committee. Maintenance of the producer in compliance to the frameworks of the SEC, tax and royalty regimes is this applications compliance goals. The governance aspect of the application assigns the role and responsibilities of the People to their tasks based on the Military Command & Control Metaphor.

A key to the resolution of the industries ability to find and produce the energy the market demands is through the efficient application of capital. This point has been dealt with in the Financial Marketplace™ module and other modules in this specification. Raising money requires access to public funds. The size of the innovative oil and gas producer should not be an impediment or constraint of access to the markets of oil and gas activity, and, capital access. If a firm is a small partner in a few projects, their ability to raise capital will be dependent upon their level of compliance capability.

Copies of the specification with the other six module drafts can be downloaded from the old wiki .

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Robert Metcalfe on MIT Video

As I've mentioned in this blog before, Robert Metcalfe is someone that I find to be great interest to this energy problem. The introduction of Metcalfe in the Video provides a good summary of his background, and I would note that even despite his accomplishments his attitude remains fresh, and challenging to the status quo. The energy industry needs to be shaken and Metcalfe does a bit of shaking in this video.

Another aspect that Metcalfe was involved in was in participating in the MIT's founding of the Massachusetts Enertech Cluster. I held out high hopes that this was the necessary direction of the academic community, only to find soon after its forming it was hi-jacked by the climate and alternative fuels red herrings. I expressed my disappointment of this in this blog post here. Metcalfe is single handedly criticizing the Massachusetts Enertech Cluster in this one hour talk and returning the hope that I expressed of the MEC. Early on in the presentation @ approximately 9 minutes he states a few interesting points:

"Here are these trillion dollar markets (energy) that are poorly served."
"The people who have been doing energy investing for 50 years are annoyed with people like me, Internet people, invading the energy space." Stating, "look you guys have had your chance, and haven't solved it, move aside, here come the Internet people." (Here, here)

"In energy there are some particularly nasty people out there that are not going to welcome your technological developments."
Stating the goal should be that we pursue "clean" and "cheap" energy, Metcalfe summarily attacks the founding premises and objectives of the Massachusetts Enertech Cluster (MEC). Stating that;
  • Climate change is a "motivational bubble" that may be solved quickly.
  • Conservation should not be an objective of this project (MEC), we need abundant energy not conservation. Our economies need to grow, not be stifled by energy conservation.
  • No Nukes (MEC), which meets the clean and cheap energy objective. Technology can and will mitigate the effects of nuclear energy production.
  • Corn ethanol is a fraud.
  • The government needs to adopt a Manhattan styled project for energy. The government will have no solutions outside of taxes.
  • Only scale projects are needed, which of course is very foolhardy. Innovation will come from everywhere.
  • And lastly there are no silver bullets. Metcalfe suggests we spend more time finding the silver bullets instead of opposing their development.
Which leads me to this project. How is it that the energy industry can ignore the People, Ideas & Objects application as a solution?

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Constrained Organizations

In a follow up post to the "Unconstrained Prices", I thought it might be a good time to reiterate the reasons that I see for the ever escalating oil and gas prices. Energy production is driven by the earth science and engineering disciplines. As one would expect, over a given period of time the science and engineering will be subject to new discoveries and findings, leading to further enhancements of the underlying sciences. Innovation plays a key role here in that the new sciences bring about new innovative uses, and in turn, lead to new science. This is the key area of long term value add in the oil and gas industry. A producer that is able to apply the science and ideas to the problem at hand will, over time, increase their production and reserves. I'd like to call this the "Capabilities Approach" to the oil and gas industry.

If we reduce the competitive nature of the industry down to this Capabilities Approach. We see the interactions and understanding of the industry as it developed over the past 100 years. Someone figures out how to drill deeper, then the subsequent wells expose more oil bearing formations and hence more opportunities for increased oil or gas production. As time has passed the more lucrative and "big" ideas have been applied in broader areas, and for longer periods of time.

As we have learned from Stanford Professor Paul Romer's new growth theory, "more" ideas are needed to progress forward from the current base of understanding. The supply / demand for these ideas is not linear, but logarithmic, and occur at a much faster pace through their life cycle. Enter the classic bureaucracy and realize its efficiencies are based on expansion of the underlying activity (growth) and continuous process improvement. Change, and particularly scientific and engineering change, are the hierarchy's deficiency. What we need is a new form of organizational structure that will support and enable the industry to compete in this dynamically changing and high demand marketplace. Until such time as we can change the performance dynamics of the organizational form for the oil and gas industry, prices of commodities will continue to rise.

It is these comments and ideas that I have asserted in this blog for the past few years. They are a direct result of my thesis that provides evidence that the Joint Operating Committee is the method of organization of the innovative energy producer. We need to start building the software that I have specified in the 11 module People, Ideas & Objects application and unleash the potential of the sciences for the betterment of society. I find these ideas are consistent with many of the industries leadership. The International Energy Agency recently made some comments that reflect these concerns.

The IEA states that by 2015 there will be a shortfall of 12.5 million boe / day.

"Future crude supplies could be far tighter than previously thought."

"Reflects an increasing fear within the IEA and elsewhere that oil producing regions aren't on track to meet future needs."

"The oil investments required may be much much higher than what people assume."

My personal favorite;

"This is a dangerous situation."

"We are optimistic in terms of resource availability, but wary about whether the investments get made in the right places and at a pace that will bring on supply to meet demand."

Yet nothing is done by these bureaucracies. They know what the problem is, there is just no motivation for them to make the necessary changes. Record profits at Exxon Mobil mask the 10% production declines. We need to consider who's responsibility this problem is, as the companies are unwilling to do so. After all it is not they who will be suffering with energy shortages but society in general.

On the other hand, and what I truly do not understand is that the $135 prices are rewarding those that find and produce the energy. This is an entirely new dynamic for the industry, when will we see the companies that are able to outperform the current crop of producers? The answer to that question unfortunately is not soon. Until this software is built to organize the efforts of the industry, our choices are limited to the status quo or manual systems. Join me here.

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