Petroleum Technology Luncheon - December 13th

The next Petroleum Technology Luncheon is on Tuesday December 13th.

Long Beach Petroleum Club
3636 Linden Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807
Registration: 11:30 AM
Buffet Lunch: 11:30 AM
Presentation: 12:00-1:00 PM
$30.00 members (+$1 credit card fee)
$30.00 for non members (+$1 credit card fee)
Free for 1st 2 students, others $10 each

Social License to Operate:
What Is It and How Do I Get It?

Daniel Tormey, Ph.D., P.G.
Catalyst Environmental Solutions
(818) 317-7716


In California, the well completion process of hydraulic fracturing unexpectedly became a touchstone for opposition to, and increased regulatory pressure on, oil and gas development as a whole. Despite substantial economic, geopolitical, and climate change benefits to energy independence, oil and gas continues to face declining Social License to Operate. Government License to Operate consists of required licenses, permits, and compliance plans for legal operation. Compared to this relatively predictable framework, Social License to Operate depends on the willingness of stakeholders to support, or at least tolerate, operations. Lack of Social License threatens operations as much as missing compliance plans. At play in Social License for complex and controversial operations is calculated risk, perceived risk, and political risk. We define calculated risks as the risks determined through gathering and analysis of primary data, conducting numerical studies or data analysis, or other forms of scientific and engineering inquiry. Generally, more data-rich analyses provide more accurate levels of calculated risk. Perceived risk refers to public perception of the hazards and risk. John Quigley, former Pennsylvania Secretary of Natural Resources, refers to perceived risk as “the high dread to risk ratio;” that is, that the public’s dread over an issue may far outweigh its objective risk when the issues are complex or controversial. Political risk is the result of balancing perceived risk and calculated risk to determine whether supporting or not supporting legislation will affect future political goals. In addition, the nature of perceived risk and the resulting political risk is heavily influenced by the socioeconomics and political composition of any given constituency. Media of all types are crucial in collecting, framing, and distributing information and thus plays a central role in both educating the public on events and in framing how the public views such events. The engagement of charismatic celebrities frequently short circuits the careful balancing of calculated, perceived, and political risk. We offer strategies and examples of winning Social License to Operate.


Dr. Daniel Tormey is an expert in energy, water, and land management, and he conducts environmental reviews for both government and industry. He works with the environmental aspects of all types of energy development, with an emphasis on oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing and produced water management, pipelines, LNG terminals, refineries and retail facilities. Dr. Tormey was the principal investigator for the peer-reviewed, publicly-available, Hydraulic Fracturing Study at the Baldwin Hills of southern California, on behalf of the County of Los Angeles and the field operator, PXP in 2012. He was on the Steering Committee for the study of the Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing in California conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) in 2015. He has a Ph.D. in Geology and Geochemistry from MIT, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering and Geology from Stanford. He is President of Catalyst Environmental Solutions. He was named by the National Academy of Sciences to the Science Advisory Board for Giant Sequoia National Monument; is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Geoscientist Specialist Group; is on the review committee on behalf of IUCN for the UNESCO World Heritage Site List; is volcanologist for Cruz del Sur, an emergency response and contingency planning organization in Chile; was an Executive in Residence at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo; is a Professional Geologist in California; and is a Fellow of The Explorers Club. He has worked throughout the USA, Australia, Indonesia, Italy, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, Armenia and the Republic of Georgia.