Message From The Chair

Welcome the New Chairperson! Joint LASPE-CCCOGP Meeting, CRC reorganizing in Chapter 11, COVID 19 Postpones Golf Tournament

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to thank the LA SPE Board members for their support over the past year as I transitioned from being the Secretary, to Vice Chair, and now accept the honor or being the Chair. I would especially like to thank those past chairs under whom I have volunteered over the past two years. Robert Schaaf and Baldev Gill have set a great example for me and I hope to continue their work in the LA Basin. I would also like to congratulate Baldev on being appointed the Southern District Deputy at CalGEM (formerly DOGGR). For the LA SPE Board Members, I want to thank you and appreciate your continued voluntary efforts and hard work and for being the critical support mechanism for the LA SPE section.

I take the helm of the LA Basin SPE during unprecedented times. Since April, LA Basin has continued to hold board meetings and regular meetings using video-conferencing software with great success and higher than normal attendance. Continuing a tradition of several years, the September meeting will be held jointly with CCCOGP, with a presentation from John Jepson a Senior Geologist for the Energy Resources Department in the City of Long Beach (formerly LBGO). Mr. Jepson’s talk is titled “The Wilmington Oil Field, Oil Production and Subsidence Mitigation in an Urban Environment” and the meeting will also be held virtually.

I was born and raised in California, where I have lived my entire life, except my first two years of college when I attended the University of Oklahoma studying chemical engineering on an academic scholarship. I transferred to the University of California, Berkeley where I graduated with my BS in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis in chemical processing. More recently, I graduated from Harvard University with a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management. My masters’ capstone research focused on the viability of carbon dioxide injection within storage fields in Southern California, from carbon dioxide captured from the oil & gas industry, and other heavy industries in the LA Basin. I see a huge opportunity for California to become a leader in Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS). California has a huge talent pool of skilled operators, engineers, and project managers who have the skillsets to implement globally impactful, and financially rewarding projects.

The oil & gas industry is facing unprecedented pressures, with oil prices hitting 10-year lows earlier this year, and only recently recovering above the low levels seen in 2016. Oil commodity prices, which have remained low since 2016, have been compounded by a major shift in behavior as a response to the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19). Last month we saw California Resources Corporation file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after it could not continue to make payments on the billions of dollars of debt with which it was saddled when Oxy left the state in 2014. Now is the time for us to help one another when we can and look toward the future and capitalize on opportunities, we might have otherwise ignored in a time of booming oil prices. CRC is continuing in their goal to be a more sustainable company, producing oil with a lower carbon intensity by self-generating clean energy, and producing water for the state’s thirsty agricultural industry. I look forward to seeing CRC emerge from bankruptcy in the near future and push forward some CCUS projects to help get oil field personnel back to work, both here in the LA Basin and in the San Joaquin Valley Section.

Unfortunately, I must inform everyone that the LA SPE annual Charity Golf Tournament originally scheduled for September 25th, 2020 has been indefinitely postponed. We are looking for alternative options to hold the tournament later in the year, but with precautions against the spread of SARS-CoV-2 it is possible the tournament will not occur in 2020.

The local SPE Young Professional (YP) has been quiet for the past few years, but LA Basin board member and YP Outreach Ian Johnecheck managed to have one event this year before the start of the stay at home orders. Growing our YP contingent is a priority for the LA Basin SPE and SPE in North America, and we look forward to being able to re-engage soon especially with the students from CSULB and USC. This newsletter and our website will inform you of events that are occurring within the SPE. Please take time to review and see what is happening.

Andrew López
SPE LA Basin Section Chair 2020-2021