With this issue, The Lamp will conclude publication, ending a nearly 100-year run. During that time, we published close to 420 issues and more than 12,600 pages.
An ExxonMobil publication
Focus on the future Introducing Darren Woods The new biofuels
1 Plus Meet our newest directors Stories from Hurricane Harvey Rotterdam refinery project
Where did you learn about that amazing new initiative?
From producing low-emission natural gas, to the development of fuel cells, to our support of math and science education, Energy Factor ™ uncovers how ExxonMobil prepares for the future. Visit EnergyFactor.com on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone and keep up to date by subscribing to our newsletter. #EnergyFactor
Cover image: Research scientist
Kelsey McNeely is part of a team developing oil from algae
In this issue
4 The Lamp bids farewell A look at The Lamp ’s long history 6 A winning attitude Introducing new ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren W. Woods 10 In their own words Experiences of employees during the devastating Hurricane Harvey 14 Going the extra mile is the key to success Director Doug Oberhelman says it’s important to step out of one’s comfort zone 16 Work hard and knowwho you are ExxonMobil Director Angela Braly shares her steps to success 18 For climate and energy solutions, it’s a matter of scale Noted atmospheric physicist Dr. Susan Avery joins the ExxonMobil board 20 Rotterdam refinery harnesses technology and opportunity New unit improves capabilities, creates new marketing channels and positions the Dutch plant for the future
22 Excitement and pride
Darren W. Woods Chairman and CEO Mark W. Albers Senior Vice President Michael J. Dolan Senior Vice President Andrew P. Swiger Senior Vice President Jack P. Williams Senior Vice President Suzanne M. McCarron Vice President-Public and Government Affairs Jeffrey J. Woodbury Vice President-Investor Relations and Secretary Rebecca Arnold Editor Pat Gabriel GCGMarketing Art Director Len Shelton Photography Coordinator Cynthia Solomon Production and Distribution Coordinator Please address all Lamp correspondence, including requests to reproduce any portion of the magazine, to the editor at Exxon Mobil Corporation, 5959 Las Colinas Blvd., Irving, TX 75039-2298.
Digital issue available The Lamp is available online. Visit exxonmobil.com/digitallamp or download the ExxonMobil app to have a look and to share the stories on social media.
surround Guyana development Great partnerships are driving this project 24 A wide aperture into the future Our work on energy efficiency, emissions reduction, biofuels and other emerging technologies 28 The new biofuels The rewards are worth the challenges 30 A new approach to fundamental research Collaborating with university energy centers 34 Excellence achieved across global scope of the corporation Highlights from the latest Corporate Citizenship Report 36 Panorama Business highlights from around the world
The Lamp bids farewell Editor’s note: With this issue, The Lamp will conclude publication, ending a nearly 100-year run. During that time, we published close to 420 issues and more than 12,600 pages. This article chronicles the history of The Lamp and highlights the array of other communication choices now available to readers.
Lighting the way As president, Teagle had other critical obligations, primarily expanding the company’s worldwide exploration and production programs. He turned the day-to-day editorship of The Lamp over to Northrup Clarey, a former financial editor of The New York Times . But Teagle kept a hand in directing the publication even from afar, suggesting articles, approving copy and submitting future story ideas. The first issue of the publication confirmed its mission and reason for its name: “It is hoped that its rays will reach everyone interested directly or indirectly in the fortunes of the company – and that it will light the way to an understanding of one another and that no shadows of misconception nor suspicion contained detailed articles about Standard Oil’s operations, financial performance, management viewpoints, corporate milestones, employee activities and accomplishments. It also presented broader educational features about the petroleum industry, will endure in its presence.” From its onset, The Lamp
ExxonMobil predecessor Standard Oil faced a number of challenges in the early years of the 20th century, including the 1911 breakup, falling oil production, soaring petroleumproduct demand and growing international competition. But there were also internal issues that demanded the attention of management. The company recognized the need for better employee relations and major reforms in wages, benefits and job conditions. So it embarked on a major overhaul of personnel policies. A cornerstone of those changes, which set new standards for American industry, was a commitment to greater communication between the company and its employees. Walter Teagle, who was appointed president of Standard Oil in 1917 at the age of 39, was brought in to oversee these changes. Teagle, at the time one of the youngest men to run a large American corporation, was accessible and caring, but also intense and hard-driving. He immediately set about restructuring Standard Oil and strengthening its employee benefits with enhanced retirement and stock-purchase programs. He elevated the role of public and media relations and, as part of that effort, developed a new in-house magazine in 1918 called The Lamp , appointing himself de facto editor.
Saudi Arabia,” which transported readers to new and exciting regions of the world. Interest in the magazine quickly grew beyond its employee base to include investors, stockbrokers, students, financial writers and other external groups. Requests for the publication grew to such a level that by the early 1920s, the company actually sold
subscriptions for $1.00 a year. At that time, The Lamp was printed and mailed to subscribers every other month. Editorial refocus As Standard’s worldwide organization grew, the corporation organized itself along affiliate lines and established
stand-alone companies in the various countries where
such as how explorers find oil and how gasoline prices are determined. There were even “travelogue” stories about the search for oil with
titles like “Adventures in the upper Amazon” and “Hunting for oil in
Story by Bob Davis Photography by Doug Mangold
New avenues Just as The Lamp originated nearly 100 years ago due to Standard Oil’s understanding of the importance for better communications, ExxonMobil understands that readers today consume news very differently. Most receive their information on laptops and mobile devices, and they want stories and business news faster and more frequently than a print publication can deliver. Digital delivery also offers significant cost efficiencies. We encourage readers to keep up to date on our corporate news by using a number of news sources available and accessible online: Energy Factor (energyfactor.com) features company news, in-depth reviews of science and technology highlights, employee profiles, and perspectives on the energy industry. You can sign up to receive regular newsletters. Join us on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn to be part of our online community, stay connected to the company, and share content with family and friends. Our website (exxonmobil.com) is an in-depth source for news, publications and important shareholder information. Sign up for email alerts to learn whenever the company issues news releases or announcements. You can also find ExxonMobil on YouTube and in the App Store on your mobile devices. The Lamp brought the stories of ExxonMobil people and places to life for nearly a century. Now, Energy Factor and our other digital tools will continue to highlight the achievements of our corporation, and the many talents and accomplishments of our employees around the world.
it operated. Employee communication – the initial
highlighting exploration; Chemsphere magazine, profiling the company’s global chemical business; and numerous affiliate publications such as Esso Australia’s Connection magazine. Beginning in the 1940s, The Lamp editors retooled the magazine away from its strictly internal focus to include external audiences, particularly shareholders.
editorial mission of The Lamp – became the responsibility of each affiliate. Additional specialized magazines proliferated among the companies highlighting particular aspects of the energy industry. These included Oilways , which showcased the company’s motor oil and lubricants business; Search magazine,
A winning attitude The Lamp profiled Darren Woods when he became senior vice president in 2015. In his earlier interview, he described his upbringing and his experience in the Downstream and Chemical organizations. Now that Woods has been named chairman and CEO, we wanted to check back in and ask what challenges and opportunities he sees in his new role.
Congratulations on your election! How’s it going?
our Dallas headquarters. I’ve worked for great managers, who challenged me every step of the way. There’s no better preparation for a role like this than a career at ExxonMobil. You often speak of the importance of “winning.” What exactly do you mean by that? It starts with deciding what we’re trying to do. Do we want to be among the best – or the best? Do we race to finish – or to win? Frankly, given the strength of our organization, the quality and capability of our people, and the competitive advantages we’ve built over decades, I’d be disappointed with anything other than a win. This means creating greater shareholder and stakeholder value than any of our competitors. This requires more than just continuous improvement. It requires greater improvement, competitors. It requires us to grow competitive advantage and fully leverage it in the areas that create the most value. It requires a clear strategy, owned by every level of the organization, for each sector in which we choose to compete. That is what we’re focused on. delivered faster, than any of the advances made by our
It’s been an extraordinary first year so far. I’m fortunate to be part of a very talented and capable team. I feel we’re off to a strong start. We’re building on a legacy of leadership from the many talented people who have made our company great over the past 135 years. It’s a real honor to follow in their footsteps. We’re very focused on the future, working to grow our competitive advantage, becoming more efficient, running our business even more effectively and creating greater shareholder value. What experiences do you think prepared you for the top job? One of ExxonMobil’s many strengths is the way we develop our people. We offer them a diversity of career experiences that span the globe. We challenge them with big jobs and significant responsibilities early in their careers. We help people realize that they are capable of more than they think. During my 25 years with the company, I’ve really benefited from that approach. I had the chance to work in a variety of roles across the Downstream companies, in Chemical, and at
Chairman and CEO Darren W. Woods
6 Profile by Matt Gobush
Darren Woods visits the Baytown refinery
Photo by Pam Farmer
What challenges do you see ahead?
and stakeholder value over the long term. In an increasingly competitive environment, with markets currently over-supplied, this is a significant challenge. So what’s the solution? It starts with our people. I don’t think there’s any organization in the world with people more talented or capable than those at ExxonMobil. My job, along with the other leaders in the organization, is to empower and fully leverage this capability. Technology is also critical. Advances in technology are allowing us to do things today that people thought weren’t possible a decade ago. The industry has unlocked vast resources of oil and natural gas we had once thought out of reach. Industry innovation led to an energy revolution. This will
happen again. Technology will ultimately play a role in unlocking solutions for most, if not all, of our challenges. What opportunities out there make you the most excited? I’m excited by opportunities across our entire portfolio. In the Downstream, we’re investing in proprietary technology to increase the production of higher- value products and position our refineries as some of the most competitive in the world. In Chemical, we’re leveraging a host of organizational capabilities – from projects to sales – and technology advantages in processes and products to invest strategically in high-value, high- growth businesses. In the Upstream, I’m
Mozambique and the Permian Basin here in the United States to name a few. All are world class. The Permian will enable us to take advantage of our integrated businesses, which span the value chain along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Earlier this year, I announced our “Growing the Gulf” initiative, which is expanding manufacturing capacity to take advantage of abundant oil and natural gas from shale. All told, it’s a $20 billion investment program spanning 11 projects over a 10-year period, and will create 45,000 jobs. I’m also excited about our research and development program, which is exploring technologies to improve our business performance and help mitigate the risks of climate change. It’s an exciting time for our industry and our company.
The world needs affordable energy to grow its economies and advance living standards. The world also needs tomanage and protect its environment and natural resources. Society doesn’t have the luxury of choosing one over the other. We have to tackle both. At ExxonMobil, we play a vital role. The work we do every day is focused on these objectives. Lowering cost and improving productivity while minimizing our environmental footprint and the emissions from our operations and products is helping. But we have more to do. I’m confident that further advances will come with the research we’re doing across a broad spectrum of technology opportunities. Of course, we do this to generate greater shareholder
excited about several of our new investments in Guyana,
“Technology will ultimately play a role in unlocking solutions for most, if not all, of our challenges.”
Chairman and CEO DarrenW. Woods
What are your priorities as chairman and CEO? My first priority is to ensure that all of us continue to live by and promote our company’s values, including safety and integrity. I want us to build on our strong foundation of operational excellence and corporate citizenship. I want us to empower and fully leverage the talents and capabilities of our people. Another priority of mine is for us to further differentiate the capabilities and performance of our technology organization and functional companies. Finally, our priority must be to win – to beat our competition in creating shareholder and stakeholder value. Early on as chairman and CEO, you’ve spoken out about climate change. Where are you on this issue? It’s an important issue, part of the dual challenge I talked about earlier. ExxonMobil is committed to helping address the challenge – and has been for years. We’ve been involved in climate research for almost 40 years. We’ve made significant contributions to the science and partnered with some of the world’s leading scientific and research organizations, including the U.N. Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, Stanford University, MIT and others. We’re reducing emissions in our operations. We’re helping consumers reduce their emissions with improvements in our products. And we’re investing in breakthrough technologies that could be game-changing, like biofuels and carbon capture and storage. We recently joined the Climate Leadership Council, which supports a revenue- neutral carbon tax. We also support the Paris agreement. We have a lot of experience in the energy industry and a deep understanding of the available technologies. We can make a significant contribution. As the world takes on this challenge, everyone will have to play a part – governments, the industry and consumers. We must also remember that some parts of the world are in desperate need of reliable, affordable energy. We have to meet this need as well. Let me say, whether you’re an employee, an annuitant or a shareholder of ExxonMobil, you’re part of something big, and something important. The energy we produce is powering progress around the world. Any final thoughts for readers of The Lamp ?
Darren Woods has held several roles in the Downstream and Chemical businesses, and in Investor Relations
Photo by Robert Seale
It’s lifting billions of people out of poverty. It’s enabling hundreds of millions to join the middle class. It’s helping more people get the medical care, education and jobs they need. Our company has many exciting opportunities to continue to contribute to this progress. We
also have exciting opportunities to address energy’s impact on the environment. We’ve made great progress over the years. I’m optimistic that our research efforts will help unlock additional opportunities. I’m proud to be a part of all that we do, and I hope you are too.
Relentless winds. Nonstop rain. Epic flooding and destruction. Hurricane Harvey brought it all. ExxonMobil employees responded with resolve, perseverance and selfless inspiration. Here are a few of their stories. In their ownwords
The massive storm roared out of the darkness of the Gulf of Mexico at 10 p.m. on Friday, August 25, and slammed into South Texas with winds of more than 130 miles per hour. The hurricane leveled homes and businesses in Port Aransas and Rockport with a force likened by one resident to “a bomb blast going off.” After a brief foray inland, Harvey weakened, did an about- face, and tracked back over the warmwaters of the Gulf. Now a tropical storm, it stalled over Houston for nearly five days,
dropping upwards of 50 inches of rain in some areas and causing widespread catastrophic flooding. Days before impact, ExxonMobil teams were preparing: shutting in production and evacuating crews from offshore platforms; assembling workers at its refining and chemical complexes in Baytown and Beaumont to shut down facilities safely; evaluating the effects of potentially idle pipelines and marketing terminals on gasoline and product supplies; and setting up emergency response and monitoring centers,
human resource hotlines and recovery action plans after the storm passed. When the rains began to fall and the waters began to rise, thousands of people – including hundreds of employees and their families – were forced from their homes, many of them given little time to gather what they could before evacuating. We could fill the pages of this magazine with their accounts, because when an event like this occurs, it affects everyone, regardless of where you live, the position you have in the company
or how long you have worked in your job. The stories here are a small example of the wider impact and response to the storm – the heroism of first responders and volunteers, the taking in of families in need, the rescuing of the suddenly homeless, the delivery of food and water to the hungry, and more. There’s a commonality to these stories that encompasses not only caring for one’s immediate family, but also for the wider community. They also show an incredible dedication to helping the company get its operations
10 Story by Bob Davis
Harvey relief by the numbers ExxonMobil donated much-needed cleaning supplies to help Texas Gulf Coast residents recover from devastating flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey. Here is a summary of the items the company donated.
40K 1,600 3,500 500
cases of cardboard boxes for packing
1-gallon bottles of bleach
bottles of water
pairs of safety glasses
sprayers for disinfecting homes and businesses
2K 35K 800
pairs of nitrile gloves
rolls of tape
pairs of leather work gloves
rolls of heavy-duty trash bags
Hurricane Harvey dumped an estimated 19 trillion gallons of rain over southeast Texas – enough to fill a cube 2.6 miles wide by 2.6 miles long by 2.6 miles high
safely up and running again in order to supply energy to where it’s needed. Pervading each of these accounts is the knowledge that when disaster strikes, none of us has to go it alone. Steve Hart Vice president global supply and transportation, Houston “Throughout the entire organization, there was an urgency and a dedication. We had many employees suffering flood damage. But while the storm was still going on, we were working issues together
Jimmy Smith Process mechanical supervisor, Baytown complex “Shutting down a refinery safely during a storm is crucial because with the winds and the rains and potential flooding, if you don’t have the proper planning, you could have a significant impact on the environment, and to the safety of our people. “The toughest part was seeing my fellow employees impacted. There were so many employees out there trying to take care of their homes and families. There was so much devastation out there.”
over the phone. Only later did I learn that this person or that person had his or her house flood. You would have never known it on the phone. Their dedication is so high that there were times you had to tell them, ‘Hey, go take care of yourself. We’ll get someone else to cover until you get back.’ “Our people are not looking for accolades for what they do. They realize that their work will not be fully seen by the public, and they don’t expect it would be. They knowwhat they’re doing is helping – helping their
community, and helping by getting fuel to customers in a time of need.”
Kristy McCarty Environmental department lead, Beaumont complex “During a shutdown, you can’t skip steps. My role before, during and after the stormwas to ensure that we compliantly and safely shut down. Our teamwas in constant contact with regulatory agencies. It was great to see people coming together as a team to solve problems, and howwilling everyone was to make environmental compliance a priority.”
Arce Sambilay Console supervisor, Baytown complex “Saturday night, I started my shift, and we were monitoring the radar. At 2 a.m., it started raining, and it never stopped. So we began to shut down the plant, and we went into live-in conditions. I was here for four more days as a live-in. “I’ve lived in Baytown for 30 years, and I’ve never seen as much water on the roads in all that time. At the plant, everybody pitched in. You didn’t have to ask people; they were there. There was never just one person working on just one thing. “It was always at least two people or a team of people responding together. Everybody pitched in.” Reno Castillo Instrumentation specialist, Baytown complex “I wasn’t able to get to the plant. My house has been here 30 years and has never flooded before. The only way in and out was by boat. But I did a lot of troubleshooting over the phone throughout the storm with my colleagues. A friend and I were helping in the neighborhood, and we came back to my place and tied up his boat in my driveway. I got a call and was actually sitting on my wet couch, and we worked through an issue. “Every day, someone from the company would call and ask, ‘Is your family OK? Do you have food? Do you have a place to stay? Do you need help at your house? Do you need gas, dehumidifiers, supplies?’ “And then, when the storm was over, they sent workers here to help tear out Sheetrock,
insulation and flooring. It had been just me, my wife and son trying to get all that work done. Man, what a tremendous difference it made.” Richard Bowen National account manager, Fuels, Lubes and Specialties Marketing, Houston “After evacuating our home, I was safe in a relative’s home and watching news coverage of the storm when the reporter in a boat turned down a familiar street – my street. “That’s when the reality of the situation began to set in. There was our house, on national television. We could see that we had suffered a devastating loss. We were numb. “Then, without us even asking, help began to arrive. An ExxonMobil employee came with cleaning supplies. Then a professional remediation crew, arranged and paid for by ExxonMobil, arrived to clean out our house. “During one of the most difficult times in our lives, the company was there for me. I am truly grateful and thankful for the assistance. It makes me even prouder to say that I work for ExxonMobil.” Steve Garcia Safety coordinator, Baytown complex “One of the things I saw personally was the way the community came together. I saw some of our firefighters from the refinery on TV going into a flooded subdivision and taking people out in their personal boats. It was like they were taking care of what had to be done outside the refinery, while
Beaumont employees helped with the interior demolition at a co-worker’s flood-damaged house
Joey and Laura Hanks spent many hours helping their neighbors and colleagues clean their homes
we were taking care of what had to be done inside the refinery. “Later, I personally participated in the transport of 2,000 pounds of food and a whole lot of water. I can’t even remember how many loads we did.” Dan Misko Engineer, Beaumont complex “The city’s water-treatment facility was knocked out by the flood. So we got a team together to think through, ‘How do we solve this problem?’
“We expanded to about 60 employees and contractors, and we quickly developed a solution: bring in temporary pumps and 600 feet of pipelines, and draw water from the river to the treatment plant. Roads into and out of the city were impassable, so we had to fix this with the people we had in Beaumont. It took all of us working together to secure the resources and materials to actually go out and do this. While we were working to get the treatment plant back,
“But when you see people at their lowest low, and you help them and see them smile by the end of the day, then you know you’re doing your job.”
Laura Hanks Planning and scheduling first line supervisor, Baytown Technology and Engineering complex
Ryan Jarvis, exploration geoscientist, and his family assisted ExxonMobil retiree Gerry Lee and his wife Julie with recovery efforts at the couple’s Sour Lake, Texas home
“It became personal for me when I arrived at one house and realized that the owner was a retired ExxonMobil employee who’d been my mentor, and had actually helped me get hired by the company. After looking around his house, we both broke down. “He was trying to be so strong for his wife and kids in the face of all the destruction. He’d held it in. He took me aside and told me everything they’d been through. I was his sounding board. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs – a good hug and a good, ‘I love you, we’ve got this.’” Ashley Alemayehu Public and government affairs manager, Beaumont complex “Like many other companies in the area, we were ready to step in to help when the City of Beaumont called. It was a true collaborative effort between the city and private sector to get water back on for residents. “I was going back and forth between the refinery, the water plant and the city’s emergency operations center, helping in whatever way I could. We have a long relationship with Beaumont, and I think it has strengthened even further.”
these people come together and say, ‘Hey, I just want to help. No, it doesn’t cost you anything. We just want to help.’”
David Sistiva, construction area supervisor, received assistance from fellow employees
Joey Hanks Shift team lead, Baytown Olefins Plant
other teams were bringing in pallets of water and other essentials by helicopter. “I was working a dual role – doing my job at the refinery while trying to get clean water back up and running to the city, which we did. The other thing the team did was secure the electrical infrastructure for the treatment facility. That was at risk of taking on water, and if it did, all of our efforts would be futile. It took us about eight hours to build a sandbag levee
around the infrastructure to stop that from happening.”
“When you pull up to the first house to help, and you see the homeowner looking just lost, that’s when it becomes personal. “One lady we helped was a school bus driver all her life who’d saved her money and had paid her mortgage off two months before Harvey struck. She lost everything. She didn’t have flood insurance. And she said to me, ‘What do I do?’ And all you can do is to try to tell her that it will be OK.
Byrd Reed Mechanical craftsman, Baytown complex “The ‘Texas Strong’ motto says it all. It means helping other people. Somebody gets a boat, somebody gets this, somebody gets that, and we show up and do what we have to do to get them out of harm’s way. “It’s been a wonderful thing in a disastrous situation to see all of
For more stories and photos from the storm, visit ExxonMobil’s energyfactor.com
Going the extra mile is key to success
Exxon Mobil Corporation Director Doug Oberhelman says it’s important to step out of one’s comfort zone.
Board Director Doug Oberhelman
Profile by Thomas L. Torget Photography by Janice Rubin
As a young boy growing up in Woodstock, Illinois, Doug Oberhelman enjoyed climbing onto the John Deere tractors that his father sold to area farmers. “As a kid, I never dreamed I’d spend my adult life working for Dad’s competitor,” says Oberhelman, retired chairman and chief executive of Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc. “My family didn’t farm, but we lived out in the country. Dad would bring tractors home now and then and let me climb around on them, and I would pretend I was in a field somewhere. It was great fun.” Years later, Oberhelman studied finance at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and planned for a career in the banking industry. “In my senior year, Caterpillar was interviewing on campus, and I learned they had an opening in their treasury department. The job sounded intriguing, so I signed on. That was more than 40 years ago, and I’ve only just recently retired.” Diverse career It didn’t take long for Oberhelman to realize that Caterpillar was where he wanted to build his career. “Each of my early assignments was great fun, and I was constantly learning,” he says. “With Caterpillar’s diverse and global operations, I knew I could have multiple careers without changing employers. That’s an attribute that Caterpillar shares with ExxonMobil, which makes
both companies great places to build a career.” Oberhelman’s second assignment with Caterpillar had him trading foreign currencies worldwide. “The U.S. dollar had floated for just a few years, so it was an exciting time to be involved in the currency markets,” he says. “I lived in Uruguay during the early 1980s, when much of South America had currency and debt troubles. The experience taught me what it takes for a business to survive in very tough economic conditions.” Later postings took Oberhelman to Florida, Canada and Japan. “I worked in Edmonton in 1986 after the oil-price collapse that brought tough times to western Canada,” he says. “In Tokyo, I served as chief financial officer for a Caterpillar joint venture with a Japanese company. Every job taught me new skills and gave me great satisfaction. I’ve been very fortunate.” Positions of increasing Caterpillar’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 2010. He stepped down as CEO on Dec. 31, 2016, and was executive chairman until March 31, 2017. In addition to serving as a director of Exxon Mobil Corporation, Oberhelman serves on the board of Peter Kiewit Sons Inc. He is a member of The Business Council and former responsibility culminated in Oberhelman’s election as
chair of both the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers. He serves as vice president of the Wetlands America Trust and is a director on the boards of the Max McGrawWildlife Foundation and Intersect Illinois. He is also chairman of the board of trustees for the Easterseals Foundation of Central Illinois. International trade As a business leader, Oberhelman has seen many of the challenges that stem from several years of slow global economic growth. “The overriding business issue of the past decade has been the weak recovery from a deep recession,” he says. “You see the effects worldwide. Government debt is rising to new levels. Some political leaders are now leaning away from trade, and that’s worrisome because free trade is critical to a nation’s economic growth.” Oberhelman believes restructuring the U.S. tax code is a key step in generating economic vitality. “When I joined Caterpillar in 1975, the U.S. corporate tax rate was lower than most other countries,” he says. “Now it’s the highest, because other countries have lowered their rates to attract investment and create jobs. We must do the same if we want to continue to be internationally competitive.” Another area that needs improvement is education,
Oberhelman says. “This country spends record amounts on education, but it seems like our results don’t get any better. Asian countries take a different approach to education, and they’re turning out a much higher percentage of engineers and scientists than we are. Because today’s economy is so global, the United States cannot be an island separated from the rest of the world. To compete successfully, we must have a workforce that can out-compete all others.” Accelerated change Oberhelman expects the pace of change brought by new technologies to accelerate in the years ahead. “Today, we have more technology in our cars, homes and businesses than ever before, and the pace of change is going to accelerate,” he says. “Our lives are going to become better in ways we can’t even imagine. We live in exciting times.” What advice would he offer young professionals entering the workforce today? “Look at any business, and you’ll find that the most successful people are those who go the extra mile,” he says. “They get out of their comfort zone. They do everything possible to ensure the success of their work group and their company. By helping their team succeed, they ensure their own success.”
Work hard and knowwho you are Angela Braly, ExxonMobil director, says the steps to success are simple but demanding.
Hard-wired for hard work, Angela Braly earned her finance degree at Texas Tech in just three years. Sometimes she wonders if that was a mistake. “I thought college was fun!” she says. “I may have shortchanged myself by skipping that fourth year.” Mistake or not, Braly’s academic achievement was an early indicator of what she would accomplish in the coming years. After graduation, she attended Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. “I always knew I wanted a career in business,” she says, “but when you study finance, you learn about countless rules and regulations. I wanted to better understand the ‘why’ behind them, so I decided to study law.” Lessons from a tragedy One of five children, Braly grew up in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. “I had a happy childhood and loving parents,” she says. “All of my siblings were active in school activities.” During her first year of college, Braly’s father was killed in an automobile accident involving a drunk driver. “We were emotionally devastated,” Braly says. She especially remembers the tragedy’s impact on her mother. “When my father died, she was suddenly responsible for every aspect of maintaining a home and raising five children. It made a huge impression on me. I learned the
importance of being able to take care of yourself and your family.” After graduating from law school, Braly practiced law in Fort Worth and later accepted an offer to be general counsel of St. Louis-based Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri, where she rose to the office of president and CEO. WellPoint (now known as Anthem), which owned the Missouri company, called her to Indianapolis to be its general counsel and chief public affairs officer. She served as WellPoint’s president and CEO from 2007 to 2012, assuming the additional title of chairman in 2010. Braly believes her experience as CEO is valuable for serving on the boards of ExxonMobil and three other major companies: Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Lowe’s Companies Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. “CEOs and directors have some similar responsibilities,” she says. “They must look at large issues such as strategy, risk and succession planning. But directors don’t get involved in day-to-day operations. As the saying goes, ‘Noses in, fingers out.’” Joining ExxonMobil One of the main reasons Braly accepted the invitation to stand for election to ExxonMobil’s board was its well-known reputation. “ExxonMobil is a leader in an
industry the whole world depends on,” she says. “Energy has been essential throughout history, and developing countries need access to affordable supplies if they are to achieve economic growth.” Braly also noted ExxonMobil’s disciplined, consistent approach to safety. “It’s such a key part of the culture,” she says, “and I’ve been very impressed.” During a director visit in 2016, Braly toured ExxonMobil’s mammoth Baytown, Texas, refining and petrochemical complex, one of the largest in the world. She met people who reinforced her impression of another ExxonMobil strength – the quality of its employees. “The people I met were bright, engaged individuals of all ages and different educational backgrounds. I was struck by the fact that very young people are given big responsibilities early in their careers.” on four boards as her “day job.” In addition, she is passionate about an innovative program she and two other women founded in 2015. The Policy Circle (www. thepolicycircle.org) aims to create a grassroots network for women to talk about public policy. “Women are concerned and knowledgeable about policy issues,” Braly says. “Unfortunately, they sometimes don’t have the information or confidence they Empowering women Braly refers to her demanding work
Profile by Bill Corporon Photography by Janice Rubin
need to take an active public role in discussing and shaping those issues. The Policy Circle is designed to change that.” Groups of 10 to 20 women meet in an individual’s home every other month. Members read a briefing paper on a selected issue, then get together for a discussion. “Our ultimate purpose,” Braly says, “is to empower women to have influence in their local communities and to promote policies that foster free enterprise and the values of freedom and liberty at all levels of government.” Be committed to your work, and work hard. Take on challenging assignments. You may not always succeed, but you’ll create opportunities for yourself. Do the right thing, and strive to do it right the first time. If you fall short, think about what you’ve learned. Put that knowledge to work next time. Above all, she says: “Know who you are. If you don’t, plenty of people will tell you who you should be.” Steps to success Braly is eager to counsel ambitious women and men seeking to rise in a large corporation. Her advice:
Board Director Angela Braly
For climate and energy solutions, it’s a matter of scale
Dr. Susan Avery, noted atmospheric physicist, brings her pioneering career to the ExxonMobil board.
High up in the atmosphere, well beyond the reach of regular aircraft, the wind is always blowing. Dr. Susan Avery, newly elected to the ExxonMobil board of directors, knows this lofty space well. As an atmospheric physicist, she led breakthrough research that continues to aid the world’s understanding of the upper atmosphere. “What goes on in the upper atmosphere 20 to 70 miles above the earth’s surface impacts our lives below, and we’re still learning about it,” Avery says. “A lot of the circulation systems up there are coupled with weather systems in the lower atmosphere. Distortions caused by solar disturbances as well as atmospheric turbulence in the upper atmosphere can also impact satellite, navigation and radio communications, affecting power systems, energy distribution, GPSs and other vital communications.” Kitchen problem-solving Avery’s journey into pioneering atmospheric research began around the kitchen table at home in Michigan with her dad, an electrical engineer for Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. “Understanding that math is the language of science and engineering, my dad insisted that my brother, sister and I know how to do ‘story problems.’ So Dad led us through exercises to find a mathematical solution. For example, if a storm is coming, producing a certain pressure change, what will the wind speed be? We each had definitely earned
our stripes in disciplined thinking by the time we entered college.” Avery completed her under- graduate studies at Michigan State University, which her mom – one of the first women to receive a degree in bacteriology – dad, aunts and uncles, and sisters and cousins also attended. Upon graduation, she married James Avery, a computer science major, and they entered graduate school together at the University of Illinois. There, she discovered she disliked quantum mechanics but came to appreciate the value of interdisciplinary research and academics. Science to opera “I began to explore how I could use physics in another area of study. There was a fledgling atmospheric science program connected to the physics department, but it was also affiliated with the engineering school. Marvin Geller, who has become a leading atmospheric scientist, welcomed me in as my adviser. He encouraged me to think beyond conventional research and academic boundaries and use all of my talents fully.” Those talents included singing – and not just everyday singing. Avery performed in two operas, “Manon” and “The Merry Widow.” She also sang in choirs and played the flute. Bouncing off meteors Avery’s interdisciplinary journey continued after she received her Ph.D. in atmospheric physics. She joined the electrical engineering department at Illinois as an
assistant professor. There, she pioneered using radar technology to measure winds in the upper atmosphere, particularly the little-understood transition zone between the ionized and nonionized regions. “The technology involves bouncing radar signals off the ionized trails of tiny meteors that had burned up, and using the resulting Doppler shift [change in signal frequency] from the transmitter to the return signal to measure wind velocity,” she explains. In 1982, Avery received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to teach and continue her research at the University of Colorado. With seven institutes, the university was (and continues to be) an important center for advances in atmospheric and space science. “The rich multidisciplinary environment – with atmospheric physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists, engineers and others working together – further shaped my future.” Avery’s continuing research into her meteor radar technique and the need to test it at longer distances led to international partnerships with other scientists. She eventually discovered how tomeasure wind in the upper atmosphere in remote equatorial and polar regions with radar systems that were smaller, less expensive and required less maintenance. She and her team
Board Director Dr. Susan Avery
Profile by Mike Long Photography by Janice Rubin
also licensed a meteor radar that couldmeasure the lower and upper atmospheres simultaneously. Social contract shift In 1994, Avery became director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. The institute, the largest of NOAA’s cooperative institutes, includes more than 800 scientists, staff and students devoted to improving understanding of the earth and its environment. Its scientists produce an average of 500 peer- reviewed publications annually. “At the time I became director, science’s social contract with society had begun to shift from ColdWar military defense to somethingmuch broader,” she says. “Awareness of how science impacted everyday lives was evolving. Research organizations were beginning to respond accordingly, including greater efforts to expand scientific literacy. Among other efforts, we launched a program to improve K-12 science teaching and expose teachers to the scientific research environment. “In addition, we developed a new center devoted to the interface of science with policy, as well as a new program on climate variability and change and its impact on western water. I am pleased that all of these initiatives are now part of the ongoing culture of CIRES – one that balances interaction with stakeholders with the need for science information.”
From 2008 to 2015, Avery was president and director of the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, where she continued to build public scientific awareness of the ocean and its connectivity to everyone. The need for scale At ExxonMobil, Avery looks forward to lending her science and engineering perspective. She is particularly interested in supporting ExxonMobil’s leadership and the work that the company is doing to bring new technology solutions for climate and energy issues to scale, including carbon capture and sequestration and biofuels, so they can do the most good. “Bringing solutions to scale is what the private sector can do best. Academia and nonprofits can make significant contributions, but they simply don’t have the horsepower that the industry does.” Avery adds that there’s also a key need for governments to return to funding basic science research, as they have done in the past. “Governments have the resources that could generate the thousands of ideas from which a few will provide solutions. ExxonMobil is an industry leader in basic science research, but can’t do it all,” she says. “There’s no doubt that the best and timeliest solutions for climate and energy will come with industry, academia, environmental nonprofits and government all working together.”
Rotterdam refinery harnesses technology and opportunity
A “one team, one goal” approach is bringing about the safe, on-time completion of the hydrocracker expansion, according to Harro van de Rhee, refinery manager (right) and Rolando Garcia, project executive
New unit improves capabilities, creates new marketing channels and positions the Dutch plant for the future.
ExxonMobil is advancing construction of a more than $1 billion hydrocracker expansion at its 190,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Rotterdam, Netherlands. To underline the significance of this project to the Dutch economy, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp broke ground on the project in June 2016. The new unit is on track for startup in late 2018 and for shipping product in early 2019. The project is significant because it will increase the plant’s ability to produce ultra- low sulfur diesel. It will also
produce ExxonMobil EHC™ Group II base stocks on a large scale for the first time in Europe. This high- quality base stock is in demand in the lubricants industry, and helps reduce emissions and improve fuel economy and performance, among other benefits. The Rotterdam activity is part of the company’s focused investment to strengthen the global supply of high-quality base stocks, and complements other investments at its integrated facilities in Jurong (Singapore) and Baytown (United States).
“The European refining sector is a mature but highly competitive business,” says Harro van de Rhee, Rotterdam refinery manager. “This project will enable us to upgrade lower-margin products to higher- value products. But in addition to greater operational flexibility, the hydrocracker also brings energy- efficiency gains. We are already one of the most energy-efficient plants in Europe. With this new unit and the application of our proprietary technology, we will further boost our energy efficiency by 5 percent.”
Van de Rhee started his career at the Rotterdam refinery and has worked within refinery and chemical businesses in Europe and North America during his 26 years with ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil has a long history of integrated operations in the area, and the refinery, a lubes blending plant and four chemical facilities are all located within the Port of Rotterdam. The refinery is ideally situated for the expansion with its deepwater access and proximity to European markets.
Story by Bob Davis Photography by Danny Cornelissen
the seamless integration of the new lubes value chain into the overall Rotterdam operation. “We know that our ultimate success, to a great extent, will be defined by how successful we’ve been at creating and fostering alignment between our various groups,” van de Rhee says. “I’m pleased to say that I believe that we are accomplishing this goal, and there is a building excitement that you can feel here as we work together to prepare for the many new opportunities the project will open for us. This is preparing us for the future.”
setting up a series of technical sessions and presentations by senior ExxonMobil marketing managers, as well as conducting a number of ‘information fairs’ with displays to introduce, prepare and ultimately make the whole organization ready for the new lubes operation here.” Van de Rhee emphasizes the importance of the close working relationship and alignment of the project construction team and the refining staff. This “one team, one goal” approach is working toward the safe, on-time completion of the hydrocracker project and also
A massive crane lifts a 400-ton, 160-foot vacuum tower into place as part of the Rotterdam hydrocracker expansion project
Everything about this project is big. The foundations for the unit span 20,000 cubic yards – the equivalent of filling the size of an American football field 12 feet deep with concrete. There are 3,500 tons of structural steel, which equals the weight of eight fully loaded 747 jetliners. Piping alone stretches more than 50 miles. Garcia, who marks his 30th anniversary with ExxonMobil this year, believes that one of the biggest accomplishments of the project thus far is how the refinery is building a culture to integrate and embrace the lubes business and operation. “There is a lot of collaboration on this project, ranging from refining and supply, research and engineering, and fuels and lubes in order to begin base stock production and sales. We knew that we had to create a greater awareness of what lubes production and sales involve. We’re doing that by
“It makes a great deal of business sense to situate the expanded hydrocracker here in Rotterdam, and we are very proud of the commitment the company has made to our operations,” van de Rhee says. Milestones Meanwhile, the site is safely buzzing with activity. “We’ve already safely reached a number of major milestones,” says Rolando Garcia, project executive for the Rotterdam hydrocracker. “Our heavy lifts are in place, including the positioning of three large reactors totaling 2,000 tons and a 400-ton, 160-foot-tall vacuum tower. We were also able to optimize cost, schedule and safety by pre- assembling pipe racks in Spain and transporting them to the construction site. A total of 19 modules are now stacked and in place, and the work is now transitioning to erection of steel and piping.”
Collaborating for success Sylvie Houry has worked for ExxonMobil for 27 years, primarily in marketing positions in France, Italy and Belgium. For the past two years, she has been the business venture manager for the Rotterdam hydrocracker project. “This will make us the first large-scale producer of Group II base stocks in Europe,” Houry says. “These products are designed to meet evolving industry requirements such as new standards on engine lubricating oils to achieve better mileage and lower emissions. EHC™ products provide enhanced capabilities in a wide range of engine and industrial applications and have the potential to reduce supply-chain complexity. Our customers will be assured of worldwide supply availability, whether it’s in the United States, Asia-Pacific or Europe. “What’s exciting for me about this project is working with so many different functions – crude supply, refining, blending, chemicals, the project team, research, marketing and, of course, our customers – to collaborate on the startup of this new endeavor. The communication and collaboration everyone has established are going to make this project a great success.”
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