Obama nominates REI CEO as new Interior secretary

This story was updated Feb. 6.

US President Barack Obama has nominated Sally Jewell, Recreational Equipment Inc. chief executive officer, to succeed US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar.

“Even as Sally spent the majority of her career outside of Washington,…she is an expert on the climate and energy issues that will build our future,” the president said in a formal announcement ceremony at the White House.

The choice brings someone with more business than political experience to Interior’s helm and caught some oil and gas associations by surprise. Jewell began her professional career in 1978, however, as a Mobil Oil Corp. engineer in Colorado and Oklahoma.

As he introduced her, Salazar said Jewell’s oil and gas experience served her well when she worked in commercial banking before joining REI as its chief operating officer in 2000. She subsequently became its chief executive officer and became involved in several Pacific Northwest land conservation organizations.

“I like where I am now,” Jewell said. “But there’s no role that compares in the chance to serve my country as Interior secretary. I’m humbled and energized by this opportunity, and look forward to meeting members of the Senate as they consider my nomination in the next few weeks.”

Salazar said, “Sally Jewell knows first-hand the inextricable link between conservation and the economy. She was a key contributor in the creation of America’s Great Outdoors Agenda and a champion of land and water conservation fund. I also know her successful experience as an oil and gas engineer will serve her well as she implements [the president’s] all-of-the-above energy agenda, which has been a keystone in the last 4 years.”

'Unique perspective'

Several oil and gas, as well as environmental, organizations responded as word of Obama’s choice leaked out before the official announcement.

Tim Wigley, president of the Western Energy Alliance in Denver, applauded Obama’s apparent choice prior to the scheduled announcement the afternoon of Feb. 6. “Her experience as a petroleum engineer and business leader will bring a unique perspective to an office that is key to our nation’s energy portfolio,” Wigley said.

“We hope to see a better balance of productive development on nonpark, nonwilderness public lands that enhances the wealth of America and creates jobs while protecting the environment,” he indicated.

National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi called the selection “a bit of a surprise” that offshore oil and gas and other companies will likely view cautiously.

“We look forward to hearing about her energy vision for America during the confirmation process,” he said. “We hope that her business and engineering experience will lead her to recognize the critical importance of our Nation’s offshore energy resources.”

Business background

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said API looks forward “to learning how Sally Jewel’s business background and experience in the oil and gas industry will shape her approach to the game-changing prospects before us in energy development.

“President Obama campaigned on implementing a true ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan for America,” Gerard continued. “This opportunity could create millions of new jobs here at home and generate hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal government at a time we need it most.”

Independent Petroleum Association of America Pres. Barry Russell said while IPAA does not know Jewell personally, “we will be anxious to learn more during the confirmation process about her background in entrepreneurship, finance and energy production.”

Jewell joined REI, a Sumner, Wash.-based outer recreation supplies retailer, in 2000 as chief operating officer after working for several years in commercial banking. She subsequently became its chief executive and became involved in several Pacific Northwest land conservation organizations.

Environmental groups applauded her reported nomination. “Sally Jewell has the mind of an engineer, the heart of an environmentalist, and the know-how of a businesswoman,” Natural Resources Defense Council Pres. Frances Beineke noted.

"In Jewell, President Obama chose a leader with a demonstrated commitment to preserving the higher purposes public lands hold for all Americans—recreation, adventure, and enjoyment,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Apache’s 2015 capital budget less than half of last year’s $8.5 billion

02/12/2015 Apache Corp., Houston, plans a capital budget of $3.6-4 billion in 2015, with $2.1-2.3 billion directed toward onshore North America and $1.5-1.7 b...

Alaska LNG project partners file resource reports with FERC

02/12/2015 A series of draft environmental and socioeconomic reports for the Alaska LNG project have been submitted to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commis...

Total reduces budget by 10% to $23-24 billion

02/12/2015 Total SA plans to lower its organic investments to $23-24 billion in 2015 from $26.4 billion in 2014 by reducing spending in brownfield development...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude prices drop back below $50/bbl

02/12/2015 The New York Mercantile Exchange March crude oil contract dropped $1.18 on Feb. 11, closing at $48.84/bbl. The April contract dropped $1.15 to $50....

US House vote sends Keystone XL approval bill to Obama’s desk

02/12/2015 The US House of Representatives voted by 270 to 152 to pass S. 1, which would deem the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline approved more than 6...

Groups object to White River National Forest draft leasing decision

02/12/2015 The Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, and Public Lands Advocacy jointly filed a formal objection to the US Fo...

Five fatalities, four missing now confirmed following FPSO explosion offshore Brazil

02/12/2015 BW Offshore now reports five fatalities—all employees of BW Offshore—and four crew members missing following the Feb. 11 explosion of the Cidade de...

TransCanada challenges EPA’s comments on Keystone XL SEIS

02/11/2015 TransCanada Corp. responded to the Feb. 2 comment letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency on the US Department of State’s final suppleme...

PNR cuts capital spending nearly in half

02/11/2015 Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PNR), Dallas, plans to spend $1.85 billion in 2015 following a fourth quarter in which the company reported a net in...
White Papers

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

When Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

When Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected