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Things to know: $17.5B oil acquisition, new accelerator focuses on sustainability, and more in Houston energy

Houston energy transition folks — here's what to know to start your week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a podcast episode with a biotech leader, a very big oil and gas deal, and events not to miss.

Big deal: ConocoPhillips to buy Marathon Oil for $17.B in all-stock deal

ConocoPhillips is buying Marathon Oil in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $17.1 billion as energy prices rise and big oil companies reap massive profits.

The deal to combine the two Houston-headquartered companies is valued at $22.5 billion when including $5.4 billion in debt.

Crude prices have jumped more than 12% this year and the cost for a barrel rose above $80 this week. Oil majors put up record profits after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and while those numbers have slipped, there has been a surge in mergers between energy companies flush with cash. Continue reading.

Podcast to stream: Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast

Bioindustrial technologies have a high potential for impacting sustainability — but they tend to need a little bit more help navigating the startup valley of death. That's where the BioWell comes in.

Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, says the idea for the accelerator was came to First Bight Ventures, a Houston-based biomanufacturing investment firm, as it began building its portfolio of promising companies.

"While we were looking at various companies, we found ourselves finding different needs that these startups have," Estrada says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "That's how the opportunity for the BioWell came about." Continue reading.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

  • The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit is coming to Houston June 10 to 12. Join for the ultimate event in the world for UAVs, Robotics & Data/AI, 3D Reality Capture, Geospatial and Digital Twins focused on the business and technology in energy & industrial operations, inspections, maintenance, surveying & mapping. Register now.
  • Argus Clean Ammonia North America Conference will take place on June 12 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency Houston. Over the three days of the conference, explore the big questions many producers are facing around where demand is coming from, expect to hear perspectives from key domestic consumers as well as international demand centres for clean ammonia. Register now.
  • Join the over 150 senior energy and utilities leaders from June 17 to 18 in Houston for AI in Energy to unlock the potential of AI within your enterprise and delve into key areas for its development.Register now.
  • Energy Underground (June) is a group of professionals in the Greater Houston area that are accelerating the Energy Transition that connect monthly at The Cannon - West Houston. Register now.

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A View From HETI

The program will allow students to learn at their own pace, and is supported seven days a week by tutorial and technical staff, and offers flexible payment options with a low initial registration fee. Photo via UH

University of Houston-Downtown announced a new Wind Turbine Technician Certificate Program.

UHD’s goal with the new program is to address the global need for workers skilled in servicing, diagnosing, repairing and installing wind turbines and other associated equipment.

The program will allow students to learn at their own pace, and is supported seven days a week by tutorial and technical staff, and offers flexible payment options with a low initial registration fee.

Some courses can be purchased as students work through them.The total cost is $1,750 for the entire program.

The course will be delivered in partnership with George Brown College in Toronto. George Brown College is a leader in distance learning, and one program highlight will be its 3D interactive wind turbine simulator. The wind turbine simulator will have key features like real-time visualization, interactive operation, pre-built lab projects, and Pitch and Yaw Ladder Logic applications, which shows how Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are used to provide automatic control of wind turbines.

“The programs we develop at George Brown College feature robust technical simulation software so we can reach different students, like those looking to diversify their skills and can’t attend full time because of family or work commitments,” Colin Simpson, dean of continuous learning, says in a news release. “Additionally, our partnership with University of Houston-Downtown allows us to extend our reach to help train the U.S. clean energy workforce.”

According to Global Wind Energy Council’s Global Wind Report 2023, over half a million new wind technicians will be needed by 2026 to service the expected capacity increases, as wind generation is expected to more than double by 2030. Texas produces 26 percent of all U.S. wind-sourced electricity.

“Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the world, and as the largest wind producer in the United States, there is a growing need for skilled technicians in Texas,” UHD President Loren J. Blanchard adds. “By partnering with George Brown College, we’re able to leverage a unique online program to develop a skilled workforce for the wind energy sector in the state and beyond.”

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