Bruce has spent over 40 years in the oil and gas business, covering all facets of the energy supply chain.
In 1986, Bruce entered the global testing, inspection, certification (TIC) industry.
Learn more about this important aspect of the oil industry from a true industry veteran, and stay tuned for his new podcast channel on the EKT Interactive Oil and Gas Podcast network.
Listen to The Drill Down with Marty Stetzer below:
|Marty:||Hi everyone, and welcome to the Drill Down with Marty Stetzer.
This podcast is part of our EKT Interactive Oil and Gas podcast network.
Brought to you by Oil 101, our free introduction to oil and gas.
|Today I will speaking with Bruce Carlile, a friend and industry veteran.
This is our first podcast on the importance of understanding the wide variety of crude oils, and the way that crude oil quality impacts the price.
|We are really happy to have Bruce’s experience help our audience understand this very important part of the business. Bruce welcome.
|Bruce:||Thanks Marty. It’s good to be here.
|Marty:||Bruce can you give our listeners a little of your industry background?
|Bruce:||Certainly. I’ve spend 40 years now in the energy business, covering all facets of the energy supply chain. I didn’t start out my career that way, but I’ve come toward the tail end of it.
It’s been a nice long ride. I started with Shell Oil company in retail sales, the service station business, in Florida. Had a couple successful years with tires, batteries, filters, motor oil.
|We’re just getting the handle of gasoline, obviously. We didn’t spend any time knowing much about crude oil.
But when I came to Houston with Shell, they put me in as a marine coordinator, handling the scheduling and logistics of the crude supply into the Gulf Coast.
Fascinating time by the way.
|As things turned out, it was a very prosperous era. I was recruited by Champlin Petroleum, owned by Union Pacific at the time.
I scheduled foreign crude predominately, and feed stocks into their Corpus Christi refinery.
|Was able to do a little lease crude buying throughout South Louisiana, Mississippi. Then the business took quite a downturn in the 85, 86 era.
There’s a lot of you in the energy business, and listeners may remember. So I literally stumbled into the inspection and testing business, as it was known, with a top-tier company called Caleb Brett, which morphed into a global company called Intertek.
|Most of my role was in marketing, business development. In my last few years, I drifted a little bit away from the marine business, and capitalized on the Shell Renaissance.
Set up a number of labs around the country in the interior non-marine space.
|Then shifted to a competitor called Bureau Veritas, a French competitor, also known as Inspectorate.
Did a little business development work until about a year ago, I elected to start my own small consulting business called Carlile Commodity Consulting. And here we are today.
|Marty:||Thanks for that introduction Bruce. We’ve all learned that it’s important to understand the entire business, including our small piece of the business, to really be effective in bringing information to our customers.
I also know that you’re very involved with the Crude Oil Quality Association, often abbreviated as COQA.
Can you tell our listeners a little bit about this important industry group?
|Bruce:||When I first went to a Crude Oil Quality Association meeting, it was in a hotel in Houston.
Frankly, it was a glorified cocktail hour at that time. It was a good excuse for marketers, and buyers, and logistics people to get together, but the common theme was crude quality.
There was one gentlemen, I’ll never forget, that worked for a large refinery, that’s probably responsible for starting this. He commented that the crude oil diet versus the petroleum product make the balance in the refinery was really a very considerable loss.
He couldn’t quite understand.
|But I believe his refinery’s about 275,000 barrels a day, so it was an expensive proposition, problems that they had.
Well, without getting into all the history, a gentlemen came along that had retired from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a gentleman that’s become a personal friend of mine, Harry Giles.
Fabulous gentlemen, and he took the COQA up a notch. Basically, more and more vendors joined the organization.
It’s an ad hoc group of people again, with the common theme, trying to study nuances and issues with crude, and condensate quality.
|Also Harry was responsible for aligning the American COQA with the Canadian group called the CCQTA.
So it’s a sister organization, the Canucks, or Canadians, as they call it, come down to the U.S. meetings, there’s three a year.
And every other year the Americans go to Calgary for their meeting.
|The difference being, the Canadians fund a lot of, as they call projects, the American’s is a little more of a networking function. It’s not a governing body, but it’s highly regarded.
So much so, in recent years, with all the issues around blending of crudes, particularly in the Cushing area, they’ve come up with a somewhat formalized specification for WTI and sweet crude.
|Again, it’s been a real pleasure and I still continue to be involved in this group.
I should say that Dennis Sutton, who retired from the Marathon refining organization, took over the COQA in the last two years, and he’s brought it up as you would expect, to another level.
|Harry and I still remain in touch.
He is also an instructor for the ASTM, The American Standard of Test Methods in the side of the world. And if I can put a quick plug, he sent a nice gift in the holidays, one of his last premier booklets called Crude Oil Analysis: History and Development of Test Methods From 1854 to 2016.
|I think it’s interesting that testing started in 1854 formally with standards, when as I recall my history, Francis Drake discovered the first commercial viable well up in Pennsylvania in about 1859.
So it’s interesting that to show the importance of testing in the role of the hydrocarbon business.
|Marty:||Bruce thanks for being part of EKTi. We originally met at the Argus Crude Oil Summit in 2015, where I was impressed with one of your training course offerings that you showed me at your booth.
Can you talk over the training courses that you have planned or developed? And how you are using this content in your consulting practice?
|Bruce:||Well again, thank you Marty. Without risk of sounding corny, when I met you at the Argus Crude Summit, which I’d attended for a number of years, and getting to know you and your fine organization, it launched a spark in me.
Something I hadn’t felt in a while, that eventually in part, decided to employ my own consulting business.
|I think what I like is giving back to the oil and gas community through educational experience.
Any of us that have a long tenure in the business, it’s nice to consult and make some revenue of course, but it’s also nice to help a lot of people, predominately young people, that come along and are being [inaudible 00:07:45] in the industry.
|As I started my relatively small consulting business, I was very fortunate to be discovered on Linkedin, through the social media side.
It was one research company in particular, global research company, also based in Austin.
So I had a few assignments, but every time I got an assignment to do research, it was from a different person via the internet, or their portal, their platform.
|I decided to drag my toolbox of crude samples, and a little kit I’ve designed to show crude oil, and the petroleum fractions that are derived from different types of crude, up to do a little lunch-and-learn as we call it, to Austin, Texas.
|As luck had, it was one of the best things I ever did. That is the old school of reaching out and embracing people face-to-face, which is the way I was brought up in the business.
And handshake to support whatever you’re going to do, is a man’s bond.
|That launched a very nice partnership with this little company, that led to more webinars, lunch-and-learns, as a what they call TIC, Testing Inspection Certification subject matter expert, which predominantly, this company’s customers were investors.
So all the investor community, hedge funds, venture capitalists, even stock brokers, would call and engage me in, typically an hour or two hour interview, of the workings of the supply chain, and how the business works, or doesn’t work in some cases.
And the ins and outs of the TIC industry. That’s been my base to launch my consulting business, primarily.
|Marty:||We’re very happy to have Bruce Carlile as an EKTi associate. Like our other industry expert, as you heard, he has tons of operations experience, and loves to train.
Look for more detail on the downstream, refining, and crude pricing developments, on our website. Watch for Bruce’s upcoming EKTi podcast, and YouTube videos, presenting more detail on the importance of crude oil quality.
|To learn more about the oil and gas industry, be sure to check out our free Oil 101 series at www.ektinteractive.com.
Thanks for listening.