BROWNSVILLE, Texas – David Keane, senior vice president for policy and corporate affairs for NextDecade, spoke to students about careers in the energy industry at Rally in the Valley 2.0.
The networking event, hosted by the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation and held at the Brownsville Events Center, connected high school students from Brownsville ISD with prominent industry partners offering student internship opportunities.
NextDecade owns Rio Grande LNG, which is building a liquefied natural gas export terminal at the Port of Brownsville.
“This $18.4 billion project is the largest greenfield – and when I say Greenfield there’s never been an industrial facility on this particular site – energy project financing in US history, highlighting the significant role that liquefied natural gas will play in the global energy transition now and for many years to come,” Keane said.
“At full capacity, Rio Grande LNG will produce 27 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually, which is enough natural gas to heat 34 million homes a year.”
“But what exactly is LNG?” Keane asked. “It is, essentially, cooled methane or natural gas, which is the same form of heat that you currently have if you have it in your house. Once liquefied, it is stored in specially designed tanks and transported on special ships to customers around the world.”
Keane then discussed another of NextDecade’s subsidiaries.
Next Carbon Solutions aims to address carbon change concerns by capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide during the liquefaction process. CCS or carbon capture and sequestration is a revolutionary technology that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Keane said.
“Rio Grande LNG, with the implementation of CCS, aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90%. And we actually think we can get to about 95%. Through our proprietary CCS process we have obtained nine patents and are also in discussions with global companies to offer our CCS services globally.”
Keane said he believes the oil and gas industry will continue to be necessary for the foreseeable future.
“I also realize, as does my company, that climate change is a serious issue and that we as an industry need to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why we are planning to invest in our CCS technology at Rio Grande LNG, to minimize our environmental footprint.”
Keane then spoke about careers in the energy industry.
“I understand that many of you might think that the industry is old fashioned, or even dying. However, I’m here to dispel that myth, that interpretation. Consider all the products and technologies that require hydrocarbons to be manufactured. Your cell phone for one, you wouldn’t have this if you didn’t have hydrocarbons,” Keane said, holding his cell phone aloft. “There are also TVs, plastics, medicines, cosmetics, and cleaning products, among many others. All of these rely on hydrocarbons for manufacturing.”
In his closing remarks, Keane said he wanted to offer a few reflections to help students make the best career choices.
“The current job market is constantly changing and flexibility and resiliency are critical to your success. Being flexible is necessary and prudent for you to consider while developing your goals, your objectives, for your career path. I’m sure your teachers are telling you to map out where you want to be in five or ten years. And that’s important and you should listen to them,” Keane said.
“But, opportunities and challenges are constant and remember that your career is a journey and grabbing opportunities for growth and fulfillment is a must.”
Keane told students that being resilient after a setback or when facing a challenge is also an important part of their journey.
“I actually think your failures are the most important part of your journey. So being able to fail and get up and do it again and succeed and not get put down by yourself (is important). Being flexible and resilient is about being adaptable and being willing to learn even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.”
Finding the right career, Keane said, takes self reflection.
“You need to consider what drives you. What are you good at? What do you believe in? Your answers to these important questions will help you align your career with your personal goals and your talents. Remember, your career choices are a reflection of who you are today and who you want to be in the future.”
Keane added: “And, finally, and I think the most important piece of advice I can give you is listen to your gut. Have confidence in yourself. Have confidence in your abilities. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do. Tell them what you want to do. And finally, a quote from a scientist that I have a lot of respect for, Albert Schweitzer Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you do you will be successful.”
Editor’s Note: Here is an audio recording of most of David Keane’s presentation at Rally in the Valley 2.0:
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