Energy Experts Discuss Economy of Oil at Shasha Seminar

Wesleyan hosted the 10th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns on April 19-20. The Shasha Seminar is an educational forum for Wesleyan alumni, parents, faculty and friends that provides an opportunity to explore issues of global concern in a small seminar environment.

Endowed by James J. Shasha ’50 P’82, the seminar supports lifelong learning and encourages participants to expand their knowledge and perspectives on significant issues. The 2012 theme was The Political Economy of Oil. Photos of the two-day event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Bill Tyner ’13)

Daniel Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, delivered the keynote address titled, "Protecting Our Environment in Turbulent Times" April 19 in Memorial Chapel. Commissioner Esty spoke about the need to continue moving forward with an energy and environmental agenda for the 21st century, despite a backlash that has developed on these issues.

Dean Malouta P’12, retired geologist with Shell Oil Company, and David Work ’68, P’93, retired regional president of BP Amoco Corporation spoke on "Peak Oil and Beyond" during the Shasha Seminar. Phillip Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, moderated the talk. The panelists explored geology and extraction techniques and questioned, "Are we on the verge of transition to a post-oil world?"

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European Studies, speaks to Shasha Seminar participant Bud Coote ’71, senior energy analyst for the U.S. Government.

At left, Ladeene Freimuth ’89, president of Freimuth Group; Paul McDermott ’76, P’12, managing partner for Cadent Energy Partners; and Jun Ishii, assistant professor of economics at Amherst College, discussed "The Oil Business: Profit and Social Responsibility." Christiaan Hogendorn, associate professor of economics, moderated the session, which questioned, "Is government doing too much— or too little— to ensure that the energy business respects the rights of other social stakeholders?"

Presenter Dean Malouta P'12 is an independent consultant in Houston, Texas, and a recognized expert in conventional and unconventional oil and gas exploration, as well as alternative and renewable energy. Malouta worked for Shell Oil Company, Exploration and Production from 1977 until 2010. Most recently, he was head of technology for Shell E&P Western Hemisphere, leading a staff of more than 450 scientists and engineers.

Steve LeVine, author of "The Oil and the Glory," delivered a lunch-time discussion. LeVine’s book is a gripping account of the latest phase in the epochal struggle for control of the earth’s “black gold.”

At left, Barry Chernoff, the Robert K. Schumann Chair of Environmental Studies; Matthew Roe ’05, planning and research manager for the City of New York; and Amjad Ali Awan, the Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discussed "Environmental Sustainability and the Future of Petrocarbons." At right, Mary Alice Haddad, associate professor of government, moderated the event. The panelists discussed the lessons learned from the Gulf oil spill and ways businesses are responding to the challenge of climate change.

At left, Oksan Bayulgen, associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, and Anne Peters, assistant professor of government at Wesleyan, spoke on "War, Instability, and the Search for Energy Security." At right, Katherine Hardin ’90, senior director of Russian and Caspian energy research at Cambridge Energy Resource Associates, moderated the event. The panelists questioned, "What can we do to forestall future resource wars? And what can be done about the dismal fate of democracy in petrostates?"

At left, Leslie Shasha '82 attended the conference with her friend, Gale Cohn. Leslie is the daughter of James Shasha ’50 P’82.

Olivia Drake

Olivia (M.A.L.S. '08) is editor of the Wesleyan Connection newsletter and campus photographer. I have two dogs, five chickens and 30 house plants. I like snow, photographing firemen and enjoying "stinky" cheeses. Send me your story ideas to newsletter@wesleyan.edu. 

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