UH Energy Announces Symposium Topics, Speakers

Debates Offer Deeper Understanding of Complex Issues

The University of Houston has announced the fall lineup for the UH Energy Symposium Series, with experts from around the country speaking on some of the industry’s most pressing issues.

The popular series, now in its third year, starts Sept. 24 with a discussion of energy exploration in the Arctic, a flash point between producers and environmentalists since Shell Oil Co. began drilling off the coast of Alaska three years ago.

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, acting vice president/vice chancellor for research and technology transfer at UH, said the series is designed to help audience members understand the complexity of pressing local, national and international issues.

“These issues are not simple. If they were, the solutions would be straightforward,” said Krishnamoorti, who also is chief energy officer at the University. “There are no black or white solutions. There’s a range of gray, and we want our audience to be better equipped to appreciate how things can be implemented in the real world.”

Speakers on Sept. 24 include Jed Hamilton, senior Arctic consultant for Exxon Mobil Upstream Research Company; Kevin Harun, Arctic Program Director at Pacific Environment; writer Bob Reiss, whose nonfiction works include “The Eskimo and The Oil Man,” about the opening of the Arctic and the battle over offshore oil, and “The Coming Storm”, about climate change and extreme weather, and Peter Van Tuyn, an environmental and natural resource lawyer based in Anchorage.

Richard Haut, program director for energy production at the Houston Advanced Research Center, will serve as moderator.

"Internationally the big push is, what should you do in the Arctic, in these extreme environments?” Krishnamoorti said. “There is very high resource potential but also very high risk.”

The series continues Nov. 10 on the topic of carbon taxes. Additional programs are planned for February and March.

All discussions, followed by question and answer sessions, will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Houston Room of the UH Student Center. Admission is free and open to the public.