Photo courtesy of Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Getting In Good Trouble

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine the sweet scent of a wood fire. The smell from this most primeval heating method summons intense memories for most of us. For those in North America, the scent often connects us to Mother Nature or family gatherings. Yet, for over half a billion people on the planet who have no access to electricity, and for more than two billion who lack access to clean cooking facilities, the scent is a stark reminder that activities of daily living are about life and death rather than fond memories. This condition exists in our world despite drilling the first commercial oil well over 150 years ago. Imagine if we unlocked that sheer human potential for global good rather than just building fires.

To address global energy poverty and to relegate wood fire to be merely a conjurer of happy thoughts, we must come to believe that energy is not a zero-sum game but rather an additive endeavor. More oil. More natural gas. More low carbon energy (yes). Not less of any. My life’s journey has led to the formation of NewCarbon, a clean energy platform for the 21st century, and a belief that significantly more low carbon energy in North America is a necessary condition for more oil and gas production. And, in turn, more oil and gas production is a necessary condition to give hundreds of millions of our fellow humans a shared sense of hope and prosperity for the future.

Journey

I have lived and known the extremes – rural and urban, with and without, energy deficient and energy excess. I was born in rural Guyana, South America, where electricity and clean cooking facilities were available albeit unreliable. With much hard work and a good deal of luck, my parents immigrated to the United States, and I spent my early years living in inner-city Philadelphia. We moved once more to a small town on the Ohio River in Indiana, where I finished high school. After graduating from a state college in Indiana (go Boilermakers), my family settled in Chicago, and we have remained here for over two decades.

Professional life for me has been one of exploring frontiers – blue chip companies and startups, landman and executive, developing wind power in the U.S. Midwest and selling U.S. LNG in every corner of the world. New nuclear, renewable power, thermal power and electricity storage projects were the focus at a large U.S. power utility. Trading natural gas between producers, utilities and consumers kept with the mission at a large U.S. trading business. Renewable natural gas, renewable power, hydrogen production, and carbon capture and sequestration were the vanguard for a large North American midstreamer. Selling LNG to energy-starved countries in Asia and Europe was foundational at an early-stage LNG export company. All this while watching my birthplace of Guyana go from energy poverty to energy abundance in a few short years, with over one million barrels per day of total oil production expected by 2027.

My journey is the quintessential American Dream – one where freedom, equality and a better life are additive and not at the expense of the other. The most persistent and striking observation on that journey, however, is the tendency for oil, natural gas and power organizations, stakeholders, and capital providers to stake out positions at the expense and exclusion of one another and even against their own at times. This is incongruent with my lived experiences, where collaboration, coordination and shared purpose are the means to achieving great things.

The world needs oil and gas, and the challenge of our time is to serve hundreds of millions of fellow humans thirsting for reliable and affordable energy. Significantly more implementation of low carbon energy at home is what will allow us to continue producing and marketing oil and gas to where it is most needed around the world. We can maintain our traditional oil and gas franchises while building a competitive moat for the clean energy industries of the future right here in North America. More of everything, including and especially, low carbon energy. Which brings us to today. Armed with my experience working across oil, gas and power, and with the support of like-minded individuals (for which I hope I can count on you), it is time to get in a bit of good trouble.

NewCarbon

North America’s heavy carbon emitting industries – industrial, agricultural and energy – are struggling to decarbonize their value chains. Companies in those industries are navigating complex and difficult decisions to reduce carbon emissions, while preserving reliability and affordability of their products. All the while, the zero-sum game approach to developing energy infrastructure is not providing services and solutions to meet customers’ needs. Reducing lifecycle carbon intensity does not have to be as hard as it has been. Thus started the journey to build NewCarbon.

Simply, we believe that the energy industry should be disrupted and reimagined with 21st century thinking and technology, rather than merely being an extension of legacy 20th century business models. We aim to make it so by delivering lifecycle carbon intensity reduction through fit-for-purpose infrastructure solutions that integrate seamlessly across our customers’ value chains. We start by mapping our customers’ value chains. We concurrently map the integration of clean energy solutions – electrons and molecules, turnkey solutions versus à la carte products, and lifecycle carbon emissions rather than segment emissions. Instead of asking our customers to change what they do well, we originate and develop portfolios of low carbon infrastructure on behalf of our customers that plug into existing energy consumption patterns. As we systematically decarbonize heavy industry, we will unlock more capacity for oil and gas, which has the potential to uplift hundreds of millions of humans.

In a world full of change, our dreams of a better tomorrow have never been stronger than right now. Now is the time to decarbonize our communities, gifting our kids and grandkids with the prospect of a healthier and more prosperous world. Now is the time to deliver meaningful lifecycle carbon intensity reduction. Now is the time to bridge the oil, natural gas, and power divide. Now is the time to deliver integrated, fit-for-purpose customer solutions. This is the next chapter on the energy journey, one we have been on for over 150 years.

Photo courtesy of Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Reprint from ENERGIES Magazine – Winter 2023

Author Profile
Founder and CEO - 

Omar Khayum is an experienced energy and healthcare executive, having founded and led startups across both industries. Khayum currently serves as the founder and CEO of NewCarbon, a clean energy infrastructure company. NewCarbon’s mission is to deliver lifecycle carbon intensity reduction through fit-for-purpose infrastructure solutions that integrate seamlessly across customers’ value chains.

In the energy domain and prior to founding NewCarbon, Khayum served as the CEO of Annova LNG and held executive and leadership roles at TC Energy, Constellation Energy and Exelon Corporation. He also served on the board of the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition.

In the healthcare space, Khayum is a founder of MemoryCare Corporation, a pioneer in providing person-centered therapy for individuals and families coping with dementia and other cognitive conditions, and Cognitive Concierge, a leading provider of cognitive wellness services. He serves on the boards of both companies.

Khayum holds an MBA in Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago and a BS in Computer Science from Purdue University.

Contact Khayum at +1 (312) 718-9519 or omar.khayum@newcarbon.energy. For more information, go to NewCarbon.

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