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Cazneau

6/1: Headed over to Cazneau to talk about next moves for establishing a UC Berkeley Global Gas Center. Previously, we received a proposal from them to run a Colab for fund raising and  business plan activity. Colab – Great Idea. But cost was high. After brainstorming, Kim Schilling suggested I meet with Cazneau CEO Tony Hayward. I was nervous. Tony was totally cool, but I know next to nothing about raising money. I wrote lots of notes, and drafted an email for their review. When we agreed on the contents, I forwarded it to my partners, Dan Kammen and Michael Watts. Meanwhile, Dan K. was back East, talking with Royal Dutch Shell about a potential funding opportunity.

When I was in Norway in February attending the Oslo Energy Forum, I had an opportunity to listen to Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director Upstream International, Member of the Board, for Royal Dutch Shell plc. Brian’s address as printed on his business card is a PO Box at the The Hague, The Netherlands.

Everyone at the Forum seemed quite concerned about natural gas, as if coal was getting the upper hand. Malcolm’s talk was quite well received. The man appears formidable in public, as a leader. I was lucky to share an exchange with him over drinks, but I do not recall what we discussed. Everyone enjoyed his talk and I have posted it here: Malcolm Brinded Opening Remarks: Oslo Energy Forum




5/18: Our latest proposal (Kammen, Watts, Mason): Center for Global Natural Gas Draft Proposal

5/9: Cazneau Group in Sausalito responds with a proposal for assisting in developing a Global Natural Gas Center at UC Berkeley.

4/22: We met with Cazneau Group in Sausalito for a brainstorming session on creating a Global Natural Gas Center at UC Berkeley.

The Cazneau Group is a collaboration solutions group that catalyzes individuals and organizations toward strategic partnerships. They do so primarily by creating a space for both experimental conversation and social interaction. They are caretakers for indeterminacy. The principals behind the Gas Center – Dan Kammen, Michael Watts and myself– are working with Cazneau’s team members, Founder and Director Jeff Hamaoui and Kim Schilling to create a new object of social, political and science exploration. Our meeting on April 22nd produced a lot of Eureka moments.

My description — Maturity and Expansion:

The natural gas industry is a large maturing energy system. Current users are both inheritors and descendants. As inheritors we act similar to feudal aristocrats who became dependent upon a form of energy capture (traditional feudal society), without questioning the rationality or vulnerability of a system for which they did not create. As descendants we are caretakers of a techno-ontological system whose added-value takes a specific form. As Marx said, we create history in conditions not of our choosing.

This system opened recently because of changes in industry restructuring. The self-enclosed aspects of a government-sponsored structured risk environment has given way to a competitive risk environment. These changes have overturned the hierarchy of social relations in the industry. What were once considered primary players (pipeline and energy companies) have become an older segment of industry. This older segment can no longer compete effectively alongside a newer segment of industry (marketing), without identifying new forms for understanding how the industry now operates. What has taken place then, is a need for what I call social technologies (scenario planning, workshops) that can provide information on navigating these new uncertainties.

Dan Kammen’s description — Legible Idea of Natural Gas:

Dan Kammen points out that natural gas in recent years has become visible — actually visible to a variety of energy users and politicians. This has taken place primarily through the shale gas hydrofracturing technique which is increasing supply outside of traditional supply areas. The effect has also contributed to a delinking of gas from oil in energy markets. The visible result can be seen in upstate New York, where seismic trucks now travel the same roads as school buses, creating potential dangers of traffic accidents that were unheard a few years ago. Politicians spanning from the ultra right to ultra left are coming to view natural gas as a future fuel, similar to the way nuclear power in the 1950s was thought of as too cheap to meter. That is, natural gas is creating an imagined community of energy users, creating alliances based on projections of unlimited fossil fuel use. In this way, natural gas can be understood as a legible idea that serves as an applied force that centralizes ideas, activities and authorities around some specially focused visible entity (e.g., natural gas).

Michael Watts’ description — Efficiency Idea of Natural Gas:

Michael Watts suggests that natural gas is a particular type of Gordian knot that entangles together all matters of intellectual ideas, practical activities, ontologies, fabulous geographies and social authorities. Through natural gas, the mind wanders across new frontiers, quantitative numbering schemes, relations of supply and demand, hop, stitches and jumps from Norway to Ghana and then disappears altogether. Darkly matters become revealed through whispering secrets while fantastic conflicts become mere suspicions. In this latter sense then, natural gas serves as an efficiency idea that accomplishes the task of coordination through the diffusion of certain intellectual ideas, practical activities and social authorities across society. As an applied force and diffusive force both ideas (Legibility and Efficiency) are distinct types of social power whose aim is to generate and intensify power (both social and natural) through coordination (e.g., of humans, of ideas, of power, of things).

Energy Czar

The Exchange

Social Entrepreneur — Jeff Hamaoui

The Academics

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