CCM (#635), Chief Meteorologist, Royal Dutch Shell
After graduating in 1994 I worked at 2 local weather companies in the Houston area before moving to California to work at WNI/Oceanroutes. At Oceanroutes the learning curve went vertical while working in the Marine aspects of Meteorology. My mentors (Tom Deemer, Jack Katona, Frank Bowman and Kurt Malone) tossed me into Tropical Meteorology and Ocean Wave Dynamics while I routed ships across the Globe. The experience at WNI/Oceanroutes has helped tremendously at Shell in dealing with Atlantic Hurricanes and their destructive potential both onshore and offshore.
I was hired by Coral Energy (which became Shell Trading Gas and Power) in the summer of 1999 and quickly learned the value of the weather. I was forecasting highs in Chicago in the mid and upper 90’s (96-98) and when the mid 90’s verified (94-96) we dropped a quick $800,000. OUCH! That was a real eye-opener and helped realize hype drives the market and a realistic, no-hype forecast is key as it can offer many opportunities to take a position counter to the market consensus and score some large points for being an outlier if you just think about the forecast instead of getting drawn into what everyone else is saying.
My roll at Shell is in their North American Gas and Power Trading Division even though I support European and Asian trading operations as well. My main duties revolve around forecasting temperature trends across North America, Europe and Asia thru the next 2 weeks and also seasonal outlooks for North American and Europe to 5 months. I also monitor model updates with “squawk box” updates and severe weather for Shell and Motiva refineries and ports across North America. During the Atlantic Hurricane Season I am responsible for forecasting activity and am involved in the Emergency Management processes for our facilities in North America.
When Shell is developing a new facility (LNG Terminal, Refinery etc) I am tasked with historical studies for return periods of Hurricanes, Wind and Wave Maxima for offshore facilities and extreme conditions for the locations. I also influence our long range strategy (6 months to 20 years) with seasonal forecasts and general trend based forecasts for local and national demand estimates. I have also structured Weather Derivatives for Natural Gas and Refined Products in order to hedge our or client exposure to weather volatility.
I was the first (and only) meteorologist Shell hired so there was no official job to fill and it was a home grown, trial and error start to my career. It took a few years but as the amount of weather forecasting data increased the job became easier. Combine that with research we’ve conducted to aid in my daily and seasonal forecasting it’s a fairly routine process now and much easier and more accurate than in 1999. One of the newer perks is a research budget that allows me to go off and research anything I desire; to date we have looked at the SOI, Teleconnections, Analogues and Hurricane Development. At the AMS conference in San Antonio I completed the Certified Consulting Meteorology process and just received my Certificate #635.