On October 13, 2021, Ryan M. Lance, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production company, received the 2021 McLane Leadership in Business Award from the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Bestowed annually, the award recognizes a prominent individual for outstanding contributions in the area of business and public service.
The McLane program began with a welcome by Mark Welsh, Dean of the Bush School, followed by a video about the McLane Award’s purpose and history. Max Angerholzer, CEO of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, then introduced Ryan Lance and Raymond Robertson, the Director of the Mosbacher Institute and moderator for the program.
Robertson engaged Lance in an on-stage conversation on topics ranging from changes in the oil industry to Lance’s leadership philosophy. When asked about an energy transition to lower-carbon sources, Lance stated that he believes in solar and wind energy and that nuclear energy should not be shut down. He also expressed that oil and gas should definitely be a part of the equation since solar and wind cannot be relied upon exclusively, especially in colder regions. He indicated that the goal is to transition responsibly so that everyone has access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy. When Robertson asked about the company’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lance stated that the company is committed to getting to net-zero by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Climate Accords, emphasizing the importance of improving carbon offsets to achieve this.
When asked about the current political conditions, Lance expressed his concern about polarization and, specifically, how new policies juxtapose energy with climate. He stated that this will lead to spending more money as a country and hurting the economy, without making any climate improvements. He encouraged policymakers to work with the industry instead of treating them like the “bad guys.” He also advised that solutions should target not only the supply side but also the demand side.
In response to Robertson’s request for advice for Bush School students, Lance encouraged them to find their passion, maintain a work/life balance, embrace change, and surround themselves with smarter and better people since collaborative brains are more powerful. The evening concluded with Drayton McLane Jr., Chairman of the McLane Group and founder of the award, presenting Lance with the 2021 McLane Award.