Business Conference

The Business Conference Sessions invite leading executives, experts and speakers to examine E&P trends, legislative and regulatory challenges, technical advances and other topics of interest. 


Tight Oil 2020: Analyzing Impacts of the Price Crash

Tight Oil 2020: Analyzing Impacts of the Price Crash

Robert Clarke | Vice President – Upstream Research, Wood Mackenzie




  • Which companies, plays, and assets have changed the most?
  • Where are the bright spots and do they include M&A?
  • What could markets respond to and how might 2021 unfold?


Robert Clarke has been with Wood Mackenzie since 2005 as an original member of the Houston-based Lower 48 Upstream Research group. He led Woodmac’s modeling of the Barnett, Eagle Ford and Haynesville plays, specifically covering XTO, EOG, CHK, ECA, & DVN.

From 2009 to 2014 he managed non-U.S. shale, CBM and tight gas research, spending much time benchmarking and valuing exploratory shale basins. In this role, Robert worked extensively with NOCs and governments. He relocated to Dallas in 2015 and now works closely with domestic E&Ps, service companies, and private investors in North Texas.

Clarke specializes in geologic play description, portfolio valuation, operator benchmarking and sector trend analysis. He has worked on upstream consulting projects that range from tight oil asset opportunity screenings for the majors to due diligence shale gas work for private equity-led M&A.  He regularly contributes his research conclusions to written media and is a frequent speaker and panel moderator at industry conferences.

Prior to joining Wood Mackenzie, he worked as a geologist at a private engineering firm in Houston. He graduated cum laude from Texas A&M University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in geology and received a MBA in 2005 from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. He is also an adjunct professor in the Energy MBA program at the Neeley School of Business at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Future of Oil and Gas Capital Markets – Where’s the Money Going to Come From?

Future of Oil and Gas Capital Markets – Where’s the Money Going to Come From?

Industry Panel

James "Jim" Wicklund (moderator) | Managing Director, Stephens Inc.



Dan Pickering | Chief Investment Officer, Pickering Energy Partners



Mari Salazar | SVP - Manager, BOK Financial



Steven Cobb | Vice President, Pearl Energy Investments




With the challenging market conditions of 2020, and with the backdrop of generally poor asset class returns for a number of years, who are the investors interested in the energy space? How do public and private investors think about current opportunities? Are there newer investors in the space? Have incumbent investors modified the way they think about the space and have particular investors or classes of investors departed the space? Does the volatility and low valuations create room for optimism or just ongoing pessimism? How have ESG considerations changed the way in which investors think about energy investing? Finally, are there signposts out there that signal an opportune time for investors in any particular areas in energy?


James Wicklund is a Managing Director and Senior Banker in the Energy Group at Stephens Inc. This follows a career in geophysics, engineering and operations in the global oil and gas industry, four years managing a broad energy investment portfolio and decades of following the industry as a senior research analyst.

He spent 15 years in the oil and gas industry, working in geophysics and engineering, living in Australia, Singapore, Milan, London several times as well as the US, with Western Geophysical, Sun Oil, and ECL before joining the financial services industry as a research analyst covering the Oilfield Services sector.

He has been head of the energy research group at Rauscher Pierce, now Royal Bank of Canada, managing director and head of energy research at Banc of America Securities Inc., a portfolio manager at Carlson Capital, an $8 billion hedge fund responsible for all of energy investments, and the senior Oilfield Services analyst at Credit Suisse and now a Senior Banker and Managing Director in Energy Investment Banking for Stephens Inc. He has been recognized by various awards and recognitions including #1 rankings in Institutional Investor, Greenwich Surveys and the Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” and was a frequent contributor to CNBC, CNN and other media outlets.

He is a member and past symposium chair of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), on the boards of the National Offshore Industry Association (NOIA), the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (PESA), and the Maguire Institute Advisory Board, at SMU his alma mater.


Dan Pickering is the Chief Investment Officer of Pickering Energy Partners (PEP). PEP manages client assets via energy strategies focused primarily on public markets and private equity.

Prior to PEP, Mr. Pickering served as the President of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. and Chief Investment Officer of TPH Investment Management. TPH Asset Management managed both public and private equity strategies for institutional and individual clients.

Dan has spent 24 years as an energy portfolio manager, researcher and analyst, first at Fidelity Investments (where he managed ~$1 billion of energy sector funds), then as Head of Research at Simmons & Company and as the founding partner of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. He currently serves as the portfolio manager of the PEP Energy Equity Opportunities Fund and on the Investment Committee of PEP’s Energy Co-Investment and research-based strategies.

Dan grew up in Missouri, has a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the Missouri School of Science and Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Mari Salazar has worked for BOK Financial’s Energy Lending team for 17 years. She is currently a Senior Vice President and Manager of the Houston Energy Financial Services Group. Prior to BOK Financial, Mari served as a Senior Credit Analyst at Comerica Bank in Houston, Texas in the Energy, Real Estate, and Loan Workout Groups.

Mari has a Bachelor of Business Administration and Economics (Class of ’95) and a Masters in Business and Finance (Class of ’99) from the University of St. Thomas, in Houston Texas.

In 2013, Mari was selected by the Houston Business Journal as one the top 100 most influential Houston business leaders in the energy industry. She& was also recognized as a 2017 “Outstanding Women in Banking & Finance” recipient by the Women’s Resource of Greater Houston.

Mari is an active member of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, serving as a Captain on the Go Tejano Committee. She serves as a committee advisor for the Small Steps Nurturing Center Clay Shoot, an organization focused on early childhood education. She previously served as a member of the Executive Board Member and Treasurer for Small Steps. Mari also serves as a board member on Texan’s Linebacker Whitney Mercilus’ WithMerci Foundation, the University of St. Thomas Alumni Board and the Society for Performing Arts.

Mari lives in Houston, Texas. When not working, Mari enjoys traveling, playing tennis, running (marathons & ultramarathons), and spending time with her family.


Steven Cobb joined Pearl Energy Investments in August of 2015, prior to the closing of the firm’s inaugural fund in September of 2015. As a member of Pearl’s investment team, Steven is involved in day-to-day portfolio management and strategy as well as business development and LP interaction.

Prior to Pearl, Steven worked for Pioneer Natural Resources in various engineering and financial capacities, including roles in Operations, Budget & Planning and Investor Relations.

Steven holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and an M.B.A. in Energy Finance from Southern Methodist University.

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