By coming together to train for and run the TCS New York City Marathon in November, 50 energy leaders are sending a crucial message -- not just to the energy sector, but to the entire world, says Marjorie Nogueira. With the motto “Women & Allies in Energy: Running Toward Net Zero,” the team shows that alliances and mutual support are key to reaching the finish line in the biggest race the world faces - the energy transition.
“The solution is coming from so many different parts of the energy sector,” says Marjorie, who is currently overseeing a major project for Woodside Energy. “No single industry, company, or individual has the answer. It’s about working together to solve the challenge.”
And just as the marathon team includes people from different backgrounds and experiences, the energy transition needs leadership from across society to come together. “I really love the way ALLY Energy very much strives for the idea of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI),” Marjorie says. “It’s about bringing everybody to the table to work for solutions.”
There’s a long path ahead to get to net zero, which the United Nations defines as “cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance.”
Marjorie is particularly knowledgeable about the role oil plays not only in the United States but also where she comes from originally, Venezuela. Oil comprises the majority of the country’s exports and finances most of its budget. “Growing up, the whole economy in Venezuela revolved around oil and gas,” Marjorie says. “Most of the engineering jobs were built around energy.”
The world oil demand hit a historic high in June according to the IEA, and this is a powerful reminder of why the move away from fossil fuels requires such a colossal effort. This is also why Marjorie believes her current work will serve as a helpful step along the way.
Building a ‘bridge’
Trinidad and Tobago is the second largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the Western Hemisphere, just after the United States, the New York Times noted in May. Natural gas plays a major role in the island nation’s economy.
Marjorie is leading a technical team to advance efforts at Calypso, the largest deepwater gas discovery in the country. While natural gas is a fossil fuel, “We see it as a transitional fuel, satisfying the energy needs of consumers worldwide with cleaner emissions when compared with coal. It is a source of jobs and an engine for the Trinidad and Tobago economy.” While controversial, natural gas has often been referred to as a “bridge fuel” to help move the world into a new era.
Natural gas is especially important “for developing economies that are just trying to get out of coal as a source of energy,” Marjorie says. “It’s a bridge to help along the way in a race to net zero while advancing climate solutions.” She sees the New York City marathon as providing an especially apt metaphor since it includes five bridges, two of which are especially long.
Raising three triathletes
The race in New York City on November 5th won’t be Marjorie’s first marathon. Asthma prevented her from participating in endurance sports as a child due to environmental allergies. But when she moved to Texas to study at Texas A&M, she discovered that she rarely had symptoms. She took up running and worked her way up to racing. “I found out I was pregnant about two weeks before my first race, the Walt Disney World half marathon in 2011,” she remembers. “I almost walked the entire distance!”
Although she set aside “sports ambitions” for over a decade after having her first child, all three of her daughters -- now ages 12, 10, and six -- have shown their own athletic inclinations. “They’re all triathletes,” she says. “It’s incredible and super rewarding!”
Now, she says, “I’m very excited for them to see their mom running. I want to inspire and motivate them to stay healthy while also pursuing a career and having a family.”
In fact, a month before New York, she’ll be running the Chicago Marathon with her husband. Marjorie plans to push her way through each race by “dedicating each mile. The first few miles I want to dedicate to my youngest; the next to the middle, and then to my oldest. I’ve seen them thriving and struggling while doing their races, and I’ve been cheering out for them. I want to set an example.”