Francisco Leon grew up living in Tijuana and going to school in San Diego. The experience of crossing the border every day and seeing the contrast between the cities made him realize how vital oil and gas is to our everyday lives. Today, as the president and CEO of California Resources Corporation (CRC), an energy company dedicated to helping California achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, Leon talks about CRC’s priorities, solutions and community engagement to make that happen in the latest episode of Fwd Thinkers.
“It’s through that journey, that discovery that I really connected with the energy industry, oil and gas in particular as this incredible resource and incredible product that the earth was providing,” recalled Leon.
He discussed with CA FWD the top priorities of CRC, which include delivering energy to Californians while also investing in technology to transition to alternative energy resources and keeping the climate, affordability and reliability top of mind. With the climate and the future in mind, CRC is exploring carbon sequestration and direct air capture, as well as investing in renewable technology. To be successful, CRC is reaching out and working with Kern County and the Kern County Community College District to ensure that the community is involved in the process.
Leon realizes that changes in the energy industry will affect the current energy workforce. He envisions a pathway that will transition workers to the new technologies. “We want to drive that leadership and we’re investing to create the right education path and the right community support to be able to deliver on that vision.”
Cognizant of the challenges CRC and the industry are facing, Leon said he’s ready to move forward. “We need new ways of thinking. We need to bring capital forward to the state and I think we all need to be on the same page as to what the direction is.” Leon added, “That’s going to take some time and it’s going to be hard. And again, we need to make sure that by 2045, we’re much better that we are today.”