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White House Fellow

Christopher “Chris” Stolte was selected as a White House Fellow for 2017-2018 and was placed at the Department of the Interior. The White House Fellowship was created “to encourage active citizenship and service to the Nation.” White House fellows “actively participate in an education program that expands their knowledge of leadership, policy-making, and contemporary issues.”  

Originally from Aurora, Colorado, Stolte has a Bachelors of Science in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, an MBA from MIT and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School. He worked for multinational oil company Shell Oil, and was on the board of advisors for Sourcewater, an “online exchange for buying, selling, recycling and managing water and water services for oil and gas production.” He also appears to be on one of the working groups of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee, which advises Secretary Zinke “on policy and strategies to improve management of the multi-billion dollar, federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.”

Sources: [White House, Press Release, 09/20/17, White House Fellows Foundation and Association, accessed 07/18/18, Chris Stolte Profile page, accessed 7/20/18, Sourcewater, AngelList, accessed 07/20/18, Department of Interior, Press Release, 09/01/17]

Special Interests

Shell Oil Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Stolte previously worked at multinational oil corporation Shell.

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Chris Stolte agreed that the administration was “crushing it” regarding the low bids to lease land in the Natural Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. He also emphasized removing “unnecessary regulations” would be better for business.

In a December 2017 email to Vincent DeVito regarding the low and few bids to lease land in Alaska in the Natural Petroleum Reserve, Stolte wrote, “overall, would have certainly been nice to get more bids, however, that is somewhat secondary.” He continued, “amazing to see what happens when you signal to a market that you will ensure unnecessary regulations will be removed and that you will act as a better business partner going forward.”

Stolte wrote, “in short, I fully agreeing that the administration is crushing it, there’s been so much opportunity locked-up or restrained during the last administration, it seems like there’s a flood of people wanting to get their investment going.” He continues to state that this has been visible in projects with significant investment and thorough “environmental stewardship; yet had their permits and timelines pushed for years.” He concludes the email stating, “Imagine what will happen when we reduce the permitting times…” [17-00938cc, Page 9].

In August 2015, the Obama administration approved Shell Oil’s bid to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. Shell would abandon its Arctic search one month later. A source at Shell told Reuters, “the company had found U.S. regulation very prescriptive and in some cases contradictory, making it difficult to navigate the regulatory process.” Stolte was formerly employed by Shell. [Elana Schor, “Obama administration OKs Shell bid to drill for oil in Arctic,” POLITICO, (8/17/15), accessed 7/24/18, Karolin Schaps, “Royal Dutch Shell pulls plug on Arctic exploration,” Reuters, (9/28/15), accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte is listed in the calendars of James Cason and Vincent DeVito as an attendee of “AK Oil & Gas Meeting” calls and as an attendee of a discussion on the “Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.”

Stolte is listed on James Cason’s calendar on September 5th, 2017 as being scheduled to attend an “AK Oil & Gas Meeting” video call. He is also listed on Vincent DeVito’s calendar on September 28th, 2017 as being scheduled to attend an “AK Oil & Gas Meeting” conference call. [James Cason Calendar September 2017, Page 4, James Cason Calendar September 2017, Page 34]

On Vincent DeVito’s calendar for November 30, 2017 Stolte is listed as attending a discussion call on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). [Vincent DeVito Calendar December 2017, Page 1]

Stolte attended multiple meetings of the Royalty Policy Committee’s (RPC) Subcommittee on Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness. A representative of Shell Oil, Stolte’s former employer, also attends these meetings.

Kevin Simpson is the Offshore Lead, Regulatory Policy and Advocacy at Shell according to his Linkedin profile. [LinkedIn Profile for Kevin Simpson, accessed 07/10/17]

In the Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on December 1st, 2017, Stolte and Simpson were both present. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on December 1st, 2017, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on January 5th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on January 5th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the meeting on January 19th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on January 19th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the February 2nd, 2018 meeting. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 2nd, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 16th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 16th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the meeting on February 27th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on February 27th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte and Simpson both attended the meeting on March 16th, 2018. [Planning, Analysis, & Competitiveness Subcommittee meeting on March 16th, 2018, accessed 7/24/18]

Stolte was invited to meet with Independent Petroleum Association of America members.

According to an email received from the Interior Department, Stolte was been invited to meet with members of the Independent Petroleum Association of America on October 10th, 2017. [17-01063ca, Page 512]

Other Information

Stolte is listed as a member of the Tribal Energy Resource Agreements Work Group of Interior’s newly formed Royalty Policy Committee.

[Recommendation: TERA, accessed 7/23/18]

Stolte has extensive academic experience.

During his tenure with Shell, Stolte was listed as the author of two papers discussing the process of creating these wells, the impacts of their construction and what data was collected. [Christopher James Stolte, Chris S. Wu, Darryrl C. Carroll, Liang Jin, Shiqian Wang, “The Path from Vertical to Horizontal Shale Gas Wells,” accessed 7/19/18, Chris Stolte, Chris Wu, Darryrl Carroll, Wang Shiqian, “Coiled Tubing and Well Testing Experiences on Sichuan Horizontal Shale Gas Wells,” accessed 7/19/18]

Stolte served as an advisor on a thesis regarding hydraulic fracturing and its impact in the Appalachian basin. [Fredrick Woodward, “Recycling Produced Water in Hydraulic Fracturing: A Comprehensive Analysis of its Impact on the Formations of the Appalachian Basin,” accessed 7/19/18]

In 2014, while a student at MIT, Stolte gave a presentation regarding the technologies being used in the oil and gas industry, including its impacts, how to mitigate risk with these technologies and the role played by environmental and safety professionals. New Technologies Being Employed in the Oil & Gas Industry With a Focus on the Unconventional Gas and Ultra-Deepwater Sectors, Harvard-NIOSH Education and Research Center Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program, 12/1/14, accessed 7/19/18]

Stolte spoke about his MBA experience at MIT.

Stolte appeared in a YouTube video to talk about MIT’s MBA program.

[The MIT Executive MBA: Forging Global Connections, via MITSloan, 01/29/16, (0:00)]

Stolte’s acceptance as a White House Fellow was noted by his alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines.

Colorado School of Mines tweeted about Stolte becoming a WH Fellow.

[Tweet by Colorado School of Mines, 09/25/17, accessed 7/20/18]