ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. President T.J. Wojnar told attendees of the spring PVF Roundtable in Houston to prepare for more positive momentum coming from the energy sector.

“We’re in a unique era in the energy industry,” Wojnar told the dinner audience at the Westin Galleria. “The rapid development of shale and other resources has opened up a wide range of opportunities.”

Wojnar cited a plethora of data from the company’s 2014 Energy Outlook report that gives an in-depth look into the future of energy demand around the country. Wojnar added that there will be two billion additional people living in the world by 2040 (1 in every 3 people will be living in either India or China by that time) with about a 35% greater demand for energy. About 60% of the energy demand by 2040, he added, will be supplied by oil and natural gas.

Wojnar, who was lauded by attendees for his easy-to-understand presentation, noted there is equal cause for optimism in the U.S., “In October of last year domestic oil production was greater than the sum of all oil imports,” he said. “The U.S. will be the world’s top oil producer next year. The United States has a unique opportunity and with cooperation and trust there will be an energy renaissance here with wide-ranging benefits. The energy we provide here will fuel an American comeback in a number of industries.”

During a question-and-answer session after his presentation, Wojnar was honest with his assessment of the likelihood the much-talked-about Keystone XL pipeline gets completed. “If you look at the economic fundamentals, they are so large and so compelling,” he said. “We believe it should be approved, but predicting a timeframe has proven to be a frustrating experience.”

Another attendee asked Wojnar if there were any speed bumps that could derail this energy optimism. “Probably the biggest threat here is not properly managing relationships with national governing organizations and regulators,” he said. “These opportunities have to be managed with safety, the environment and discussion with NGOs and regulators.”

Prior to Wojnar’s keynote address, Supply House Times PVF columnist and ASA Industry Analyst Morrie Beschloss delivered his quarterly industry update and took time to laud the contributions of the country’s independent businesspeople. “Hooray to the independent businesspeople of the U.S.,” he said. “They have done such a great job with so much against them. These people go out and take the risk of building their own businesses. They hire more people than any others in this country.”

A day earlier, the PVF Roundtable hosted its sixth annual Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournament at Sweetwater Country Club. PVF Roundtable board member Kelly Kelsheimer (TWC-Walworth) said the tournament was another major success and raised significant funds for the organization’s industrial distribution scholarship program. This year’s tournament attracted 276 players who played on 69 teams.

“We will probably raise between $35,000 and $40,000 (for the scholarship fund) this year,” Kelsheimer said to a room full of cheers.

Kelsheimer also lauded the many volunteers for helping put the golf event together, as well as Platinum sponsor City Pipe & Supply and Gold sponsors Welding Outlets, Bonney Forge, Victaulic, TWC-Walworth, Weldbend, Distribution NOW, Ta Chen and Westbrook Mfg.

The spring PVF Roundtable drew 500 registrants.

The organization’s Trout Blast event (which also benefits the PVF Roundtable scholarship fund) takes place Oct. 17 (visit www.PVF.org for more information). The Summer PVF Roundtable occurs Aug. 19 and will feature a four-person industry panel discussion as the keynote presentation.