Jennifer Margulis interviews Rebecca Ponton

Portrait of Rebecca Ponton

Rebecca Ponton

A brief excerpt of the Jennifer Margulis interview appears below, read the full article here

Rebecca Ponton: So you’re probably wondering why I became a landman?

JM: I am!

RP: A friend of mine, who’s a landman, needed help on a project and thought my journalism background would be a good fit for the research that’s necessary for title work. And she was right—I love going to the various courthouses and digging through dusty old ledgers dating back to the 1800s and following the chain of title as it changes hands from one person to another. I joke that it’s part genealogy and part detective work!

In my experience in courthouses in central and south Texas, landmen were pretty evenly split between men and women. However, when I started attending oil and gas conferences, I noticed I was one of the only women in the room—and this was in 2011!  I knew there were women in the petroleum industry, but where were they?

As a journalist and avid reader, my first instinct is always to find a book about whatever topic interests me. In this case it was women in the petroleum industry.  I figured someone must have written about this but when I went looking for books—on-line, at the bookstore, at the library—I couldn’t find any!

Queen of the Oil Club is about women in the petroleum industry, I eventually stumbled upon Anna Rubino’s fantastic biography of Wanda Jablonski, Queen of the Oil Club, which I would recommend to any journalist whether they’re interested in writing about oil and gas or not.  Later, Joan Eischen’s book, Energy and the City, came out.

And now we have Anomalies, Robbie Gries’ book about female petroleum geologists, and Carla Williams’ book, Wildcat Women, about the women—including Carla—who worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s. Slowly but surely, we’re building a body of work about women in the oil and gas industry, which is exciting to see!

But I digress, as I’m known to do . . . to answer your question: just seeing the lack of information about women in the oil and gas industry is what promptly me to start researching and looking for those women and you know what happens when a journalist starts researching.

Down the rabbit hole we go . . . And a book about women in the petroleum industry was born.

Read Jennifer Margulis complete interview here

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