DAVID SLATER, CEO OF DT MIDSTREAM - INTERVIEW WITH WBM TOP 100 INNOVATION CEO
DAVID SLATER, CEO OF DT MIDSTREAM HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.
David Slater is president and CEO of DT Midstream. He has served in this role since 2021. Slater has more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry, where he has worked both in commercial business development and operational roles.
Previously, Slater was president and chief operating officer at DTE Midstream, which transitioned from DTE Energy into a fully independent company July 1, 2021. He joined DTE Energy in 2011 as senior vice president, DTE Gas Storage & Pipelines, and was subsequently promoted to executive vice president in 2014. Beginning in 2015, Slater became president and chief operating officer of DTE Gas Storage & Pipelines and was named a member of the DTE executive leadership team. Before DTE, Slater held various senior leadership positions at Goldman Sachs and Nexen, a top-10 North America energy merchant.
Slater earned a master’s degree in business administration and an honors degree in business commerce from the University of Windsor. Slater is on the board of directors for Millennium Pipeline, Vector Pipeline and Nexus Gas Transmission; he also serves as chairman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA). He is director of a charitable faith-based foundation.
"The energy industry is entering a defining period, and DT Midstream is taking an active leadership role as we transition to a future of providing cleaner ,reliable and affordable energy to customers. We’ve assumed a leadership role in advocating for cleaner energy within our industry not only because a growing number of customers have sustainability goals, but also because it’s the right thing to do."
How is DT Midstream elevating the energy industry?
The energy industry is entering a defining period, and DT Midstream is taking an active leadership role as we transition to a future of providing cleaner ,reliable and affordable energy to customers. We’ve assumed a leadership role in advocating for cleaner energy within our industry not only because a growing number of customers have sustainability goals, but also because it’s the right thing to do. Our industry has a responsibility to help combat climate change and advance the U.S economy.
DT Midstream was among the first of its peers that made a commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and we’re reinforcing this ambitious goal by collaborating actively with industry partners and peers. As this year’s chairman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), my goal was to work with 25 other member companies representing the interstate natural gas transmission industry in the U.S. and Canada to address greenhouse gas emissions. I’m proud that we developed INGAA’s inaugural climate change statement, which outlines our members’ commitments to address climate change while also ensuring a safe, reliable and resilient energy transmission system that provides clean, affordable fuel to consumers. Our goal is to achieve collective net zero carbon emissions from gas transmission and storage assets by 2050.
Also, as a member of the ONE Future Coalition, we’re collaborating with 49 other energy companies to achieve science-based lower rates of methane emissions. DTM’s participation will help drive us to our net zero target and support the coalition’s goal of collectively reducing methane emissions across the industry.
And, we just concluded a joint development agreement with Mitsubishi Power Americas on hydrogen energy solutions.
"The gas industry is where the electric sector was about 10 years ago, and our challenge is to find creative ways to use existing delivery systems to lower carbon intensity."
Share with us some insight into DT Midstream's sustainability strategy.
The focus in today’s natural gas industry is carbon neutrality, and I believe passionately that DTM’s intense concentration on environmental sustainability is the right direction. Reduced greenhouse gas initiatives fit into our growth objectives and also benefit the energy industry and the U.S. economy.
The gas industry is where the electric sector was about 10 years ago, and our challenge is to find creative ways to use existing delivery systems to lower carbon intensity. We can use DTM’s versatile assets to meet growing demand for greener energy through multiple solutions that include renewable natural gas, carbon capture and sequestration, bio sequestration and hydrogen. We believe these solutions will reduce our carbon footprint and drive growth.
What technologies do you expect will transform your industry in the coming years?
The world is embarking on a multi-decade energy transformation to a lower carbon energy system that uses existing and emerging technologies and solutions. Carbon capture and sequestration technologies can be developed economically right now for certain applications such as natural gas processing plants, which DTM owns and operates as part of our Haynesville system.
I recently announced a first-of-its-kind, carbon-neutral expansion of the company’s Haynesville gathering system to serve the growing Gulf Coast LNG market. This expansion project would add up to 1.0 bcf/d of capacity and would utilize carbon reducing technologies with emissions measurement and certification. It also includes carbon capture and sequestration at our natural gas processing plants and electric compression powered by renewable energy. We’re also evaluating opportunities to create bio-sequestration offsets from our existing land holdings.
"Long term, hydrogen has the potential to significantly transform the industry. Our infrastructure expertise positions us as a major contributor to increased usage of hydrogen in the country’s existing pipeline system."
What areas of opportunity can we expect DT Midstream to explore next?
Long term, hydrogen has the potential to significantly transform the industry. Our infrastructure expertise positions us as a major contributor to increased usage of hydrogen in the country’s existing pipeline system.
We’ve concluded a strategic joint development agreement with Mitsubishi Power Americas to develop hydrogen energy supply, transport and storage solutions for utility, transportation and industrial customers. Opportunities include offering hydrogen in liquified or compressed form for multiple applications such as transportation and power generation as well as steel, refining and fertilizer manufacturing. We also formed a low carbon-solutions business development team to pursuing clean energy initiatives.
What drives you as a leader?
Companies that find creative solutions to business challenges will have wide impact beyond the day-to-day operations. As a leader, it’s important to recognize the company’s obligations to employees and to communities where our people live, and to our industry and country. The United States has benefited tremendously over the past century by having abundant, affordable and reliable energy. We have a responsibility to the country to continue that while also advocating for healthy and constructive solutions to achieve these goals.
My role is to serve, support, direct and encourage DTM’s people. It’s important to create an exciting, professional environment where everyone makes significant contributions to advance the company. I want employees to have a role in finding creative solutions that impact the success of our company and industry and be recognized for their contributions. When everyone is highly engaged and enjoys their work, the team performs at a high level.
What were the most significant business changes you led to position DT Midstream for success?
First, as part of a strategic plan, we concluded the $2.65 billion purchase of a gathering system and 150-mile gathering pipeline in Louisiana’s Haynesville shale formation. These assets connect with multiple major downstream pipelines, including those serving the Gulf Coast LNG export terminals. This acquisition of premium assets in strategic locations helped transform us into a major player, and we’re positioned to help build out the next generation energy infrastructure with emerging solutions that deliver reliable, clean energy solutions both domestically and internationally.
Second, beginning in October 2020 we transformed DTE Energy’s midstream business into an independent company. Our challenge was to position DT Midstream as a publicly traded, premier natural gas pipeline, storage and gathering provider with a strong balance sheet and a mature ESG commitment that would present significant value to investors. On July 1, we succeeded in setting up DT Midstream as an independent company, and trading began on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DTM.
"Good corporate citizenship extends well beyond day-to-day business activities, and our aggressive ESG strategy distinguishes the company as a leading corporate citizen."
How does DT Midstream’s commitment to corporate citizenship fit into your innovative way of doing business in an ESG focused world?
Good corporate citizenship extends well beyond day-to-day business activities, and our aggressive ESG strategy distinguishes the company as a leading corporate citizen.
Our competitive strengths and innovative approach to complex business issues are transferrable to executing top-tier ESG performance. These strengths include effective team organization, consistent project execution, environmental stewardship and leadership commitment to ESG values.
DTM’s first priority is the safety of our employees, customers and communities where we operate, and we have achieved top-decile performance in the National Safety Council Safety Barometer Survey since 2015.
In addition to establishing our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target, we were also among the first U.S. companies to report methane intensity data as part of the Natural Gas Sustainability Initiative. And with hydrogen energy on the horizon, we anticipate our assets will be used to transport this cleaner source of fuel in the future.
We’re steeped in the importance of our responsibility to serve our communities through volunteerism and monetary contributions. Between 2019 and 2021, DTM completed over $1.5 million in charitable giving, and this year we established a $2 million charitable fund as part of a wider effort to expand corporate giving and further encourage employee volunteerism. Our grassroots employee volunteer program empowers employees to drive company-sponsored volunteer activities based on their knowledge of needs in their local communities. To further support our employee’s community engagement, we match personal contributions by employees to qualified nonprofit organizations dollar for dollar.
About DT MIdstream
DT Midstream is an owner, operator and developer of natural gas midstream interstate and intrastate pipelines; storage and gathering systems; and compression, treatment and surface facilities. DT Midstream provides clean, natural gas to gas and electric utilities, power plants, marketers, large industrial customers and energy producers across the Southern, Northeastern and Midwestern United States and into Canada.