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Hear from Locus Bio-Energy’s VP of Technology and one of Hart Energy’s most influential women in energy about advancing the oil & gas industry

In just a year with Locus Bio-Energy, Dr. Megan Pearl, our Vice President of Technology, has played a critical role in expanding our biosurfactant portfolio to help the oil and gas industry reach new performance levels—at lower costs and minimal environmental impact.


But growing up in rural Illinois, Megan’s relationship with oil and gas began and ended with the gasoline she put in her car. Megan originally set her sights on a career as a forensic scientist, which fueled her PhD studies in analytical chemistry at the University of South Carolina. But when funding from the Department of Justice dried up halfway through her PhD work, Megan shifted focus to developing new optical filters.

This shift paved the way for an accomplished oil and gas technology career. Megan has lead technology teams and developed innovative surfactant-based additives for a major oilfield services provider in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Houston. And in early 2022, she brought this leadership and project management experience to Locus Bio-Energy Solutions.

While Megan was busy advancing her career, she and her husband William (also a PhD-level chemist) built a family that includes children Liam, Miya, and Maverick; dogs Max, Norman, and Wilbur, and a cat named Harvey.

Despite a busy home life and full work schedule, Megan maintains her passion for developing new technologies that propel the oil and gas industry to new levels of safe, sustainable performance—and the industry is taking notice. Hart Energy recognized Megan as one of its 25 Influential Women in Energy for 2023. Read on to hear what Megan thinks of this honor and how she plans to help Locus Bio-Energy keep influencing the oil and gas industry for the better.

What is your area of specialization in oil & gas technology?

Megan-Pearl-Award-2023In my current role as Locus Bio-Energy’s VP of Technology, I’m leading a technology team to develop new biosurfactant products that deliver major performance gains in the upstream, midstream, and downstream—without harming the environment or expanding an operation’s carbon footprint. I am also responsible for overseeing technical service requests for our customers.

I tend to think of what we’re doing at Locus Bio-Energy like building a house. You start by figuring out the floor plan and laying the foundation. That’s essentially what the first four years at Locus were like, with a group of talented technicians and business development people laying the foundation that the rest of us could build on.

Now, I’m part of the construction team that develops the right building materials—our portfolio of biosurfactants—that our sales team takes to “build” a sale, which includes developing relationships with customers, securing an order, and getting field results that we use to customize and expand our products.

What made you decide to join Locus Bio-Energy?

After ten years with my previous company, I was starting to feel a bit sidelined and passed over for new growth opportunities that I had worked hard to achieve.

That’s when my husband saw Locus Bio-Energy’s job posting for a Technology Director on LinkedIn. I was familiar with Locus—they had come in to meet with my old company about a year earlier—and I liked what they had to say about their innovations in high-performing, environmentally sustainable biosurfactants.

But perhaps like many young women in technology, I had to overcome some self-doubt. Did I have enough experience and the right skill set? Had I accomplished enough in my career to make me ready for this executive role? But with my husband’s continued encouragement (which I jokingly say bordered on nagging), and some soul searching of my own, I decided to apply for the job.

In my first interview with Locus’ leadership team, it was clear that they were incredibly enthusiastic about the state of the company today, and how it could grow in the future. I immediately got the sense that they believed in me and that I had what it took to do the job. And once I started here, any lingering self-doubt disappeared.

Where do you see Locus making the biggest industry impact in the coming years?

locus-hart-women-in-energy-awardOur company motto is ‘Biosurfactants: Produced by Nature, Perfected by Locus.” That perfectly encapsulates what we’re doing—taking naturally sourced, non-toxic building blocks and perfecting them to develop high-performance biosurfactants at a competitive price. Our SUSTAIN® line of multifunctional biosurfactants, for example, is proven to boost production rates and extend a well’s productive lifespan—and at a fraction of the dosage rate and cost of conventional, hydrocarbon-based surfactants.

Soon after joining Locus, I saw a major opportunity to bring greater depth to our product line. That’s why we’re working hard to develop customizable, fit-for-purpose products that meet specific customer challenges—without exceeding their operating budgets.

We also set ourselves apart from other surfactant treatments today through our “greenness.” Yes, our products are high-performing and cost-effective; but they also naturally degrade over time without any harmful impacts to people or the environment. This feature might not be the top priority to some customers today. But as they move along their own path to the energy transition, we’ll be ready to help—with proven chemistries that give them the performance they need while ensuring they meet their ESG goals. We can help them achieve this today, while our competitors will still be trying to catch up.

What excites you most about being a leader at Locus?

I love having the opportunity to make a lasting impact—both within Locus Bio-Energy and within the industry at large. Such opportunities weren’t readily available to me before, and I’m grateful to have this chance while working side-by-side with such a bright, innovative team.

Megan Pearl. Hart Most Influential Women in Energy, standing in Locus lab

I’m also excited at how dynamic our work is at Locus Bio-Energy. I never know exactly what we’re going to face each day. Will we be asked to quickly solve a customer challenge in the field? Will we be developing a new product to fit a new application? Most days we’re doing a little bit of everything, and I’m honored to be a decision maker who guides the end result.

Where is the industry going?

There’s a lot of talk about oil and gas companies becoming net-zero carbon emitters in the next couple of decades. But they still need technology solutions that deliver on performance and value.

There is also a major need to increase domestic oil production in the coming years. Operators are opting to achieve this through production improvements in their existing wells, rather than take on the risk and expense of drilling new wells.

We’re uniquely positioned to help our customers on all these fronts. We’ve already proven that our AVERT line of biosurfactant-based dispersants and solvents can effectively extend production life and rejuvenate declining wells by dispersing asphaltenes, paraffins, and other organic deposits. And we’re doing this at smaller dosages and with far greater efficiency than BTEX chemicals and mechanical methods.

Now, we’re working to expand the AVERT line to treat other kinds of downhole deposits and boost performance in midstream and downstream applications. But this is just one example. We’ve learned a lot already, and keep learning by listening to our customers. Who’s to say where we’ll be in just another few years?

How does it feel to be one of Hart’s top women in energy?

hart-women-in-energy-2023I think it’s fantastic that Hart Energy’s “25 Influential Women in Energy” award exists, because there still aren’t many industry accolades like this for women. And to be recognized among such a stellar group of oil & gas industry women—including CEOs, CFOs, VPs, and other management-level professionals—is a significant personal milestone and a huge honor.

Our industry has made progress in promoting women for management roles, but we have a way to go. We’re still pretty male-dominated, particularly in tech development, and it’s taking women longer to reach senior-level positions.

But this is changing for the better, and Locus Bio-Energy is helping to lead the charge. Roughly half of our technology team is currently made up of women, and we will keep adding women to our roster. I’m certain that my decision to join Locus was a major driver for my receiving this honor from Hart Energy.