Inside Aera
Bakersfield Sep 19, 2018

Government affairs veteran Sara O’Neill Bouton joins Aera Energy as vice president

Aera Energy, one of California’s largest oil and gas producers, has hired Sara O’Neill Bouton as vice president of government affairs to be based in Sacramento. 

Bouton joined Aera on Sept. 10 after nearly 10 years as manager of Shell Oil Company’s government relations across the western states of California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada. 

“Aera represents an important element of California’s economy by ensuring millions of people get to work every day, allowing businesses to be successful and for the state’s agricultural industry to feed the world,” said Bouton. “The work that Aera does is important to all Californians, and I look forward to providing that connection to the state’s political leadership.”

Bouton’s appointment comes at a time when the oil and energy sector faces increasing legislative, regulatory and political challenges.

“Aera realizes our success depends on our ability to protect our business and license to operate from the challenges that come with operating in California,” said Lynne Carrithers, Aera’s senior vice president and general counsel. “To address these challenges and be ready for new ones as they arise, Aera opened an office in Sacramento and recruited a new vice president of government affairs, reporting to me.”

Prior to accepting the role, Bouton assisted Aera with government affairs in Sacramento on a part-time basis. She brings with her nearly 20 years of experience in government relations and regulatory affairs. 

During her career at Shell, Bouton worked with regional business teams to assist in permitting matters, stakeholder communications, non-technical risk, policy development and advocacy strategy.  

Bouton’s role will help Aera achieve strategic imperatives while working with the California Legislature, federal officials, key stakeholders, trade associations, member companies and community partners.  

The Sacramento office and the government affairs department are critically important to the work that we do every day to provide reliable energy and ensure prosperity for all Californians,” Carrithers said. “I look forward to the positive impact our work will have on Aera and the industry and am excited to have Sara joining our team.”

Bouton currently chairs the Board of Directors for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, and is a member and past chair of the Western States Petroleum Association Government Affairs Committee and a board member for the California Civil Justice Association. 


DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is a three-time recipient of the Forbes America’s Midsize Employer List, placing ninth in the 2022 ranking and securing its spot in the top ten midsize companies to work for in the United States.

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