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The 'capability crunch' in the oil & gas industry


Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Geological Society

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Many companies, and their CEOs, have been heard to declare that “people are our most valuable resource” and many an investor, especially in small-to-medium sized entities, has been heard to say “I put my money behind good management teams”.
With this in mind, what do we make of the following facts and anecdotes about people in the oil & gas industry:

1. The petrotechnical population in western Europe and North America is:

a. ageing and as a large number approach early retirement or even normal retirement, we are edging towards what some have referred to as “The Big Crew Change”, and

b. shrunken, as many folk permanently left the industry during the many lay-offs and mergers of the last 20 years, and

c. a diminishing number of good quality graduates are joining the industry.
2. Increasing numbers of high quality graduates are joining the industry from Russia, China, SE Asia etc.; ‘global’ companies, whether Majors or the bigger oil field service companies, are best positioned to access this new source of talent.

3. In the ‘global’ companies “attrition” rates are quite low, reward levels are high. Good petrotechs are in demand and feel more able to say “No thanks!” to postings to the back-of-beyond.

4. There is a lot of interesting work in the world – a lot of oil still to be found, a lot of reserves still to be converted to production, lots of exciting projects! Demand for staff is exceeding supply?

Andy Inglis, Upstream CEO of BP, has described what he refers to as the ‘capability challenge’, pointing to an interesting study by CERA that estimated the overall effect of the above pressures as a potential 10-15% “people deficit” by 2010, compared to the estimated number of staff need to deliver projects.

It seems as though the ‘global’s – the Majors, the bigger Independents, the bigger sevice contractors – have taken a number of steps to adjust to these realities and are not ‘feeling the crunch’…..but then who is? Which companies will find it difficult to attract and retain good people; and therefore be the ones whose projects suffer, who do not get developments completed on time, who drill dry holes through lack of “Know How”?

Investors have become pretty accomplished at figuring out where an ambitious company’s funds are going to come from; a pertinent question for this year might be “What is your capability strategy?”

For our November Forum, we have put together an agenda to help everybody ask the right questions and find the right solutions.


9:30 Welcome & Introduction
9:45 Oswald Clint - Senior Analyst
Bernstein Research

Picking Long-Term Exploration Stocks: The importance of people

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Dr Clint joined Sanford C. Bernstein in 2004 and was part of the Energy Team with Neil McMahon covering the Global Integrated Oil sector.

Currently he is the Senior Research Analyst covering the European E&P and Russian Oil & Gas sectors. The Bernstein Energy franchise has become well known due to both the provocative commentary on the commodities and oil stocks, as well as the innovative research that forms the core of their frequent publications. Previously, he worked as an accountant and consultant for KPMG covering energy, gas, and chemical sectors. Dr Clint received his PhD in Geophysics from University College London where he specialised in sub-surface rock physics and is also a Chartered Accountant.

Bernstein Research
Sanford C. Bernstein is widely recognized as Wall Street's premier sell-side research firm. Their re
10:20 Gordon Headley - Chief Human Resources Officer
Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil's approach to building its teams

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Tullow Oil plc is one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration companies in Europe. The Gr
10:55 Coffee & Tea
11:20 Andrew Lodge - Principal

How Premier Oil finds the right people

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Andrew is now a Principal at StrategicFit and a Non-Executive Director at Egdon Resources.

Previously, he joined Premier Oil plc’s Board as Exploration Director in April 2009 from Hess where he was Vice President, Exploration, responsible for Europe, North Africa, Asia and Australia for nine years. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Exploration, Asset Manager and Group Exploration Advisor for BHP Petroleum, based in London and Australia. Prior to joining BHP Petroleum, Andrew worked for BP as a geophysicist. He has an honours degree in Mining Geology from the University of Wales and a Masters in Applied Geophysics from the University of Leeds. He is a fellow of the Geological Society.

He retired from Premier Oil in June 2015.

StrategicFit is a strategy consulting firm specialising in the upstream oil and gas industry.
11:55 Rob Pinchbeck -

Petrofac - how the company works; what it offers

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Petrofac aims to generate sustainable growth in value for its shareholders by leveraging its core co
12:30 Roger Clark - Senior Lecturer
Earth Sciences, Leeds University

The flow of geoscience graduates from UK universities

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Took a Combined Honours BSc in Earth Sciences and Physics at Leeds, then did a seismology PhD on the upper mantle structure beneath the British Isles, at Leeds and MOD Blacknest. Following this he spent some years developing and applying, with Graham Stuart, new approaches in processing of land seismic data and operating a small consultancy/contracts group working on a large fraction of all UK land exploration. At the same time he has pursued global seismology interests, especially in the monitoring of underground nuclear explosions. In 1988 a UK University group, organised from Leeds, deployed the first modern seismic station in the former USSR allowed to record nuclear explosions at close (less than 1000-2000 km) range, facilitating a major new area of study which will be pivotal in verifying arms control treaties. Further interest (partly in collaboration with the Applied Mathematics Department), are: computation of synthetic seismograms which allow correct representation of small, complex structures which are important in hydrocarbon and coal exploration; and quantitative analyses of reflected wave amplitudes especially their use to determine attenuation, and their variation with angle of incidence.

Earth Sciences, Leeds University
Experts within the School study the Earth from its core to the atmosphere, with expertise ranging fr
13:05 Prize Raffle followed by Lunch, more Coffee & Tea

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