The Forum questions were answered by two selected young professionals of different nationality and primary work location, Miriam Andres and Dmitry Chernyshov.
San Ramon, California
What are the main competence areas that will make an impact in the oil and gas industry heading into the future?
MA: In short: technology and geopolitics. With respect to technology, I think the immediate impact will come from an improved and sincere transdisciplinary and collaborative effort of tackling outstanding challenges of the deepwater domain, biofuels, and/or CO2 sequestration. Yet in the larger picture, I think that societal demands, climate-change issues, and energy sustainability will challenge the industry more than we currently anticipate.
DC: Subsurface engineering. Since the high oil price is the main driver for bringing more and more complicated oil fields into development, in my opinion, the main competencies that will make impact in the oil and gas industry are subsurface disciplines—production engineering, reservoir engineering, geology, and petrophysics.
The resources and technologies in the energy industry may change significantly over the first half of this century. Do you feel that your current experience and/or career path will provide you with adequate competencies to adjust to this change?
MA: Yes, I trust that my prior engagement in paleoclimatology and geobiology, combined with a good understanding of the Earth-systems sciences, have prepared me on the technological side. I envision that my current job with Chevron will further and extend my understanding from an industry/ business perspective.
DC: Yes, I have personal plans in place to prepare me for this challenge.
Are there plans in place to ensure that you have the right competence to achieve your career growth within the organization?
MA: Yes, from a technical side. I am working toward a better understanding the business side. There are extensive programs offered by the company and structures in place to seek advice for career developments.
DC: My company provides a very good competency-based development program. This program is based on the list of competencies in each discipline, which should be achieved by engineers to get promotion to the next position. Competencies are achieved by attending courses, receiving coaching from experienced engineers, and getting working experience.
What additional areas do you suggest that might help fulfill the competence requirements for future careers in the energy industry?
MA: Interestingly, big outstanding questions in both academia and industry are characterized by their transdisciplinary nature. While a specialist in one field, I found that I furthered my research best by crossing traditional boundaries, geology in my case, and learning to speak the language of a microbiologist. This takes time and effort, but the rewards of such collaborations are tremendous; I believe the industry would benefit from a similar approach.
DC: In technical areas, requiring more cross-discipline training. For example, if you work as a production technologist on an offshore project, you should take into account many factors not related to the subsurface—analyze surface facilities, production chemistry, and logistics. At the same time, you should not forget about the “old friends” of production technology—reservoir geology and petrophysics.
Do you feel that your SPE young professionals (YP) group has contributed to building your competency for your future in the energy industry?
MA: These surveys, for instance, are a great way to capture and report out the thoughts and opinions of young professionals.
In which areas can your YP group improve?
MA: Be active and visible.
DC: Networking with other young professionals.