Bangkok Conference Challenges YPs

Riverside in Bangkok became the backdrop for 112 young professionals meeting at the end of March. They came from 16 different countries and 24 different companies to discuss the “The New Era of Opportunity—Your Role in Shaping the Industry of Tomorrow.”

The workshop began with a keynote address by Bill Cobb, 2008 SPE President, who spoke about the importance of the oil and gas industry in the global economy. That was followed by a second keynote address by Khun Luechai Wongsirasawad, Vice President of PTT Exploration and Production, who emphasized the need for applying technology to maintain production. The workshop’s final keynote address was by Wayne Warwick, Subsurface Technical Manager, ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Malaysia, who spoke of the importance of our industry, its impact on the environment, and current social pressures on the petroleum industry.

An ice-breaker activity engaged all participants to design, construct, and run a marble on roller coaster made of nothing more than a ream of standard A4 paper and tape. A leadership discussion was conducted that discussed the importance of soft skills and the challenges a young professionals face in leading within their organizations. A technology discussion followed in which the attendees learned how to differentiate themselves with technology through understanding it, applying it, and writing papers about it. YPs who are challenged with international assignments were addressed in the discussion on the international life as a YP.

A highlight of the workshop was the “microdebates.” Each participant was given the opportunity to discuss the issues related to a variety of topics, which ranged from “being a specialist or generalist” to “climate change” to “loyalty vs. switching companies.” Within minutes the head count in the room was noted to increase and the moderator had a hard time closing the session due to the intense discussions.

Other topics touched upon during the workshop included bridging the gap between the newer generation and more experienced professionals, survey results from The Way Ahead magazine readership survey, the absence of “I” in team, and how integrated teams work to solve problems.

During the wrap-up session, workshop co-chairs highlighted the expectations of the event and attendees agreed that more value was delivered than expected. YPs made new friends from all over the world and many of the attendees volunteered to serve on the 2009 workshop committee. As the participants said farewell after the river cruise dinner along the banks of the Chao Praya, most, if not all, the YPs left beautiful Bangkok with a renewed sense of purpose and belonging—a new era of opportunity is theirs for the taking.

For more details about the event contact Syed Helmi Syed Mohsin, ExxonMobil E&P Malaysia,; Zoe Scott, SPE,; or Todd Gilmore, Chevron Corporation,