Workshop Features Variety of Technical, Soft Skills Presentations

The second SPE International Young Exploration and Production Professionals’ Workshop took place in February in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, and was a runaway success, with 62 young professionals attending from 17 different countries. That compared with 47 attendees who attended the last workshop, in Stresa, Italy, in 2003.

2005 SPE President Giovanni Paccaloni opened the workshop and stressed the important role young professionals will play in the future of the E&P industry. This was followed by a summary of activities that have taken place since the 2003 workshop in Stresa. Together with Leo Roodhart, Shell, SPE North Sea Regional Director, he officially launched The Way Ahead magazine. Thomas Bruni, Editor of the magazine, thanked Paccaloni for his continuous support for young professionals in SPE.

The workshop sessions combined technical presentations with soft-skill sessions. One session featured four young professionals who spoke of the challenges of working in four very different regions: the North Sea, Latin America, Caspian Sea, and north Africa. The objective of this session was to show the diversity in the E&P industry with respect to daily operations and field development strategy.

Bill Robb, Managing Director of Profit Improvers Ltd., once again attended the workshop, following on his presentation in Stresa, with “Listen and Succeed.” Attendees learned how important listening is to ensure success and were given various clues to keep paying attention to the speaker. Another session featured a communication skills game facilitated by Eoin McPherson and Mo Mansoori, both of Helix-RDS, before leading into a presentation on the future of the oil and gas industry. Following presentations from Ivo Bozon of McKinsey, Ioana Andrea Ene of Epsis, and Paccaloni of Eni, attendees broke into groups to discuss how they thought the industry would evolve. On Tuesday evening, The Netherlands Section hosted the first European Petrobowl. Facilitated by Léon Beugelsdijk and Kees van Hussen, the quiz featured seven teams.

Wednesday started with a Production Distribution exercise facilitated by Alex Rozenfeld and Mary White Kennedy of Shell. The teams had to produce, supply, and order barrels of oil without building up too much inventory. This proved to be a rather difficult task, with some teams at the end of the course having severe backlogs and debts. The session showed that severe oscillations in the supply market could be triggered by only a minor change in a consumer’s request.

The afternoon sessions featured a presentation on “How To Present a Technical Paper” and was followed by one of the most popular sessions at the workshop: “Game-Changing Technology.” Leo Roodhart of Shell, Daan d’Hoore of Gaz de France, Aaron Deste of Schlumberger, and David Lysne of SINTEF all gave insight into game-changing technologies from their companies’ perspectives.

The last morning of the workshop was used to return to the icebreaker question “What Keeps You Awake at Night?” The morning began with a brief summary by the workshop cochairpersons, Eric Kreft, TNO, and Andrew Lambert, Statoil, on the results of a survey taken by attendees on Monday evening. The theme was continued in a panel discussion featuring three industry experts: Terje Nikolaysen (Vice President Industry Affairs, Schlumberger), Richard Lanaud (Chairman, Total Ethics Committee), and Frederik Rengers (General Manager and Vice President of Business Development, Worldwideworker). After the presentations, the discussion was opened to the floor, with the attendees having the chance to question the speakers on ethics in the oil and gas industry. The areas of greatest concern appeared to be an employee’s loyalty to the company and the external image of the industry.

A wrap-up session by Kreft followed. Attendees were asked to brainstorm on what worked well and what could be improved for the next workshop. Among the positive feedback was the networking opportunity provided by the workshop, the balance between the content and format, and the diversity of people attending. Aspects that could be improved were organizing of outdoor events/field trips, having more in-depth sessions of best practices/emerging regions, and extending the duration of the workshop from 21/2 days to at least 4 days.