Java Hosts Young Professionals Workshop

In April, the SPE Kuala Lumpur and SPE Java sections held an Asia Pacific Regional Young E&P Professionals (YEPPs) Workshop. The workshop was part of the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition. Participants included industry executives, young professionals, SPE officers, academics, and students. Speakers included 2005 SPE President Giovanni Paccaloni; Greg A. Lanham, President, Anadarko Indonesia; William Bullock, Vice President, ConocoPhillips Indonesia; and Romi Branajaya, workshop Chairperson.

The workshop began with a keynote address from Paccaloni. He highlighted the motivation behind the initiation of young professionals programs, many of which are designed to create attractive models for students and to bridge the gap between senior and young professionals.

Lanham described SPE young professional activities as an amazing tool kit of resources and technology know-how. Lanham’s advice for getting ahead in the oil and gas industry included patience, passion, and perseverance. Bullock spoke of the need to accelerate the skills of young professionals. He stated that the key to professional development is to share responsibility, seek challenging job experiences, and acquire new skills. Branajaya closed the presentations by speaking about his experiences as a young engineer.

Participants then broke into groups to discuss topics. Following are highlights from each topic discussion and recommendations from the participants.

Topic: Management support of SPE and young professionals.

  • Attendance of seminars (locally and internationally) improves perspective, visibility in the industry, and technical exposure.
  • Companies should give young professionals time during the work day to focus and work on SPE papers and activities.
  • SPE participation should be part of the training budget and not just when a paper is being presented. The participant should give back to the company and show what he has learned.
  • SPE and industry participation should be part of an employee’s yearly objectives and reward. It gives good exposure to both service and E&P companies in a professional environment.
  • What an employee learns from SPE makes him a more valuable employee through networking and continued learning.

Issues that arose from this discussion included:

  • Can SPE grant international certification/accreditation to petroleum professionals? What are the criteria?
  • Why don’t young engineers want to become petroleum professionals? What can SPE do to attract these young people at the university level and younger?
  • How can SPE gain better student recognition?


Topic: Demographics of the industry and young professionals.

  • The gap between retiring and younger professionals in the industry is here to stay. The more important issue is whether YEPPs will be ready when it happens.
  • Companies have their own systematic way to accelerate progression of new graduates and young professionals including encouragement to present their work, monthly technical luncheon talks, soft skills training, and other ways.


Topic: How will SPE engage young members to become tomorrow’s leaders?

  • Continue developing young professional activities.
  • SPE should talk with CEOs of E&P companies to persuade them of the importance of YEPP programs.
  • Promote the idea that everything starts with the YEPPs (they must take responsibility for their own futures).
  • Promote the idea that SPE membership is a good investment for young professionals.
  • Promote the idea that SPE is a multiplier of talents.


Topic: How can YEPPs help students make the transition to the industry?

What YEPPs can do for students:

  • Commit to visits to universities to share experiences in the industry, including guest lectures and field trips.
  • YEPPs will act as mediators between student and industry.

What the industry can do for students:

  • Sponsor field trips and laboratory visits.
  • Provide software to students.
  • Offer practical training for things such as thesis writing.

What SPE can do for students:

  • Organize e-mentoring, group mentoring, chat groups, student interest groups, and regional and global workshops.


Topic: What SPE efforts need to be strengthened to develop young professionals?

  • Encourage companies to underwrite membership.
  • Attract company support of students and young professional activities.
  • Establish student training programs.
  • Organize regional meetings for this group.


After the roundtable discussion, a question-and-answer session was held involving panelists Priyambodo Mulyosudirjo, Paccaloni, Bambang Istadi, Lanham, David McCullough, and Todd Gilmore. Participants then enjoyed lunch together, closing the workshop. All the discussion results were distributed as a document to participants in the hope that they could be used as guidelines for other sections wanting to establish young professional programs.


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