Are We Doing Enough for Young Professionals in Oil & Gas?
To address the upcoming ‘Great Crew Change’ industry organisations are putting increasing effort into ensuring new entrants into the O&G business get access to information and training through initiatives like the AAPG’s Next Generation Dealmakers Workshop, held in London during APPEX in March 2018.
Ruairi McDonald, an AAPG Young Professional, helped organise the event.
Ruairi McDonald obtained a BSc in Earth Sciences from Glasgow University and an Msc in Petroleum Geoscience from Imperial College, London. He has worked as a geoscientist in the industry since 2010.
Why did you join the AAPG Young Professionals?
The AAPG Young Professionals group provides graduates and early career (5–10 years) professionals with networking opportunities and technical seminars and workshops, in addition to AAPG’s online publications, ICE and ACE conference discounts and a career job board. I joined to expand my network with young professionals across the upstream business chain, as well as to attend young professional events at conferences and professional learning opportunities.
What did the Workshop cover?
The NGDM Workshop provided attendees with a full spectrum understanding of a M&A deal.
It was kicked off by BP’s William Zimmern (Head of Global Macronomics), who discussed the world’s future energy outlook, highlighting the role of fossil fuels in the ongoing energy transition.
A panel session with representatives from EY, WoodMac, Gneiss Energy and Saleve Energy Partners followed, rounding up recent and historic deals of significance.
Subject-specific presentations from a range of oil companies, consultancies and experts discussed strategic fit and portfolio opportunity, subsurface geoscience, subsurface engineering, forward economic modelling and tax considerations and implications.
Further panel discussions covered deal financing, with representatives from Gneiss Energy, Flowstream Commodities, Exotix, Rockrose Energy and Slaughter and May, and the important subject of ‘Closing a deal’, with contributions from Slaughter and May, Goldman Sachs and Faroe Petroleum.
What did you get out of the Workshop?
Being a subsurface professional, my main takeaways from the workshop and discussions were how these subjects fit into the overall integrated deal making process and, within each of these disciplines, what were the main levers for progressing an M&A deal – and what were the obvious ‘show stoppers’ to halt or pause such a deal.
The workshop also provided an excellent opportunity to network across disciplines, and with the main APPEX attendees.
Is the upstream industry doing enough to ensure the upcoming generation of geoscientists are ready to take over?
The upstream industry does an excellent job at providing professional graduate programmes and student internships, but I feel more support is needed for early career professionals (5–10 years’ experience) from both industry and professional organisations.
The AAPG, one of the world’s largest professional geological societies, lacks an official mentoring programme for young professionals, although it has been discussed for several years. Peer group professional organisations (PESGB, SPE) have seen widespread roll-out of such programmes, bridging the gap between early career and senior level professionals. Such a programme would act as another great advantage to joining AAPG as a young professional.
Since the beginning of the downturn, many early career professionals have been made redundant and find reentering the industry very difficult. In most cases, they are up against professionals with 10–20 years’ experience, if even considered, and graduate programmes are nonstarters, unless changing career.
I think that the industry is missing out on an opportunity to capture experienced technical geoscience professionals, whilst building and preserving technical capability for the future. With thousands of dollars already invested into their early careers in the form of professional working experience, overseas assignments, technical courses, field trips, graduate rotations etc, one would think that such a talent pool would be sought after! It feels like a win-win for both out-of-work young professionals and upstream companies, but will require companies to re-think both their current hiring criteria and mindset approach to investing in young professionals.