GEO ExPro

Energy Transition with Security

The transition to sustainable energy is one of the fundamental challenges we face over the coming decades and it is my intention that GEO ExPro will continue to report fully on this, whilst championing the genuinely critical role the oil and gas business plays in ensuring security of energy supply.
This article appeared in Vol. 18, No. 1 - 2021

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Energy Transition with Security

In this my first editorial for GEO ExPro, I would like to start by thanking my colleague Jane Whaley for her outstanding contribution to the magazine’s content and development over the last 10 years. During this time, GEO ExPro has matured into a well-respected magazine with an excellent reputation and I am honoured to be taking over the reins from her.

Having spent almost all my career in the upstream business, initially as an exploration geologist, I have been saddened by the very negative press our industry has been receiving in recent times, particularly in Europe and North America. The transition to sustainable energy is one of the fundamental challenges we face over the coming decades and it is my intention that GEO ExPro will continue to report fully on this, whilst championing the genuinely critical role the oil and gas business plays in ensuring security of energy supply.

Extreme winter weather in the United States in February brought arctic cold to extensive areas of the country and in Texas, a surge in electricity demand led to widespread power cuts. A sobering reminder that energy security relies on high density energy sources.

  • Source: Pixabay.

In this edition we have a GEO Profile of Katerina Garyfalou who, following a very successful career in hydrocarbon exploration, is now helping lead the way in clean fuel production derived from waste-plastic. Geoscientists have all the skills and inventiveness required to contribute to the energy transition and this is just one example of critical skills transference.

With the crew change well and truly behind us and the recent terrible loss of experienced geoscientists from our business, I do fear we will face a skills shortage in the near future. This situation is compounded by a frighteningly precipitous fall-off in students studying earth science. Post-graduate study in the Geosciences was particularly difficult in 2020 with project-based thesis work severely impacted. It is heartening to see how resilient and inventive both the academic community and the students have been in successfully navigating these challenges. Kirsty Lewis, a recent Masters graduate from Aberdeen University, describes in our Q&A article how she tackled an MSc in the pandemic and successfully landed a job with a major energy company.

To attract these geoscientists of the future, we all have a responsibility to ensure we do whatever we can to promote the science and the awareness of its current, and future importance to the global economy. Perhaps that starts with communicating a far more positive message about the important contribution petroleum geoscientists make to society.

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A Disturbing World

We live in troubling times. After the hope of the 2010 ‘Arab Spring’ in Tunisia, we have witnessed the toppling of Ghaddafi in Libya, the overthrow of two governments in Egypt, full scale civil war in Syria and Iraq looks increasingly unstable as fundamentalist fighters of IS spread their hold on the oil-rich regions of northern Iraq and Kurdistan. And Gaza and Israel continue their uneven trade in missiles. Despite this, the search for hydrocarbons goes on. Worries about energy security and conflict always bring gains and losses to someone.