Opinion piece – full version
Published in Energy Voice, 5th March 2018
By Annabel Green, Chief Technology Officer
Although I often still see myself as a young engineer in the industry, it sometimes occurs to me that perhaps I am more a seasoned veteran now. Events such as a 20-year reunion with colleagues from the long since acquired Petroline and seeing young people in the bars of Aberdeen that I can remember being carried into the office by their proud new parents are the reality of time passing!
I have been fortunate to work with new and exciting technologies all of my career, roles which has been engaging and varied, and the years have flown by. Perhaps, none more so than as Chief Technology Officer with Tendeka where I have responsibility for development and delivery of the technology strategy from inception, through to commercialisation and product maturation.
The recent industry downturn and realignment has resulted in a difficult few years for most companies and a lot of people. At Tendeka, we have focused on three areas during this time:
- our personnel, introducing a bespoke Odyssey system which provides an employee web interface including an employee rewards system and new competence framework;
- systems improvement, implementing ERP and improving data management systems to improve efficiency;
- and most importantly (at least from my perspective) a continued focus on R&D which has enabled us to build a global market leading position in advanced completion technology. We have also recently launched a wireless intelligent completion system with immense potential for automation and digital well management.
To think that we can avoid a repeat of 2014-2016 seems a folly. Oil price, our ultimate master, is driven by macro-economic factors beyond our control but it is this very cyclical nature of the industry that drives it forward. We emerge from a downturn lean, eager for change, open to new technology and faster to adopt. In this most innovative part of the oil price cycle, we find the greatest opportunities to future proof against downcycles by developing technologies and processes to reduce lift costs and increase hydrocarbon recovery, making marginal fields economical and extending the life of our mature basin. The service providers are responding to this with new initiative and further investment.
As the senior management of Tendeka met this week to discuss our strategies for this innovation phase, I noted that for the first time in my career the women in the team were outnumbering the men. Most of us have over 5 years’ service with Tendeka, demonstrating our ability to attract and retain top female industry talent. This is not through any specific diversity plan but may in part be due to our family friendly working practices, such as flexible working hours, which benefit all parents in the company. There is still a very small number of female candidates for any of the technical positions we recruit for, but until we can encourage more females to select technical degree courses, sadly this is not going to change.
While the news in the sector is still not all good, with job losses still being announced in some areas, the sentiment is increasingly positive. Tendeka’s strong technology heritage, maintained investment and strong team of high performing individuals is positioned to deliver high growth in 2018 but more excitingly bring further disruptive innovations to the market. For me personally, while we are innovating, adapting and improving, for all its downturns, the oil and gas industry will continue to offer an attractive and exciting career for newcomers and seasoned professionals.