Report of the First EAGE Leadership Summit

At the EAGE Annual 2018, EAGE hosted its inaugural Leadership Summit, which had leaders in the industry engage in a debate over the future of the E&P business. Below is an agreed statement on the outcome of this unique meeting.

At the first EAGE Leadership Summit, 12 leaders of the oil and gas exploration and service industries gathered to discuss the attraction and recruitment of top diverse talent in the oil & gas exploration business. The discussion topic was: “The future has always been uncertain; however, the Paris Agreement has sent a signal around the world. A new energy system is emerging. It will unfold over decades with increasing public pressure on the exploration for oil and gas to remain relevant. This has clear impacts on our resilience as an industry, particularly in our ability to attract the necessary top talent. What is it we want to be known for as an industry to ensure our continued success?” This note summarizes key points and action items from the discussion.

In order to continue to attract top talent, and manage reputation, participants agreed that the exploration and its associated service industry should seek to demonstrate how it remains relevant within a new and emerging global energy system, influenced by socio-geopolitical differences. 

First, oil and gas producers, and the wider industry, need to improve public knowledge of hydrocarbon use in various products and sectors, and the reasons why exploration activity will remain necessary for decades to come. It is necessary to become more proactive in delivering a frank, open and honest exploration narrative which explains its positive role in delivering vital and cleaner energy, particularly through the use of more gas in the power-generation sector. Further, it is vital that the oil and gas industry is able to instil a sense of pride amongst those working in it, especially the younger generation of employees, making them ambassadors for the sector and ultimately altogether improving public trust. 

Second, it is a reality that the European oil and gas industry faces increasing challenges to attract and retain young professionals, with growing competition for talent from the digital technology sector, perceived to be at the forefront of design and innovation. In reality, digitalisation will be crucial to our industry as we navigate through the energy transition, so companies must adapt and develop. Efficiency improvements can positively affect not just the bottom line but also play an important part in the carbon footprint of greenfield industrial projects. This could mean greater returns for shareholders and reduced environmental impact, thus providing benefits for all. However, this industry evolution must be sensitively handled given the potential impact on its workforce. In isolation, the loss of roles and responsibilities to digital tools and techniques will not help to attract talent or fill the competence gap which is likely to come in the near future – however this should be balanced by the emergence of new roles and competencies.

Third, company integration and shared value in local communities has become more necessary now, more than ever for maintaining trust, reputation and social licence to operate. 

In conclusion, the industry must be ready to provide solutions to back up a newly aspirational and informed rhetoric. It can be envisaged that it will require tailor-made solutions from the industry and individual companies. Oil and gas exploration and service industries must then develop a clear and common external message about the integrated future of energy supply and shine a light on the innovation and opportunities that the industry creates in striving to deliver cleaner and more reliable energy to all.

Tristan Aspray, ExxonMobil
Luca Bertelli, Eni
Tim Dodson, Equinor
Marc Gerrits, Shell
Gro Haatvedt, AkerBP
Andrew Latham, Wood Mackenzie
Howard Leach, BP
Kevin McLachlan, Total
Maurice Nessim, WesternGeco
Francisco Ortigosa, Repsol
Rune Olav Pedersen, PGS
Sophie Zurquiyah, CGG