FOCUS

August 

PLENARY I
This month, the debate has centred on three main topics: 

  • Will energy costs rise dramatically in the near future - and, if so, what will be the implications? Will escalating gas prices provoke a re-evaluation of the energy market (notably in America)? Or will true action not come until much later, when O&G supplies are dangerously low?
  • What potential do methane hydrates offer as an energy source? China and Japan are already investing heavily in this energy form, but do the potential dangers outweigh the advantages?
  • Could nuclear energy be the energy of the future - or is it more of a short-term solution? What are the most efficient solutions for dealing with nuclear waste? And do we need to communicate better to change the public image of nuclear? What do you think?

PLENARY II

The forum for this plenary session has generated the fewest comments, leading to a pertinent question: 

  • Is the younger generation of the O&G industry less interested in ethical issues than in other topics? Does the ethics debate seem too far removed from our day-to-day jobs, or is it simply perceived as a delicate issue? Most of all, how can we create more interest in discussing ethics?

Other issues raised this month include the following:

  • Should petroleum refineries be forced to adopt more ethical energy conservation policies? Most refineries use energy-expensive distillation processes, even though more efficient technologies are now available. How can we encourage them to invest in these energy-saving techniques? 
  • What is the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for O&G companies? How can companies implement successful CSR policies and what are the obstacles to overcome?

PLENARY III

This month, the debate has centred on three main topics:

  • Is job volatility directly related to retention rates in the O&G industry? Would increased job security help retain talent, or is flexibility part of the attraction for young people? How can we go about reducing volatility?
  • Is continuous training essential throughout a career, or is on-the-job learning more important? Does experience help us keep up with technological advances, new software releases and methodologies, or do we need to return to the classroom every now and then?
  • To what extent is there a generational and cultural gap between old and new professionals? The 80s financial crisis brought about a downturn in recruitment that resulted in such a gap. Will the current economic crisis have the same effect?

July 

 

PLENARY I
In the last month, the debate has focused on where the energy industry should focus its attention in the immediate future. On maximising the production of fossil fuel energies, or on switching as soon as possible to alternative/renewable fuel sources? What energy mix will we see in 10 or 20 years' time, and beyond?

OTHER HOT TOPICS

  • What are the economics of alternative energy? How can investors and companies be persuaded to take an interest? Are investors only interested in alternative energy sources and the barrier to entry for alternative energies? What role should governments play in balancing energy supply between fossil and renewable?
  • Are refineries meeting world standards and world needs? (Are refineries operating as efficiently as possible, to get the most out of the raw material, and to produce the best range of products?)
  • Can the major players in the oil industry afford only to invest in R&D work targeting incremental improvements in the efficiency of their existing operations (exploration, drilling, refining...), or should they be investing today in long-term research into new fields?
  • Given that R&D work in the energy field is very expensive, should the actors of the energy industry pool their resources for R&D funding? What do you think?

PLENARY II

This month, the debate has concentrated on the oil industry's image. The industry is often caricatured by its opponents as being polluting, interested only in money, and making inflated profits. And popular media coverage can reflect that caricature. The two main questions are:

  • How do we change the perception of the oil industry?
  • Has the oil industry been too passive? Should it be engaging the media and helping to educate the public on the major energy issues facing the world today?
  • Could the oil industry lead the way in the creation of responsible energy recovery practices in the developing world? Will actively engaging in environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility also change the public perception of the industry?

PLENARY III

This month, the debate has centred on three main topics:

  • What future is there for young professionals in the energy sector? Given that we may already have hit peak oil, should young entrants into the industry still be looking at careers in fossil fuels, or should they concentrate on alternative energies?
  • The oil industry is still dominated by men. Can this gender imbalance be "fixed" simply by hiring equal numbers of male and female young graduates and waiting for them to rise through the ranks? Should the industry be thinking about specific initiatives to redress the balance?
  • In terms of corporate social responsibility, what actions should industries be taking – at a local level – to engage with the communities in which they work?

June

PLENARY I
So far, participants would like keynote speakers with a range of different opinions in order to get the big picture. They should include:

  • Outspoken energy specialists to describe the potential of new energies.
  • CEOs to describe how they intend to shape the future.
  • Politicians & EC representatives to describe how economics and policy-making will regulate the future.
  • Young professionals to express the voice of the future – and to ask probing questions.

Other suggestions include a renewable energy representative at a major oil company, as their vision will have a major impact on the market. The multiple speakers should engage in a panel discussion. Express your opinion

OTHER HOT TOPICS

  • What energy mix can we expect in the future? Will solar and nuclear overtake hydrocarbons? Most agree that creative R&D will be vital in transforming our dependency on oil and gas, but what should research focus on? And what other factors will define the balance?
  • Could gas be a transition energy for developing countries that want to move towards renewable energies? Is it worth investing in natural gas – or does the break with hydrocarbons need to be immediate and absolute?
  • How much longer can we – and should we – carry on using fossil fuels? Reserves could last around 60 years, but do we need to use all remaining resources before fully focusing on alternative energies?
  • Are alternative energy sources really so sustainable? They entail waste management challenges (rechargeable electrochemical cells contain corrosive electrolytes). And the large scale farming necessitated by biofuels may result in the depletion of soil nutrients. What role should governments and energy companies play in facing these challenges?

PLENARY II

How should E&P companies cohabit with local communities at source sites? Should a socially-responsible company provide locals with electricity, water, public services and employment – or should this role fall to the host government?

  • TOTAL frequently ensures that local communities are provided for, but this has made the areas a target for kidnappers.
  • Governments are often more interested in collecting taxes and royalties than in providing for local communities. Furthermore, many governments in source countries are corrupt.
  • Should the government of the E&P company contribute to helping local communities? These governments facilitate and benefit from the oil business, so is it not logical that they make a contribution?

OTHER HOT TOPICS

  • Governments in source countries are often known to be corrupt. Is this because of the country’s inherent poverty or the population’s lack of education? How and why should E&P companies tackle corruption?
  • What are the implications of ethical legislation for different industry players? Kyoto, for example, allows countries to invest in emission reduction projects in other (cheaper) countries rather than reducing emissions domestically. What are the pros and cons of such policy-making?
  • Should oil companies directly help private sector groups in source countries? Would this provide a better model for sharing ‘oil money’: one that would help local communities to develop?

PLENARY III

The top people in the industry are constantly moving between companies. Welfare and benefits packages seem to hold little sway. So, how can a company persuade its best talent to stay put?

  • Offering an attractive and clearly mapped-out career path is extremely important. This should include an individual development plan for the next 5-10 years.
  • Management & HR must communicate strongly with their people and be bold enough to adapt with the times, eg: by encouraging work from home.
  • Perhaps companies should accept that top talent will always move on. Instead of trying to retain them, companies could concentrate on filling the gaps by nurturing young professionals.

Ultimately, the key for HR is to offer a satisfying balance of money, job interest and job environment.

OTHER HOT TOPICS

  • As exploration and production processes become more complex, is formal education and training enough? Should we focus more on activity-based rather than content-based learning? Should we introduce blended learning? And how else could training be improved?
  • Is better communication the key to improving the public image of O&G companies? Communicating about socially responsible behaviour, for example, would help create a more positive perception. What is the best approach for improving communication?
  • What impact has the economic crisis had on training? Many believe that training has never been more important than now, as it will equip trainees to aid market recovery. Others believe that recruitment is now more important than training.

 

host sponsors

  • edf
  • schlumberger
  • total
  • PLATINUM sponsors
  • CGG Veritas
  • silver sponsors
  • Maersk Oil
  • Petroleum Qatar
  • Bronze sponsors
  • ONGC
  • Sonangol
  • Inpex
  • CNPC
  • partners
  • exxonmobil
  • technip
  • GEP
  • IFP