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3 questions… with Dr Faye Gerard, IOGP Energy Transition Director

In Pulse, we regularly publish a short interview with an IOGP colleague or committee member. This month’s interview is with Dr Faye Gerard, IOGP’s new Energy Transition Director.

Faye, seconded from bp, is based at IOGP’s Houston office and has worked in the oil and gas industry for 32 years.

What led you to a career in engineering?

“I’ve always loved math, science, and problem-solving. Sometimes it would get me in trouble,” she chuckles, as she reminisces about her early years. Faye had a desire to shape the world through innovative thinking, attributing her childhood fascination with chemistry kits and an innate curiosity to her ultimate decision to pursue chemical engineering.

“I wanted to help shape the world through my innovative thinking as a kid. I remember that I was always brought up to think outside the box, and I felt that engineering gave me the space to do that,” she explains.

A notable aspect of her journey was the lack of representation she experienced as a young minority girl interested in engineering. In an era before social media or the internet, she looked to professionals around her for inspiration, even though there were no engineers who looked like her. Determined to break barriers and be a role model for young minority girls, she embraced engineering as a means of contributing to a more diverse and inclusive industry.

Her turn towards the oil and gas sector was sparked by the television show “Dallas.” The character of JR Ewing, based in Dallas, TX, donning a cowboy hat and involved in oil drilling, left an indelible mark on her young mind. “I wanted to be in Dallas, on a ranch, wearing that cowboy hat and boots. I wanted to drill and find oil and create innovation from there,” she says.

Faye began her career at Marathon Oil Company, where she held process engineering and leadership roles in HSE, diversity, and public/community affairs for 16 years.

What attracted you to the Energy Transition role

“I was attracted to the Energy Transition role at IOGP because it requires a collaborative approach to addressing this global challenge,” she says. “In all of my past roles, I do know that collaboration and integration is huge. You can’t work in a silo. Teamwork is a must in addressing the global challenge.”

“And we have faced a similar challenge before. While the transition from leaded to unleaded petrol and the broader energy transition are distinct processes, they share some commonalities, particularly in terms of environmental considerations, technological advancements, and the need for coordinated efforts from various stakeholders, including governments, industries, and the public.

“Moving from leaded to unleaded, people thought it could not be done. Leaded gasoline was cheap, right? But we did it successfully,” she says.

“This is a different form of energy transition, and I am passionate about being part of a group to drive transition.’’.”

Faye believes that the energy transition is one of the most significant collective challenges the world faces today. It requires navigating the complex intersection of climate change, emission reduction, global energy demands, and economic development – a multifaceted issue that requires a unified effort and partnerships on a global scale.

“I’m up for that challenge, and I’m looking forward to bringing industry together to integrate its knowledge on the journey to net zero,” she says.

What challenges and opportunities does the Energy Transition face?

“The challenge is to address climate change through emission reduction while meeting global energy demands and supporting economic development,” Faye explains. “Decarbonization is a significant challenge, but there are opportunities.

“The first is collaboration. The future of our industry lies in collaboration with energy industries and partnerships with others that can help accelerate innovation.

Second, recognizing the role of regulators in shaping policies, she supports proactive efforts to drive policies that encourage innovation. “Advocating for sound energy transition policies is crucial. Driving policies that encourage innovation will result in driving down costs and delivering clean, affordable energy systems,” she says.

And third, the energy industry, through its operations, can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of energy transition. “One of the biggest opportunities is to start improvements by first reducing emissions in our operations. We know to drive that innovation and scale it quickly because we know our business and can share learnings,” she states.

What are your plans for the Energy Transition Directorate?

“Initially, my priorities include listening and understanding the perspective of others. Bringing industry together through collaboration is crucial because we are a learning industry, and we must benefit from the knowledge of others,” she says. “The future of the world, our children, everyone coming up behind us depends on how we navigate this transition.”

Her plans for the directorate revolve around collaboration, learning, and adoption of our energy transition publications to expedite the implementation of low-carbon projects. “We aim to drive collaboration in the implementation of low-carbon technologies, ensuring standardization, adoption, and repeatability for swift and effective transformations,” she says.

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