Unleash Your Potential – Dream, Believe, Become.

By Fawaz Bitar, Chair of IOGP

The 50th anniversary of the lunar landing last month sparked a lot of reminiscing over grainy television footage and crackling radio broadcasts.  As a toddler at the time, I can’t say I remember where I was when the first man walked on the moon. As an engineer today, however, I can only marvel at the ingenuity, daring and sheer technological brilliance of that feat.

It was an unprecedented achievement. And while most of our world’s progress falls more into the category of ‘small steps’ rather than ‘giant leaps’, together they help make the world advance.

In the oil and gas industry, we have made many remarkable technological and engineering break-throughs. Building giant oil platforms and positioning them in the open sea. Developing the latest technology to discover oil and gas miles underground before bringing it to the surface. And, now importantly, using innovation and technology to help to reduce the emissions of our operations and to improve our products.

The transition to a lower carbon energy system will shape the future of our industry. The task ahead of us has never been so great–meeting the world’s growing demand for energy while reducing emissions.

So, as we think about where our industry goes from here, we need to ensure we continue to inspire and recruit the best and the brightest talent.

As someone who has spent over thirty years in this industry, working and living in countries across the globe, from the jungles of Colombia to the deserts of Egypt, I can’t think of a more exciting or rewarding career for anyone.  It will require addressing complex challenges and helping to solve big issues. All with a goal of helping to advance human progress.

And with the unlimited potential of the digital revolution and new technology, our industry is set to significantly change and evolve. That also means we are looking for people with a variety of skillsets. At the heart of what we do, we will always need engineers and geoscientists, but we also need software developers and data scientists, not to mention the human skills of teamwork, building trust and the ability to lead and inspire others.

So, I encourage anyone with a hunger to make a real difference in the world and work in a vibrant and dynamic environment to seriously consider a career in our industry.

With the future in mind, the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) was proud to support the International Student Energy Summit (SES19) at Imperial College in London in July.

Over four days, 650 students from almost 100 countries engaged with more than 50 speakers drawn from academia and policymaking.  The event was a great opportunity to speak with people who may one day lead our industry. And it forms part of IOGP’s efforts to recognise young people who have already decided to embark on a career in oil and gas.

Last week, at the Offshore Europe Conference in Aberdeen, IOGP announced that it would continue its collaboration with the Society of Petroleum Engineers on the Outstanding Young Professional Award (OYPA).

This award is open to those who have demonstrated “outstanding talent, dedication and leadership in at least one aspect of health, safety, security, the environment and/or social responsibility”.  It is a great way to reward talent and I would encourage anyone with fewer than 10 years’ experience in exploration and production to apply.

One of the things I appreciate the most about the OYPA is it demonstrates how varied a career in the energy industry can be.  It brings together expertise from a variety of disciplines and requires people to apply themselves in challenging ways.

The award is also a good reminder about why we get up and go to work each day. Aside from the technical problem-solving, the camaraderie and the sense of achievement, we play a vital role in society. We bring energy to those who need it. Energy that improves lives, fuels economies and helps lift billions of people out of low incomes.

I hope that makes a persuasive case. And if I were starting out in my career again, I couldn’t think of a better industry to join.

So, let me finish with a quote from one of my favourite authors, Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Join us on this adventure. Unleash your potential – dream, believe, become.

About Fawaz (Fuzzy)

Fawaz has been with BP for over 30 years. He was appointed Head of the Upstream Executive Office in October 2018. Prior to this, he held the position of BP’s Head of Global Operations, Upstream. Fawaz is a Chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

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