Insight: How can companies develop and retain Petro-technical professionals?

An article from Finding Petroleum


What should oil & gas companies do to develop, train, motivate and thereby retain Petro-technical Professionals?

How can they turn ‘raw material’, recent recruits whether graduates or folk with a few years experience in an oil field service company, into exploration, reservoir and operations leaders?

Once I had got past being a humble geophysical researcher at BP, I had various jobs, firstly Chief Geophysicist in Aberdeen, Houston and then London (1986 -1995), and then later Head of Exploration (from 2000, until I retired in 2003) in which I had to help figure out and/or figure out for myself how you motivate, retain, develop and train the integrators and synergistic thinkers who you can trust with the company’s money in exploration and reservoir management. The best starting material consisted of bright people with niche MScs and PhDs, or perhaps folks with a specialist technical background who had joined us from an oil field service company.

One thing I truly believe is that strong career growth, access to development opportunities and training are intimately linked. In fact, motivation and retention follow development and training.

So my Context is the career development of Exploration, Reservoir, and Petroleum Engineering Managers, or Consultants. as shown here:


Level* Role
C Exploration, Reservoir, Petroleum Engineering Manager or Senior Consultant
D Project/Team Leader or Consultant
E Individual Contributor

*Levels A and B are available for Executive and Senior Management. The Consultant route equates to a Technical Ladder.

This development Context then provides the framework for training courses in:

Level Exploration Reservoir Petroleum Engineering
  • Negotiating
  • Decision Making(1)
  • Regional Politics & Security
  • Petroleum Economics
  • Negotiating
  • Decision Making(2)
  • Production Economics
  • Surface & Well Operations
  • Negotiating
  • Decision Making(2)
  • Production Economics
  • Surface & Well Operations
  • Integrated Petroleum Geoscience
  • Regional or thematic knowledge
  • (Deep Water; Africa; SE Asia; Unconventionals; Arctic etc)
  • Integrated Reservoir Geoscience
  • Integrated Reservoir Dynamics
  • Field-type knowledge (Deep Water Clastics; Carbonates etc)
  • Integrated Petroleum Engineering
  • Integrated Reservoir Dynamics
  • Field-type knowledge (Deep Water Clastics; Carbonates etc)
  • Digital Oil Field
  • Petroleum Systems
  • Seismic Interpretation
  • Petrophysics
  • Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
  • Non-seismic geophysics
  • Reserves & Risk Estimation
  • Field Courses (Deep Water reservoirs; Structural Geology)
  • Information Management
  • Reservoir Modelling
  • Reservoir Surveillance
  • Resources & Reserves Estimation
  • 3D & 4D Seismic
  • Reservoir Dynamics
  • Log Interpretation
  • Reservoir Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
  • Information Management
  • Reservoir Modelling
  • Resources & Reserves Estimation
  • Reservoir Dynamics
  • Cased Hole & Production Log Interpretation
  • Drilling & Completions (including Pore/Fracture Pressures; Pressure Testing; Well-bore Stability)
  • Information Management

(1) Opportunity and Prospect Ranking
(2) Ranking In-field Opportunities

In addition to training, the other key development component is the movement between different jobs in different assets and different locations.

Look after yourself!

Following – for yourself – the program and principles outlined above should help you manage your own career, to your expectations.

Read more:

Summary: Control Your Attitude, Control Your Career

Here is a summary of an article called control your attitude, control your career by Bruce Kasanoff.

1. Maintain a growth mindset. Recognize that you can grow your abilities, if you are willing to work hard.

2. Use a growth mindset to increase your competence. Get better at what your organization needs you to do.

3. The best talent is bringing out talent in others. Value what your boss, co-workers, friends and casual acquaintances have to say, even if you don’t agree. Treat them with respect.

4.  Find meaning in what you do.

Meaning can come from…

  • mastering a craft
  • elevating the lives of others
  • being part of a team
  • supporting your family
  • setting an example for your kids
  • doing what you were born to do
  • overcoming obstacles
  • constantly growing



Being Diplomatic

Found some links about how to be diplomatic in works and life.




Building Self-Confidence

Here are articles found in the internet on the topics on building your self-confidence.




Integrated Operations at PETRONAS (Digital Energy Journal)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

How PETRONAS is gradually implementing Integrated Operations across its fields

‘Integrated Operations (IO) is about integrating people and work processes, integrating the organisation itself, in making smarter decisions collaboratively with all the details we have,’ said A Ghaffar M Dawam, Head Integrated Operations, Operational Excellence Division, with PETRONAS Carigali.

He was speaking at the Kuala Lumpur Digital Energy Journal conference on October 9, ‘doing more with offshore engineering data.’

PETRONAS started on Integrated Operations with its Samarang Field followed by the Dulang field.

Getting a standard definition for IO right was critical, he said. One of the early problems was that everybody was implementing Integrated Operations in a silo manner previously.

‘One of the big problems that we have is people working independently in IO in the organization. That’s where we come in and try to figure out how to streamline this, what approach should we take to structure all of this. This is a big challenge. We have many assets and many fields that need to be managed.’

The company identified four ‘value streams’ which could be improved with Integrated Operations – production excellence, integrated activity planning, integrated logistics and condition based monitoring.

With logistics, ‘We spend billions of dollars on our marine vessels and barges. To be able to reduce 5 per cent of spending, through integrated operations, we should be able to save millions of dollars.

In production, if you can reduce the number of unplanned shutdowns ‘you are saving lots of money there.’

Production excellence can mean avoiding unplanned shutdowns. ‘If you can bring it down to 2-3 per cent from 10 per cent you are saving lots of money there.

‘You can have integrated operations across the reservoir, the well, and be able to track all of this information, be able to see what’s going on in real time.’

To do this, the business process management needs to be streamlined and needs to be standardised.

Where to start

As the IO project team, ‘we are responsible for IO in the organisation. We are looking at what we can do from an enterprise perspective,’ he said.

‘IO is so big, so we have to start from the basics,’ he said. ‘The basics we are thinking of is from the assets upward.’

You start off thinking about how data is gathered before it is processed and turned into information to be visualized.

‘We want to make sure all the foundation is ready for us to do IO,’ he said.

The company divides the IO implementation process into 3 categories – strategic, tactical and operational.

‘There needs to be communication between the assets owner and people at the enterprise level’ he said.

‘There needs to be a continuous engagement, and also, continuous improvement. So, it is a challenge for us.’

The way we operate in an IO environment is different as we are able to access data anywhere, anytime, he said.

‘People in production, somewhere in the tower of KLCC, will be able to see what’s going on in Myanmar or Vietnam or Sudan,’ he said.

There must be strong leadership support to ensure IO is successfully implemented in the organization.

‘One of the key benefits that we see is continuous surveillance. We are able to see the information in the assets in real time. I now have less people to work physically at the asset.’

‘In the next 3 months I know what will happen to my equipment, what will happen to my pipeline, things like that. That will be done through IO.’

‘Any shortfalls, we can perform some root cause analysis.’

‘It is about making smarter decisions, making better decisions about the m reservoir.’

Fadhli Wong

Fadhli Wong Mohd Hasan Wong, Head of IO Program Management Office with Petronas Carigali Integrated Operations, said he first learned about the IO concept from
Formula 1 racing.

‘IO is not really a new thing to me,’ he said. ‘In Formula 1, Integrated Operations has been there since day 1. At Formula 1, all these things are integrated, the car is installed with thousands of sensors, transmitting all of this data to our dashboard. We have a crew sitting behind a garage.’

In the oil and gas industry, getting to ‘day one’, when everyone is using Integrated Operations, is much harder, because you have to change the way people do things.

For example, on older platforms, you have people who collect data manually every day.

Having real time data is good for engineers in the office, but means that the person who previously collected data manually does not have a job.

‘These are the things we have to look into comprehensively, holistically, before we can implement integrated operations,’ he said.

In Petronas the technology is being driven by senior management, he said, who ‘look at IO as a very profitable way of changing the organization how it works. They have different set of KPIs – to be satisfied.’

‘IO is not a turnkey project, it never was and it will never be,’ he said. ‘It is not software, not something you just install, plug and play, and walk away.

‘We believe IO is a continuous improvement process, there is no ending to it, it keeps on evolving. People have to change their mindset. They have to be conditioned for the next coming way of doing work.’

‘Change management strategy is important,’ he said.

‘When we put all these elements together, we have the infrastructure, process, people and tools, we put that together in a room, we know what we are going to do and how we are going to do it in a collaborative work environment.’

IO architecture

Petronas has chosen what he describes as a ‘quite generic’ Integrated Operations architecture.

The bottom layer has the field devices, instrumentation and the telecommunications.

The next layer is for data management, transmitting and gathering all of the data, providing some cleansing, validation and reconditioning, before passing data onto the main system.

The top layer is where engineers and managers work with the data every day. ‘The workflow layer, for me, is the brain and the core of the IO architecture,’ he said. ‘This is where the business processes are.’

There are various dashboards showing the information people in different roles want to see.

The workflow processes give instructions to people about what tasks need to be done, and where the data they need is located, and where the applications are.

Different users have different applications (for example reservoir engineers, production technologists and rotating equipment engineers).

In the architecture layer of the IO system, the workflow manager can tap into the various software applications and ask them to complete various jobs.

The integration level is where all the workflows and process processes are encrypted or encoded.

There is a collaborative work environment, where the team working on an asset can all sit together, such as staff who monitor production or rotating machinery. ‘It is the command centre,’ he said.

Business requirements

To build the system, you have to understand what the business requirements are, and make sure the system can help serve the reservoir management plan.

‘Before we start doing all these workflows we have to consult with the business process and technical process. They are the subject matter experts; they are the owner of each business process.

‘For example we have a business process of a well test process, the owner is a production technologist department. He will be the one optimizing the technical process. We will be the one putting in the audit elements of IO.’

Many people in Petronas have been approaching the integrated operations program office asking for Integrated Operations on their fields.

‘I say, ‘what are your requirements, your prerequisites’. They say, ‘I don’t know’,’ Mr Wong said.

‘Each asset has to understand their field properly, and then they can translate what their operations really require.

For example, as a field manager, you might want to use Integrated operations for monitoring a water alternating gas (WAG) enhanced oil recovery process.

‘Once we identify what sort of monitoring and surveillance program we need, we can translate this to the instrumentation upgrade,’ he said.

One questioner said that Petronas would need 100 people in its integrated operations department to do all of this. ‘We require people from different domains, different disciplines, to chip in their ideas and make things work,’ he said.

Field roll-out
On greenfields, all wells are equipped with sensors and transmitters, the challenge is making it ‘more smart’, he said.

On brownfield it is harder. ‘We have to go into the field with the set of requirements and look at what is there and what is not there,’ he said. ‘From the requirements we translate them into our instrumentation or gap analysis, to see what kind of pressure or flowmeters are needed there.’

Samarang field

Samarang project decided to implement Integrated Operations on its Samarang field, to support the field redevelopment plan to increase the field recovery factor (RF) by 10% said Chik Adnan A Razak, Project Manager for Samarang Field Re-Development Project, Petronas Carigali.

The Samarang field was discovered in 1972, with first oil in 1975. After more than 35 years in production the field production had declined to 15% from the peak production.

‘We are putting the integrated operations to assist us to optimize the production every day,’ he said.

‘We need to have some kind of assurance that the surveillance system that we put in place will be operating day after day.’

Petronas wanted to operate the field in a ‘high performance’ environment with a team of experts constantly monitoring everything – and hundreds of sensors to generate data.

There are steady state models, where you can see how far away you are from what is considered the optimum operating conditions.

The transient modelling helps you to get there. ‘You cannot operate in steady state condition – transient modelling helps you to achieve this,’ he said.

Engineers and operators can see what is happening with the reservoir and topside facilities, then make a decision on how to upgrade the field over various timescales. ‘This is basically the objective with smart field,’ he said.

‘They are taking measurements, making decisions, intervening, changing the settings and parameters, until it is optimized,’ he said. ‘It can be done every time you receive new data.’

Different workflows

Many different workflows have been developed.

There is a workflow for waterflood, to model how effective the water flood is, how much oil is being left behind, and whether it makes sense to increase the volume of water being used.

In the wellbore, there are about 8 different workflows, such as to optimize electric submersible pumps and look at gas lift optimization.

For gas lift optimization, you want to see what gas flow will maximize recovery but reduce slugs, which put pressure on the topside facilities. ‘If the separator cannot manage the slug it will shut down the process or facilities.’

Before any new process is implemented, you can run a simulation to see what might happen.

There are daily meetings to discuss the work, the field performance, the well performance, and the future plans.

There is an overall steering committee, with monthly and quarterly reviews.

The simulators can do a lot more processing than a human brain can, he said. The simulator can come up with the optimum operating parameters for both the wells and the topsides.

Watch the talks on video and download slides:
A Ghaffar M Dawam –
Fadhli Wong Mohd Hasan Wong
Chik Adnan A Razak

Lithology Interpretation

Spontaneous Potential (SP) or/and Gamma Ray (GR) curves are included in nearly all Log.

There is no direct relationship between the value of permeability and porosity and the magnitude of the SP deflection.

SP scale is in mV (20mV). Positive reading will deflect to the right and negative reading will deflect to the left. In the case of fresh water mud and saline water in the formation (limestone), the curve will deflect to the left. If the salinity of the mud is higher than the water in the sand formation (shale), then the curve will deflect to the left.

In quantitative formation evaluation, SP and GR curves are used to determine potentially porous and permeable reservoir rocks like sandstone, limestone, and dolomite from non-permeable clays and shales as well as defining bed boundary.

GR curve is the measure of natural radioactivity of the formation. Because radioactive components tend to concentrate in shales, the GR normally reflects the shales content of the formation. Low reading reflects limestone, sandstone, and dolomite. However, a clean shale-free sandstone can produce high gamma ray response if it contains radioactive contaminants such as micas, potassium feldspars, glauconite, or uranium-rich formation waters which it this case will need a gamma ray spectral log to avoid the sandstone being overlooked. This GR spectral log will identify the concentrations of potassium, thorium, and uranium. Ratios of Th/U is used for identifying environment of deposition. U/K indicate potential source rock, Th/K is useful in typing clay.




Book Review: Forbidden Friends


Forbidden Friends

By Anne-Marie Conway


Review by Fia:

A tense and satisfying book that you can’t stop reading. It has fantastic description and detail and is such a touching story. I would recommend this amazing book by Anne-Marie Conway. This story tells us about two long lost friends who meet up on holiday in Spain. They feel as if they were destined to be best friends but as they grow closer they find out that some VERY dark secrets have been kept throughout these past years.

Anne-Marie used to love performing and was very passionate about what she loved. Her dream was to become a star and she’d always wanted to end up on a West End stage and dance in front of thousands of people. Instead she, very happily, got qualified as a teacher and also started her own drama club which gave her lots of inspiration and experience. When her second child was born she started to plan her first book about a shy girl called Phoebe who loved performing……..

Forbidden Friends was her fifth book and she believed that dreams are SO IMPORTANT and if you work hard you WILL achieve them.