Easwaran Kanason

Co - founder of NrgEdge
Last Updated: November 18, 2016
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Human Resources
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Within the oil and gas society there has always been a social structure that dictates knowledge transfer and also plays a significant role in forming the industry’s hierarchy. Those with the strongest network have the most social capital and therefore have the most influence on their network.

Traditionally these networks have been formed through academic and workplace relationships, but also conferences and other industry events. While a person’s knowledge and insight play a part in building their social capital, their ability to communicate in a compelling way is crucial for network building. The greatest engineer with no ability or willingness to communicate will not have as much influence as a lesser engineer with better communication skills. 

Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s work in the 1970s showed how “social capital can be used practically to produce or reproduce inequality, demonstrating for instance how people gain access to powerful positions through the direct and indirect employment of social connections”. Those of us who work in oil and gas, know all too well, that who you know and the strength of your reputation in the industry plays a big part in how high up the ladder you can get.

Engineers and scientists are often not known for their social skills but it is fair to say that those who have better social skills are more likely to achieve leadership and managerial roles. This may not be as simple as knowing the right people to get you the job, nor just that managers need social skills, but also that no one will ever know how capable you are if you cannot communicate it.

Today our social capital is not limited by whom we went to school with, whom we worked with, or whom we made friends with at the last conference. In the digital age we can connect with people and build our reputations online, we can become influencers and gain followers based on our ability to use social networks and write, a much more comfortable arena for many of the industries brightest minds.

In a very practical sense, professional networking platforms, like NrgEdge not only allow you to connect with key players in the sector but also to demonstrate that you can be one of them. Through content submission and involvement online discussions, anyone in the industry can become an influencer in their own right, turning the industry’s top executives into their peers or even their followers.

Rather than needing to be the coolest kid in the engineering lab, the rig, or the conference coffee break, social networks allow you to be judged on your knowledge and insightfulness. Those with an opinion can share it with the industry regardless of their social status, ability, network of contacts, or even geographic location. If your opinion is popular your reputation will grow, leading to more opportunities to develop your career.

That is not to say that communication skills are no longer as important, writing is of course a form of communication. However it allows you to explain and share your thoughts without the social and geographical limitations of traditional networking. Many insightful people within the industry are even choosing to hire ghost-writers to turn their thoughts into compelling articles.

In the current oil and gas climate it has never been more important to raise your social capital. Professional social networks, and especially industry specific networks such as NrgEdge, now offer anyone the opportunity to position them self as an influencer in the oil & gas community. Those with greater social capital will be best placed to take advantage of the new opportunities the industry brings when it bounces back.

Easwaran Kanason

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September, 21 2019
Your Weekly Update: 16 - 20 September 2019

Market Watch  

Headline crude prices for the week beginning 16 September 2019 – Brent: US$69/b; WTI: US$63/b

  • Global crude oil prices surged at the start of the week as news that a successful drone strike on the Abqaiq processing plant and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia took out over half of the Kingdom’s crude production capacity
  • Brent prices jumped above US$70/b at one point on fears on global supply disruption, but abated as President Donald Trump authorises the release of US strategic petroleum reserves to cover the market
  • Initial fears that the Saudi Arabian crude output would be crippled for months proved to be extreme, with Saudi Aramco announcing that some 70% of capacity at Abqaiq had been restored within days
  • But more worryingly is that this incident escalates the risk of a full-blown military confrontation with Iran; the US was quick to accuse Iran of the attack, citing data on the attack, which was denied by Iran
  • Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, although initial results of a Saudi investigation pointed to the weapons originating from Iran
  • For now, crude oil prices have retreated as the risk of widespread supply disruption abated, but tensions are still high in the region
  • This comes after President Trump signals that he was considering easing sanctions in an apparent thaw in the US-Iran relationship; this opportunity now appears to have evaporated
  • Saudi Arabia’s new oil energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, made a positive impression at the recent OPEC+ meeting, with errant members of the group signalling that they were now ready to adhere to the supply deal
  • In Venezuela, the oil crisis continues as ongoing US sanctions now mean that the country cannot find enough vessels to transport its crude, as shippers fear losing insurance coverage if they transport Venezuelan oil
  • Iran has released the UK-flagged Stena Impero vessel that it had impounded, a lone bright spot in a region now clouded by geopolitical tensions
  • Against this backdrop, the US active rig count recorded yet another fall, losing five oil and seven gas rigs for a net drop of 12 to a new total of 886 rigs
  • With the shock of the Saudi drone attacks abating, crude oil prices are retreating back to their previous range – US$60-63 for Brent and US$56-59/b for WTI – as the impact of global supply was minimised; another attack, however, might cause a more permanent shift in prices


Headlines of the week

Upstream

  • Equinor has received consent from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to continue operations at the Tordis and Vigdis fields through 2036 and 2040, respectively, extending the life of the North Sea fields by 34 years
  • BP has announced that it will deploy continuous measurement of methane emissions for all future oil and gas projects in a bid to reduce emissions
  • CNOPC and Niger have agreed to collaborate on a 1,892km pipeline to carry oil from Niger’s Agadem rift basin to port facilities in Benin
  • The South African government is tabling a new law that will allow the state to take a free stake of up to 10% in all new oil and gas ventures, hoping to capitalise on a surge in upstream interest after Total’s Brulpadda discovery

Midstream/Downstream

  • As the IMO deadline for low-sulfur marine fuels approaches, refiners have begun stockpiling supplies of very low-sulfur fuel oil to ensure adequate supply; this includes Japan’s Cosmo Oil that aims to begin supplying VLSFO to the domestic marine market by October 2019
  • IndianOil’s Gujarat refinery stated it ready to produce 12,900 b/d of VLSFO by October while its Haldia refinery will start producing 5,500 b/d of VLSFO by December; this should be adequate to cover the India’s marine fuel demand
  • India is considering selling a stake in BPCL, the country’s second largest refiner, to an international firm to boost competition in downstream fuel retailing that has historically been dominated by state firms
  • Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients are launching the first renewable gasoil plant in Texas, focusing on producing renewable diesel and naphtha
  • In the UK, Essar Oil’s Stanlow refinery aims to increase its diet of US crude from a current 35% to 40%, leveraging on cheaper American oil
  • The after-effects of Russia’s contaminated crude through the Druzhba pipeline continues as Total issues a tender to sell 1.3 million barrels of tainted Ural crude through Rotterdam after failing to process it

Natural Gas/LNG

  • Poland has won a ruling from the EU courts to reduce Russian control over the key EU Opal pipeline that carries Russian gas from the Nord Stream link to Germany, preventing Gazprom from using most of Opal capacity in a bit to increase energy security for Eastern European countries
  • Vitol and Mozambique’s state player ENH have set up a new joint venture in Singapore to capitalise on trading opportunities for LNG, LPG, and condensate
  • Australia’s Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd and Delta Offshore Energy will supply gas from the Magnolia fields to an LNG-to-power project in Bac Lieu, Vietnam
  • Eni’s Baltim South West gas field offshore Egypt has started up production, only 3 years after discovery, producing an initial 100 mscf/d of gas
  • US gas player Sempra is looking to take FID on its Energia Costa Azul LNG project in Mexico’s Baja California region by the end of 2019
  • Egypt has announced that it expects to receive first natural gas from Israel by end-2019 through the East Mediterranean Gas pipeline, with initial supplies of 200 mscf/d that will rise to 500 mscf/d by 2020
  • The Independence floating LNG terminal in Lithuania – built to reduce the Baltic region’s dependence on Russian gas – is set to receive its first-ever cargo from Siberia, likely from Novatek’s LNG projects in Yamal
September, 20 2019
Financial Review: Second-Quarter 2019
Key findings
  • Brent crude oil daily average prices were 9% lower in second-quarter 2019 than in second-quarter 2018 and averaged $68 per barrel
  • The 117 companies in this study increased their combined liquids production 4.6% in second-quarter 2019 from second-quarter 2018, and their natural gas production increased 5.0% during the same period
  • Nearly half of the companies were free cash flow positive—that is, they generated more cash from operations than their capital expenditures
  • Dividends plus share repurchases were nearly one-third of cash from operations, slightly lower than the six-year high set in first-quarter 2019

Distributions to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases amounted to nearly 33% of cash from operations


See entire second-quarter review

September, 20 2019