Easwaran Kanason

Co - founder of PetroEdge
Last Updated: April 20, 2018
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Business Trends
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Depends on who you ask, there are signs that the friction in the oil rich South China Sea may be abating. Tensions seem to be easing in the short term, with nothing resolved to the long-term problem of border demarcation. Two countries in particular have been China’s main thorn in their quest to claim the entire sweep of the South China Sea – Vietnam and the Philippines – and in its dealings with both of them, China is rewarding cooperation and punishing dissidence.

Last month, Vietnam ordered Spanish firm Repsol to halt work on its Ca Rong Do (Red Emperor), where commercial drilling was imminent, later asking it to declare ‘force majeure’ following pressure from China. It is the second major cancellation in the southern Nam Con Son basin – which skirts China’s nine-dashed line – and could cost Repsol and partners some US$200 million in sunk investment. Vietnam has been vocal about pursuing its own energy agenda, but in the end, ended up having to kowtow to China.

The Philippines has also loudly proclaimed sovereignty over its part of the South China Sea, going as far as to bring the case to UNCLOS, which ruled in favour of the Philippines in a 2016 verdict that China refuses to recognise. However, since then, President Duterte has made cordial overtures to joint developments. While both sides have reiterated that joint oil and gas exploration will not affect their legal positions. The Philippines announced last week that cooperation was moving ahead after both countries claimed to recognise and accept each other’s ‘firm red lines’. It by no means settles the issue in the long run – indeed, successive governments could reverse the position – but it paves way for resources to be developed like in the Thailand-Malaysia Joint Development Area, legally unsettled but commercially viable. In choosing to engage, China has seemingly rewarded the Philippines with a mutually beneficial arrangement, a stance that it has not taken with the more belligerent Vietnam.

That’s not the best outcome, though, as the issue of maritime borders is still unsettled. China has always favoured bilateral talks with each of the claimants to the South China Sea – Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei included – a divide and conquer strategy that allows it to throw its weight around. But with the USA absent to exert pressure for encompassing solution, favoured by the Obama administration but ignored by Trump, the countries of the South China Sea rim are sitting ducks against the might of China. Either they capitulate – and are rewarded with some crumbs – like the Philippines; or they defy – and end up capitulating anyway with nothing to show – like Vietnam. The vibe in the South China Sea may be seemingly calmer right now, but there are still dangerous currents beneath the surface.

The Current Weather Forecast: China and the South China Sea Nations

VietnamChoppy. China has been pressuring Vietnam to halt fishing and upstream activity.

The PhilippinesCalmer. China has agreed to joint development of hydrocarbon resources

MalaysiaCalm. No clashes yet, but Malaysia controls part of the disputed Spratly islands.

BruneiCalm. No clashes yet, but Brunei claims part of the disputed Spratly islands.

IndonesiaChoppy. No clashes yet, but Indonesia claims the waters around the Natuna islands are its ‘traditional fishing grounds’, effectively re-naming it “North Natuna Sea”

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China South China Sea Vietnam Philippines Spratly
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5 Tips to Create an Evergreen Resume (Dont Miss no 4!)

The Oil and Gas sector is still recovering from some difficult times in the recent past and has adapted a high-performing culture to generate more from less. That has also translated to replacing the older, expensive resources to younger, cheaper talents and leveraging the gig workforce.

Thus having a few decades of experience in your kitty might sound like a huge advantage but in reality, this might become a burden if you are in the job market and competing with your younger counterparts, especially in this dynamic energy industry. The reputation of being redundant and lack of acceptance of newer skills can precede you and shroud the recruiter’s decision.

However, there is always a demand for experience in the job market and the top oil and gas companies are in a lookout for personnel, who have relevant prior experiences and are ready to adjust to the evolving changes in this industry.

Upskilling to remain relevant in this industry is crucial for the ageing workforce but when you are seeking a new job, everything zeros down to getting an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to the recruiter.

The first hurdle is to have a cracking resume or curriculum vitae that get shortlisted for the next round.

Here we share some tricks to age-proof your resume and check all the right boxes in a recruiter’s mind within the first 6 seconds of their short attention span.*

1. Be creative to attract attention

The best weapons you have are the skills that were acquired during the long tenure spent in this industry. It can easily become a drawback for your resume if you tend you write extensively about all these skill-sets and fail to understand what the specific job opening demands from its candidates.

It is advisable to select your skills carefully and highlight them with more visuals and fewer words. Use graphs and percentages instead of long sentences to make your resume stand out. Try to feature them on the front page and showcase only the relevant skills for the job you are applying.

2. Downplay on dates

Now, this can be a little tricky but not difficult. Do not unnecessarily highlight personal information like age and if needed move it to an obscure corner of your resume where there are lesser chances of it to be noticed.

While, for some jobs, the academic credentials are necessary to be mentioned, we recommend to feature these on the front page with the degree and university name but try and avoid the graduation dates. The recruiter might indulge in quick math to estimate your age. Also, when you mention the job history, maintain the chronology but avoid mentioning the start and end dates.

Please note that none of the above implies for you to submit misleading information to your prospective employer at any given stage of the recruitment process.

3. Highlight the recent and relevant experiences

There has been a massive shift in oil and gas processes, equipment and technology in the last few decades. Improvements in drilling mechanism, data-collecting sensors, technology to improve worker’s safety, etc. have changed most upstream and downstream jobs.

You might have also gone through this age of transformation but your resume might look dated if you end up mentioning the entire history.

Keep it crisp and recent; bypass mentioning any experience that may not be relevant today and does minimal value-add showcasing your talent for the new job. If you have moved out of oil and gas industry sometime during your career, keep it off the resume unless that experience adds value to the current job opening.

You ideally should be showcasing all the accolades that came your way throughout your professional life. Craft your messaging around mentions about the impact of your performance on the employer’s top-line and bottom-line results.

Having said this, under no circumstance should you use incorrect career or skill information in your resume.

4. Speak the language of the recruiter

Pick terminologies mentioned in the job description and highlight them in your resume. Try to tailor-make the resume to befit the job description and hence easier for the recruiter to understand your relevancy.

Keep working on your resume on a constant basis and it will become an easy task to quickly modify the variable content based on each new application.

5. Provide Social Media Coordinates

Provide the LinkedIn, Twitter and other relevant Social Media coordinates in your resume. There is a high possibility that you will be scrutinized on your social media activity and hence it is good to keep your professional social platforms details updated on your resume.

This also signals about your ability to stay relevant with the time by adopting digital communications.

Update your profile picture and preferably get it done by a professional photographer who focuses to capture your positive attitude and energy.

Maturity and leadership skills come organically to older workforce due to their extensive experience; And half the job-search battle is won if that can be captured in your resume and featured to the potential employers.

While it is discriminating and unethical to deny a job due to your age, there are several instances of biased recruitment in every industry, including oil and gas.

Bonus Tip: It is said your network is your net-worth these days. Connect with other energy sector professionals and share your experience with the community to increase your professional network.

We wish you all the best in your next job search!

September, 18 2018
Where to find New Giant Oil & Gas Fields

The title of this article is the title of a recent three day workshop that was organized by SkkMigas that had apparently been arranged due to the concern that Indonesia has with the ever-growing gap between the demand for oil and what is being produced in the country, as well as the ever-increasing concern about the economics of the country with the spending on infrastructure projects being a concern and development in the natural resource industry not being as expected.

There are other concerns, such as the ever-growing reliance on Pertamina to take over blocks from International companies, to develop existing and hopefully new blocks, or a recent headline: Pertamina sells off shares to stay afloat, or the concern of Pertamina to meet the government’s policy of ensuring the availability of Premium grade fuel at one price throughout the whole country. One senior person from Pertamina said to me recently, we will survive until the election, but what happens after that, who knows.

This makes one wonder, how will Pertamina develop new or existing blocks? How will they carry out the exploration that is needed to meet the subject of this opinion piece which is an interesting title in itself for many reasons. When I was asked about finding Giant Oil & Gas Fields by Badan Geology, I said, Pak, the chances of finding Giant Fields is fairly low, because if they were available they would have been found by now with existing methods of exploration. I was to learn that what they meant by Giant Fields is anything that contains a probable reserve of 500 million barrels of oil, (Giant oil and gas fields = those with 500 million barrels (79,000,000 m3) of ultimately recoverable oil or gas equivalent. Supergiant oil field = holds equivalent of 5.5bn barrels of oil reserves).

This is a different story then, as it is known that there are fields that contain this amount and above, just waiting to be confirmed and exploited, one such field has been known about for several years which contains something in the region of 1 billion barrels of oil, as well as gas and condensate, but due to political and other reasons this has not been developed until now.

The author of this article has written several times that Indonesia does have the potential to be self-supportive in resources, if only the knowledge of the country’s resources was known, sadly to say until now, the potential of the country’s resources is just that, potential. What has become apparent from the workshop organized by SkkMigas is that many people are concerned with the situation, but very few (if any) are prepared to take the risk for exploration, which does include the country’s own banks and entrepreneurs. What does risk mean? Put simply, it means loss of money. In my view, Indonesia is no different to any other country, the people in the country do not like to lose money, so why does Indonesia expect investors from other countries to lose money when they are not prepared to accept the risk themselves?

How to minimize the risk?, how to increase the success rate from 15%?, which is what Pertamina achieved last year for drilling of new wells, although this is not too far below the accepted success rate within the industry which is in the region of 20 – 25% (the normal). These figures can of course be argued about from company to company, but the overall success rate is low, if you were a gambling person, you would unlikely accept these odds. The answer is simple, technology, a technology that has been developed by people of the trade, not by some mad scientist, technology that has been used in different countries with a high success rate. Contrary to believe, Indonesia is no different to any other country when it comes to geology, yes Indonesia has complex geology such as volcanics in Java, deep water in East Indonesia, difficult terrain in Papua where some of the technology that is used today does not allow a detailed exploration survey to be carried out. I can name a number of other countries that have extremely complicated geology that has been successfully explored with technology. The old excuse that the technology has not been used in Indonesia does not wash, how can it be used if people do not want to accept technology readily? It does appear that SkkMigas is waking up, they realize that if they do not adapt to new technology faster, then the situation will not improve.

Technology that we take for granted has come a long way in the past twenty or more years, where did the technology come from? Normally technology comes from someone seeing a problem and asking a simple question, how can we do this better. I was giving a presentation the other day, when someone said, we have not been taught this in University, so how can we believe that this works, where I replied, it has been proven in many other countries with a high success rate, can you as a geologist work in another country, where the answer was “of course we can” where my reply was, if you can do this, why can technology that works in these countries not work in Indonesia? Technology that has been developed by people such as yourself which is based on geology, of course, there was no reply.

The point of this article is that Indonesia appears to be ready to accept technology, although there are still divisions within the government (ESDM) where you have so many different interests, what is required is that one central policy is required for technology and not so many different empires, it should be united.

Most people will accept technology from the medical industry that can save life’s, the same people in the exploration industry are reluctant to accept technology that not only improves the success rate of exploration but will create jobs for people as companies are exploring at reduced costs which in turn relates to reduced risk.

Indonesia does have the potential to meet its energy needs, to meet its goals that are agreed with increased success and reduced costs, as long as people are willing to accept technology and make decisions.

“Baby Giant Fields” are waiting to be discovered.

September, 18 2018
Infographics: Technology Watch - The Future of Oil and Gas Industry

Oil and Gas industry is considered traditional when it comes to adopting of new technologies or concepts. However, the notion is changing fast. This Infographic covers insights into which technological advancements will shape the future of oil and gas:

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  • Rig decommissioning has become a major financial and logistical concern for virtually every oil company. The cost of decommissioning is rising sharply, and experts are predicting it to reach approximately $30 billion a year globally by 2040.
  • Smart Oilfield technology has enabled the industry to combine infield measurement devices, real-time data, simulation models and advanced algorithms to automate best practices and maximize productivity. This technology is enabling value addition in the current system and enhancing the upstream process.
  • Digital Transformation Offshore has enabled organizations, looking for common technologies, to balance requirements for uptime security safety with the need to take advantage of digital innovation.

September, 08 2018