Hui Shan

Job Steward at NrgEdge. If you are an Energy Professional (Oil, Gas, Energy) contact me for opportunities
Last Updated: October 9, 2018
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Career Development
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The oil and gas industry offers lucrative career opportunities. Internet job boards have made the task easier for employers and job seekers. Companies today receive numerous applications that need screening to filter out substandard candidates. Telephonic interview is usually the first step in the recruitment process. It is used for both pre-screening and post-interview to acquire talented professionals. In cases where a candidate resides out-of-town, the complete job interview can be conducted over the telephone or via an audio-visual aid.

Job seekers usually get tensed about the telephonic interview because they feel they will not be able to express themselves better and might be less impressive. There is also a category of job seekers who take telephonic interviews casually. However, the importance of telephonic interviews cannot be ruled out and yes, we agree it is tricky to impress an interviewer over a call. But if you follow the tips below, you will certainly be successful in your attempt.

Purpose of the telephonic interview

Before you begin your preparation for the telephonic interview, it is important to analyze the purpose of the interview, which can be:

  • Examining your qualification, experience, and suitability for the job
  • Screening for the next round of personal interview
  • Technical interview to test your knowledge and experience
  • Full interview in case of an outstation candidate
  • Identifying the red flags (lack of communication skill, interpersonal skill, irrelevant work experience, poor academic background, unethical behavior) before you move to the next round.

Once you are aware of the purpose of the interview, you can plan and prepare better.

Schedule your call

Telephonic interviews are scheduled based on a mutually agreed date and time. So, make sure if the interviewer asks you for an available time slot, you provide a time where you will not be interrupted by background noises, family, friends or colleagues. However, if the interviewer shares his time slot and you are not comfortable with it, you should request for rescheduling to a later time or date. Even if you receive an unplanned call for an interview, you can politely request to reschedule.

Preparation for the call

Once you know the purpose and timings of the interview, you must start with the preparation for the interview. Here is what you can do:

  • Learn about the current company through their website and social media. Go over the employee review of the company and learn about the work culture, company performance and other initiatives by the company. It is advisable to take notes.
  • Check your resume and update it with any relevant information that you feel is missing. Try to highlight the skills and expertise that the current job role requires to increase your chances of selection. Prepare a cover letter, and specify your willingness to travel and relocate during your tenure as most oil and gas jobs require it.
  • Read the job requirement carefully because it will give you a clear hint of what they are expecting from you. Make sure during your interview, you emphasize your achievements that relate to company expectations. Prepare a list of skills that match the job requirement.

Cut out all distractions before the call

Make sure you are not distracted by your surroundings. So, switch off the TV and other audio/visual devices. Look for a quiet spot where you do not get disturbed. Create a comfortable setup and have your notes, resume and job description nearby for easy access. Remember, the interviewer can easily detect your distraction if you are delaying your responses or are not responding in an expected way. So, don’t ruin your chances by not focussing.

When making or answering a call

If you are expecting a call from the interviewer, be ready and wait for the call. Make sure you are seated comfortably at the position pre-decided by you and you have all the necessary documents along with a notepad. When you receive a call start the conversation by introducing yourself. However, if the interviewer expects you to call, make sure you call on time, introduce yourself and explain the reason for your call.

During the Interview Call

This is your time to shine. During your interview call, you’ll have to be well prepared with your answers. Here is how you can up your chances:

  • Rehearse your answers- There are common questions in the oil and gas industry which most employers ask in an interview, make sure you go over the FAQ and prepare the answers in advance. Additionally, go over the job requirements and prepare small notes on each section where the question can be asked. Back up all your answers with relevant work experience, project data, skill, and qualification. Rehearse your answers to appear confident.
  • Use voice tips to enhance your appeal- In face-to-face conversation, your body language plays a major role in your likeability factor. Similarly, there are body language tips that enhance the appeal of your voice. Refer below:
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  • Standing up allows you to breathe comfortably, speak clearly, staying alert and appear confident. Make sure you stand up while answering and pin the reference material at your eye level on the wall. Do not walk around too much to avoid breathlessness. 
  • When you smile, your tone of voice lifts and you appear more enthusiastic and positive. Even though the other person can’t see, the impact is conveyed.
  • Dressing up for a telephonic interview might sound silly but it does have an impact on your approach. If you are in shorts and a t-shirt you get too casual and laid back but when you are in formals, you automatically turn professional in approach. So, dress right to impress.
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  • Handle silence with patience- During the interview there will be silent moments where you will be tempted to talk unnecessarily just out of anxiety. But, know that the silence is natural it does not require a coverup. The interviewer needs time to write notes or read the next question or refer to your resume. So, stay calm and patient. Talk sensibly and only when required.
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  •  Be prepared to answer uncomfortable and tricky questionsMost of the times, the telephonic interview is designed to filter out substandard candidates. Therefore, any red flags that the recruiter encounters in your resume e.g. employment gaps, disciplinary actions, job hopping, getting fired, incomplete degree and so on will be critically questioned and reviewed. So be prepared with genuine answers to these questions. Be honest and provide your reasons. Also, suggest the way you have worked on or plan to overcome those issues.

Before you hang-up 

During an interview, it is always the interviewer who must signal that the call is over. Until you get the hint, do not rush. Once the interview is over, the interviewer will ask you for any final questions. This is your chance to clarify any doubts that you may have regarding the company, your position, job role and so on. Ask relevant questions. Try to avoid talking or negotiating your salary over the call. Meet in person to do the needful.

Follow up after the call

 As soon as you wind up the call, send a thank you note by email. If the interviewer has provided any dates for the results, consider following up. Even if you do not receive a call after a week, you may shoot a quick email enquiring about the process and update.

The success of your telephonic interview depends on your preparation and the above tips. If you have not qualified despite being good in the interview, then you might not be suitable for the job role. You must keep looking at relevant job openings at a dedicated site like Nrgedge for oil and gas related opportunities.

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January, 26 2021
The Growing Divergence In Energy

Two acquisitions in the energy sector were announced in the last week that illustrate the growing divergence in approaching the future of oil and gas between Europe and the USA. In France, Total announced that it had bought Fonroche Biogaz, the market leader in the production of renewable gas in France. In North America, ConocoPhillips completed its acquisition of Concho Resources, deepening the upstream major’s foothold into the lucrative Permian Basin and its shale riches. One is heading towards renewables, and the other is doubling down on conventional oil and gas.

What does this say about the direction of the energy industry?

Total’s move is unsurprising. Like almost all of its European peers operating in the oil and gas sector, Total has announced ambitious targets to become carbon-neutral by 2050. It is an ambition supported by the European population and pushed for by European governments, so in that sense, Total is following the wishes of its investors and stakeholders – just like BP, Shell, Repsol, Eni and others are doing. Fonroche Biogaz is therefore a canny acquisition. The company designs, builds and operates anaerobic digestion units that convert organic waste such as farming manure into biomethane to serve a gas feedstock for power generation. Fonroche Biogaz already has close to 500 GWh of installed capacity through seven power generation units with four in the pipeline. This feeds into Total’s recent moves to expand its renewable power generation capacity, with the stated intention of increasing the group’s biomethane capacity to 1.5 terawatts per hour (TWh) by 2025. Through this, Total vaults into a leading position within the renewable gas market in Europe, which is already active through affiliates such as Méthanergy, PitPoint and Clean Energy.

In parallel to this move, Total also announced that it has decided not to renew its membership in the American Petroleum Institute for 2021. Citing that it is only ‘partially aligned’ with the API on climate change issues in the past, Total has now decided that those positions have now ‘diverged’ particularly on rolling back methane emission regulations, carbon pricing and decarbonising transport. The French supermajor is not alone in its stance. BP, which has ditched the supermajor moniker in favour of turning itself into a clean energy giant, has also expressed reservations over the API’s stance over climate issues, and may very well choose to resign from the trade group as well. Other European upstream players might follow suit.

However, the core of the API will remain American energy firms. And the stance among these companies remains pro-oil and gas, despite shareholder pressure to bring climate issues and clean energy to the forefront. While the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron have balanced significant investments into prolific shale patches in North America with public overtures to embrace renewables, no major US firm has made a public commitment to a carbon-neutral future as their European counterparts have. And so ConocoPhillips acquisition of Concho Resources, which boosts its value to some US$60 billion is not an outlier, but a preview of the ongoing consolidation happening in US shale as the free-for-all days give way to big boy acquisitions following the price-upheaval there since 2019.

That could change. In fact, it will change. The incoming Biden administration marks a significant break from the Trump administration’s embrace of oil and gas. Instead of opening of protected federal lands to exploration, especially in Alaska and sensitive coastal areas and loosening environmental regulations, the US will now pivot to putting climate change at the top of the agenda. Although political realities may water it down, the progressive faction of the Democrats are pushing for a Green New Deal embracing sustainability as the future for the US. Biden has already hinted that he may cancel the controversial and long-running Keystone XL pipeline via executive order on his first day in the office. His nominees for key positions including the Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality suggest that there will be a major push on low-carbon and renewable initiatives, at least for the next 4 years. A pledge to reach net zero fossil fuel emissions from the power sector by 2035 has been mooted. More will come.

The landscape is changing. But the two approaches still apply, the aggressive acceleration adopted by European majors, and the slower movement favoured by US firms. Political changes in the USA might hasten the change, but it is unlikely that convergence will happen anytime soon. There is room in the world for both approaches for now, but the future seems inevitable. It just depends on how energy companies want to get there.

Market Outlook:

  • Crude price trading range: Brent – US$54-56/b, WTI – US$51-53/b
  • Global crude oil benchmarks retreated slightly, as concerns of rising supplies and coronavirus spread impact consumption anticipations; in particular, new Covid-19 outbreaks in key countries such as Japan and China are menacing demand
  • Mapped against the new OPEC+ supply quotas, there is a risk that demand will retreat more than anticipated, weakening prices; however, a leaking pipeline in Libya has reduced oil output there by about 200,000 b/d, which could provide some price support
  • However, the longer-term prognosis remains healthier for oil prices factoring out these short-term concerns; the US EIA has raised its predicted average prices for Brent and WTI to US$52.70 and US$49.70 for the whole of 2021

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January, 22 2021
EIA expects crude oil prices to average near $50 per barrel through 2022

In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects global demand for petroleum liquids will be greater than global supply in 2021, especially during the first quarter, leading to inventory draws. As a result, EIA expects the price of Brent crude oil to increase from its December 2020 average of $50 per barrel (b) to an average of $56/b in the first quarter of 2021. The Brent price is then expected to average between $51/b and $54/b on a quarterly basis through 2022.

EIA expects that growth in crude oil production from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) will be limited because of a multilateral agreement to limit production. Saudi Arabia announced that it would voluntarily cut production by an additional 1.0 million b/d during February and March. Even with this cut, EIA expects OPEC to produce more oil than it did last year, forecasting that crude oil production from OPEC will average 27.2 million b/d in 2021, up from an estimated 25.6 million b/d in 2020.

EIA forecasts that U.S. crude oil production in the Lower 48 states—excluding the Gulf of Mexico—will decline in the first quarter of 2021 before increasing through the end of 2022. In 2021, EIA expects crude oil production in this region will average 8.9 million b/d and total U.S. crude oil production will average 11.1 million b/d, which is less than 2020 production.

EIA expects that responses to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases will continue to limit global oil demand in the first half of 2021. Based on global macroeconomic forecasts from Oxford Economics, however, EIA forecasts that global gross domestic product will grow by 5.4% in 2021 and by 4.3% in 2022, leading to energy consumption growth. EIA forecasts that global consumption of liquid fuels will average 97.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2021 and 101.1 million b/d in 2022, only slightly less than the 2019 average of 101.2 million b/d.

EIA expects global inventory draws will contribute to forecast rising crude oil prices in the first quarter of 2021. Despite rising forecast crude oil prices in early 2021, EIA expects upward price pressure will be limited through the forecast period because of high global oil inventory, surplus crude oil production capacity, and stock draws decreasing after the first quarter of 2021. EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices will average $53/b in both 2021 and 2022.

quarterly global liquid fuels production and consumption

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

You can find more information on EIA’s expectations for changes in global petroleum liquids production, consumption, and crude oil prices in EIA’s latest This Week in Petroleum article and its January STEO.

January, 22 2021