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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Utility-scale battery storage capacity continued its upward trend in 2018

Utility-scale battery storage systems are increasingly being installed in the United States. In 2010, the United States had seven operational battery storage systems, which accounted for 59 megawatts (MW) of power capacity (the maximum amount of power output a battery can provide in any instant) and 21 megawatthours (MWh) of energy capacity (the total amount of energy that can be stored or discharged by a battery). By the end of 2018, the United States had 125 operational battery storage systems, providing a total of 869 MW of installed power capacity and 1,236 MWh of energy capacity.

Battery storage systems store electricity produced by generators or pulled directly from the electrical grid, and they redistribute the power later as needed. These systems have a wide variety of applications, including integrating renewables into the grid, peak shaving, frequency regulation, and providing backup power.

annual utility-scale battery storage capacity additions by region

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory and Annual Electric Generator Report

Most utility-scale battery storage capacity is installed in regions covered by independent system operators (ISOs) or regional transmission organizations (RTOs). Historically, most battery systems are in the PJM Interconnection (PJM), which manages the power grid in 13 eastern and Midwestern states as well as the District of Columbia, and in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Together, PJM and CAISO accounted for 55% of the total battery storage power capacity built between 2010 and 2018. However, in 2018, more than 58% (130 MW) of new storage power capacity additions, representing 69% (337 MWh) of energy capacity additions, were installed in states outside of those areas.

In 2018, many regions outside of CAISO and PJM began adding greater amounts of battery storage capacity to their power grids, including Alaska and Hawaii, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Many of the additions were the result of procurement requirements, financial incentives, and long-term planning mechanisms that promote the use of energy storage in the respective states. Alaska and Hawaii, which have isolated power grids, are expanding battery storage capacity to increase grid reliability and reduce dependence on expensive fossil fuel imports.

total installed cost of utility-scale battery systems by year

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Annual Electric Generator Report
Note: The cost range represents cost data elements from the 25th to 75th percentiles for each year of reported cost data.

Average costs per unit of energy capacity decreased 61% between 2015 and 2017, dropping from $2,153 per kilowatthour (kWh) to $834 per kWh. The large decrease in cost makes battery storage more economical, helping accelerate capacity growth. Affordable battery storage also plays an important role in the continued integration of storage with intermittent renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar.

Additional information on these topics is available in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recently updated Battery Storage in the United States: An Update on Market Trends. This report explores trends in battery storage capacity additions and describes the current state of the market, including information on applications, cost, market and policy drivers, and future project developments.

August, 11 2020
The State of the Industry: Q2 2020 Financial Performance

It is, obviously, unsurprising that the recently released Q2 financials for the oil & gas supermajors contained distressed numbers as the first full quarter of Covid-19 impact washed over the entire industry. It is, however, surprising how the various behemoths of the energy world are choosing to respond to the new normal, and how past strategies have exposed either inherent strengths or weakness in their operational strategy.

Let’s begin with BP. With roots that stretch back to 1908 with the discovery of commercial oil in Persia, now Iran – BP arguably coined the phrase supermajor in the late 1990s, when acquisition of Amoco, Arco and Burmah Castrol married BP’s own substantial holdings in Europe and the Middle East to create a transatlantic oil and gas giant. It was a trend mirrored across the industry, with the Seven Sisters of the 1970s becoming ExxonMobil (Esso and Mobil), Chevron (Gulf Oil, Socal and Texaco) and modern day Royal Dutch Shell. Joining them were ConocoPhillips (Conoco and Phillips) and Total (Petrofina and Elf Aquitaine). As the world’s appetite for oil and gas increased at an accelerating pace, the supermajors became among the world’s largest and highest valued companies across the next two decades.

That is now poised for a major change. With fossil fuels waning in demand and renewables becoming more investable, BP is now declaring that it will no longer be a supermajor. CEO Bernard Looney made the announcement ahead of the release of the company’s Q2 financials, seeking to reinvent the firm as ‘integrated energy company’ rather than an ‘integrated oil company’. To make this change, Looney is looking to shrink BP’s oil and gas output by 40% through 2030 and invest heavily to become the world’s largest renewable energy businesses, putting climate change firmly on the agenda and getting ahead of the curve in meeting European directives for a low-carbon future. This was, perhaps, already on the cards. But the Covid-19 effect has hastened it. With a second quarter loss of US$6.7 billion, BP is choosing this time to rebrand itself for long-term transformation rather than maximise current shareholder value; indeed, it will slash dividends in half in order to invest cash for the future.

On the European side of the Atlantic, that trend is accelerating. Shell and Total are also aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050, alongside other European majors such as Eni and Equinor. That isn’t to say that oil or gas will no longer play a huge role in their operations – indeed Total and Eni in particular have made many recent and potentially lucrative finds in Egypt, South Africa and Suriname – just that oil and gas will become a smaller percentage of a diversified business. Both Shell and Total have also displayed how past strategic decisions have paid dividends in uncertain times. Both supermajors declared profits for the quarter, escaping the trend of underlying losses with net profits of US$638 million and US$126 million respectively when a deep red colour to the numbers was expected. The saving grace in a dramatic quarter was their trading activities, where the trading divisions of Shell and Total (as well as BP) took advantage of chaos in the market to deliver strong results. But even with this silver lining, Shell and Total are scaling back on dividends, as they join BP in a drive to diversify in the age of climate change, which has strong political backing in Europe where they are based.

On the other side of the pond, the mood surrounding climate change is decidedly different. ExxonMobil and Chevron aren’t exactly ignoring a low-carbon future but they aren’t exactly embracing it wholeheartedly either. Instead, both supermajors look to be focusing on maximising shareholder value by focusing on producing oil as profitably as possible. It explains why Chevron moved to acquire Noble Energy recently after failing to buy Anadarko last year, and why ExxonMobil is still gung-ho over American shale and its new found black gold assets in Guyana. The Permian remains on their focus; with economic pressure on, there are rich pickings in the shale patch that could turn American shale from a patchwork of ragtag independent drillers to big boy-dominated. In the short-term, that promises quick returns after the panic – especially with ExxonMobil and Chevron declaring net losses of US$1.08 billion and US$8.3 billion for Q2, respectively – but the underlying assumption to that is that the energy industry will recover and continue as it is for the foreseeable future, rather than the major upheaval predicted by their European counterparts.

For shareholders, and the companies themselves, the expectation is what the future will hold once the worse is over. That Q2 2020 financials dismal performance was never in doubt. What is more revealing is where the supermajors will go from here. Will BP’s attempt to end the supermajor era pay off? Or will American optimism return us back to business as usual? It’s two different visions of the future that will either way spell a sea change for the industry.

Market Outlook:

  • Crude price trading range: Brent – US$43-45/b, WTI – US$40-42/b
  • Global crude oil price benchmarks moved higher after a devastating blast in Lebanon that levelled a significant amount of Beirut’s port facilities
  • However, the market is also cautious as OPEC+ begins to wind its supply cuts down to a new level of 7.7 mmb/d with concerns that demand recovery is slower-than expected
  • OPEC’s Gulf nations – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE – also ended voluntary cuts made in June, but are looking to force Iraq to 100% compliance in August and September as the latest data continues to show it lagging behind commitments

End of Article 

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In this time of COVID-19, we have had to relook at the way we approach workplace learning. We understand that businesses can’t afford to push the pause button on capability building, as employee safety comes in first and mistakes can be very costly. That’s why we have put together a series of Virtual Instructor Led Training or VILT to ensure that there is no disruption to your workplace learning and progression.

Find courses available for Virtual Instructor Led Training through latest video conferencing technology.

August, 07 2020
Suriname’s Mega Discovery

It was just over five years ago that ExxonMobil discovered first oil in Guyana, transforming the sleepy South American country into the world’s upstream hotspot in just half a decade. The strike rate there has been amazing – 18 discoveries out of 20 well campaigns, and more seem to coming as new discovery efforts get underway. This made Guyana the envy of its neighbours. And why not? The Guyanese economy is projected to grow at 86% y-o-y in 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, as first commercial oil from the Liza field hit the market.

Just over the Guyana border, Suriname, a former Dutch colony had all the more reason to be envious. Unlike Guyana, Suriname has an established upstream industry. Managed by the state oil firm Staastsolie, the volumes are paltry: the onshore Calcutta and Tamabredjo field collectively produce at a current rate of 17,000 b/d. Guyana’s Liza field alone is 15 times larger than Suriname’s total crude output. But the Guyanese miracle always did herald some hope that some of that golden dust could blow Suriname’s way, not least because the giant offshore discoveries in the Staebroek block were just across the maritime border.

In January 2020, this bet proved right. US independent Apache announced it had made a ‘significant oil discovery’ at the Maka-Central 1 well, the first suggestion that the Cretaceous oil formation in Guyana extended southeast to Suriname. Two more discoveries were announced by Apache in quick succession, Sapakara West and, just this week, Kwaskwasi. All three are located in the 1.4 million acre offshore Block 58, which was originally held entirely by Apache before French supermajor Total bought into a 50% stake just before the Maka Central discovery was announced. Three discoveries in six month is quite a payoff, especially with the Kwaskwasi-1 well delivering the highest net pay and confirming a ‘world-class hydrocarbon resource’. More importantly, initial findings suggest that Kwaskwasi holds oil with API gravities in the 34-43 degree range, the sort of light oil that is perfect for petrochemicals and higher-grade fuels.

With Total scheduled to take over operatorship of the block after a fourth drilling campaign, the partners are eager to extend their streak. The Sam Croft drillship is scheduled to head to Keskesi, the fourth scheduled prospect in Block 58, after operations at Kwaskwasi-1 have concluded, and an additional exploration campaign is already in the plans for 2021.

Total and Apache aren’t the only ones playing in Surinamese waters, though they are the first to hit the payday. Most of the country’s offshore blocks have been apportioned, snapped up by ExxonMobil, Kosmos, Petronas, Tullow and Equinor, and all are hoping to be the next to announce a find. ExxonMobil, with Equinor and Hess Energy, have a good position in Block 59, just next to the Caieteur block in Guyana, while Kosmos is hunting in Block 42, right next to the Canje block in Guyana. However, it is Malaysia’s Petronas that is the next likely candidate. Present in Suriname since 2016, when it drilled the exploratory Roselle-1 well in Block 52, Petronas also has interests in Block 48 and Block 53, and recently completed a farm-out sale with ExxonMobil for 50% of Block 52. Its drilling campaign for the Sloanea-1 well is scheduled to begin in Q4 2020, and will be keenly watched by all in Suriname.

Unlike Guyana that had no state oil company, Suriname has existing national oil infrastructure. Staatsolie currently controls onshore and shallow water areas in the country. However, all wells drill in offshore Block A, B, C and D have turned out dry so far. That leaves Staatsolie in a situation: its own areas are not prolific as discoveries by Total, Apache, Petronas et al. For now, Staatsolie is looking to gain rights to 10-20% of any oil discovery within Suriname, but the framework for this is weak and it must navigate carefully to not antagonise the oil majors that are powering the discoveries in its waters. It will do well to avoid the confrontational attitude that is jeopardising LNG development in Papua New Guinea with ExxonMobil and Total, but Staatsolie does have a claim to Suriname’s oil riches for itself.

For now, it is exhilarating to observe the progress in this previously quiet corner of South America. It is the closest thing to frontier oil exploration in the 21st century, with each new discovery generating more and more excitement. Who would have thought there was so much oil left undiscovered? Guyana has shot into the spotlight, Suriname is starting its own ascent and… who knows… could French Guiana be next?

End of Article 

Get timely updates about latest developments in oil & gas delivered to your inbox. Join our email list and get your targeted content regularly for free. Click here to join.

In this time of COVID-19, we have had to relook at the way we approach workplace learning. We understand that businesses can’t afford to push the pause button on capability building, as employee safety comes in first and mistakes can be very costly. That’s why we have put together a series of Virtual Instructor Led Training or VILT to ensure that there is no disruption to your workplace learning and progression.

Find courses available for Virtual Instructor Led Training through latest video conferencing technology.

August, 01 2020