Chris Hamlet, our Special Adviser for Operations, argues that we need to put the sexy back into operations and celebrate the real stars of our industry.
‘Pioneering’, ‘breaking new frontiers’, ‘pushing boundaries’ – these are just some of the phrases which have become synonymous with the oil and gas industry over the years. They represent excitement, adventure and discovering the unknown, things that every single one of us find thrilling and want to be a part of. It’s human nature.
Exploration has been the glamorous side of our industry. Going deeper, reaching further and being the first to achieve something garners glory, global headlines and earns you a place in the Oil and Gas Hall of Fame.
We live in an X Factor society and people want to get the big hits on new fields and have their turn in the spotlight. But this isn’t just what keeps the industry going. Exploration and developments cost money, money spent to generate value, but that cash has to be generated from somewhere. And if ever there was a time that the sector needed to focus more on the generating cash it’s now. This is where operations plays its part. A part it has always played, keeping the industry fed with cash to drill those wells and build those developments.
We are facing some challenging times ahead. To keep the home fires burning and ensure we are best placed to respond when the upturn happens, the industry needs to accept that while it might not be glamorous, doing the everyday operational activity - and doing it well - is what’s needed.
The reality of our industry is you have a few years of exploration and front-end hullaballoo and headlines, followed by 30 years of the unglamorous hard work of extraction activity. Equate that to a few years of spending money versus the 30 years of making it.
We need to put the sexy back into operations and start celebrating the real stars of the oil industry. The boys and girls that keep the cash coming in. It’s time to make generating cash, not just spending it, sexy.