However, there are still lessons to be learned in this characteristically low-margin space, and overseas operations represent a key learning opportunity, according to panelists from Baker Hughes, XTO Energy, Statoil and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., who spoke at the annual Women’s Global Leadership Conference this week.
Speaking from the operational side, Andrée Griffin, XTO’s V.P. of geology and geophysics, said the relatively low margins many unconventional project teams operate within mean that groups must remain focused on integration. When there is less room for error, and returns are not guaranteed, the ability for groups to work efficiently gives them the power to test out new ideas, and receive feedback in a faster, more streamlined way, so that knowledge is constantly being returned to the team. In the end, Griffin said, teams are often able to improve their profit margin by working more efficiently, and keeping an eye on lowering costs. This model of operating is being honed in U.S. projects, but can be readily applied to plays around the world.
On the other end of the spectrum, Veronica Roa, V.P. of Onshore, Land, for Statoil, shared how her company, coming from overseas, entered the U.S. onshore market without much organizational structure. The company’s entrance into the Marcellus shale a few years ago meant that it would need to undertake a huge learning journey, in order to stay competitive in a space where the other operators present already had years of experience in the area. After gleaning some important lessons from Chesapeake, from which Statoil acquired its shale acreage, the company was slowly gathering the knowledge base and resources it would need to position itself as an operator, later.
By 2010, said Roa, Statoil had completed an acquisition alongside Talisman Energy, giving the company the right to operate within three years, a right which could be applied to half of the recently-acquired asset. Through a deliberate transition process with Talisman, Statoil continued to learn from its partner about an area to which it was still very new. With the acquisition of Brigham Exploration in 2011, Statoil gained personnel and experience in Williston, N.D., and Austin, Texas, which bolstered the company’s presence as a shale player. Today, said Roa, Statoil’s onshore organization has grown from three to 300 people, and is poised to support ongoing unconventional projects around the world, especially in Australia. As of September 2013, Statoil began operation on its JV with PetroFrontier, taking the lessons it learned from its U.S. experiences to yet another new focus area.
Source: World Oil
Published: December 9, 2022