In The Spotlight

Meet the people behind the SPE Aberdeen section.

In The Spotlight

Meet the people behind the SPE Aberdeen section.

by david

Ian_Phillips_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Look closely at the company you are joining – sometimes all is not how it seems.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Networking, networking and networking – plus a liberal sprinkle of keeping up to date technically.

Best Achievement so far?

Having the bottle to join three others and launch a new company (CO2DeepStore – a climate change business that was ahead of its time).

What did you want to be when you were younger?

An architect – but my Dad persuaded me to do civil engineering as there were many more successful and well paid civil engineers (unfortunately I loved the degree but hated being a civil engineer).

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

Biggest one was earning my M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from Heriot Watt. Close second was earning my MBA from the Open University.

Anything you would do differently?

Strike a better work-life balance – our industry makes some pretty stiff demands on people and their relationships.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Undoubtedly my Dad – who taught me to be hungry to know about our world.

Also Jacob Bronowski, who present a TV series called “The Ascent of Man” which fired my interest in how the people tick.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Continued (but very selective) involvement in our great industry – plus having my health so I can enjoy hill walking and travelling and share in my sons success.

What would your autobiography be called?

“The View from Up Here” (I’m 6ft 7ins tall!!)

What is the best way to motivate others?

Set clear and fair expectations – then let them get on with it – making sure you provide enough support to help them succeed – but to know that they did it.

Your favourite stress-buster?

A glass of cold white wine and a perfectly cooked steak.

What’s your dream job?

My current one – a mix of leading an amazingly effective team, moving in uncharted territory, supporting exciting technology and helping people create companies.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Anywhere with warmth and some history to go exploring.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Last Tango in Halifax (TV series) – for its brilliant acting and the twists in the plot.

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

I’m going to cheat a bit here – I’d like to be David Attenborough – finding, recording and showing people the wonders of our planet.

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

To visit a few really remote places – Greenland, Galapagos Islands, The Andes.

Sabeil_Ahmed_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

To succeed in business, you must understand and value people.

  • Keep excelling in whatever job you do and learn as much as possible from your peers and managers.
  • Knowledge is power!
  • And finally, don’t wait for a football injury to join SPE, start volunteering early it will give you all round development

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Home aka Gods own country aka Kerala

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Obviously free food (Check out SPE YP Events!), great networking opportunities and knowledge sharing. It also provides a platform to develop other skills, over the years it helped me enhance my event management, public speaking and the role of treasurer has helped expand my financial skills.

Best Achievement so far?

  • Leading & organizing a keynote session on Careers in Offshore Europe 2015 which included the CEO of my company, the SPE President and other thought leaders.

It took 6 months of organizing but it was absolutely worth the effort.

  • Successfully helping run Simplified Series for SPE YP’s over the last few years.

Who has been your greatest influence?

I try to learn from everybody, but my parents have been the greatest influence

What would your autobiography be called?

Work in Progress

What is the best way to motivate others?

Remind them of their strengths and remind them that everyone has doubt and fears. The more you fail, the more the chances of success just like all the greats in history.

Your favourite stress-buster?

It’s either gym or a big packet of crisps , mostly gym!

What’s your dream job?

A job where I can contribute directly to the growth of the company and the company can help to grow my career. And yes, I will not say no to a Ferrari if the company offers.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Reading ‘Originals’ by Adam Grant and ‘Companions of the Prophet’ by Abdul Wahid Hamid

Diane_Wood_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Do not be afraid to try something new – it may or may  not work out but at least you will have tried. Don’t give up as you can turn that corner and find something different is there waiting to be grasped with both hands. Never be afraid to ask because“if you don’t ask you don’t get”.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

The opportunities to volunteer on some fabulous projects with the schools or universities. The networking with your peer group is amazing, learning new skills being part of a committee, attending brilliant conferences and events, that are there, because our volunteers are passionate about making it happen.

Best Achievement so far?

On a personal level that would be having my son Alex, then workwise organising an event that was run in four cities on consecutive days with eminent forensic scientists talking to the public about forensic science as part of National Science Week – that was such fun but hard work that paid off.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A vet, an artist with Disney (I still love to draw) or a lorry driver – such opposite extremes.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

Having the belief in myself to move from a science career to working for myself and making a good job of looking after the various clients that I gained – learning it’s all about trust in yourself and in others who believe you can do it.

Anything you would do differently?

Probably not – I am very lucky and privileged to get to do what I do and I think I needed to learn from the first part of my career to be able to believe that anything is possible if you try hard enough.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Probably my dad – who showed me that hard work and sheer determination will open doors, to have a great network of contacts and that always to be a good person. I remember being to Offshore Europe in the early days and going around all the stands with my dad – talking to his colleagues and contacts and now some of my contacts are sons and daughters of his network.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Walking on beaches surrounded by a pack of golden retrievers – heaven!

What would your autobiography be called?

One woman, a houseful of goldens and the benefits of owning a Dyson!

What is the best way to motivate others?

Show people that you would never ask them to do something that you would never do yourself, always smile – be positive and above all always be kind.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Walking my dog by the sea and listening to the crash of the waves.

What’s your dream job?

I did want to be a pilot at one point.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

I love doing USA road trips or travelling around France.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Reading Steve Tolz – A fraction of a whole and I am totally addicted to NCIS.

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Oh – I would be Cameron Diaz in Charlies Angels – or Lara Croft in Tomb Raider – some sort of action character.

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

Sitting my motorcycle test, going on the trans-Siberian train journey, travelling through India by train, and so much more.

Ritika Pawar_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

My dear young Ritika,

  • You are the creative force of your life; hence believe in yourself and your decisions.
  • ‘’Smiling wins more friends than frowning’’- key to the success in life.
  • Being rich is not having money but having enough time to do what you love.

A little more experienced Ritika Pawar

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

I still have to explore various parts of the world but as of now my favourite is Paris. I am in love with the city; I can spend hours in front of Eifel Tower admiring its beauty.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Networking, enhancing technical knowledge and volunteering opportunities. Moreover you can boast about it on your CV and during interviews. Having SPE membership is like an investment for your next big job.

Best Achievement so far?

  • Representing UK during The World Petroleum Congress (WPC) held in Doha, Qatar, 2011. I was amongst the top 10 students representing UK and was nominated by Energy Institute, London UK.
  • 2015 Young Professional SPE Aberdeen award for Contribution to SPE

Who has been your greatest influence?

Almost all successful people inspire me, in fact I get inspired everyday as there is something to learn from everyone. Every single day is a school day.

However I believe that our early years of life are the foundation for the character that define us and hence my greatest influence are my parents.

What would your autobiography be called?

SPIRIT OF THE BUTTERFLY “Ability to transform with grace and finding joy in life’’

What is the best way to motivate others?

I get motivated by reading people’s success stories. Hence I believe the best way to motivate others is to ‘’tell a story’’- it doesn’t tell others what to do but engages people’s imagination and emotions. It shows people what they’re capable of becoming or of doing.

Your favourite stress-buster?

‘’Dance’’ (Dance the stress out); a cup of green tea and a sweet indulgence works wonders for me.

What’s your dream job?

I dream of being at a position where I can motivate others. The culture and the people you’ll work with is what really matters and hence a positive environment and team members would be bliss.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

TV series: Just finished My Kitchen Rules- Australia season 7; I love food – eating, cooking, talking about it and watching it on television.

Reading: ‘’The Art of War’’, Book by Sun Tzu; his philosophy on how to be a great leader and ensure you win in work, management, and life is remarkable.

DLiddle_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Be yourself and follow your instincts. Do not be a ‘yes’ person, but be professional – always.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Engagement with my peers and the younger generation, and constantly learning.

Best Achievement so far?

Becoming a dad, and then becoming a grandad.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A doctor! (what went wrong?!)

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

Engineering degree, engineer, project management, senior management, supplemented with MBA degree in later life.

Anything you would do differently?

Probably lots! But never have regrets and learn from your decisions and experiences.

Who has been your greatest influence?

My great grandmother, she once said, “Advice is only for them that will take it”. Otherwise I admired John Harvey Jones, business guru and trouble-shooter.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

I am doing it! Spending time in my workshop cabinet making, carving, and turning wood. Plus, spending time with my grandchildren … and giving back to SPE!

What would your autobiography be called?

“Quietly getting on with the job”

What is the best way to motivate others?

Lead by example.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Just being overawed by the Scottish Highlands. Failing that watching a rubbish action film, e.g. Rambo, Expendables, Red, or Bourne (maybe not so rubbish).

What’s your dream job?

Having the skills and capability to run an exclusive furniture cabinetmaking business.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Malaysia; such friendly people and in particular Langkawi and dinner on the beach. However, there’s no place like the UK for exploring lots of world class scenery, culture, and heritage.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Currently reading crime thriller books by L J Ross about the exploits of DCI Ryan in Northumbria; just finished reading her fourth book, “Angel”. To be recommended, Northumbria’s answer to Rebus.

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Probably Bruce Willis in Die Hard films; I certainly don’t have the action ability but through sheer dogged persistence he always gets the job done. Otherwise Inspector Gadget, he’s always coming up with something new!

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

I want to finish carving my first real large rocking horse – that would be an achievement for me. I have also had a hankering to see the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon.

Kenny McAllister_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

You can do anything but you can’t do everything. I’m still trying to learn this lesson.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

The opportunity to meet stimulating people and learn from them through formal events and through building networks both within and outside your immediate area of expertise.

Best Achievement so far?

In my professional life I’m most proud of being part of the team that commercialised fibre optic downhole measurement in the oil industry. It was a genuine game changing technology and setting up and running the Middle East operations for a technology spun out of a UK University was a time of huge learning for me. I’m still applying those lessons today.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Like most boys of my generation I wanted to be a footballer. By the time I was University age I wanted to be a research scientist. I worked in R&D for five years and realised that the application and commercialisation of technology was closer to my heart than pure research. My hero was James Watt rather than Stephen Hawkings.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

The defining steps have been coming out of R&D in electronic printing technology after five years to join the Oil & Gas; Moving to Oman to set up Sensa Middle East, moving out of a large service company to work in a small technology company again.

Anything you would do differently?

Loads! However you have to take decisions with the information you have at the time, the learning comes when you find the success and challenges that follow from the decisions. In life the lesson comes after the exam so better get on and do the best you can.

Who has been your greatest influence?

James Watt is my professional hero. Taking an existing technology, making a crucial improvement and commercialising it round the world. What a story!

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Lots of travel and lots of music

What would your autobiography be called?

What’s Next?

What is the best way to motivate others?

Share your passion, understand theirs and align the two.

Your favourite stress-buster?

I’m a keen musician and there is nothing like turning it up to 11 to blow away the stress of the day.

What’s your dream job?

My “dream” job would be a professional musician. However I’m much better suited to what I do now and I’m lucky that I love what I do.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Somewhere I haven’t been before. My favourite past holidays have included Venice, Rome, Shetland and camping on the Oman coast.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Books: Anger is an Energy By John (Rotten) Lyndon , Getting Things Done by David Allen, Mister Roberts by Alexei Sayle

TV: Any Drama by Sally Wainwright

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Jason Bourne- he’s always one step ahead, failing that Hong Kong Phooey.

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

See my kids through University and launched on the world. Travel round all the European Capitals, visit New York and Boston and visit the Fender Guitar Factory in California. Cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End. There is a long list but see question 1!

Wonuola_Scott

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Never get complacent. Be current. Strive for excellence. Keep pushing the boundaries of your comfort zones. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Build professional networks beyond the ambits of your workplace, develop technical proficiency in virtually every area of petroleum engineering, volunteering opportunities – helps you grow and develop soft skills, enrich your CV and gain recognition for giving your time.

Best Achievement so far?

Getting nominated for the SPE regional award for Young Member Outstanding Service.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A pilot…we all wanted this one didn’t we?

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Leonard Nimoy

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Honolulu!

Who has been your greatest influence?

A number of people have had a great influence on me professionally, but one noteworthy of mention is Peter Rushmore, MD of Rushmore Reviews (retired), whose life story, career tips and leadership style motivated me to great feats.

What is the best way to motivate others?

The first thing is to know what motivates the person, as this can be different for different people. Armed with this information, next thing is to act on it, and be patient to see the results! For some people this might just be kind words of encouragement, for others it might be just watching you do what you say.

Your favourite stress buster?

Listening to some traditional jazz, or just a wee drive in the Scottish countryside does it for me.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell; Executive Presence by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Elliot_Kinch_resized

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Concentration is key, I was always the child who looked out of the window (distracted), wishing I was able to start on the career path as soon as possible. Ensure you get the most out of your secondary schooling, this will give you so many more opportunities and options on a career or progressing to a further vocational or academic education.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

The benefits which can be obtained as a member of the SPE, are to gain knowledge, network with industry like-minded individuals and mentor the next generation to inherit this great industry. Volunteering for SPE is a great way to give back, to an industry which has very much to give.

Best Achievement so far?

Obviously my best personal achievement would be my family, wife and 2 boys, and my best career achievement is graduating with an MSc in Oil and Gas Enterprise Management in November 2011; this was after working in the oil and gas service sector for 17 years. I wanted to take a different direction with my career and as I hadn’t obtained an undergraduate degree undertaking an MSc was a major challenge but a very rewarding one.

Anything you would do differently?

Not really but I probably would have concentrated more on the school subjects I had not much interest in, this would have offered me more options when leaving. The big question is does an individual really know what he/she would like to do career-wise at the age of 16 – 18 years old??

Who has been your greatest influence?

As a family ingrained in the oil and gas sector I followed my father in to the industry, I’m now in my 23rd year. My father was a big influence in my career choice to join the industry; I left school at the age of 16 on a Thursday and started a workshop apprenticeship the following Tuesday, out of the frying pan in to the fire and right on the bottom rung of the ladder. But I think that is what I enjoyed the best learning the trade, earning some money and progressing through the ranks. That is what I gave my father great respect for, allowing me my first opportunity with plenty of life challenges.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Retirement, what’s that? It hasn’t crossed my mind as it is obviously a long way, away. I will always be dabbling with something, but too early to say what but it would certainly involve my family, my wife and 2 boys.

What is the best way to motivate others?

Motivating others is best achieved with listening, respect and encouragement; the more you listen the better you can motivate others to achieve their objectives. Respect the views and opinions of the person to help them attain their goals. The more encouragement offered hopefully the better the outcome; everyone likes to feel that they have achieved their ultimate goal and some, though not all, like some sort of acknowledgement.

Your favourite stress-buster?

I believe my best stress-buster is exercise and hobbies, I’m a keen cyclist, swimmer, and skier. I also like a good competition, as it keeps a sharp mind, whether it is Go-karting or Clay Pigeon shooting.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

My wife bought me a Sonos system for my birthday, so I have been enjoying the clarity of my favourite bands since installing this unit in my living room, the best way to listen to it is VERY LOUD!!

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

As a big fan of James Bond, I would like to the one on the villains. The franchise has gone through a big transition from the Sean Connery era… but I would have to have a unique name and world domination as my objective.

Oludare_II

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Not to let no fear hold me down, take more risks, learn and acquire more skills and to have chosen a career mentor much earlier.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

It offers me a great platform to network with industry professionals (senior, young professionals and students) sharing information, knowledge and values for continuous professional development. Also, the opportunity to give back to the society through community support and volunteering activities as well as inspiring and mentoring the younger generation by promoting the petroleum industry to schools.

Best Achievement so far?

Giving back to the local community and wider society through volunteering, mentoring and inspiring the younger generation using SPE volunteering platform.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

An Astrophysicist, Geologist, Civil Engineer/Architect and a Marine (military).

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

Choosing and learning from my career mentor and having the opportunity to be part of teams that successfully executed technically challenging projects in different oil and gas fields across the world.

Anything you would do differently?

Develop the habit of going to bed early and getting good sleep and taking more time out to socialise more.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Difficult to pick one, a number of people have positively influenced me a great deal through their own unique way, experiences and life values.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

I’m really not thinking about it now maybe because I have still got a long way or years to go. I’d probably be more focused on staying fit and healthy and carry on working for as long as I’m blessed to.

What would your autobiography be called?

‘Don’t Stop Believing’

What is the best way to motivate others?

Live and be the best example they can learn from or be inspired by. Like a training instructor, you have to live, look and stay fit to motivate or encourage others to be or do same.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Out for a walk on the beach preferably at sunset when the tides are calmer with my headphones and music (RnB or soft hip hop) or a drive to the countryside away from the busy city/town… simplicity does it for me!

What’s your dream job?

Working as a technical consultant (Petroleum/Reservoir Eng.) providing subsurface solutions to the global petroleum industry and providing teaching/research and technical trainings to academic institutions.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

I haven’t toured the whole world yet, but based on where I have been, Gozo Island in Malta is still my favourite place.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

My Bible, TED talks, music (Sade Adu, Anita Baker, Barry White, Adele….) and sports – football, snooker and tennis.

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Denzel Washington – Man on Fire.

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

I would love to have toured the whole continents of the world by the time I’m 50 and become a ‘Travel/Tour Guide’ to my kids and grand kids.

Sylvester_Ofogba_resizedWhat career advice would you give your younger self?

Learn as much as you can; take on job roles and opportunities; no experience or knowledge is irrelevant

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Being part of a global community of people with common interests which creates vast networking opportunities. Another benefit is volunteering opportunities which broaden your social and technical skills outside your regular job.

Best Achievement so far?

Career wise, being part of the team that set a new drilling performance record for a field in the Middle East. SPE wise, being able to support students through involvement with the SD Committee.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

An aeronautical engineer, an architect, a graphics artist for Walt Disney – I guess they are all fused into what I am now.

Who has been your greatest influence?

My senior brother who is also an engineer. His wisdom and calm simplistic approach to problem solving, irrespective of pressure, helped shape my attitude to handling things.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Not giving it much thought… but I would expect a perfect retirement will be accomplishing all my life goals and then exiting the earth

What would your autobiography be called?

“A Positive Approach to Life”

What is the best way to motivate others – Tell your story, encourage them, highlight their value and stand by them (if and when necessary).

Your favourite stress-buster?

Listening to music (Gospel, Classical, Instrumentals). It still amazes me how quickly it calms my nerves!

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Cambrils (South of Barcelona), Spain

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Book of Proverbs (The Bible), watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (Season 3)

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Phil Coulsen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) – always looking out for the best in people.

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

See my kids grow and graduate through university, visit South America and Australia.

Steve_Cromar_resizedbWhat career advice would you give your younger self?

Remain as flexible as possible and get ready for change through your career. Be ready when the opportunities arise and grab them. You will fail at some but be successful at most.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Membership means I can share my knowledge and experience with other engineers outside of a professional of competitive environment. I have a chance to give something back to the engineering community in a truly altruistic fashion.

Best Achievement so far?

My chairing of the team who became the Wells expect committee of IOGP and the team who published ISO 17969, which is an international standard on competency of well operations personnel to reduce the risk of well control events.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

An engineer like James Watt and to get out of the shipyards of the Clyde like Billy Connolly.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

My apprenticeship, Redundancy, Moving out of Greenock and going to Uni, joining the oil industry, and moving to Aberdeen, staying aware of the industry trends, joining ARCO British, Redundancy, joining Conoco UK, Chief Engineer for well ops, Redundancy and early retirement.

Anything you would do differently?

Nothing, including being made redundant 3 times in my career, which forced me to change and find a new comfort zone.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Each time I have had a job, I have found a peer who has been able to teach and mentor me. ( some of them did not realise they were doing this) each one has influenced me in some way.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

What I am doing now . — Good health, Enough money to live on from my pension, and able to give something back to the engineering community, spend time with my grandchildren and family, have a classic car or three to restore and drive when the sun shines, 2 holidays per year.

What would your autobiography be called?

Around the World on an Expense Account

What is the best way to motivate others?

Show them that they are going to get something out of the deal. Different people want different things however, eg, recognition, respect, being treated on a professional level, friendship and social contact and acceptance, a free lunch.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Tai Chi or restoring an old bit of engineering in a cold garage listening to progressive rock.

What’s your dream job?

Early retirement is a dream job and what I do now, but my previous position was also a dream job, as was the one before. Maybe I make myself and each job fit as I go through my life by remaining adaptable and looking on the good side and ignoring the down side.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Japan

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

A Tai Chi manual, Pink Floyd, BBC channel 4

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Rick Stein the chef

Whats’ on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

See my children and grandchildren through a good education and into a good career. Go round the world, including Hawaii and New Zealand. Drive a classic Jaguar to Monte Carlo and round the Italian lakes.

tina-hunterWhat career advice would you give your younger self?

Gain as much experience as you can and take every opportunity. It may mean getting up early and doing things you don’t want to do, but any experience is good experience.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

There are three things that are fantastic about being part of SPE:

  1. the events. I try to go to them, and don’t always get there, but the slides and the information that comes from them is priceless. I have learnt so much, and without SPE I would not be able to bridge the law-science-engineering divide anywhere near as well.
  2. sense of belonging. This is a network of people who are interested in what I am interested in, and are from all parts – government, industry and academia. I can’t think of any other organisation that brings people together like that.
  3. when you come to a new city you instantly have people to connect with by attending chapter events.

Best Achievement so far?

Being skilled enough to be employed at University of Aberdeen, and then gaining my professorship.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A veterinary surgeon. And I would have been if my maths, chemistry and physics skills were up to it!

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

Trained as a marine geologist/sedimentologist, but a rig injury meant no more field work. So then became a librarian (Was a bit too noisy for that, and its really boring), so then I went back and did law, and a PhD in law/field development at the University of Bergen, and have worked as an academic for the last 12 years.

Anything you would do differently?

Break less bones. Other than that, I have really loved the diverse background and the changes in career. It has been difficult in starting again, but worth it. I probably should have spent less time as a librarian. 10 years was more than enough.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Probably not a who, but a what? History. If we look back over what we have done, whether it be extracting petroleum, wars, etc, we can usually see that we have done it before, and if we learn, we can avoid the same mistakes. By looking into the history, and the experiences of others, we can learn so much.

As for a person – Joseph Stalin. Vicious brute, but amazing that he could set a country on a path of collectivisation, and stick to it, and still have the vast majority of the population (except for the ones in gulags) love you for it .

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Bothy in the Highlands, walking the hills, and writing papers about petroleum.

What would your autobiography be called?

‘Don’t jump onto the deck of an oil rig from a helicopter, and other stories of stupidity and disaster’.

What is the best way to motivate others?

Lead by example, give them the confidence to do the job by imparting the necessary skills and information, and support best endeavours.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Walking in the highlands with Hamish my stupid but adorable chocolate Labrador, who is the size of a small pony, yet only the brain capacity of a chicken.

What’s your dream job?

Professor of Law at the University of Aberdeen, travelling the world teaching and researching – living the dream!

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Russia. Next trip is the Trans –Siberian Railway.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Occupied. It is a Norwegian show that is about Norway turning off petroleum because of climate change, and the Russians ‘coming to help’ put it back on stream and staying. Helps me to maintain my Norwegian language skills, and proves how rubbish my Russian is.

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Elmer Fudd

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

Professionally, would love to do petroleum engineering

Personally, lots of travel things. Sleep in a monastery, drive the R504 Kolyma Highway (the Road of Bones) from Yakutsk to Magadan in Russia, and also to learn to speak Russian fluently.

Irina Krylova SPE profileWhat career advice would you give your younger self?

Spend as much time in the field learning the nuts and bolts before moving to the office-based role. Later on, this experience will be priceless as it opens many doors and also because one can’t hide incompetence for very long!

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

Undoubtedly, networking and access to educational events.

Best Achievement so far?

Being recognised for my expertise, I got to manage a multi-million portfolio of contracts in one of the world’s biggest operators. But, as a young engineer, taking charge of wellsite operations in the desert, comes a close second.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Growing up in the Soviet Union, children aspired to be cosmonauts or ballerinas. I wanted to follow in my father’s steps and become a military commander so that one day I would be sent on a secret mission. I could have been a female Bond 007 agent!

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

My early career experience included hammering 2” pipe and cementing wells in the desert. But of course, no-one wants to do that forever, so I took the plunge into a business suit to get commercial and contractual experience. I still feel equally at home onsite or in the office.

Anything you would do differently?

My motto is “No regrets!”. Whatever the experience, there is always something to be learnt from it.

Who has been your greatest influence?

One that springs to mind is Edith Head. She did not allow her lack of formal training to hold her back from achieving what she wanted. After 25 years she had been recognised for contribution to her industry and been awarded a prestigious eight Oscars.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Being fit and sane. As the great Russian poet Pushkin said in 1833: “The Lord forbid my going mad.” I’ve seen nothing worse than when one’s mind leaves them.

What would your autobiography be called?

Don’t know what it will be called but it is gonna be a bestseller!

What is the best way to motivate others?

It’s an old saying but I always try to remember it: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I’ll copy; but involve me and I will understand.”

Your favourite stress-buster ?

Dinner at Hawksmoor followed by a jazz concert at Ronnie Scott’s. If I have no access to either, gardening until I can’t feel my back muscles.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

I can’t get tired of the Iberian peninsula, sampling it’s perfect food and wine while practicing my Spanish.

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

It has got to be Miranda Priestly, Meryl Streep’s character in Devil Wears Prada. Just imagine all that bottomless closet of shoes and bags and a steak for lunch!

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

Visit New York.

They say everyone has a book in them, so becoming a published author would be awesome.

And making wine from my own grapes.

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