1. Following your extensive training and coaching experience, what has influenced your style the most? Are there any specific techniques or inspirations?
There are arguably three sides to training: planning the course, preparing visual support, and public speaking. I find the last one essential: you have to captivate your audience, pry them away from their habits and smartphones, and take them with you on a tour to discover a new point of view. I try to learn from every great teacher I have met, especially two English lawyers that were helping me run a course some years back: their language, pose and impeccable accents were captivating and their message left a lasting imprint. I have also been shaped by the American tradition of giving more importance to transmitting a message than showing off one’s intellectual superiority, and by the use of stories, images, examples and, sometimes, irony. The dream would be to apply the Socratic method, especially through frequent exercises: that is where I’d like to head.
2. If you look back at the many trainings and courses you have led over the years, what is the common issue / weak spot among today's engineers? Is there any specific knowledge or skills they are still lacking?
I have always been impressed by their willingness to learn and their openness of mind. The majority ofs engineers in oil and gas have to deal with a bewildering array of disciplines and tap vast amounts of practical knowledge on their daily jobs, so they probably need stronger foundation skill to help them handle this weight. Risk management and statistics are particularly useful to make sense of seeming chaos, variation and noise, and help us take sound decisions. We should also cultivate scientific method so we can learn to judge about the degree of usefulness and truth in our beliefs.
3. From your perspective, what was the most interesting project you have worked on during your career? What were its biggest challenges?
That would be hard do say: I’m a compulsive seeker of challenging projects. The most recent one has been the environmental risk analysis of most oil and gas wells in France. We perfected an approach that allowed us to mine a large dataset, extract information and drive action, and the experience over the past couple of years has been proving us right. There are two more very interesting projects going on, and I'm looking forward to them bringing value to well integrity.
4. It is a well known fact that people need to continuously develop throughout their career, especially in a technical industry like oil & gas. How do you educate yourself to stay on top of the industry developments?
You need to read technical papers and books, and attend conferences. But even more than that you need to talk to people and figure out what keeps them awake at night and the daily challenges they face. You shouldn’t limit yourself to oil & gas professionals, but also listen to regulators, academia, the general public and other industries for insights and opportunities. Training courses are a fantastic occasion to share and to learn. Last but not least, I also set aside a good portion of my time to pursue new ideas and try to keep at the front of progress, instead of sitting at the back and watching the industry move forward.
5. Lastly, with the upcoming Well Intervention & Abandonment training approaching, why should our potential delegates attend and what will be their key takeaways from the training?
Abandonment is a critical time in a well’s life: risk and regulations go up just as financial returns from the intervention vanish. Budget and time constraints have become even more pressing in the current low-price environment, so the need for a thoroughly planned and flawlessly executed plug and abandonment operation is higher than ever. The course will review technology and tried and tested approaches, but first and foremost it will give you tools to understand what are the issues and what could go wrong, so you can take the right decisions, those best suited to your wells. We will also be discussing why you should start planning now so abandonment, when it comes, will be boring - and cheap.