BP Energy Statistical Review 2017

Last Tuesday, 13 June 2017 I had an opportunity to attend the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017 launching in BP office in London. I am always interested in reading either BP’s energy outlook or statistical review every year, merely based on my curiosity on how the big fossil fuel players see their business in the future. Compared to a neutral organization like Bloomberg or International Energy Agency, there are some distinct points on big energy* companies’ energy outlook seeing the market share of fossil fuel in the future. They tend to overlook the share of fossil fuel in the future primary energy supply, prefer to underestimate the growth of renewable and alternative energy source other than fossil fuel. Starting from the fact that nobody can predict the future with their outlook, the move makes very sensible motives of the big energy company to favor the optimism of big fossil fuel share since that is the value of their business. The outlook might ensure their stakeholders that everything in the business is still good at least until next twenty years, as most outlook now predict the condition in 2040.

*Now the big oil companies tend to call themselves by energy company in order to remove the trademark of fossil fuel producer, even though the majority of their portfolio is still in oil and gas industry.

The opening speech was done by Lamar McKay, one of BP Deputy Group Chief Executive. He emphasized on the declining coal usage in power industry, the stagnation of carbon emission, and the strategy to achieve the emission commitment as declared in COP20 at Paris. Shortly, he also mentioned briefly about BP’s strategy on surviving the energy industry by altering their upstream investment in the gas field and strengthening their presence in the downstream industry as lube producers. Especially, he mentioned about six from seven major projects in upstream sector are gas field drilling to justify their strategy on prioritizing gas-related investment. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel compared to the others, especially coal as it emits around two times carbon than natural gas. Most people believed that natural gas is the bridge fuel for the transition from fossil fuel dominated power sector into the renewable energy powered.

The main talk was delivered by Spencer Dale, the chief economist of BP. Two main points that he emphasised were the short run adjustment and long run transition of world energy. Some issues in energy that he talked about are the resilience of tight oil that play an important part in the oil market and the unwillingness of OPEC to cut production in November 2014 when oil price started to crash. OPEC’s power to handle the market crash seemed unapparent, so the result of the event was the permanent shock and the long-term structural imbalance of the oil market. OPEC can do temporary adjustment to the stock of oil in order to stabilize the market. But no one knows what will be the stability price of oil in the next 5 or 10 years.

Natural gas, despite the expected prospect as new fuel to replace coal in power generation showed positive but slow growth. The number of gas trade through long-term contract decreased, as more short-term and small size contract became more prevalent. Added by prospect of LNG and USA shale gas capacity, gas market is expected to grow more competitive where LNG might plays an important part.

Renewables will only contributing up to 4% of primary energy supply despite its unexpected fast growth in power generation sectors due to falling cost of solar and wind energy. However, the variability of renewable power still very dependable on weather condition in the location which makes it less reliable to provide big share in the power supply. There was a question during the Q&A session that argued that the lack of renewable growth is in implication of not high enough carbon tax. It is still debatable about renewables, about what can drive more renewables penetrating the energy market. Spencer opined that price will be the deciding factor, and the way you drive the prices are numerous. However, which one will be effective is still debatable.

It was such a valuable experience for me, being the students amongst all professional with suits from a different background. Some are market analyst and trader, some are consultants, and some come from academics. The presence of fossil fuel industry is unexpectedly still very prominent in the energy industry, hence I am curious and excited for the energy industry transition that may happen in the near future.

What I learned from working in an oil and gas service company

I used to dream about working in an oil and gas company during college years. Firstly, oil and gas industry statistically gives the highest amount of salary for fresh graduate engineers. Secondly, oil and gas company offers enticing employee training program that mostly overseas. Lastly, I thought that I can apply my knowledge gained from engineering course into the real industry. In conclusion, oil and gas offers a very competitive package and growth stimulating yet challenging work environment. A dream job for almost all engineering students.

Joining in ‘not so good’ time for the industry

I joined a renowned oil and gas service company. It is said as a second biggest service company in the world, as known as the Reds. The Reds once tried to merged with a fellow American oil service company, but in 2016 the merger plan fell through. You may guess which company I am talking about.

It was kind of sad on my early year there. November 2014 should be commemorate as my first month, but more remembered as the month when oil price stumbled. The downward trends continued further until oil price reaching the lowest in 20 years, followed by slowdown in the industry that leads to mass lay-offs. I consider myself lucky to enter the industry right before it stumbled. I get to know much about the industry which I know nothing about before. What a lucky coincidence… What an unfortunate scenario…

What salary can get you

People works for a myriad of purposes. Some works so they can eat for the day, while the others works to fulfill their lifestyle. As a young adult who just entered the real life, those are the things I can observed on.

I was excited when earning my first salary. The excitement then continue to reappear once a month on payment day. Truthfully, it was the only things that keep me doing my job. Working in a drilling rig is harsh. Remote area, high working hour, laborous works, high social pressure, high client pressure are several hardships of working in the drilling field. Beyond that, the compensation payment in oil and gas service company is rewarding. Uncle Ben once said that with great salary comes great responsibility. That is why salary sometimes said as a compensation benefit, meaning to compensate all of your hardship you’ve endured on that month. In the oil and gas service industry, you must prepared to sacrifice some of your life including your time with your family.

I met a lot of people. Some had a price tag of $911 a day, where others labouring to earn $400 a month. Some people have to climb the career stairs by drudging in the rig floor, flexing their body muscle connecting drill pipes for 5 years so they can be a driller or toolpusher. Some people by their privilege does not need to pass through the labouring and physical works. They are the engineers who graduate from university, I belong to this group.

I saw the difference between the $911 a day and $ 500 a month man, their lifestyle. Apart from the lifestyle they pursue, there was nothing significant. I notice most man pursue their lifestyle based on their salary. Higher salary means more sumptuous lifestlye. The 500 dollars man are living modestly with proper life standard. They satisfied with their life. In the contrary, 911 dollars man tend to live happier but with great dissatisfaction. In a rare case, I found some of them did not really enjoy the life. They keep chasing more money to get, no matter how much they already had. Surely he can live a humble life with the money, but it is not the usual case.

I used to think that having much money will lead to happiness, but now it seems to be invalid. Our satisfaction of life merely based on how high we set our lifestyle.

* Thank you for all people I met on the rig site, I learned much about life from you guys.

It was such a small world, the oil and gas industry

Oil and gas industry is small, workers have very specific skills here. Turn over rate is high in the industry, so you may meet your ex co-workers in other company in the future. It is important to keep good relations with all people in such a small industry. I am not an amiable people, it is difficult for me to engage with new people. However in the industry, I was forced to meet and working together with new people. Some of them were hard to handle with, but fortunately I met more good people back there. Works with an annoying and bossy person is such a pain in the ass, because our work environment is very small and restricted. Becoming a nice co-worker is very important in oil service company. We have enough stress from the environment, we want no more addition of irritating co-worker. At least be nice in the work site even if you cannot be nice outside works.

The conclusions

Working in oil and gas service company is very demanding, that is why they pay you hefty salary. I believe salary will equal to your compensation you deserve on the job. If you decide to starting a career in the industry, you have to be ready to survive in a volatile and specific industry. On a bad business time, many laid-off employee have struggled to get a job. When the demand of oil and gas decreasing, the demand of oil service workers also diminshed. That means oil service workers more likely to be affected badly than oil company employees.

For fresh graduate engineer pursuing the career in the job because of the high salary and expecting an easy job, I advise you to reconsider your choice. Please do not see a career merely based on how much it pays you. The job is very demanding, both physically and mentally. Mostly you may miss important dates for your family and countless holidays. On the other side, you have unlimited freedom on your days off.

 

Many thanks for my former employer for such a worthful experience for 1 year and 8 months. For all my work colleagues and friends, I wish you all good luck and prosperity. May we see in other opportunity in the future. 

Best regards,

 

Disclaimer:

For anyone who may perceived my post as a discouraging one, I do not intent to discourage anyone to pursue the career in oil service company. I am writing truthfully as an ex oil service worker. I strongly encourage anyone who fits in the work ethics and lifestyle of oil service worker to pursue the career in the industry. 

CHEVRON UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM 2013

I am a participant of Chevron Pacific Indonesia University Partnership Program 2013. Chevron Pacific Indonesia or CPI are one of the biggest Oil Production Sharing Contract in Indonesia. They manage big oil and gas blocks in Indonesia, such as Riau and East Kalimantan. Chevron also manage geothermal plant in West Java, the Salak and Daradjat field. Chevron University Partnership Program is one of their CSR program to foster university student participation on internship program in oil and gas company. On 2013, it was exclusive only for ITB and UGM students. Hope the program continue to give equal opportunity for all university in Indonesia.

In short, I applied for Facility Engineer Intern and got accepted as one of participant. First is administration selection, followed by psychology and aptitude test. If you passed, you will invited to panel interview section. Medical check up invitation will arrive if you pass the interview section. Induction day was held for all participants before assigned to specified operations. As for me, I was assigned to Sumatera Operation where the Duri and Minas oil field are existed.

Power Generation and Transmission Department

As a Facility Engineer Intern in Power Generation and Transmission Department, I was supervised by a lead mechanical engineer and a reliability mechanical engineer. Bang Albert Marihot was a lead mechanical engineer at that time, he had more than ten years experience in facility engineering field as he worked in Freeport (copper and gold mining company) and Indonesia Power (power plant) before. Pak Hendra Oktawira was a new reliability engineer, had experienced many years as reliability engineer at a petrochemical company.

The responsibility of PGT department is to supply and sustain electricity power for all Sumatera operation. That is including drilling and residence facility. If the power goes out, that means a reduced PGT’s key performance index. The department mostly habitated by electricity power engineers, project engineers, and mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineers mainly acted as reliability engineer of all equipments involved in power generation, transimssion and distribution process. I was assigned on the implementaion of Risk Based Inspection method on the transmission and distribution equipment. The equipment is steam turbine, gas turbine, heat exchanger power pole.

Power Pole

Electric Power Pole

Do not mind the electric things appear above, even at that time I did not really understand about the how electricity in power pole works. As a mechanical reliability engineer, our task is to maintain the mechanical integrity of the pole that sustain all electrical equipments. The pole sustain all mechanical loads from the weight of equipment and external load from wind forces. One pole falling down could cause disruption of the transmission of electric power for the operation, that means NPT that cause loss of money. Loss of money = blamed employee.

The unusual things done here are the Risk Based Inspection applied for the power pole equipment. RBI is usually applied for pressurized oil and gas equipment with high risk consequences. However, we applied the RBI methodology to the maintenance process of power pole. As you know before that RBI is documented in American Petroleum Institute (API) 580 and 581. They are standard which widely used for oil and gas equipment throughtout the industry. In RBI, we assigned each equipment a risk value and then group them based on their risk level. Each risk level might need different mitigation and maintenance effort. Risk defined as probability of failure (PoF) times the consequence of failure (CoF). In a more simple way, we sometimes use risk matrix to define the risk value. There is 3×3 matrix, 4×4 matrix, or 5×5 matrix which more complex. There may be an equipment that has very low probability of failure but might cause disastrous consequence when failure happen. RBI tried to accomodate the effects of both probability and consequence to make a proper preventive maintenance process. As for example: power pole in several Chevron areas were more susceptible to corrosion due to high H2S gas in the enviroment will raise the PoF. If we compare the poles to other in lower corrosion level area, those poles should be assigned a higher risk level so the maintenance treatment will be different. They might need extra thermal, NDT, or thickness inpsection more frequently than the lower risk one. That sums up my works in the internship period. Mostly I learned how maintenance engineer works. I sometimes attended meeting with the inspection vendor, weekly meeting with director, presenting my assessment and giving recommendation. I also gain knowledge of electricity generation process with their transmission and generations equipments.

Such a wonderful experience for a summer internship as an Facility Engineer! *Of course the money was also very good for a college student.

UPP 2013 Alumni – Facility Engineer Intern – SMO Area