One of the goals cherished by modern organizations is gender balance, as a proven way to enhance productivity, boost the motivation of employees and enrich the leadership pipelines of internal succession plans. The energy sector follows closely this trend, inclusive of major organizations of operations and services, especially in Oil and Gas. And in no other region of the world this is now more visible than in the Middle East, one of the most active and traditionally leading and strategic regions in the segment. This paper summarizes what factors were fundamental for the very visible blooming of the female leadership, particularly in the oil and gas sectorin the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC countries. Certainly, middle-eastern women do not account yet for a large or representative number inthe highest roles of private or National Oil Companiesof their countries, but things are rapidly changing, and the blooming is real.
A comparison of key elements considered diagnostic about the empowerment of women, like female workforce percentages, gender gap indexes, and representation of women in leadership roles in oil and gas are herein analyzed for the GCC, comparing those with figures of other regions of the World. Other indicators were included in the analysis, which proved to be key for developing women's leadership, in particular, communication strategies, empowering plans, training, active and visible endorsement of top leaders and other strategies of governmental agencies and corporations. Definitively, the Middle East, and particularly the GCC countries, in which our study is centered, have boldly address cultural issues and traditional barriers, to produce step-changes that are quickly transforming the oil and organizations in all countries of the region. A forecast of opportunities for women's leadership in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry in the future is proposed, in a story of learned best practices worth sharing.
The paper includes a summary of the standing and utilization of social media channels by main organizations in oil and gas. A frame of the current trends analyzed resulted in the identification of the organizations more successful in the utilization of these key channels, so relevant for the general audiences and the new generations. Some unexpected findingsshaped our conclusions about strategies instrumental for step-changes needed in political or cultural settings that may be challenging for boosting women's empowerment.
Young engineers and professionals from the Saudi Aramco E&P business line organized a visit in May for undergraduate students from King Fahd U. of Petroleum and Minerals to Saudi Aramco's Visualization Center. The students were first introduced to the Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center (Expec) and its functions. The introduction was followed by a short video titled "Expec, Center of Innovation." The students were then guided to the Visualization Center, where engineers Khalid Zamil, Mubarak Dossary, and Bader Harbi welcomed the visitors and illustrated to them how visualization applications are developed and used in Saudi Aramco. The objective of the visit was to expose the students to advanced technologies used in the E&P business and motivate them to consider joining E&P businesses after graduation.
These energetic and highly motivated individuals had been selected to represent their peers at the Middle East's first YEPP-led IPTC Student Education Day held in conjunction with the SPE International Petroleum Technology Conference. The event was designed to introduce these aspiring future engineers to what the oil and gas industry is like and also to show how to proceed in making that first step out of higher education and into the realm of the "real world," all from the point of view of a young professional. The students were guided by the Middle East YEPP Council, including Tony Thomas, Schlumberger; Ali Al-Muftah, Bapco; Hani Al-Khalifa, Saudi Aramco; Nael Sadek, Lufkin; Rana Rassipour, Canadian Nexen; and Razik Shaikh, Dubai Petroleum Co. The theme was "Our industry 5 years from now and what role will students play in shaping it." Feedback from both the students and the companies has been positive, and the Middle East YEPP Council hopes that this will be the first of many such events.
E&P and member of the SPE section in Oman, won the U.S. $1,500 cash grand prize for single-handedly recruiting 169 new members. Irvine-Fortescue was also the 2004 grand prize winner. "Employees in the upstream petroleum in-dustry belong in SPE. This is the best resource for technological and professional development. One of the most important factors here is the sharing of our experience and knowledge for the benefit of others," said Irvine-Fortescue.
Young industry engineers and professionals from the Asia Pacific region gathered at the Equatorial Hotel in Malacca, Malaysia, in September for a YEPP workshop with the theme "How YEPPs Can Make a Difference in the Industry." A total of 97 attendees from Malaysia, Brunei, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Kuwait attended, representing a diverse set of operating and service companies including Petronas, Shell, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Oil, Woodside, Schlumberger, PetroVietnam, Sinopec, and BJ Services. In addition, 10 students from U. Teknologi Petronas and U. Teknologi Malaysia were sponsored to attend the event. Event Cochairperson Alex Parks of RPS Energy opened the workshop and discussed its objectives. Tuan Haji Akhbar Tajuddin Wahab, Head of Southeast Asia Region for Petronas, was the first keynote speaker and presented a history of his company and its ongoing transformation from a national oil company to a multinational corporation.
The first Young Exploration and Production Professionals (YEPPs) meeting involving YEPPs from throughout the Middle East was held in November in Doha, Qatar, during the SPE International Petroleum Technology Conference. This was the first meeting where YEPPs got to meet face to face and discuss their newly formed YEPP sections and the challenges they are facing. Participants also planned an Education Day and a 2006 YEPP workshop. The YEPP meeting was attended by Ali Al-Muftah (Bapco), Hani Al-Khalifa (Saudi Aramco), Nael Sadek (Lufkin), Rana Rassipour (Canadian Nexen), and Razik Shaikh (Dubai Petroleum Co.), and it was chaired by Tony Thomas of Schlumberger. The meeting kicked off with Sadek of the Egypt Section discussing the progress made by YEPPs in Egypt and highlighting some of the obstacles such as finding time to meet regularly and getting financial support.
Young professionals from the E&P business line in Saudi Aramco worked with the company's E&P Continuing Excellence Dept. to organize the first E&P Young Professionals' Forum, held in February. The forum was designed to increase awareness of corporate and E&P strategic imperatives; motivate young professionals through sharing success stories, achievements, and lessons learned; establish networking opportunities; and amass ideas for improving the professional development program. The forum was a great success and gave young professionals a rich opportunity to network with their peers and senior management. Organizers decided to hold such a forum three to four times a year. The forum was attended by 43 young professionals from the six E&P administrative areas of the company.
The SPE Saudi Arabia Section is pleased to announce its first Young Professionals' Technical Symposium for regional and international participants, which will be held 9 May 2007 in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. "Leading the Future: An Era of Opportunities" is the theme of the symposium, and it is meant to become a worldwide event for young professionals to share expertise, experiences, and knowledge. The symposium will include technical sessions, poster sessions, guest speakers, panel discussions, best technical paper selection, a young professionals' day, and a student paper contest. Networking opportunities also will be provided. For more information, please contact the technical committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young professionals are under huge pressure to develop fast so that they can take leadership roles in the industry. The first Saudi Arabian Young Professionals Technical Symposium was held on 9 May in Dhahran, focusing on the development of young professionals and attracting more than 300 participants. The theme was "Leading the Future: An Era of Opportunities." Key speakers included Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, Southern Reservoir manager at Saudi Aramco; Khaled Nouh, vice president of Schlumberger Oilfield Services; and Mohammed Al-Askar, director of Information and Public Relations, Office of The Minister of Minerals and Resources, Saudi Arabia. Abdul-Jaleel Al-Khalifah, 2007 SPE president, and Fatema Al-Awami, a supervisor in Saudi Aramco, participated in the symposium's panel discussion, "Delivering Energy: How to Carry On." Five months of planning went into the symposium, and its objective was to provide a forum for a broad range of E&P topics, including drilling, production, formation evaluation, reservoir engineering, reservoir characterization, gas technology, energy management, environmental issues, and information technology.