Alan Sherrard – Business Development Manager, Spectrum SE Asia (Page 1 of 3) Brian Wickins, 20 May 2014

pnronline recently caught up with industry stalwart, Alan Sherrard, to hear what had kept him going and interested in the topsy turvy oil and gas sector over a career spanning 35 years

Alan was born and brought up in a small town called Donaghadee near Belfast in Northern Ireland and spent his first 18 years trying to figure out how to get a job outside of Ireland.

“It is a great country and I still have a lot of family and friends there but there were not many employment options in Northern Ireland at the time and unfortunately that is still more or less the same.”

He was destined to follow his older brother, Dave, into the oil and gas industry as a petroleum engineer, but during a conversation over a beer one night Dave admitted that engineering was not very exciting, adding that the Geos seem to be having all the fun.

“Being my older brother, I took Dave's comment onboard; and now, looking back, I think he was right, and that was why I ended up looking at wiggles rather than a spreadsheet.

“I chose Manchester University as it was only one of five universities in the UK at the time that offered a combination of physics and geology in a degree course. The course was not particularly well integrated and it turned out to be a physics degree with optional courses in geology. It was interesting and fun but did not tell me much about geophysics. It was not until a couple of years later when at Imperial College that I did a proper Geophysics MSc and realised how the subjects could be properly integrated and become useful in exploration terms.”

Alan's career started in a conventional way for the times, with, like many colleagues, periods as a mud logger with Schlumberger in Africa and seismic field crews with GSI in Saudi Arabia. In 1985 he jumped at the opportunity to move into the brand new field of geoscience software.

“It was an exciting time in that side of our business and the technology was changing very rapidly. I was with a tiny company called Graphic Science, and it was there that I met and worked with Eldad Weiss who later took control of the small operation and, through various guises, turned the company into what is now Paradigm Geophysical.

“I have worked with Paradigm on three separate occasions, the last time only recently in 2012. After migrating to Australia I switched to the oil company side of the business with the now long gone Western Mining Petroleum. When WMC left the oil business in the 90s a couple of friends, Ronnen, Jason, and I began a G&G consultancy in Perth called Oil Hunters. From there evolved Neon Energy followed by a career break and now Spectrum ASA.”

When asked what he thinks it takes for an individual to succeed in the petroleum sector today– and does it differ from when he started out, Alan gave a smile that only comes from experience, and said, “I think it takes what it always has: drive, ambition and a belief in what you are doing - and a focus on what you are trying to achieve.

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