Andy Shaw, VP and Managing Director, Australasia, Baker Hughes (Page 1 of 4)
What did you study at University?
I studied Engineering Geology – that includes Rock Mechanics, Geophysics and Petroleum Geology.
What attracted you into the oil and gas industry and was there a 'defining moment' when you knew what career path you would follow?
My ‘A’ level geology teacher, when I was 17, used to talk about the life of a ‘Field Engineer’ in the oil field, how exciting it was and the opportunities it gave to work all over the world; use technology at the forefront of engineering, and make lots of money! – it seemed like a good proposition. I held onto that aspiration through University, but when I graduated in 1987 it was on one of those now familiar down slope cycles; I took a job working for a small engineering geology consultant in London. Nine months later the industry picked up and I joined Baker Hughes as a Wireline Field Engineer. That was 26 years ago…it seems to be working out OK!
What regions have you worked in and could you give some examples of the interesting/tough places you have worked, and what you feel you learnt, career-wise and as an individual, from the 'overseas' postings?
I’ve worked almost all over the world – on four of the major continents, starting the first eight years of my career in the North Sea and Europe. Then my toughest assignment working in Nigeria, West Africa, which provided an unbelievable opportunity for personal and professional development. I spent almost 10 years in the USA and Canada before moving to the Middle East. After five years in Asia, centred in Kuala Lumpur running first SE ASIA and then being exposed to the entire region from Beijing to New Zealand, I landed here in Perth, Australia.
What advice do you have for young professionals looking to forge a career in the resources industry? What are the essentials they need to develop?
Have an open mind, be flexible, always say yes. Don’t be scared of the unknown. Embrace change for the opportunities it creates.
What do you think the industry can do to make itself more socially acceptable, and particularly as an attractive career choice (Earth Science/Engineering) for today’s youth?
The industry should be more proud, and more vocal, about the positive impact we have in the world – many people seem to forget the sustained good and incredible impact that the energy we create has on people, and on a country's development.
Does today's youth want or expect a high level of career prospects, or security, from one company?
I see graduates are more aware of the opportunities that are open to them if they learn and develop – they are hungry and have energy and desire – and I am pleased about that because that is what we need as an industry and as a business. No free rides, but also the elements of time served have been replaced with achieving competency and in my book that is perfect.
Andy speaking to attendees at the SPE WA Ball, 2014
What is the role of professional societies in today's industry?
Professional societies play an important part in inspiring individuals and organisations, and enhancing creativity by creating a collaborative network. They also help provide recognition and mentorship in an industry that can be very technical with amazing achievements, but a relatively low profile. I remember being very proud when I got the recognition plaque from Baker Hughes for having an SPE paper published.
How does the current economic climate affect funding options, particularly with regards to a service company developing new and improved services?
Hmm, start with the easy questions and now the more complex. Baker Hughes is a technology development and well construction execution company. We are a business and our job is to do that within an economic framework – today oil prices in the US$90-$110 bbl range, but our business has boomed at $150 and survived at $10 bbl. Throughout those cycles we have found ways to innovate and always keep technology flowing into our portfolio of services that improves hydrocarbon recovery and economics. Today the economic climate is relatively stable, and that is a good thing.