Career Development

Empowering the Next Generation: A Recap of the Ambassador Lecture and Careers Day at Imperial College London

The SPE London Section Young Professional Committee led the Ambassador Lecture and Careers Day program at Imperial College London for aspiring industry professionals.

Students gather for the Ambassador Lecture and Careers Day at Imperial College London.
Source: All images provided by author.

In the wake of the post-COVID-19 era, the global landscape has undergone profound transformation, with the energy sector witnessing significant shifts and challenges. Oil prices plummeted to unprecedented lows during the pandemic, while emissions experienced a notable decline. However, as the world emerges from the crisis, there has been a resurgence in energy demand, prompting a rapid adaptation within the industry.

Amidst these changes, SPE has sought to navigate a complex terrain of evolving societal attitudes and perceptions. Historically, SPE has been a driving force for positive change, facilitating collaboration, and innovation across diverse sectors. Initiatives such as Energy4me and SPEConnect have served as vital platforms for knowledge exchange and professional development, fostering a sense of community among students and professionals worldwide.

So far, in the advent of the energy transition, it has been challenging to galvanize the global community to be endeared to SPE. This is largely due to misconceptions around the energy trilemma.

A layman’s understanding of these dynamics lies in the danger of a single story—a single story deprecating the activities providing everyday energy generation for developing and developed communities. This has had a negative effect on the minds of people, and thus the need for conscious efforts to be made to demystify the seemingly convoluted concepts around the energy trilemma.

In response to the evolving dynamics, we see a measured response across the industry including the restructuring of already established institutions, incognito meetings, low engagements, and the challenge of accessing sponsorship.

At the SPE Imperial College Student Chapter, a firsthand experience lies in the fact that numerous invitations for partnerships with surrounding high schools were sent to foster a community and the next generation of energy professionals via the Energy4me platform, which were met with silence. There were no responses from any of the surrounding schools in the London metropolis, maybe for other reasons, but I could guess it may have been a function of the inviting organization’s “P” in SPE, which may not have been appealing even to kids who may have fallen victim to the dangers of this single story.

In a bid to respond to these challenges, we see terms like geoscience energy (GeoEnergy), subsurface energy, etc., but in between these lines are the answers to our burning questions and prejudices. If as individuals we can relay the message about the energy trilemma as vigorously as we do with climate change, it will allow a fairer outlook on things.

According to research, oil and gas supply 55% of the world’s energy. It is the base of other materials we use in our everyday lives, most of which are recyclable and only harmful to the environment due to our collective traditions. I mean, how do we handle waste, are we as passionate for a circular economy as we move to drive away the source of our everyday items? Do we have a strong safety policy? All these are questions we must ask ourselves to optimize the state of things. Today there are species of whales at risk of extinction, due to collision with vessels or fishing net entrapments—do we altogether stop plying sea routes?

I think it calls for an ingenuous approach, thanks to the advent of carbon capture, storage, and utilization, hydrogen storage, and hydrogen generation from CO2 storage in reaction with in-situ compounds at subsurface—all these serve as frontiers to build on in the energy transition.

SPE remains resilient, and particularly at the SPE Imperial College. In celebration of the section’s 50th anniversary a series of events have lined up, with the most noteworthy being the Ambassador Lecture and Careers Day, led by the SPE London Section Young Professional Committee.

Linking the Past and Future of the Industry Through Ambassador Lecture Program

The recent Ambassadorial Lecture and Careers Day at Imperial College London served as a beacon of inspiration and guidance for aspiring industry professionals. This event showcased a wealth of invaluable insights and opportunities for career advancement.
At the event we were able to reconnect with the industry, discuss what companies are doing to face new challenges, and the resulting impact it has on career planning and journey.

Natan Battisti speaking to students at the event.

The highlight of the day was the captivating career talk delivered by Natan Battisti, a planning and economic adviser at Harbour Energy, member of the SPE London Section and the SPE International Young Professionals Committee. Battisti’s address was more than just a presentation; it was a journey through the intricacies of career development, emphasizing the crucial elements of consistency, drive, and commitment. His firsthand accounts and reflections on various career trajectories resonated deeply with the audience, instilling a sense of purpose and direction.

Following Battisti, Mehdi Alem, a reservoir engineer at BP, took the stage to provide a comprehensive overview of the recruitment process. Alem's insights, coupled with practical tips and guidance, demystified the often-daunting process of securing employment within the industry. The inclusion of a mock assessment center further reinforced the importance of practical application and preparation in navigating the recruitment landscape.

What truly set this event apart was the personalized attention and mentorship provided by Battisti and Alem. Their willingness to offer detailed feedback and guidance to participants not only enhanced the learning experience but also empowered attendees with a competitive advantage in their career pursuits. The interactive nature of the session fostered an environment of collaboration and shared learning, further enriching the overall experience.

Beyond formal presentations, the event provided ample opportunities for attendees to engage in networking, CV reviews, and knowledge sharing. These interactions, facilitated by both speakers and fellow participants, served to strengthen the sense of community within the SPE Imperial College Student Chapter. The connections forged and experiences shared during the event will undoubtedly prove invaluable as attendees continue to navigate their professional journeys.

In reflecting on the success of the Ambassadorial Lecture and Careers Day, it is evident that events of this nature play a crucial role in empowering the next generation of industry professionals. By providing access to mentorship, guidance, and practical resources, such events not only equip attendees with the skills necessary for success but also instill a sense of confidence and belonging within the industry.

Young professionals in the industry gathered to provide advice for aspiring industry professionals.

The event exemplified the power of collaboration, mentorship, and community within the SPE. Through engaging presentations, practical workshops, and meaningful interactions, the event left a lasting impact on all who attended. As we look to the future, initiatives like these will continue to shape and empower the future leaders of the industry.