TRANSFORMING THE OIL AND GAS COMPANY WITH EQUINOR
Jim, can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?
I have over 30 years’ experience working in oil and gas; the first 20 of which were spent with Halliburton. During my last five years with Halliburton, I led their Global Shared Services group which included Procurement, HSE, IT, Accounting, Communications, Security, Facilities Management, Total Quality Management and HR. In 2004 I joined Intercontinental Hotels Group for a year, running their Shared Services group and serving as Head of Corporate IT. After this, I was part of a team that started an oilfield service company, which we eventually sold. Afterwards, I tried my hand at investment banking for about year and a half. Then came an opportunity to join Statoil, a company I’ve always admired for its values and operations. I’ve been with Statoil about nine and a half years now and I’m having a blast.
You’re currently the Vice-President of Business Efficiency at Equinor in the USA. What does that role entail?
First off, I think I have the best job in Equinor. Our Business Efficiency unit is very much digital and innovation focused. My role includes IT (specifically tactical IT that includes the convergence of IT and OT data), Digital Business Solutions, Data Management, Lean, and Management Systems. With digital transformation comes new ways of working and the management system itself has to keep up. We’re constantly taking it to another level. My group also leads the Remote Operating Centre project in Austin, Texas; this project is utilizing real-time data to facilitate data analytics, preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance and to improve our production efficiency. Our team is also leading a project for the US Onshore Business that goes from the wellhead all the way through traders into our royalty owners – meaning that it goes through about four major silos. In the oil and gas business, it is very difficult to work across silos, so it’s a very exciting project. We are working with the business to develop much more efficient and effective ways of working, from both data and process perspectives that goes across our silos instead of down each silo.
Let’s talk briefly about the Statoil to Equinor name change. The company is in the midst of a transformation to what it calls “a broad energy company committed to shaping the future of energy”. Can you tell us more about this?
We can divide Equinor in two pieces. The “Equi,” or equality, part is our value statement around how we view people – as equal – and it represents the idea of a broad energy company. It extends to the communities in which we work as well, how we can benefit them, and our view of the environment and how it should be treated. Regardless of whether it’s in developing and investing in new energy sources or developing fossil fuels with a lower carbon footprint, we want to make sure that we’re doing our part to care for the environment. And then the “Nor” part, that’s our heritage: Norway is where this company was born and is, to this day, where most of our operations are located. So much great knowledge, expertise and innovation has come from Norway to help Equinor become the great company it is today.
How does Equinor define business efficiency?
The oil and gas industry loves working down silos and we love to create barriers between departments that make it difficult for departments to work together. Within our business efficiency group, our mission is to tear down the silos and to integrate the competencies that we have and, together with domain expertise, IT Operations and data science, get everyone working together towards a common business outcome. Though this sounds relatively simple, it’s a huge challenge. Ultimately, what we want is for every team member to be measured the same way: based on desired business outcomes. For example, let’s take an IT person whose performance has historically been measured on IT deliveries in their IT silo. People and leaders get comfortable with their functional goals even though purely functional goals may or may not be helping the business to achieve their desired outcomes. We can have excellent performance in our support functions but if the support functions aren’t helping the business work safer or make more money, it doesn’t matter [...]
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