Competence and certification crucial to industry

An institute that helps meet demand and for certified engineers

Martin Maeso, technical director of the Energy Institute.
Martin Maeso, technical director of the Energy Institute.
Maria Blakley, business development manager for the Energy Institute?s Middle East division.
Maria Blakley, business development manager for the Energy Institute?s Middle East division.

Demand for qualified engineers in the energy industry continues to meet new challenges, developing the knowledge and expertise is crucial

The oil and gas industry is changing rapidly to meet demand in the 21st century. New technology, practices and principles are shaping the way owners and operators explore for and produce energy.

The evolution of this industry has also brought about the need for stronger knowledge transfers and more advanced training, especially throughout the many stages of an energy engineer’s career.

To communicate knowledge is to share it, and it is only through communication that the industry’s challenges can be tackled and its problems solved.

With the competitive nature of the sector, it is not always easy to create a forum in which industry specialists and experts can actually share their knowledge freely.

Enter the Energy Institute, a professional membership body for the energy industry, which supports over 15,000 individuals and an additional 250 companies worldwide.

By providing learning and networking opportunities to professionals in the energy industry, the Energy Institute is able to spread best knowledge and practice across the industry.

“The Energy Institute is about professional development and the development of good practice, we’re there to support individuals who work in the energy sector,” says Martin Maeso, technical director of the Energy Institute.

It serves as a forum through which actors within the industry can tap into a wealth of resources which includes, workshops, training seminars and an ever-increasing archive to better understand the complex sector they work in.

Not only does the institute serve to share information between experts, but it also acts as a medium between regulators and industry as well.

Primarily supported by the industry itself, companies such as BP, Shell, Saudi Aramco, Total and Conoco Phillips use the Energy Institute as a means of working with regulators to create standards that are effective and reasonable.

“All these companies have certain standards that they like to maintain to operate in the same way throughout the world, and we try to act as an honest broker, to link the regulators to the industry and to produce guidance that the industry can follow, knowing that the regulators are comfortable and happy with that guidance,” explains Maeso.

The Energy Institute’s close ties with the regulators and industry also allows it to be more responsive to their needs.

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“The institute has an annual programme of research, our member companies collaborate through our work groups to identify the issues they need to address, the problems they’ve seen or the gaps they have, and they can work on these collaboratively,” says Maria Blakley, business development manager for the Energy Institute’s Middle East division.

But the Energy Institute is careful to maintain its independence from the companies it works with by reminding them that its independence, is its asset.

“They know that when they come and sit on our committees and our technical programmes, they aren’t there to lobby or push commercial issues, but as technical experts who want to maintain industry best practice and guidelines,” says Maeso.

Investments are normally driven by numbers, quantifiably returns. Naturally this can be difficult for an organization that only offers knowledge, but Blakley believes that while it can be difficult to evaluate the benefits of joining a professional organization, the return on investment is tremendous.

“Much of what we do can’t be valued, because you don’t quite know exactly what it has prevented and what it hasn’t prevented, but a lot of what we do you can quantify,” says Blakley. “Our guidance has led to efficiency improvements, or a more cost effective approach to regulation.”

But the most important service which the Energy Institute has to offer is the chartering of engineers.

The institute is licensed by the Engineering Council (UK) to offer Chartered, Incorporated and Engineering Technician status to engineers, thus helping to ensure the constant supply of well trained and capable engineers for the oil and gas sector.

Applicants go through a rigorous process in which their credentials, education and experience are judged in order to assess whether they can qualify as engineers.

“It’s like when you build a building, and the building falls down. You have to ask whether it was to do with an incompetent engineer or if it was an act of god.

If that building was built by someone who is a chartered engineer, then it means that the building was built to the best that it could possibly have been built at the time it was built,” says Maeso.

“But if you don’t have that certification, then there can be all sorts of problems.”

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