BSc (Hons) Geology, 1986
From Aberdeen to Energy Expert
Your Time at Aberdeen
Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
I was keen to move away from home and Aberdeen seemed to be a good place to go - it was close to the hills too which was definitely an attraction for me at the time.
Why did you choose your particular course?
I loved the outdoors and so geology seemed like a good fit with a desire to work outside. Also Aberdeen was just taking off as the oil capital of Europe so that looked to me like a good fit for a geologist.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
I loved the whole student scene. I managed to study hard and play hard. I was in the rugby club which seemed to dominate my time with training twice a week and games on both Wednesdays and Saturdays. Being in the the Celtic society I went to many memorable ceilidhs and of course had great nights in the Union on Schoolhill.
If you were involved in any clubs and societies as a student, what did you enjoy most about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
The clubs I was in were a brilliant way to meet students from other courses. I studied geology at Marischal College so the folk at Kings could have been complete strangers if it wasn't for me meeting them through rugby, the Lairig club and so on.
If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
Get a balance between studying and socialising. There's no doubt that my career has been fundamentally helped by having developed good people skills as well as having academic credentials. It's also important to have fun and the University certainly gave me plenty opportunity to have that!
Your Time After Aberdeen
What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Operations geologist with BP.
What did your first role involve?
I was given a few weeks training then sent offshore to work as a geologist on oil rigs. The job involved making decisions about various aspects of the drilling of a well. It was quite a shock to be given such a lot of responsibility in such a short space of time, but it pulled me up the learning curve pretty quickly indeed!
What is your current job title?
Executive Director at Belvidere Consulting Ltd.
What is your current role?
My main role is running a consultancy supporting strategy development in the energy sector. I also have time to sit on a number of advisory boards in the university, technology & charity sectors.
Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
I joined BP in 1986 and worked throughout the oil and gas upstream value chain. I spent my early years offshore in operational positions then worked on a variety of deep technical roles in exploration, development and production in the UK, Norway and Colombia. In the latter part of my career I moved into strategic leadership, initially leading the delivery of a series of new investments for some giant subsea fields, and culminating in my role as VP Reservoir Development, where I was accountable for the creation of life of field business and technology strategies for the BP North Sea asset base and was a senior member of the Global Reservoir Development leadership. I retired from BP at the end of 2018 and established an executive consulting company supporting strategy development across the Upstream energy sector.
Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
My geology degree was clearly a necessary gateway to me being geologist.
Have you been involved with the University since your graduation?
I was BP's executive sponsor for the University. I set up a sponsorship scheme for the Engineering and Physics students as well as hosting discussion groups between BP staff and the academics. I'm also in discussion with the University to support the new Centre for Energy Transition.
One Top Tip
Really take advantage of the extracurricular activities the University offers. They offer a great way to develop people skills that will definitely be super useful through your life. Remember that Emotional Quotient (EQ) is as important as IQ.