From Aberdeen to Energy Leader - Aftab ZafarAftab Zafar

MSc Oil and Gas Enterprise Management
From Aberdeen to Energy Leader

Your Time at Aberdeen

Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
Aberdeen is a hub of oil and gas for European Markets, and during my professional career, I have come across many professionals who had obtained a degree from University of Aberdeen which inspired me to obtain my postgraduate masters degree from Aberdeen. Aberdeen is a city which walks, talks and lives oil and gas - you can basically get the chance to be on a rig, talk to professionals in school, and visit the companies operating there.

Why did you choose your particular course?
The oil and gas Industry has faced multiple shocks in recent history and with the onset of growing renewables, the industry needs to transform its business models. That's where the element of enterprising becomes handy. The course elements would allow me to help current business models transform into sustainable environmental friendly portfolios.

If while at Aberdeen you benefited from a scholarship, what was the scholarship and what difference did it make to your time at Aberdeen?
I obtained a Chevening Scholarship which not only helped me financially but also connected me to a network of Energy Leaders from all around the world.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
Aberdeen will always be my second home - I fell in love with the city and I really enjoyed my time being connected to students from all around the world. I ended up having lifetime friendships.

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?
I would advise students to walk the whole city, participate in all the seminars and activities offered by your school, and do not miss the chance to visit sites, either through the school or by yourself. Make friendships with teachers and professors, as their mentorship will come handy for the rest of your life. While you are there, explore the beauty and history of Scotland. You will be amazed by the wonderful wonderful sites as you sail through the Highlands.

Your Time After Aberdeen

What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
Head of Business Development and Joint Ventures.

What did your first role involve?
I negotiated two multi-million contracts with Russian Investors and FWO for establishment of refineries, worked with close co-ordination with JV partners for operated and non-operated blocks to streamline JV operations, addressed pending issues at the earliest and maintained healthy relationships. I also developed project frameworks by preparing business strategies, negotiated contracts, delivered letters of agreement and defined legal parameters and performed as team lead, coordinating business development ideas amongst groups, such as engineering, operations, and exploration, resulting in efficient and timely execution. As part of my role I implemented business development and long-term strategic plans for upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors and led the investment strategy team for the oil and gas stream of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as gathering market information and market analysis with a revenue outlook. I performed economic modeling and periodic economic analysis for exploration fields and due-diligence, and negotiated with all the stakeholders including partners and government for the terms and clauses of the contracts and agreements.

Who was your first employer? 
KPOGCL, a state owned Oil and Gas company.

What is your current job title?
DMD Advisor.

Who is your current employer?
MOL Group (MOL Pakistan Oil and Gas Co. B.V.).

What is your current role?
I am in charge of handling the Corporate Governance of the company and advising senior management on business, governance, and political issues.

What is your current location?
Islamabad.

Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
Graduating from Aberdeen enabled me to step in to the business/commercial side of the E&P Industry. Having the ability to understand the industry from all perspectives helped me to where I currently am in my career.

Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
My degree added basic level knowledge of all the segments of oil and gas sector. It also helped me comprehensively understand business issues.

One Top Tip

Be specific about your goals and pursue learning every day of your life. Stay connected to the people you interact with, both in a personal and a professional capacity. Then the sky is the limit!