LØRN case C0162 -

Kristin Færøvik

Managing Director & Chair of the Board Norwegian Oil and Gas Association

Lundin Norway

Innovation as a social responsibility

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks with Managing Director in Lundin, Kristin Færøvik about the changes in the oil sector, new innovations, and what it takes to be competitive in the future. They look at how technology developed for the oil sector can be transferred to the health sector and also how oil and gas are explored, developed, and produced from the Norwegian continental shelf. Kristin is currently Chair of the board of directors for Norwegian Oil and Gas a role she has held since Nov 2016, having joined as a board member a year earlier.
LØRN case C0162 -

Kristin Færøvik

Managing Director & Chair of the Board Norwegian Oil and Gas Association

Lundin Norway

Innovation as a social responsibility

In this episode of #LØRN, Silvija talks with Managing Director in Lundin, Kristin Færøvik about the changes in the oil sector, new innovations, and what it takes to be competitive in the future. They look at how technology developed for the oil sector can be transferred to the health sector and also how oil and gas are explored, developed, and produced from the Norwegian continental shelf. Kristin is currently Chair of the board of directors for Norwegian Oil and Gas a role she has held since Nov 2016, having joined as a board member a year earlier.

19 min

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SS: Hello, and welcome to Lørn and ONS Energy Talks. My name is Silvija Seres, and our topic today is energy. My guest today is Kristin Færøyvik who is the managing director of a Norwegian oil company called Lundin Norway. Welcome, Kristin.

KF: Thank you very much.

SS: So we will be talking about what Lundin is doing, the change in energy markets, and your ideas on competitiveness for the future, but before we do that, I would like you to tell us a little bit about who Kristin is.

KF: By education I’m a petroleum engineer from Trondheim, and that’s where my first encounter with technology started. I’ve been in the oil and gas industry ever since. I’ve spent most of my time in oil companies, but I have also spent five educational years in the contracting industry. Seeing ourselves from the other side.

SS: And when did you start with Lundin?

KF: I joined Lundin almost four years ago now.

SS: Tell us a little bit about Lundin.

KF: Lundin is a company that explores, develops and produces oil and gas, and at the chore of what we do, we are explorers in its truest sense.

SS: I have to ask you, because you have such a perfect UK accent. Have you lived there for a long time?

KF: I lived there for a while. First of all, I had a fantastic teacher in primary school, but I also spent 18 years with BP. And I guess that is where I got my accent.

SS: I see. It’s a BP accent. So what does Lundin say about the current situation and about oil? Can you tell us a little bit about how you see the present situation and the future?

KF: We are very excited about the exploration opportunities in Norway. I think that Norway is well placed to compete in a world where it’s ever increasingly important how we produce oil and gas. The world is in dyer need of energy. It’s the basis for all economic growth, and I think in this country in particular, because we have so much of it. We take energy for granted. Society in general is becoming more and more aware of how we produce that energy, and that we do that in the most responsible manner possible. Therefore I think that competitiveness in the future, is not only about the cost of energy. It’s also about how we provide that energy.

SS: You said you are a petroleum engineer by education, and then you became more of a commercial leader. To me you represent one of these perfect hybrids, that I think the world really needs, because your technical background allows you to see the opportunities for growth in terms of what’s doable. Was it a very unusual study for a woman? Was it an unusual way in to leadership as a technologist?

KF: At the time, there were maybe 25 to 30 percent women, when I went to university. I think that maybe that’s one of the big disappointments over the last few decades. That the proportion hasn’t grown all that much. I would like to see a lot more women in technology.

SS: And technologists in a corporate, commercial position?

KF: In oil and gas companies, there are a lot of technologists in leadership roles, and I think that is because what we are doing is so closely linked to understanding the opportunities of technology. And understanding the subsurface. At the chore of what oil companies compete on, and it’s really about the ability to find new resources.

SS: I think that what you are seeing there, is spreading to absolutely every industry these days. Sometimes I have to catch myself. Because I’m a techy at heart as well, but I love opportunities for growth. Then you have to start talking about all the financial KPIs. But I think that the new efficiencies and the new business models, will be based on new possibilities that are created by technology, in terms of data and in terms of combinations of old technology in completely new kinds of beasts.

KF: To have a commercial mindset, you have to be able to see the commercial opportunities in whatever it is that you are working on, in respect of technology. Whether is energy technology or other forms. It is to deeply woven into everything we do.

SS: Your current company, Lundin, does subsurface exploration. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that means?

KF: What we are exploring for is at the bottom, or under the sea bed. So it’s impossible for the human eye to see. And that’s where technology has made huge step changes in just the time that I have been in the industry. The ability to visualize what’s under the sea bed is vital in terms of spending our exploration money efficiently.

SS: How does this work? How does one explore what’s under the sea bed?

KF: We use something that’s called size technology which is actually sending sound waves down to the sea bed, and exploring layers below by looking at the reflection of the sounds as they come back and we capture it.

SS: And then you have some advanced modeling tools? For how to see the shape of the sound?

KF: We have advanced processing tools on how to process the sound signals, and transfer them into pictures of the underground.

SS: And then based on those pictures, I imagine that there is still a lot of statistics and probability, because one thing is to think that you know, and to have an idea of what the holes look like, but it’s super expensive to try testing whether you are right.

KF: We have to combine that size mic with our knowledge, and all the data that we have on the surrounding area, all the wellbore data, and everything we know about the conditions in terms of pressure and temperature. It’s a dynamic system that we are actually exploring, so understanding how oil has moved over time, and into the traps that we hope to find, really is very complex. You need to have a pretty creative mind to be able to picture what is going on in three dimensions.

SS: People can imagine these huge oil platforms which are either floating or standing on poles, and then they have some huge pipes going down, and they pump. But in order to explore, you have to make these holes, and many boring holes. So how does one do that? What does that look like? Is there a little drill that somehow drives along the sea bed?

KF: Most of the time, we will drill from moveable drilling rigs. They can either float or stand on the sea bed. At the end and at the starting point of a drilling operations is a drill bit, which is something that is harder than the rock you are trying to penetrate. And quite often, it is artificial diamonds that are used to penetrate the rock. Then we are drilling several kilometers down the hole, and we are using very advanced technology to try to see, inadverted commerce, which are around us, or indeed, ahead of us, as we drill. We have become phenomenally good at pinpointing the drill bit to exactly where we want to go.

SS: So it doesn't only go straight down? It can go sideways?

KF: It can go horizontally in one angle, and we can drill several branches of one borehole. Norway has been in the forefront of developing horizontal drilling technology.

SS: And sometimes you have to chaise the oil and the gas, so you have to pump stuff in to get the oil out?

KF: That’s right. Then we use water for example, to create a water flood and push the oil in front of us, and push the oil towards the oil well. To keep the pressure up, because as we produce the oil, we actually lose the oil in the reservoir and the pressure that is there. When we tap a hole into it.

SS: It’s super exciting.

KF: It really is. And we use really advanced computer modeling to understand how the oil and gas will behave. Some of that reservoir modeling technology is now being transferred into modeling of blood flow in the human heart, so that one can avoid heart surgery, for example in children. Just by understanding how the blood moves in the vessels.

SS: That’s fluid dynamics as well.

KF: That’s really fluid dynamics.

SS: So to me, your company, is a great representative of this fairy tale we have in oil services in this country. Because one thing is finding great natural resources which are sometimes hidden very well, and that’s a great feat of natural exploration and engineering. And then it’s about finding these extremely good industrializations of that, and scalability, as well as actually exporting the technology internationally.

KF: We have developed a fantastic supply chain. Companies that can supply us and help us with developing these oil fields. And a lot of the engineering work is actually done in Norway. It’s a skill that we have been able to export with great success as well.

SS: So we have exported this kind of know-how to Brazil and the US. Are there many other areas in the world that have this similar energy challenge? Or opportunity, to put it that way?

KF: Norway has developed, and been particularly good at developing subsea technology. Just because a lot of the oil and gas has been found under the sea, and in increasingly deeper water. We are also in a high cost environment, so we always had to look for the most efficient solutions, which I think serves us now. Because whatever you do, if you can do that with minimal amount of material and cost, you will also minimize your carbon footprint.

SS: So it works well?

KF: And it serves other purposes.

SS: One of the controversies that you mentioned to me, was that the general public in Norway, is unaware of how unusual it is to have such an important global role, for a relatively small country. And how we could do this in other areas. First we need to be really proud of what we do well, in order to do it more.

KF: The industry itself has to continuously open up more, and showcase what we do so well. I think it’s important that our education system captures how Norway has become such a big technology nation, and that our children learn how well we have developed national resources. Not just the fishery, the farming and the traditional crafts, but how well we moved from shipbuilding and being a huge maritime nation on a global scale, into becoming a high tech nation. Now we have taken that position in the offshore oil and gas industry.

SS: I agree with you. It’s important to have a narrative in these kind of studies. You should not become a petroleum oil engineer or something related, just because the salary is good. It should be because this is something we do best in the world.

KF: And you can make a big difference. A huge difference. And right now, with the acceleration of digital technology, we are in a constant evolution, and changes are coming faster and faster. There is so much room for young people to join our industry, and make a big difference.

SS: Because in some sense, the biggest and the most explosive growth is over, but there is still a lot of oil to be found and to get out in an environmentally friendly way.

KF: But to put it a bit flippidly. The easy oil has been found, and I am convinced that there are a lot more resources, but it’s tougher.

SS: When the going get tough, the tough get going.

KF: Absolutely. It’s a good game.

SS: There’s this new drama series now called Lykkeland. Maybe we are being a bit internal and Norwegian now, but can you say two words about that? How much do you recognize from your own story?

KF: I’ve lived in Stavanger myself for decades, and I do recognize a lot of it. I haven’t seen all episodes so far, but it is a fantastic story about how the industry developed in Norway and how Stavanger grabbed the opportunity. But it’s also a showcase of how far we have come in such a short space of time. Just take the drilling operation as an example. There was so much manual and dangerous work in the early days on the rig floor. And that has fundamentally changed.

SS: So we have professionalized and grown now, and there is still a lot to be done. There is a lot of work being done now on digital avatars and twins on these platforms, and I keep hearing that oil companies have so much data that they don’t know what they should do with it. Can you tell us a little bit about what you want to do with the data?

KF: Primarily, we want to do what we are doing even better. Just to give you one example, on maintenance, we moved from following the calendar when we do maintenance on our equipment, to actually use the data that we gather to monitor the condition on the equipment, and then to only go in and do repairs whenever we see that it actually is needed. So that’s one simple example on how we can use all the data. And in the future, we will be able to do much more from the control centers offshore, than actually sitting onshore, which will be safer and more efficient for everybody.

SS: I had a chat with Aker BP about Skarv, and was amazed by how much maintenance work on that platform is done automatically by now. So you save human lives, and human hands.

KF: Exactly. It’s pretty amazing. I think that the challenge that the industry has now, is that it’s not so much about the technology. It’s about the humans. It’s changing the culture, and it’s changing the way we work.

SS: What will be the most interesting and important jobs for humans on these big platforms and onshore? Because I imagine that some of these will be more remotely managed as we go forward?

KF: Human beings are phenomenal in always finding the next challenge, so I’m not the slightest bit worried that we won’t find enough exciting work to do. It will just be different. Because once you have optimized something, you will always look for the next step in improvement. I think that’s how we are put together.

SS: I think this is a wonderful way to mention something Albert Einstein put slightly differently. He said that machines are basically quite stupid, because they only can give you answers, and that you need the human to ask the right question.

KF: And find the next problem to solve.

SS: Exactly. We need to finish relatively soon. Where should people go to learn more about this exciting field that you work in?

KF: Many of the oil companies and the tech. companies have fantastic information on their webpages. If I was going to pick one, I would go and watch the technology outlook on BP’s homepage. There is a video and a report, and it’s called Technology Outlook.

SS: And it’s something we can understand even if we don’t work in this field?

KF: I think so.

SS: Very good. I’ll do that. What do you think people should remember from our conversation? The main picture that they should have in mind?

KF: That we have an absolutely world leading oil and gas industry in Norway. That there is still a lot to do. And that people are the ones who will make the difference.

SS: Thank you so much for that. Thank you for teaching us about the exciting field that you work in, Kristin Færøvik, the managing director of Lundin, Norway.

KF: Thank you.

SS: And thank you for listening.


Who are you and how did you become interested in energy technology?

I first encountered technology when I was a petroleum engineering student in Trondheim. I’ve worked in the oil and gas industry ever since, and spent much of my career working on technologically complex projects.

What is your role at work?

Put simply: I lead a company that explores for, develops and produces oil and gas from the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

What are the most important concepts in energy technology?

Developing and using the best possible ways of understanding the sub-surface (in order to find, develop and produce oil and gas assets) demands good integration of all geo-disciplines (e.g. geology and geophysics) and the ability to embrace innovation and new ideas. This constant drive for better practices – as opposed to best practice – and curiosity about what the data really tells you are at the heart of our exploration team.

Why is this exciting?

Hydrocarbons are a fantastic natural resource and I cannot imagine anything more exciting than discovering new resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

What do you think are the most interesting controversies?

I do find it an interesting paradox that Norway’s position as a global provider of offshore technology is not more widely known or recognised among the general public. And in the same vein, why are we not more ambitious about outcompeting other oil and gas basins in light of the Paris Agreement?

What is your own favourite example of energy technology?

Right now, it’s Lundin Norway`s ongoing development and refinement of seismic methods – from the BroadSeis/seismic data processing test area on the Utsira High in the North Sea to the ground-breaking TopSeis acquisition technology.

Can you name any other good examples, nationally or internationally?

The development of subsea technology is fantastic. I am also fascinated by modern drilling technology. Thirdly, if it wasn’t for the exponential growth of data processing coinciding with the reduction of data storage costs, TopSeis would have been meaningless – the amount of data gathered is simply mind-boggling.

What do you think is the most important takeaway from our conversation?

That we have a world-leading oil and gas industry in Norway; that there is a role for Norway to play in continuing to supply oil and gas to the world in a responsible manner; and that a small, transparent nation such as ours can be competitive if we put our weight behind it. Rapid deployment – and indeed development – of new technology plays a big part in staying competitive.

Kristin Færøvik
Managing Director & Chair of the Board Norwegian Oil and Gas Association
Lundin Norway
CASE ID: C0162
DATE : 181217
DURATION : 19 min

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