Blog & News

Meet the new Aberdeen Director, Michael Scotting

Thu 24 November 2016

Category: Aberdeen, Council

michael-scottingAfter completing my B.Sc. in Geology at RHUL in 1993 I drove down the A329 from Egham to the now defunct Postgraduate Research Institute for Sedimentology at the University of Reading to undertake an M.Sc. in “Sedimentology and it’s Applications”. Graduating from that course in 1994 I entered a world of Brent Crude at $16/bbl and few jobs for graduates, quite reminiscent of today in many ways. After a couple of years making ends meet working a variety of admin jobs I finally got my break in 1997 courtesy of Halliburton’s Mud Logging service in Aberdeen. After an eventful first trip working for Cairn on a Romanian three-legged jack-up in the Bay of Bengal I found myself working back in the North Sea. I really enjoyed the job, and have since found the experience invaluable, especially when talking with our beloved colleagues from the well engineering department!

However, I struggled to see a long-term career path for myself offshore, and when I heard that a position was about to open up working for a small consultancy providing a TA to BP’s Clair Team I got myself on a bus out from Aberdeen to Banchory to be interviewed by Henry Allen at PGL. I was to work for Henry for nearly 10 years, and learnt an awful lot from him along with many other of my colleagues in an incredibly rich and diverse consultancy. I was lucky to work with some very experienced folks and benefited from the strong mentoring they provided, something I have always remembered and try to replicate whenever I am lucky enough to work alongside the fresh eyes of more junior staff. In that time I worked on Clair for BP, on HPHT exploration in the Moray Firth, general exploration in the CNS and back to the West of Shetlands for Enterprise. I then changed roles and took on the challenge of leading the sales and support effort for PGL’s “new” well correlation software ODM (recently rebranded as IC) as well as their Ternan Play Fairway Maps of the UKCS. This was a departure from purely technical work and gave me the chance to build an extensive network of contacts around the world as well as a bit of jet-setting to travel to exhibitions and to meet clients. I spent two years in that role and enjoyed it greatly, but eventually decided that it was time to return to a technical role and I was posted into CNR for a year as the Production Geologist for the giant washing machine (~90% watercut!) otherwise known as the Murchison Field

Eventually I had to cut the apron-strings of the “Family” firm and went off to work in The Netherlands for Wintershall. However, I had met my now wife just before I left Aberdeen and after a year of a long-distance relationship, with a heavy heart, I left The Hague just before my prospect  was drilled making the Wingate discovery. Returning to Aberdeen in more buoyant times in 2007 I chose to join Talisman, initially as a consultant, but after a year or so as staff. Here I initially took responsibility for their West of Shetland acreage, before being re-deployed into the CNS where I was part of the team that won the Seagull License (recently handed over to Apache to operate through the development phase) in the 25th Licensing Round. After a successful 26th round I was seconded into a team performing a corporate strategic review of the UK business working alongside a team from McKinsey’s. This was an eye-opener in more ways than one.

My next step onwards and upwards was to join the recently “Koreanised” Dana Petroleum as Exploration Team Leader for the CNS. This was my first dedicated leadership role and I loved it, I found the experience of guiding the team, ensuring delivery of high quality geoscience but with a clear eye on the business imperatives quite fascinating. I am incredibly proud of my varied team and what they achieved.

Unfortunately the Korean axe was swung low across Dana’s explorationists in 2015 and I was “let go” along with many others all over Aberdeen and across the globe. I have since set up my own consultancy, Ossian Resources (not named after the beer, but rather the mythological teller of tales which I felt was an apt analogy for an explorationist!). I have also been lucky to be asked to help with delivering some Petroleum Geology for Engineers courses for both Post-graduate and Under-Graduate Reservoir and Petroleum Engineers at Aberdeen University. This has provided a breath of fresh air at a rather quiet and bleak time up here in Aberdeen.

Throughout my career I have been exceptionally lucky to benefit from the kind words and wise counsel of a number of exceptional geoscientists (and even a couple of engineers) and I have recently enjoyed the thrill of preaching the message of exploration to a few junior staff and students myself. I have felt invigorated by this on every occasion and look forward to doing my best to help deliver a positive future for our Aberdeen membership as we ease our way out of the current darkness into the light…

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