21 November 2017
|How did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?
After working on an architecture degree and watching some very talented colleagues fail to find decent jobs, I changed direction and received my undergraduate degree in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Oklahoma. After graduating, I went to work for Getty Oil Company in Oklahoma City. Following Texaco’s acquisition of Getty in 1985, I accepted a job with Conoco and began what turned out to be a 31 year career of interesting and challenging assignments in the US, Europe and Asia.
|Aside from low commodity prices what do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
It seems that all of the greatest challenges can be tied back to the low commodity prices. Uncertainty about global supply and demand leads to concerns about price stability which leads to limited access to capital and risk aversion. The inability or unwillingness to fund new developments and the flight from exploration will likely yield supply and price consequences in the near future.
|Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
SEA Dragon is focused on SEA Asia, because that is where we see the greatest opportunity. The region is undergoing a dramatic change in the profiles of investors. Majors and mid-cap independents that had long been the dominant players are redesigning their strategies and pulling back to core areas elsewhere. We believe that this shift will lead to opportunities for smaller, more cost effective and nimble companies to fill that void.
|If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?
I would change the fiscal and regulatory regimes to make them more progressive and flexible to incentivize new investment.
|What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months?
We are a very new start-up, so our priorities are to identify and acquire value adding E&P opportunities. Of course, securing investors that share our vision is crucial and is our current priority.
|What differentiates your company from similar companies working in Asia Pacific?
We believe that the depth of experience within our team, together with our focus on domestic natural gas in the countries and basin we know well differentiates SEA Dragon.
|How would you describe your company in one sentence to a new client/partner/investor?
Experienced, energetic and innovative team committed to building a domestic gas-focussed, value adding portfolio in SE Asia.
|What takeaways would you like attendees at our Asia Pacific Assembly to go home with regarding your company and your work both in Asia Pacific and further afield?
We would hope that attendees would recognize the depth of SEA Dragon’s experience, the strength of our strategy and current window of opportunity that exists in the region.
|What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
It’s rather difficult to choose a single achievement, but certainly very high on the list would be starting ConocoPhillips’ business in Vietnam in the mid-1990s through a mix of quality exploration and development opportunities and building that business into one that was ultimately sold for $1.3B.
|What one businessman/woman do you most admire and why?
I always admired a former ConocoPhillips executive that I worked with that could adapt and flourish in almost any situation. Whether he was meeting a prime minister, difficult negotiations with an NOC or playing pool with a bar girl he was always comfortable, engaging and able to make a connection.
|What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
It wasn’t from a mentor, but a quote from Stephen King about hard work resonates for me. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
|What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in oil & gas?
Don’t get discouraged by the current volatility in the market. Keep your head down, work hard and always look for opportunities to learn.
|Name one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?
I own a rubber plantation in Thailand.
|How do you prefer to spend your spare time?
Playing golf or at the beach.
|What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I have a beach house in Maine in the US. I always love my time there.
|All-time favourite book?
The Lexus and the Olive Tree
|All-time favourite film?
|What three items would you take with you to a desert island? (NB: you may not choose a boat, raft, satellite phone or a book on ‘Practical raft-building for Dummies’)
Water, fire and Jessica Alba
About Bill Lafferrandre
Bill has over 30 years’ experience in upstream oil and gas. He was with ConocoPhillips for over 30 years with his last two management positions being Vice President for APAC Business Development and Vice President for Global Business Development. He left ConocoPhillips in 2016 to co-found a new start-up E&P company (SEA Dragon Resources) which is focussed on the upstream market in SE Asia.