David Bell, Senior Vice President, Operations – SE Asia, Mubadala Petroleum
What are your strategic priorities and growth targets for the next 12-24 months?
To operate efficiently in the current low price environment while looking for opportunities to grow.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the O&G market and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
If the oil price stays low there will likely be more company consolidation and sharing of services in the market. We are continually reviewing options in these areas but they need to fit strategically and be financially robust.
What do you foresee as the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
Continued low oil prices will limit organic growth with budgets and expenditures coming under pressure. Apart from oil price it would be recruiting competent people with the right attitude and skills to innovate and grow the business.
These are tough market conditions with depressed oil prices and global reductions in capex and workforce, what measures and practices are you putting in place to adapt to this new (but not unknown) working environment?
It is our objective to be robust in the current oil price environment. We have already made some organisational adjustments and re-negotiated service contracts. We continue to strive for more efficiency through sharing, alliances and partnerships.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
Increase oil price to a more sustainable rate that will allow growth with an appropriate return on investment. Also, would like technology to develop such that we could economically recover >90% of oil in place.
How would you describe your company in once sentence to a new investor/client?
We are a dynamic company that lives by our values of purpose, passion and performance and is focused though our people and the excellence of our operations, on growth while consistently delivering net income and cash flow to our shareholder.
You are attending our 2016 Asia Pacific Assembly, what is your goal at this event and what take-away(s) do you want attendees to go home with regarding your company and your work in Asia Pacific?
My goal is to share initiatives we are currently pursuing while learning about innovation, efficiency and performance from others. In addition, I would like attendees to know and recognise Mubadala Petroleum as a highly efficient operator and partner of choice for new ventures.
How did you come to be in the O&G industry?
My father worked with a very large oil company, so I learned early about the industry. Later I was sponsored at university by one of the largest UK petroleum companies.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
Developing others to grow in their discipline and develop their careers. In my previous company I was on the National Staff Development Committee for petroleum and production engineering. Also, much later in my career I was seconded to ADNOC the national oil company in Abu Dhabi where I supported the career development of young Emirati graduates and engineers.
What one businessman/women do you admire most and why?
I admire Warren Buffet because of what he has achieved in business and his compassion for charity and helping others.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
Don’t think you know everything, be prepared to ask and learn particularly about new technology. Also, always look for new and different ways of doing things, be prepared to challenge existing norms.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate embarking on a career in O&G?
Work hard and always deliver on your promises. You will only grow and advance in your career through consistent high performance. In addition to a coach who can help with your tasks, seek out a mentor at a senior level who can provide the right guidance on career development.
How and where do you prefer to spend your spare time?
With my family and playing sports. As a family we play golf and tennis together. We enjoy the challenge of winning and sharing time together.
What is your all-time favourite book?
‘Barbarians at the Gate’ because it was an intriguing story about a very volatile time in business involving Initial Public Offerings and leveraged buy-outs.
What is you all-time favourite film?
The Game with Michael Douglas. I like a thriller type of movie with a twist at the end that may be unforeseen.
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
A fishing rod with hooks, a wind up radio and machete.
About David Bell
David Bell is currently responsible for Mubadala Petroleum’s Operations with accountability for operated and non-operated ventures in Southeast Asia. He joined Mubadala in 2008 and held a variety of technical, functional and regional roles covering the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.
David joined Mubadala from BP, where he spent over 30 years of his career in a variety of management, operational and technical assignments. His experience includes HSSE, project management, operations management and organizational capability building. Most of his career with BP was spent overseas working in diverse cultures, which has given him a particular interest in the development of local national staff.
David holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Control Engineering from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.