Frederik Smits van Oyen, VP Marketing & Origination, Cheniere
4 May 2017
How did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?
After graduating from university I got the opportunity to do an international traineeship with Shell. I spent three months in Africa and was exposed to the many interesting aspects of this exciting industry. I never looked back…
Asid from low commodity prices what do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
Though low commodity pricing is a challenge for upstream players, it actually provides an opportunity for the industry as a whole. Low commodity prices will allow demand to grow, particular in places like Sub Saharan Africa where affordability matters and 2 out of 3 people lack access to electricity.
Like any new market for LNG in the past, Sub Saharan Africa faces its own challenges, including the lack of local infrastructure and financial capacity. This will need the implementation of new and innovative solutions and close cooperation between the private and state sector; but we believe these can be overcome.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
US LNG is new product with many advantages, including unrivalled flexibility and reliability compared to other sources. The abundance of low cost gas in the US also offers customers the opportunity to secure a low cost energy source for the long term and reduce the volatility of its energy cost.
Africa is a great market for US LNG: It is in the Atlantic Basin where the majority of LNG supplied will come from the US (64 mtpa by 2020, half of it produced by Cheniere), it is a new market for LNG with high growth potential and the ability to transform the lives of 600 mln people without electricity. And the local development of gas infrastructure can unlock further industrial growth and demand for natural gas; very interesting!
If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?
I don’t believe in magic wands, but if I did I would want it to accelerate the transformation of the LNG market that is already ongoing. The LNG market is becoming more competitive, more flexible and more reliable than ever before. That is great news for our customers and, because gas is the cleanest fossil fuel… also the world.
What is your goal in attending this event and what takeaways would you like other attendees to go home with regarding your company and your work?
My goal is to meet stakeholders with an interest in developing the market for gas and gas-fired electricity in Africa and explore with them how we can help each other achieve that goal. I hope other attendees will walk away from the conference with a better understanding of Cheniere’s proven development track record, its agility to adapt to new challenges and competitive attitude.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
Closest related to my current goal in Africa has been my role in developing the first private LNG import project in India, which was a ground breaking project at the time and continues to be essential for the Indian economy.
Name one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?
I am a terrible swimmer, even though I grew up 2 meter below sea level!
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
My kids are desperate to join me on a business trip and see the Big Five.
All-time favourite book?Winnie the Pooh, which I rediscovered as a parent
All-time favourite film?
About Frederik Smits van Oyen
Fred Smits is Vice President, Origination and Marketing, EMEA for Cheniere Marketing. He has worked for Shell, BG Group, Gazprom and Excelerate Energy in a variety of technical, commercial, finance and business development positions.
Prior to Cheniere, Mr Smits developed floating liquefaction projects for Excelerate Energy and was the Head of Business Development and Strategy for Gazprom’s global LNG division, developing some of Gazprom’s largest and most strategic projects, but also responsible for small scale LNG.
Mr Smits’ track record spans the entire energy value chain, from exploration down to the end customer. He has had leading roles with responsibility for the delivery of all aspects of the business and made sure they met all HSSE, technical, commercial and financial requirements. His negotiations with partners and clients have led to valuable and sustainable deals for all parties involved.
Mr Smits was trained as a Production Technologist in Shell. He holds an MSc in Theoretical Physics and an MBA from London Business School.