17 November 2017
|How did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?|
I wanted to be a geologist since I was 10 years old. Between undergraduate and graduate studies I was a mineral exploration geologist, but decided to go to graduate school to break into the O&G business. After graduate school, I was hired on by Shell, where I worked for 21 years and never looked back.
|Aside from low commodity prices what do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?|
People. When the price of oil was at $100/bbl there was concern that the “great crew change”, where seasoned professionals would retire and the industry would lose a generation of experience, was an issue for future growth of our industry. In the current oil price environment, the great crew change was accelerated and we have seen a large loss of knowledge and experience base through redundancy and early retirement. This is fine in the low price environment when there is a low in new projects, but if history is any guide, I would predict that when the oil price recovers to modest and profitable levels, many companies will find themselves struggling to find experienced staff, at increase cost, to help realize their growth aspirations.
|Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?|
My previous view was that during the first half of 2016 would be a good time to seriously consider acquisitions if a company was well capitalized and had the risk appetite to do so. I think that this window of opportunity has now been extended until such a time that the oil markets are properly balanced by either demand growth or production cuts. Neither is on the horizon. AAG has been actively and proactively pursuing acquisition opportunities over the last 12 months and is uniquely positioned, via our very strong balance sheet, to realise a potential acquisition in the future.
|If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?|
To change our continual short term forward vision to a more medium to long term vision of delivery and performance.
|What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months?|
AAG’s strategic priorities over the next 12 months are twofold; 1) to increase the production, operational and financial performance of our flagship Panzhuang and Mabi CBM concessions in China and 2) to leverage our strong balance sheet and capital position to make a material conventional producing property acquisition in either China or Southeast Asia. We feel both of these objectives are attainable.
|What differentiates your company from similar companies working in Asia Pacific?|
Clearly AAG’s strong balance sheet and capital position differentiates us from other companies our size – AAG can punch well above our weight when compared to our peer group. The other is that AAG has the technical and managerial experience to take the company to the next level. Asian American Gas (AAG) is true to its name. The company has collaborative blend of Chinese and American management and staff that bring complimentary technical, execution and managerial skill sets to solve problems and to meet our shareholder objectives.
|How would you describe your company in one sentence to a new client/partner/investor?|
A company with a strong balance sheet coupled with deep and collaborative experience, a proven track record and the ability to look beyond the obvious to deliver shareholder value.
|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 here to raise the awareness of who AAG are, what we are currently doing to progress our core business and that we are actively pursuing acquisition opportunities in both China and Southeast Asia. My personal goal is to network with as many industry players as I can to find out what they are doing and why. This gives me an excellent perspective of the Asian O&G industry and competitive landscape in which we all work.
|What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?|
Two actually. The first was being a key part of the exploration team that developed and eventually drilled the first successful deep water plays in the early 1990’s in offshore Sabah opening up huge resource and reserves value for Petronas, Shell and others. The second was building Lundin Petroleum’s latest SE Asian portfolio from scratch. All organic, small, experienced team delivering a robust exploration portfolio in 2 years with drilling success.
|What one businessman/woman do you most admire and why?|
Warren Buffet – a humble investor with a long term vision of shareholder value
|What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?|
Talk less, listen more
|What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in oil & gas?|
Get a PhD and ride out the oil price drop
|Name one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?|
I was married in a long house in central Sarawak in the heart of Borneo
|How do you prefer to spend your spare time?|
Playing golf or reading
|What’s your favourite holiday destination?|
Anywhere warm, with cold beer and adventure
|All-time favourite book?|
Team of Rivals; The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
|What three items would you take with you to a desert island?|
A lighter, a Swiss army knife and fishing rod with tackle
About Jeff Lobao
Jeff Lobao is currently President, Southeast Asia, AAG Energy.
AAG is proactively seeking strategically accretive conventional and unconventional acquisitions in the Asia Pacific region by leveraging our strong balance sheet.
Jeff has been involved in the E&P space, mainly in SE Asia, for 30 years. Twenty-one years with Shell E&P in various technical, management and new ventures rolls, six years with Lundin Petroleum, as Managing Director, SE Asia, where he built their SE Asian business and three years with Matrix Capacity Petroleum, as CEO where the company evaluated over 100 assets and corporate opportunities in SE Asia.
Jeff is an honorary life member of the Southeast Asia Petroleum Exploration Society (SEAPEX) in Singapore, was Vice President of the Society from 2006-2012 and Technical Director of the Society from 2003-2011. He is also a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), The Geological Society of Malaysia (GSM) and the Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA),
He holds an undergraduate degree in Geology from Northeastern University and a Master of Science degree from Louisiana State University.