How did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?
I was recruited by Exxon on campus while I was finishing my Ph.D. study at Purdue. I started as a research engineer in drilling with Exxon in Houston.
Aside from low commodity prices what do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
With growing public awareness of and support on environmental issues and drastic change in the government policies towards carbon emission and consumer behaviour such as explosive growth in electric vehicles, the future of oil & gas industry is forever challenged and I don’t think the industry as a whole is ready to cope with the change.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
Despite U.S. withdraw from Paris treaty, the world is going “green” and it is happening across many industries. This trend will also happen in the oil & gas industry itself. It’s just a matter of time. It is a good time now for us to invest in technologies and projects that can make the consumption of fossil fuel more environmental friendly while allow good returns on investments. We are actively looking for such green investment opportunities. Natural gas, for example, is one area of our interest. In China, there is a strong push for natural gas to place coal in power generation. There is a significant shortage of natural gas supply and infrastructure in China.
What differentiates your company from similar companies working in Asia-Pacific?
We are a new kind of private equity firm. We carry two responsibilities – commercially we make safe and good investment returns for our investors and socially we promote green development in China by investing in “green” projects that are typically seen as difficult to make money. To do well in both at the same time, our team not only needs to have shared passions but also business innovation and financial discipline in making investment decisions.
How would you describe your company in one sentence to a new client/partner/investor?
We are a new kind of private equity firm that focus on cross-border collaboration between the U.S. and China in technology, finance and business innovation to promote sustainable green development in China.
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 both in Asia and further afield?
Participate in the discussion, share our thoughts and learn from industry peers.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in oil & gas?
Don’t join the industry because you were intrigued by its past glory. Join only if you want to change in the future.
How do you prefer to spend your spare time?
Travel, international cuisine, badminton and spending time with family
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
Santa Barbara, California
About Jin Zhang
Dr. Jin Zhang is a Senior Managing Director and the Chief Operating Officer of U.S.-China Green Fund and he is responsible for the fund operations and portfolio management. Prior to joining the U.S.-China Green Fund, he was a Partner/Managing Director and Deputy Head of China at Russell Reynolds Associates where he had spent years advising private equity firms, multinational corporations and Chinese enterprises on leadership issues and searching for board members, CEOs and senior executives, with sector focus on energy, manufacturing and automotive. Previously, he held management and technical positions with ExxonMobil, Halliburton and McKinsey in Houston. Dr. Zhang holds a B.S. degree in Modern Physics from University of Science and Technology of China and a M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree, both in Nuclear Engineering, from Purdue University in the U.S.