Nick Cooper, CEO, Ophir Energy
What are you strategic priorities and growth targets for the next 12-24 months?
The major short term focus for Ophir is progressing the Fortuna FLNG project to FID in mid-2016. Beyond that it is around making sure we are focused on delivering value growth from our assets. This means we have to allocate our resources, both financial and human, carefully to the opportunities that deliver the best potential returns.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the O&G market and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
We see a fantastic opportunity to continue to rebuild our exploration portfolio, adding in high quality operated positions with minimal drilling commitments in fiscal regimes that enable value creation even at current commodity prices. This will allow us to high grade the portfolio so that we only drill the best plays.
What do you foresee as the greatest challenge to our industry's future growth?
I think the industry will continue to grow for as long as there is demand for hydrocarbons. However, I believe there will be increased focus post Paris on companies environmental management and commitment to minimising carbon footprints.
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?
We have reduced the cash cost of running the business by c. 40% by rationalising across our operations in terms of offices and people. We are being disciplined in only allocating capital to projects that will deliver a return at current prices.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
Ideally there would be more collaboration between peer companies and analysts would be seconded into the industry to experience it from the inside out and to appreciate its wavelength and true risk profile.
How would you describe your company in once sentence to a new investor/client?
World class Exploration company with a strong balance sheet.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
Listen well and listen to all stakeholders and colleagues.
What advice would you pass on to a recent graduate embarking on a career in O&G?
Despite the current market conditions this is still one of the most challenging and rewarding international careers that a graduate can pursue.
About Nick Cooper
Dr Nick Cooper was appointed as an executive director and Chief Executive in June 2011. He is a member of the Nomination Committee. Prior to joining Ophir, Nick Cooper was Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of Salamander Energy plc. He began his career as a geophysicist with BG and Amoco before joining Booz-Allen & Hamilton. From 1999-2005 he was a member of the oil and gas team at Goldman Sachs. In September 2014 Nick was appointed as non-executive director of Siccar Point Energy Limited. Nick has a BSc and PhD in Geophysical Sciences and an MBA from INSEAD.