11 January 2016
What are your strategic priorities and growth targets for the next 12-24 months?
Our biggest priority today is managing our business through low commodity prices and strategically positioning the company for the next upcycle. Near term growth targets are less important than protecting value for shareholders in the medium term and re-aligning the asset base for long term growth (24 months+).
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the O&G market and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
The greatest opportunity at the moment is the large number of appraisal and exploration assets that are trading at pennies on the dollar. We plan to be very active in building up a low capex commitment exploration and appraisal inventory to tackle when oil prices recover.
What do you foresee as the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
The loss of some of the most senior skilled technical people (particularly reservoir and production engineers) as they retire or accelerate their retirement because of prolonged low commodity prices.
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 are very fortunate that we have low cost production and we operate so we can somewhat control our costs. We are continuing to look at any and every way to save a dollar per barrel and minimizing spend on any new projects.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
I would force equity investors to go to a 20% capital weighting in the energy space. Twenty percent of approximately $70 trillion dollars should go a long way in helping energy share prices recover.
How would you describe your company in once sentence to a new investor/client?
A New Zealand focused profitable oil producer with break-even costs at $35/b Brent (including G+A) and significant upside.
How did you come to be in the O&G industry?
A severe downturn in the mining space in 1997 made finding mining exploration work difficult so I switched over to the oil and gas industry in 1998.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
Running two exploration mining drills in the jungles of Mexico when I was 25 years old. That experience, for better or worse, prepared me to handle most things work can throw at you.
What one businessman/women do you admire most and why?
Jim Rogers who is, arguably, one of the most astute commodity investors alive. His common sense approach to investing and economic analysis resonates with me.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
Make a decision. If you wrong 50% of the time and right 50% of the time at least you are right 50% of the time. If you don’t make a decision you are effectively going to be wrong 100% of the time.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate embarking on a career in O&G?
Get at least 3-5 years of operations experience in the field (drilling, facilities, engineering, production, geology, etc). The more the better and even a limited time in the trenches will pay off dividends in the future.
How and where do you prefer to spend your spare time?
Playing outdoors whenever and wherever possible.
What is your all-time favourite book?
Nelson Demille’s The Gold Coast
What is you all-time favourite film?
Embarrassingly, Ben Stiller’s “There’s Something About Mary”
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
A Netflix subscription
A margarita machine and;
About Paul Ebdale
Paul is founder and CEO of Mitra Energy Inc., a pure play company focussed on finding and developing gas in SE Asia. He trained as a geophysicist in the University of Wales at Cardiff before starting work with Saudi Aramco. After 11 years with Conoco in a variety of positions in the UK, Egypt and Indonesia, Paul joined Hess in 1996. There he was instrumental in building that company’s exploration and appraisal business in SE Asia, leading to a number of commercial developments in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. In 2005, he stepped out to set up Mitra Energy, which rapidly developed to become one of the most active players in the region, whose accomplishments include a number of commercial gas finds in Philippines and Vietnam. Paul is a famed Bolton Wanderers fan who has lived in this region now for more than 22 years.