John Anderson, Vice President, Asia & WA/NT, Santos
16 December 2015
What are your strategic priorities and growth targets for the next 12-24 months?
Having moved from a construction to operations phase on two major LNG investments, Santos’ focus is on delivering every barrel as safely and efficiently as possible.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the O&G market and how are you positioned to capture this opportunity?
Ongoing volatility in the oil price will continue to be a challenge for the industry in 2016 but the growing demand for our product remains and we are confident in higher long-term energy prices.
What do you foresee as the greatest challenge to our industry's future growth?
The divestment push by those opposed to the industry is worrying. Our licence to operate is being challenged as never before. So, we need to better explain the importance of our industry in addressing climate change and highlight the benefits it brings, from helping to lift people out of poverty to powering modern economies.
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 been focusing on reducing costs and implementing capital initiatives to ensure that we can not only navigate the current low oil prices but also benefit from the recovery in oil and LNG prices. Our projects were developed for the long-term.
If you could wave a magic wand over the global industry, what would you change and why?
A strong and stable oil price that provides some certainty for the global energy market, moving away from the roller coaster prices that are likely to continue in the short-medium term.
How would you describe your company in once sentence to a new investor/client?
If we can survive the challenges of 2015 then we will be strongly placed to take advantage of the energy demand that will continue unabated.
You are attending our 2016 Asia Pacific Assembly, what is your goal at this event and what take-away(s) do you want attendees to go home with regarding your company and your work in Asia Pacific?
To show empathy and acknowledge that we are all in the same boat. We need to share our thoughts and some inspiration about how we can navigate forward together as an industry.
How did you come to be in the O&G industry?
As general counsel for a business unit going through a growth project phase.
What is your proudest work-related achievement to date?
Watching succession plans work. Seeing people you hired and helped coach grow and develop into leaders.
What one businessman/women do you admire most and why?
I have been blessed with many good leaders and mentors. It seems unfair to single out just one.
What was the wisest advice you received from a mentor?
I don’t mean to use a pun but it was “as a leader you need to work out when to drill down on an issue, and when you do, make it count because you can’t drill down on everything.” I also use an expression “step up and step out” to give space for others to develop and grow. But equally, you need to know when to step in to mentor and coach.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate embarking on a career in O&G?
Keep putting your hand up to try different roles and work in different locations; the more varied, the better. Secondly, we work in a small industry….you will cross paths with people more often and more quickly than you might think, so it’s always important to reflect on how you present yourself within industry circles.
How and where do you prefer to spend your spare time?
Trying to improve my tennis game.
What is your all-time favourite book?
“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
What is you all-time favourite film?
“Soylent Green” (starring Charlton Heston and Edward G Robinson)…I dare you to watch the death scene and the beautiful images of the world and not tear up.
What three items would you take with you to a desert island?
1) A collection of Bob Marley albums…they were produced by Island Records, after all!
2) My wife…but I do wonder if I would make her list; and
3) All the dogs I have owned in my life….if I am going to be stuck on an island, may as well go barking mad properly!
About John Anderson
John Anderson is responsible for Santos’ activities in the Asia Pacific, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, including commercial and finance, business development, exploration, development and operated assets, and has held the Perth-based position since 2009. John joined Santos in 1996 as Corporate Counsel for the former Queensland Northern Territory Business Unit. John has over 25 years of legal, commercial and business development experience in the oil and gas industry, including 10 years working as a solicitor with Freehills.