Opinion: We have renowned scientists in the UK but can you name a female scientist?


The United Kingdom is home to some of the most renowned scientists in the world. Yet if you asked many people they might find it difficult to name anyone apart from Stephen Hawking. Ask them to name a female scientist and I think they would struggle but we have some exceptional scientists in Dame Athene Donald, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Dame Carol Richardson amongst others. Encouragingly, more women than ever before are working in science, technology and engineering occupations, according to official data. The Labour Force Survey reveals that nearly 800,000 women work in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic occupations, 104,000 more than in 2014.


Opinion: Big oil, environmentalists face common challenge in climate change


Before the Energy Transitions Commission was even launched here in Houston a few weeks ago, environmentalists had already dismissed it as a public relations ploy by major oil companies and other peddlers of fossil fuels. They immediately questioned the climate change credentials of companies like Shell, which is one of the leaders of the initiative to help meet the energy needs of growing world population without damaging the environment beyond repair. Just a few weeks ago, activists from the environmental community took to their kayaks and posed for pictures in front of Shell’s Polar Pioneer rig moored in Seattle. Paddles raised in defiance, they decried the company’s plans to drill in the Arctic.


Opinion: Nuclear deal is poor replacement for ‘ravaged’ renewables industry


The Government has been relentlessly strangling the UK’s green energy sector, arguing that this is all part of their campaign to reduce energy bills for consumers. Now, not only are we risking inflating our energy bills in the future, but we are also at risk of handing control of our future energy security to China.


Opinion: Are you in this to be liked?


Are you in this to be liked? Have you asked yourself how well you managed the cost reduction exercises in your business this year? This recession has cut deeper and lasted longer than most of us ever expected, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait for it to be over to be liked. Most leaders in this market have been through recession and subsequent headcount reductions several times. Many will admit that managing redundancies is the toughest thing that they have had to do in their careers.


Opinion: Collaboration – ideas from the construction industry?


During the current difficult period faced by the UKCS oil and gas industry, collaboration between the various parties in the offshore industry has been identified as one of the key factors in ensuring that the oil and gas output from the UKCS is maximised. There has been recent discussion in Energy Voice about some of the ways in which this can be done – and some of the problems being encountered, including the publication of some very interesting survey results published by Deloitte. Looking at these things in terms of their legal and contractual dimensions, there might be lessons to take from the way that the (onshore) construction and engineering sector has dealt with these issues in the last decade or so. In that area, particular forms of standard form contracts and the use of “good faith” obligations have been at the centre of trying to ensure collaborative working – with some success.


Shell Opinion: Inspiring teacher led me to become a woman in STEM


There has been a lot of talk recently about the ‘barriers to entry’ for girls studying science and mathematics at school. Whether it is not feeling smart enough, not knowing about the different career options or just not having the support and role models to encourage and inspire them to take that leap of faith to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, girls are not pursuing STEM careers in the same way boys are.


Opinion: Women in STEM – Real-life role models cannot be underestimated


At St Margaret’s School for Girls we read the article which showed a quarter of girls in Scotland aged between 11 and 16 do not think they are clever enough to become a scientist with great interest. In girls’ schools across the country it has long been acknowledged that building confidence and self-esteem in girls is key to their success in the classroom, particularly with regard to the uptake of science and maths. The number of our girls pursuing STEM subjects at university continues to be high and is in stark contrast with the figures released by EDF Energy today.


Opinion: Shell leaves Arctic for now


The news of Shell’s departure from its Arctic offshore project has been greeted by a mixture of nodding heads, wrinkled brows, and, in some quarters, elated arm-waving.


Opinion: Time for flexibility?


An estimated 14.1 million people in Britain want flexibility in their working hours or location, equivalent to almost half the working population, the consultancy and jobs site Timewise says. As businesses continue to look to ways in which they can reduce their cost base other than simply by reducing headcount, one stone that is often left unturned is flexibility. It is commonly held that flexibility costs money, be it in management time for administering a complicated flexible working programme or by having to add more people to the mix to get the work done. In 1998, certain major oil and gas operators led the way by allowing employees to have every second Friday off of work (The 9 Day Fortnight or Alternative Working Week) – on the basis that they worked their contractual hours over 9 days. Competitors scrambled to put in place similar schemes in order to ensure that they retained their staff and to try and prevent them from being lured away by the competitors.


Opinion: Taxation only part of UKCS solution, must convince investors


The latest research from the University of Aberdeen provides detailed independent financial confirmation of the constant refrain in industry – that without meaningful and sustained cost reduction the UKCS basin will not be economical in the short to medium term and maximising economic recovery will not be achieved. It is an important contribution in illustrating the impact of costs on returns in our industry.