More than 200 young professionals in the energy industry celebrated a successful 2017 in style this weekend at the Energy Institute Young Professionals Network (EIYPN) annual dinner and dance at the Chester Hotel in Aberdeen.
Professionals just starting their careers and representatives from dozens of companies in the oil, gas and renewable industries, including Petrofac, Nexen, BP, Shell and more, donned their finest glad rags and enjoyed a delicious three course meal in the resplendent surroundings of the luxury hotel at the black tie event on Friday, before dancing the night away with music provided by three-piece band Mustang.
Guests were also encouraged to network throughout the event and make a name for themselves.
This year’s keynote speaker was Ray Riddoch, managing director UK, and senior vice president Europe for Nexen Petroleum.
Mr Riddoch, who this year was appointed as a Fellow of the Energy Institute as well as the Prince of Wales’ Ambassador in Scotland for Business in the Community, used his speech to reveal that Nexen would sponsor EIYPN events throughout the coming year.
As dinner guests finished off their sticky toffee puddings, Mr Riddoch told stories from all throughout his 30 year career in the oil and gas industry around the world, and shared lessons in the importance of safety and productivity with the industry leaders of the future in the audience.
Mr Riddoch said: “Nexen couldn’t be prouder to support the Energy Institute’s Young Professionals Network in 2018.
“Supporting people in the early stages of their career is critical to the sustainability of the industry in the UK.
“I was excited to see so many young professionals at this year’s sold-out dinner, the energy and enthusiasm gives me the confidence that the future in this new lower-for-life environment is very bright indeed.”
Following the keynote speech, the winners of a fundraising raffle for the charity Friends of Anchor were revealed.
Guests secured fabulous prizes including a coffee machine, gin, and a signed Aberdeen FC shirt – with all the cash going to assist in the charity’s work to support cancer treatment at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Denis Pinto, who founded the EIYPN branch in Aberdeen in 2011, said events like the annual dinner and dance help EIYPN members to expand their professional networks and boost their aspirations.
Since he started the branch, the EIYPN for Aberdeen, Highlands and Islands has grown to a network of more than 500 individuals from all manner of energy industry backgrounds.
He said: “Events like this are all about networking.
“The idea is that you help other people come in, and as you move up the ladder, you bring the next generation into the network.
“The current climate for young people wanting to work in the energy industry is tough, but it’s possible.
“But you have to have the connections, and this is why events like this and being part of a network are so important.”
One of the young professionals on Friday night was Junior Okenwa, a 28-year-old petroleum production engineer for Statoil.
He said: “I think I’m quite fortunate just now, but I do worry for younger professionals joining the industry with the current oil price.
“Dinners and events like this are vital for young professionals looking to make important connections with seasoned professionals.
“Having veterans like Ray Riddoch and others at events like this is a major boost, and really important for inspiring people starting their careers.
“It makes a big impact, it’s important if you want to go somewhere to look at successful guys like Ray and find out all you can about what is so special about them, and their approach, that got them to where they are.”