One of the top women in UK oil and gas was unveiled yesterday as chief executive of the new Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) in Aberdeen.
Colette Cohen described the opportunity to lead the £180million initiative currently awaiting Aberdeen City Region Deal funding as “serendipitous”.
It coincides with a management restructuring at Centrica’s exploration and production arm, where she has been senior vice-president for the UK and the Netherlands since August 2013.
Her departure from Centrica was announced on July 4, when the energy firm revealed there was not place for her in the new lineup.
She starts her new job in the middle of August and the challenge that follows could hardly be tougher.
OGTC is a key plank of the strategy being pursued by Opportunity North East (One), the new economic development agency driving growth in the region.
One and its chairman, Sir Ian Wood, intend it to become a global hub for solutions to some of the industry’s biggest technical challenges, linking centres of excellence around the world into a co-ordinated effort to solve problems.
In the UK North Sea, it is hoped OGTC will help the sector unlock recoverable hydrocarbons currently estimated at up to 20billion barrels of oil equivalent.
It is also expected to play a key role in doubling UK oil and gas supply chain exports to £32billion over the next decade.
Sir Ian said: “OGTC is a transformational project for the oil and gas industry.
“Colette has the ideal combination of commitment, passion for technology, proven leadership abilities and knowledge of the industry to deliver results that will positively impact performance in the UKCS (UK continnetal shelf).
“With industry, government, academia and the public sector fully aligned on this project, our aim is to fundamentally change the oil and gas innovation landscape with a delivery mechanism that facilitates collaboration and accelerates the development and deployment of the technologies that addresses real industry challenges.
“OGTC, alongside partners, will support the delivery of the UKCS maximising economic recovery agenda and help to anchor the oil and gas supply chain in the north-east of Scotland for the long term.”
Ms Cohen said: “I am coming into something new that the industry regulator and government are very supportive of.
“I hope to drive transformational change in the North Sea.
“We now have a moment in our industry where there is huge momentum around collaboration. I hope to kick start a lot of activity.”
She added: “OGTC is an opportunity for the UK to differentiate itself within the oil and gas industry as a leader of technology development and deployment, with particular focus on mature assets, subsea and decommissioning.
“I am looking forward to partnering with industry, the regulators, universities and government to deliver on this vision and making OGTC the go-to centre for the sector.”
Ms Cohen began her career as a petroleum engineer with BP and has worked in senior management roles in Aberdeen, Norway, Kazakhstan and the US for the past 25 years.