As oil prices sank to less than $40 per barrel during the last week in August, senior executives from some of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world, with years of experience in the industry, gave career advice during the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s recent Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver.
Much of it focused on making the most of any opportunity people can get their hands on.
“I really believe careers are made at these times, not in the up cycles,” saidWouter van Kempen, chairman and CEO of Denver-based DCP Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: DPM), the biggest natural gas processor in the United States.
Oil prices started sliding from $100 per barrel a year ago, and experts say it could be years before they inch back into the $70 per barrel range. Thousands of people have been laid off from the energy sector in the last year, and many think the belt tightening will continue.
“The opportunities for the learning that take place in down cycles, for people who are early in their career, now is the time to raise your hand and say, ‘Give me the biggest pile of crap that you have,’” van Kempen said.
“You are not the problem, you didn’t create the problem, but if you can find a way to solve problems and to innovate, it’s a great opportunity in a career to do difficult things. This is a tremendously good time to hone your career, build your skills and do some exciting stuff,” van Kempen said.