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The Softer Skills That Are Needed in the Oil & Gas Business


Barbara Jinks, a speaker at the marcus evans Oil & Gas Summit 2013, on succeeding in the oil and gas business today.

Interview with: Barbara Jinks, Vice Chair - Gas Marketing & Communications, International Gas Union


Oil and gas companies are operating in a business environment that is now more transparent and globally connected. Stakeholder management is a bigger issue than before. Companies need to operate in a sustainable, socially and environmentally acceptable way, otherwise they will not be as successful,” says Barbara Jinks, Vice Chair - Gas Marketing and Communications Program Committee, International Gas Union. To succeed, executives must develop their softer skills as much as their technical skills, Jinks advises.

A speaker at the marcus evans Oil & Gas Summit 2013, in Perth, Western Australia, 21 - 22 November, Jinks highlights the skills that are required to succeed in today’s oil and gas business.

What are the key findings of the survey you are conducting around the world? What skills are required to succeed in the industry?

Amongst the skills that are becoming more important are softer skills, such as stakeholder management, awareness of the image of the gas industry and the impact of a company’s operations on communities and the environment. Stakeholder management is a term that covers many subjects; impact on communities, how contractors and clients are procured, and relationships with regulators, sellers and the media. Maintaining good relations with all stakeholders is increasingly a challenge. The public is more vocal these days, something that executives must be aware of and manage.

What leadership skills are needed to promote the image of oil and gas?

Being a visionary and having the ability to look at the bigger picture are key to being a successful leader – planning ahead. Someone who has an authentic character and integrity, an executive who is respected and who respects others. The survey showed that good communications, being able to cooperate, negotiate and influence people are amongst the most important skills to have.

Overall, gas companies want to do the right thing regarding environmental and climate change issues. The industry is aware of its image and is actively working to improve it, through company and industry association activity. Recent bad press about oil leaks and aging infrastructure has caused executives to focus more on community concerns. With more gas being developed onshore more communities are affected.

Executives must develop their softer skills more than their technical skills. Being a rounded business person will lead to success. 

How is the oil and gas business changing?

How people work and live together is changing. Social media has made communication faster and better. The internet has opened up communications wider and faster. What does it take to be successful today? It is more than just about having good technical people and selling oil and gas. It is much more than that. You need to manage the three pillars of environmental, social and business success. Companies need to operate in a sustainable, socially and environmentally acceptable way, otherwise they will not be as successful.

What is your outlook on the industry? What should Australian oil and gas companies plan for?

Companies should plan for growth and success as the industry has a strong growth forecast. Gas is the partner with renewables that will provide cleaner, cheaper energy and reduce our dependency on coal and oil.

Communities will continue to watch and monitor the oil and gas industry closely -  companies have to be transparent and communicate well to maintain public trust, including through social media and the internet.

Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the Oil & Gas Summit 2013

This unique forum will take place at the Pan Pacific Perth Hotel, Perth, Western Australia, 21 - 22 November 2013. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit provides a perfect balance between strategic presentations and technical sessions to achieve operational excellence at both upstream and downstream levels. A variety of topics will be discussed to provide key insights for developing a competitive edge, attracting experienced staff, improving asset management at strategic level, while delivering ultimate efficiency in technical operations from fracking technologies to LNG production optimisation and waste management.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website

marcus evans group - environment/utilities/ energy sector portal

The Energy Network – marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional trends and breakthrough innovations.


Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, case studies, roundtables and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

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