Conference Chairs

We are delighted to announce the following industry leaders will chair sessions at the OGUK Industry Conference.

Business Transition

Ariel Flores
Regional President
BP North Sea

Ariel joined the North Sea as Regional President in April 2018, after previously holding the role of General Manager for the Rumaila field and Head of Country for Iraq. He served as Vice-President for BP and was a member of the Middle East Regional Leadership Team.

He brings a diverse array of subsurface, operations and business experience to the role. He has an extensive background in running large operating assets, developing reservoirs in major hydrocarbon basins and a deep passion for building capability in people.

He joined BP in Houston, Texas.  Since then, he has held a variety of technical and business roles in the US, Russia, UK, Azerbaijan and Angola.  He has spent time in the BP and TNK-BP executive offices working with executives to establish technical and functional ways of working to improve safety, efficiency and delivery. 

Ariel has a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rice University and is a graduate of the Operations Academy.

David Stewart
CEO, Asset Solutions – Europe, Africa, Asia & Australia

Dave Stewart is CEO of the Asset Solutions business across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, bringing 40 years of oil & gas industry experience to the role, which focuses on the development and execution of the business’ strategy and future growth.

Since joining Wood in 1997, Dave has led the business to notable achievements. He was the driving force behind the strategic acquisitions of Pyeroy in 2013 and Infinity Group in 2015, which respectively brought industrial services and downstream construction and maintenance capabilities into the company’s global service offering.

He established Wood’s duty holder capability in 2007 and broadened the service offering in the UK Continental Shelf after being appointed UK managing director of Wood Group PSN in 2012. In 2015, he was then appointed CEO of the company’s global brownfield business Wood Group PSN. Dave also serves in active roles in some of the UK’s key oil & gas industry organisations. He is a board member of Oil & Gas UK, trustee of the UK Oil & Gas Chaplaincy and until recently was an active member of Step Change in Safety’s Leadership team.

John Pearson
Chief Operating Officer – EPS

John joined Petrofac in October 2017 as Chief Corporate Development Officer and Group Managing Director, Western Hemisphere, responsible for the regional delivery of its Engineering and Production Services (EPS) business.

As Corporate Development Officer John worked alongside the Petrofac Board to further develop the Group’s reimbursable services strategy, with particular focus on growth initiatives.

In August 2018 John was appointed Chief Operating Officer of EPS globally. In this role he is accountable for the overall growth and delivery of EPS’ Operations, Projects, Engineering and Consultancy Services, Well Engineering and Training Services capabilities.

Prior to joining Petrofac, John spent 28 years with AMEC Foster Wheeler and five years with Chevron, in the UK and the US. His previous roles have included president of global oil, gas and chemicals, and multi-market roles running the Americas, Northern Europe and CIS region. John holds a degree in Engineering from Aberdeen University.

Energy Transition

Colette Cohen
The Oil & Gas Technology Centre

As Chief Executive Officer, Colette is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the Oil & Gas Technology Centre is recognised as the ‘go to’ centre globally for oil and gas technology solutions. Colette started her career offshore in 1991, and she has worked for operators including BP, ConocoPhillips and Britannia in the North Sea, Norway, the US and Kazakhstan, where she received a Jubilee Medal from the Kazakh Prime Minister in recognition of her contribution to the country’s oil and gas industry. Prior to joining The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, Colette was Senior Vice President of Centrica Energy’s Exploration and Production business in the UK and The Netherlands. Colette has also served on the board of the Oil & Gas UK, the Technology Leadership Board, the OGA Decommissioning board and is the Chair of the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas.

Mike Tholen
Upstream Policy Director

As Head of Upstream Policy for Oil & Gas UK, Michael Tholen seeks to promote the competitiveness of the UK Continental Shelf. His team is responsible for managing industry’s relationship with the UK, and Scottish Government and the EU on all exploration and production activity. The team’s remit also included fiscal policy, decommissioning and the energy transition. Previously, he worked with Shell for 20 years, in the UK and internationally, in a variety of engineering and commercial roles. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a regular commentator on the energy scene.

Roger Esson
Decommissioning Solution Centre Manager
The Oil & Gas Technology Centre

As manager of the Decommissioning, Solution Centre, Roger is leading the team to identify, fund and support the development and deployment of technology that drives down the cost of decommissioning. Roger has more than 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector and has held a variety of leadership positions within companies ranging from SMEs to tier 1 contractors. Before joining the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, he was Chief Executive of Decom North Sea. Roger played an active role in the execution of several of the UK’s most significant decommissioning projects including; MCP01, North West Hutton and Brent Delta.

People Transition

John McDonald

John is the CEO of OPITO, the global, not-for-profit skills body for the energy industry.

Working closely with governments, national oil companies, operators and contractors, John drives safety and competency improvements across the industry to meet international skills needs and support workforce development. He took up the role in 2017 and previously held posts with OPITO as UK managing director and director for international workforce development. Prior to joining OPITO, John was a director at ACTVET, the government body charged with creating a vocational education and training system in Abu Dhabi. He was previously a director at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and led the development of new products and services and created new markets in Asia and the Middle East.

Steve Phimister
Cultural Change Champion

Steve joined Shell in 1992 and has worked in Europe, Australia, Asia and North & South America, in a variety of technical, commercial, business development and asset management roles across Shell’s Upstream, Downstream and Integrated Gas businesses. Before returning to the UK in early 2016, Steve spent seven years leading a period of strong growth for Shell in Australia, including roles as GM Non-Operated ventures, GM Unconventionals and GM Business Development.  Steve currently the Industry’s

Early in 2017 Steve was appointed the UK Industry’s Cultural Champion where his role, alongside the leaders of the MER UK task forces, is to act as a catalyst for behavioural change to embed, sustain and accelerate the cultural change of the industry through the integration, prioritisation and sponsorship of change activities.

Steve has a degree in Chemical & Mineral Engineering from the University of Birmingham in the UK and is a member of several Engineering Institutes. He is also a Graduate and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has served on the board of a number of energy-related businesses in Australia.

Jennifer Craw
Chief Executive
Opportunity North East

Jennifer Craw is Chief Executive and a Board Director of Opportunity North East (ONE), the private sector economic leadership body for North East Scotland.  Established by industry to strengthen and diversify the region’s economy, ONE’s strategic priorities are to maximise the UKCS oil and gas opportunity; anchor the energy supply chain in the region for the long term and establish a leading position in energy transition; achieve growth in the other key industry sectors of food, drink and agriculture, life sciences and tourism; and develop opportunities in the digital economy and entrepreneurial environment.

ONE’s work is supported with a 10-year funding commitment of £62 million from The Wood Foundation and its co-funding approach to transformational projects aims to leverage maximum investment and impact for the regional economy.

Jennifer has a passion for business growth, industry development and the sustainability of the regional economy. She joined Scottish Enterprise Grampian as Head of Food in 1994, becoming Director of Competitive Business in 1999. She spent a period at Shell Expro UK leading a business transformation project before returning to Scottish Enterprise Grampian as Chief Executive in 2002.

Jennifer is a former Chair of the Board of Governors and Board Member at Robert Gordon University. She is currently a Board Member of Visit Aberdeenshire Ltd and is a past Board Member of James Hutton Ltd and of regional transport partnership Nestrans.