Colombia Energía spoke with Mr. Carlos Alberto Leal Niño, president of the association’s board of directors, about the achievements of the year, the challenges for petroleum engineers in the energy transition process.
The Colombian Association of Petroleum Engineers (Acipet), an organization with more than 50 years of experience, in its mission to seek well-being and favor the interests of professionals in the sector, permanently advances activities that contribute to the development of the industry.
Colombia Energy: What is the balance this year for the association?
Carlos Leal: The balance for Acipet is positive. We carry out a strategic plan related to activities such as training, regional pedagogy projects, forums in different parts of the country and the holding of the Eighteenth Colombian Petroleum Congress in the framework of the Second Oil and Gas Summit. For the technical agenda of the congress we had an arduous task, which began from the beginning of the year, together with the technical committee, calling for the participation of technical works. We were quite successful in this work, as more than 470 papers were received, of which about 170 will be presented at the summit. Likewise, the ethics commissions and the inter-institutional commission inter-institutional hydrocarbons commission-CIH were reactivated, which are vital for the operation of the association.
CE: As we know, there was an endorsement so that in 2020 the projects of unconventional deposits are initiated, what aspects should petroleum engineers take into account in order to advance this work?
CL: We hopefully receive the fact that the pilots have been approved. For our part, we have actively worked to inform the public of interest about the convenience of developing unconventional deposits for the country. On the other hand, we are aware of the need to advance a strong training plan that will improve the skills of industry professionals, so that they are prepared for the development of pilots and unconventional deposits. From Acipet we promote education and that is why for the next year we have summoned international experts to participate in graduates related to topics such as unconventional and offshore.
CE: How to encourage operators and companies to take Colombian staff into account?
CL: We train to encourage personal training to be very competitive. However, economic openness allows countries to have free movement of professionals, so it is very complex to ask them to prefer local labor. For our part, we promote training through training and experiences with new technologies that strengthen the skills and competencies of Colombian professionals.
CE: How does Acipet establish communication between the sector and society?
CL: We do it through regional pedagogy projects, using a very simple language understandable to all audiences of interest, such as including communities. We explain what we do and how we impact from an economic, social and environmental point of view; We also tell you how we generate development in the regions. With respect to the negative effects, which many times worry them, we show them that we have contingency plans with which we mitigate all the risks that arise in the operations.
Likewise, we inform you about the possibility of energy insufficiency and what that would imply, and of course the importance of the energy transition, which should be financed and financed with resources from the hydrocarbon industry.
CE: How should professionals prepare for the energy transition?
CL: From Acipet we are advancing a project with the Professional Petroleum Engineering Council, which consists of a study of competencies, for which we convene the industry, academy and guilds, in order to know the main challenges in the training of future professionals, not only as petroleum engineers but as energy professionals. We are aware that in 30 or 40 years, the fossil industry’s workforce will be lost, but at the same time there will be an opening in renewable energies. That is why professionals must be prepared to migrate throughout the value chain of the energy issue, not only from hydrocarbons, but from other sources of energy such as geothermal, wind and solar.
CE: Tell us, what were the main conclusions of the Offshore Investment Summit that Acipet organized in Barranquilla?
CL: One of the most relevant aspects is that in Colombia we have great potential, particularly in the Caribbean Sea, that’s why some contracts were signed by the ANH with six blocks and this, of course, gives hope to the gas sector in as to many more years of available resources. This is a long-term project and a large investment, more than 1.8 billion dollars, must be made in the entire area of exploration and primary development.
Likewise, the personnel of the region should be trained in operational aspects, whether skilled or not, offshore professionals, since Colombia does not have much experience in this area. And finally, which constitutes a challenge that we have for our sector from a professional, technical, logistic, social and environmental point of view; For this reason, the importance of creating spaces such as the realization of the second forum for which experts from around the world will be convened, in order to expand knowledge regarding the development of these resources of the Colombian offshore resources.
CE: What are Acipet’s bets for 2020?
CL: We have a plan of activities related to the continuity of the forums on topics such as unconventional, offshore, renewable energy and improved recovery, among others. We want to continue and expand the regional pedagogy project, we have a very ambitious plan to work hand in hand with government entities such as the Ministry of Mines, the interior and associations such as ACP. Campetrol, ACGGP among others and with the support of the entire sector, of operating companies, with the purpose of extending this pedagogy. And another big bet will be the realization of the two graduates, one in offshore and another in unconventional deposits. Together with the Industrial University of Santander we will bring international experts and offer a very cheap price for our associates to access this training. In this way, we will continue the training work, in order to strengthen the skills of industry professionals.