SPE asked to act as the leader against industry discrimination

A world-first, international workshop on workplace challenges and discrimination in the oil and gas industry was held in Aberdeen last week.

SPE special 40 yearsOrganised by SPE Aberdeen in co-operation with SPE Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, the participants of the event publicly requested that SPE take a stronger role with regard to the guidelines and practices applied at SPE’s international events and to no longer allow the presence of scantily clad women as ‘poster girls’.

SPE has also been publicly requested to act as a platform of collaboration and alignment for the industry with regard to its current policies, standards and practices related to non-discrimination.

The senior leadership of the operators and service companies in attendance at ‘Breaking the Cycle of Discrimination: Another Perspective on Workplace Challenges in the Oil and Gas Industry’ also indicated their desire for the theme of the Workshop to be structured as a training course, running on the back of the SPE’s international events – ATCE, Offshore Europe, OTC etc. – and in compliance with SPE CEU (Continuous Education Units) scheme, thus ensuring that a larger segment of the industry’s professionals can benefit from the lessons learned during this Workshop.

Ross LowdonDuring the two days of discussions and debates (which strictly abided by Chatham House ‘rules’), worrying findings have emerged – among those the discrimination of women and mid-career professionals holding top rank. A full paper with the Workshop’s main findings will be published by the SPE Aberdeen and made available on its website.

Participants at the Workshop were asked to rank the four main areas of concern with regard to the current industry workplace challenges and these were identified as: prejudice and misconception; mid-career management; technical competence versus social bias and multi-cultural awareness. Through this, the attendants clearly indicated that the oil and gas industry worldwide still has a long way to go before it could claim it is ‘discrimination free’.

Mr. Ross Lowdon, the Chairman of the SPE Aberdeen, said:

“Discrimination in all its forms is not a topic often discussed, particularly in the oil and gas industry.   This conference has changed that and led to a forum for practical advice for the industry.  The debate was open, passionate and very frank.

“We have a long way to go before the industry can be seen as equal. This conference has provided a platform for change, and I look forward to the day my daughter has the same opportunities as I did to create a career for herself in our great industry.”


Pictured is Ross Lowdon, Chairman of SPE Aberdeen



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