The SPE Gulf Coast Section Extends a warm welcome to our new chair, Deepak M. Gala with Shell! We thought we'd introduce him by sharing part of our conversation:
Connect: Where are you originally from, and how did you wind up in Houston?
Originally, I am from Mumbai, India. I arrived in Texas in fall 2002 to pursue graduate studies. I come from a hard-working family with basic education. However, my parents understood the value of education and its importance in the world, and they supported my development from my early childhood. I wanted to pursue a career in oil and gas, which made Houston a natural destination for me.
Connect: Since you're not a native Texan, what do you think makes Houston and the Gulf Coast region such a great place to live and work?
When I was considering where I wanted to attend college, I shortlisted Texas as it offers more oil and gas exposure than any other state in the US. After graduation, I was successful in transitioning from my internship to a full-time job in Houston, the energy capital of the world. I feel Houston has all the components of a metropolis. The diversity of the city is vibrant with a large international community. I was able to establish social network - friends, extended family, and professional contacts - in only a few years. Thus, Houston quickly became my home away from home. Also, compared to some other major oil and gas hubs, Houston provides more opportunities for dual-career couples, which is one of the reasons why my wife and I have made Houston our home for now.
Connect: How has SPE helped you in your professional life?
SPE keeps us connected throughout our careers and office lives. SPE provided me with avenues for sharing knowledge; enhancing my technical, writing and project management skills; and networking at the local and international levels. With its deeply interconnected and diverse culture, SPE provided me with the opportunity to test my leadership skills at a young age and connect with a plethora of leading talent in the industry.
Connect: You are part of Shell's Deepwater group. Where do you foresee attractive future deepwater exploration and production plays?
Deepwater is one of Shell's two growth priorities (chemicals is the other). With our early 2016 completion of the BG deal, we boosted our global deepwater production by 25% and increased our access to resources. This gives Shell and abundance of choices in countries where we already have experitse, longtime relationships, and critical infrastructure. We have a strong development pipeline and production on-stream in Brazil, the US Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, and Malaysia. We expect our global deepwater production to double to more than 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day by the early 2020s, and that production will come from already-discovered established areas.
Connect: A topic that interests many of our readers is balancing work and family. How do you do that?
I have a strong support system at home, even though we are a dual-career couple. The key is to have a supportive network that understands the challenges of work-life balance as well as dual-career couples. The flexible work culture at Shell has been instrumental in keeping the balance tipped on the positive side.
Connect: What do you get excited about outside of Shell & SPE?
I enjoy spending my time with my wife and two kids. Recently, my son and I have started going for tandem bike rides. They are a lot of fun. I like to read non-fiction books and annual reports.
Connect: Last word?
SPE is your society; connect and contribute to it.
Finally, I would like to thank our outgoing Chair, Dr. Ivor Ellul, for all he has done for GCS and for me. I am glad he will still be an active part of GCS and will serve as Past Chair of the board. I ahve always valued Ivor's advice, friendship, and leadership attributes. I learned a lot from him, as an entrepreneur, a mentor, and as a friend.
Technology that has made the most impact on my career: Managed pressure drilling
Number of SPE papers published: 11 conference papers and four journal papers. I would like to acknowledge my co-authors for their support and encouragement.
Must-haves for YPs to succeed: A curious mind and persistence (and that's not limited to YPs!)
Last international business trip: Tanzania
Sports I follow: Professional cricket, footbal and tennis
Last book I read: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
"Thanks for a most informative workshop. All three topics were well on target and well received. Overall the workshop was well planned and executed. As a webinar participant, I felt connected and engaged throughout the discussion."
"I continue to congratulate myself for choosing to attend the workshop in person. It was a great value and very beneficial. Thank you for your effort organizing it. It ran very smoothly! I would like to attend the following one also, so hope to see you again!"
"Thanks for arranging the SPE Members in Transition Seminar last Friday. I found the presentations, discussions and networking pretty valuable."
"It was incredibly valuable to get this insight at this time in my career. A lot of things have changed since the last time I was interviewing for jobs. Thank you very much for the needed update!"
Are you in-between jobs or looking for new opportunities? Check out the newest committee page, Members in Transition, for job resources and webinars of the past events. Find out more information HERE.