Professional Skills Development

Professional Skills Development | Management and Leadership

Managing Multidisciplinary Subsurface Teams

Course Code: N832
Instructors:  Steve Thompson
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration:
3 days


This course will enable current and emerging subsurface managers and team leaders to deliver business performance and add value through effective management of multidisciplinary subsurface teams. Participants will understand the key management requirements for developing organisational capability and delivering excellence through subsurface teams within E&P. It will also help develop an understanding and appreciation of maintaining an appropriate balance between immediate, near-term and long-term business delivery. Participants will learn to apply best practice tools and processes as project managers to get the most out of multidisciplinary subsurface teams.

Duration and Training Method

A three-day classroom based course. The class uses a combination of presentations, group work, exercises, case studies and role plays to ensure that participants learn and develop the confidence to use the various principles and techniques presented in the course. The programme will have a highly interactive master- class style. The content and reflections are provided by oil and gas professionals with a wealth of senior and subsurface leadership experience and expertise.

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

  1. Appreciate that uncertainty and risk management provide a vital frame of reference for prioritization and better decision making.
  2. Appreciate the management choices in subsurface delivery across the E&P value chain.
  3. Describe and demonstrate the expectations of subsurface managers and explain with clarity the skills required for high performance.
  4. Demonstrate and explain subsurface management competencies and the way subsurface managers may use them to impact and relate to others.
  5. Effectively communicate the subsurface issues to non-subsurface leaders and decision makers.
  6. Identify ways of efficiently condensing and managing the multitude of daily activities, requests and demands upon subsurface managers/team leaders.
  7. Understand how to resource teams combining internal and external resources, designing efficient and sustainable subsurface teams whilst balancing the needs of the individual, the team and the company.
  8. Utilise the knowledge of capable individuals appropriately and know how a team succeeds in the subsurface domain.
  9. Describe their role as project managers and the impact of fundamental project management skills to the delivery of the subsurface products and in building business success.
  10. Understand the roles of subsurface teams in the core E&P delivery processes and the importance of the depletion plan.
  11. Interpret the depletion planning process and improved knowledge of the levers and choices available to drive depletion planning performance.
  12. Recognise the role of technology identification, planning and delivery in achieving business success.
  13. Understanding the importance of assessing and valuing information and data acquisition in subsurface management.

The course will examine and discuss the challenges and tensions faced by subsurface managers – how to create focused teams that deliver high business performance through quality and timely products under the umbrella of risk and uncertainty.

It will examine how to understand the business environment, corporate business drivers and priorities together with making decisions about the trade-offs inevitably required between costs, pace and value.

This will all be framed in creating an environment of safe and responsible operations and work practices.

Effective subsurface management varies not only with the person or group that is being influenced, but it also depends on the task, job or function that needs to be accomplished.

The course will examine the key subsurface activities, their focus and how they change across the E&P value chain from access and exploration through to development and production. It applies best practices within the specific context of the subsurface domain and will help participants grow their skills and competency in subsurface management across the value chain.

The course will:

  • Examine the current, and relevant recent, business context and framework in which E&P companies operate
  • Share insights into successful subsurface team leadership and management core skills and needs
  • Describe the E&P business framework; how and where subsurface work fits and impacts an organisation’s objectives
  • Discuss, using case studies and shared experience, key focus areas for team leaders:
  • Look at portfolio choices through the use of case studies and practical experience to understand business drivers
  • Show how to characterise subsurface and business uncertainty to manage risk to drive performance
  • Use material on slides, case studies, classroom exercises and discussion to illustrate E&P activity
    and planning cycles, whether annual or value chain based:
    - Core subsurface activities: Exploration, Reservoir management, Operational delivery, Production management
    - The depletion plan
    - Access and exploration
    - Appraisal and development
    - Production operations
  • Provide guidance and shared experience of compliance and HSSE expectations, as well as the consequences of failure
  • Use exercises and participants’ presentations in class to demonstrate effective communications, engagement and enrolment of other stakeholders – government/regulatory, senior management, other functions and Subsurface teams
  • Explore and discuss views and studies of the expectations of subsurface team leaders
  • Use a team exercise to introduce the concept of developing organisational capability within a subsurface setting, and explore the levers and tools available to the subsurface team leader
  • Discuss opportunities and proven successful examples of working effectively and managing the supply chain and external groups to add value to the business
  • Look at the typical annual cycle of the E&P business to help subsurface team leaders predict and plan the work demands required for smooth running in organisations
  • Use basic project management techniques to improve the efficient planning and execution of subsurface projects and delivery

The course is designed for current and emerging subsurface managers/team leaders and others with subsurface management responsibility in their roles.

Steve Thompson

Steve Thompson joined the petroleum industry in 1980 as a wireline engineer with Schlumberger; he retired from BP in 2012 and has since been advising and consulting in areas of staff development and training with independents and oil majors. At his retirement he was BP’s senior technical manager in the Middle East, based in Abu Dhabi with particular focus on the imminent renewal of the ADCO and ADMA operated interests. Through this he gained close understanding of the contrasting strengths, styles and strategies of the co-venturers globally: Exxon, Shell and Total.

In BP Steve held technical leadership roles across the fi eld lifecycle (access, exploration, appraisal, development and production) in the North Sea, onshore UK, South America, Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East. He had graduated with a Masters degree in Physics from Oxford University and followed this up 10 years later with an MBA from Warwick Business School. This facilitated his move into a gap in BP’s organization and he began working closely with HR in several roles to move people management in a more strategic direction. This culminated in his senior role from 2003 to 2008 as Director of Subsurface Staff , responsible for the recruitment, development and deployment of BP’s 2500 Subsurface staff globally (geoscientists, petrophysicists, petroleum and reservoir engineers).

In addition to his continuing association with the Oil and Gas industry, Steve pursues one of his other passions for sailing, by running structured team building opportunities, based in Dorset where he lives and operates a number of vessels for this purpose.

Courses Taught
N832:  Managing Multidisciplinary Subsurface Teams
R001: Oil and Gas Essentials

CEU: 2.1 Continuing Education Units
PDH: 21 Professional Development Hours
Certificate: Certificate Issued Upon Completion
RPS is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. We comply with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognised internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices.
We issue a Certificate of Attendance which verifies the number of training hours attended. Our courses are generally accepted by most professional licensing boards/associations towards continuing education credits. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the courses and certificate of attendance meet their specific criteria.