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Spotlight: Gerardo R.Arteaga Mora, Senior Commercial Advisor, Torchlight Energy Services

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I can speak at least 4 languages and I am learning Japanese

Tell us about your career journey so far.

Hearing my father talk about his work as an engineer in a refinery and learning along my older siblings about maths and science made me realise I wanted to be an engineer as well. Reading Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering not only equipped me with the skills to deal with real life but allowed me to understand what activities I liked and which I did not, plus concluding I wanted to work at a wider level.

I started as a field engineer with Schlumberger, where I developed hands-on knowledge of operations in oil and gas installations in variety of environments and cultures. I realised I liked getting to grip with technologies, systems and understanding from zero to a good level. I also learned to manage others.

After completing a Masters degree, I became a consultant in petroleum economics and tax regimes with a small consultancy. My clients included natural resources and finance ministries as well as oil and gas companies.

To further my skills, I joined an integrated energy group. I carried out roles in Business Development (buying and selling oil fields), joint venture management (working with other companies to operate or develop an asset) and as Senior Commercial Advisor (managing contracts between oil companies).

In another oil company, I spent quite some time looking at problems they had and reframing them to show them there could be other solutions and to implement them. I also worked in Energy Transition initiatives and I found my skills were very transferable.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Maths, and later on anything that involved calculations like electrical circuits in high school. Also languages.

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

From school, reading comprehension, maths, science and languages as these allow me to investigate and understand the world/country/area I am in.

For example, reading comprehension is something I have worked over many years by reviewing written materials from many areas, which help me read government laws, contracts between companies, regulatory guidance, study documents, etc.

I then use my numeracy and software skills to model the effect of something on a company’s income.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I have enough scope and freedom to choose the things I want to get involved with or learn more of and thus I enjoy providing economic and commercial services to operators, development institutions and governments of energy producing countries around the globe. I am also enjoying working in energy transition initiatives and I get to spend quite some time reviewing these.

What is a normal day in your role like?

I look at the list of known deadlines I have and prioritise them, then throughout the day I receive new things I need to do or problems to solve and reschedule. I talk to people that could help me. I look at the problems I found and wonder if they could be seen in a different way and solved, which usually requires me to read about technology, contracts, ask for costs, look at numbers and get a feeling of what factors could impact us the most (in terms of schedule, costs or revenue). I then write/present a proposal and ask for authorisation (which I always get!) and implement it before moving to the next thing.

And what does your job title mean?

I help everyone in a project or company with matters that relate to external companies or regulators and which may or not may be related to a legal or commercial agreement between the parties or a government licence. I get to discuss and negotiate with other energy companies, solve disputes, confirm commercial charges, etc.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

Solve a problem and save money: Ask your parents for an area where they think they spend quite a lot (e.g. gas, electricity, petrol, internet). Estimate spend per month and per year, enter the data in a comparison website and see how much you could save your family by changing providers, using technology, etc.


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