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Role of women in oil and gas continuing to grow

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Women continue to take on bigger roles in the oil and gas industry, with a new generation of female professionals seeking careers in scientific or technical roles, say industry leaders scheduled to take part in the ADIPEC Women in Energy conference, in Abu Dhabi, in November.

Held as part of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC), more than 200 delegates are expected to attend Women in Energy, offering a full day of discussions on strategies aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion within the global oil and gas industry. 

While female professionals are increasingly well-represented in business management, or administration roles, a growing number are also seeking opportunities in technical fields.

"Women are dramatically under-represented in roles traditionally viewed as men's work, such as science or engineering careers," said Aida Araissi, Founder and CEO of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. Araissi has worked extensively with oil and gas industry leaders, helping forge stronger business ties between the United States and Middle East.

"There are many young women studying and qualifying to work in these areas, and it is time to create more opportunities," Araissi said. "We need to mentor women in achieving their potential, and ensuring that their contribution is visible to industry leaders and decision makers as they move forward in their careers."

The Women in Energy conference will include a full day of sessions aimed at highlighting the contribution women are making in the industry, and how industry leaders, both men and women, can join hands to build a diverse and inclusive workspace for future generations. Panel discussions will feature women working at several international and local companies, including Petronas, Lukoil, Nova Chemicals and Tatweer Petroleum, sharing their knowledge and experience, and exploring strategies for promoting diversity across the board.

Research by the Boston Consulting Group, for the World Petroleum Council, has found that fewer than a fifth of oil and gas workers are female. The disparity is particularly acute in offshore and marine, refining, and petrochemicals, in which women hold just 15 per cent of entry-level technical and field positions. By comparison, female graduates hold half of entry-level office and business-support positions.

The Women in Energy programme includes a significant emphasis on scientific and technical careers. In a live on-stage interview, journalist Reem Abdellatif will speak to female executives from Baker Hughes, a GE Company, as well as Petroleum Development Oman, about ways to include more women in less conventional fields such as refining and petrochemicals, offshore and marine, among others. Other sessions include technical case study presentations where female industry leaders and project managers will discuss key developments about oil and gas projects they are working on.

"Educators have achieved great success in encouraging many more girls and young women to pursue studies in ‘STEM' subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - and female students perform notably well in many of these areas," said Reem Abdellatif, the English-language editor-in-chief at financial news website Argaam.

"The challenge is to ensure there are suitable career paths for young female professionals as they graduate, and continuing development throughout their working lives. The Women in Energy conference can help oil and gas firms capitalise on the talent available to them." 

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and organised by the Global Energy division of dmg events, ADIPEC is one of the world's leading oil and gas events, and the largest in Africa and the Middle East.

ADIPEC will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from Monday 13 to Thursday 16 November 2017, with Women in Energy conference sessions taking place on Thursday 16 November.

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