Interview with Pedro Miras Salamanca, Vice President of the WPC Executive Committee

Pedro Miras Salamanca is Vice President Programme of the WPC Executive Committee, Chairman of the WPC Committee of Programmes (CPC) and Chairman of the Spanish WPC Committee.

He has almost 30 years of experience in the hydrocarbons sector (oil and gas) performed within the private and public sector, specifically in REPSOL (international, refining, strategic planning), National Energy Commission (oil & biofuels), International Energy Agency (delegate), SEQ (Chairman) and CORES (Board of Directors). In addition to the engagement in the WPC network, he is also Chairman of the Spanish Strategic Petroleum Reserves Corporation (CORES), Chairman of the Standing Group on Emergency Questions (SEQ) of the International Energy Agency, and Member of the Steering Committee and the Board of Directors of Enerclub (Club Español de la Energía).

You have been elected by the WPC Council in 2017 in Istanbul as President of WPC Committee of Programmes for the 23rd World Petroleum Congress cycle. What shall be the priorities of the CPC until the 23rd World Petroleum Congress in Houston to be held in 2020?

The WPC Congress Programme Committee is responsible to the Executive Committee for developing and producing the working programme for each Congress. Its members shall be from different countries, and they all have extensive experience in different areas of the sector, which guarantees to cover different realities of the oil & gas sector worldwide.

The 23rd World Petroleum Congress in Houston will be a world class event that will bring together leading experts from the oil and gas industry and cross sector initiatives in the energy capital of the world, Houston, to present innovative energy solutions for our future.

To achieve this, the CPC has set 5 goals. First, to modernize the program of the Congress, including topics that will be key in the future of the sector such as digitalization, innovative technologies or alternative energies. In second place, to make contents accessible to the society, a society in transformation that changes very quickly and looks for solutions to its needs of mobility, comfort, or in many cases, basic access to energy. Additionally, the Congress should use all the potential of new technologies, and the CPC will analyze the different options to increase the interactivity of the sessions and offer a more complete experience to the attendees. Fourth, in the interconnected world in which we live, increase networking, also with other industries, is essential, as such sessions will be integrated into the program with top-level executives of the technology industry, automotive companies, or airlines among others. Last, but not least, the top quality that characterizes the World Petroleum Congress, and that has allowed it to be known as the “Olympics” of the petroleum industry, will be maintained.

We are honored that you will join and open this year’s edition of the WPC “Tomorrow’s Leaders Symposium” on 17 September in Belgrade, where we will be addressing “Downstream Landscape Transformations”. How do you view the transformations in the industry of today?

The downstream sector is in a state of constant evolution. It must adapt to the various product trends motivated by changing consumption patterns, such as the increased use of kerosene; external factors such as the automotive emissions issue; changes in marine fuels regulations; and new sources of supply such natural gas liquids replacing Naphtha. There is a need to focus on quality and providing value to the customer.

New technologies will allow us to better adapt to this reality. For example, big data management would enable new creative ways to address client portfolios, developing personalized marketing promotions for each client segment in retail. Digital helps reduce operational costs through increased worker productivity with mobility, driving operational excellence and subsurface data management for the oil and gas industry. Downstream business need to stay ahead in the digital revolution, developing in-house capabilities and adding external talent for data analytics and other leading technologies.

Moreover, the downstream sector can find best practices and innovative ways of working in other industries. For instance, just-in-time and standardization used in the Automotive industry; and big data applied to marketing and consumer trends analysis in the banking sector.

You have almost 30 years of experience in the hydrocarbons sector –  from the point of view of a very successful career in the oil and gas industry, what would be your advice to young professionals of today?

The oil and gas industry is currently setting the standards for the future of the energy industry worldwide with their commitment to the environment and the society. This is a sector with great dynamism and potential in which it is worth working and long-term careers can be developed that meet the expectations of young people.

Some of the qualities that young people offer, such as creative thinking, sensitivity to new issues and great innovative potential, are vital for the future. Young talent is probably the biggest asset that any industry has. It is crucial to attract and retain it to guarantee a competitive oil and gas sector today and for future generations. For this reason, the Spanish WPC Youth Committee was launched in February 2015. Currently, it has more than 350 members from 57 different institutions.

The main objective of the Spanish WPC Youth Committee is to be a meeting point for young Spanish energy professionals and promoting international networking within the WPC International Young Professionals. The Committee also bridges the generation gap, increasing communication and promoting joint participation in the national WPC events.

Finally, how would you advice your younger self?

It is difficult to have perspective with oneself, because we are what we are because of the decisions we have made throughout our life and the circumstances that have surrounded us. Undoubtedly, I would choose this sector again to develop my professional career, but my best advice is “this is a long run, be patient”.