BY SANDRA LENTZ DAMBMANN
WHAT’S YOUR TYPICAL DAY AT MAERSK OIL?
I’m in the gas trading team, so every day we receive a forecast of the gas production from the Tyra Field in the North Sea, and then decide where to deliver the gas. At the moment we can take the gas into Denmark, Holland or Germany.
There we sell it on an exchange or bilaterally. Gas is a physical commodity, so behind the trading I also work with the operations, transportation and the balancing of the gas. We can’t have too much or too little gas in the pipeline, so we need to manage the balance.
We also have a 24/7 weekly duty split between three of us in the team. One of us needs to always be available to respond to changes in production, and manage the balancing and the trading. The job is not the same every day, and that’s what I like about it. There are different things happening all the time, because both the team and business are growing.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER IN GAS TRADING START?
I studied Economics and German at university in Sheffield. The German part of the programme meant I had to live in Germany, which I did for a year. While there I did two internships: one at a bank and the other in a professional services firm. These experiences led me to Gazprom, which is how I got into commodities.
Two and a half years later while on holiday in Copenhagen, I saw a job opening in Maersk Oil’s trading team. I tried my luck, and it worked out really well. I thought, “I’ll at least see what they say, and tell them that I’m around for a couple of days.” I came in the next day! It was quite unexpected but a great opportunity. That was about a year ago now.
HOW DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE FROM GAZPROM COME INTO PLAY AT MAERSK OIL?
It was very good training. I was in a graduate position and had different roles working with gas and power operations, and scheduling and balancing of power and gas. Working with power is a bit different from gas. There isn’t as much flexibility and the deadlines are tighter. You also can’t have any power leftover because you can’t store it.
I learned that you couldn’t make mistakes. I was taught to be almost paranoid about not making errors. I really had to pay attention to detail. It’s the same here at Maersk Oil, in that you want to avoid making any costly errors.
At Gazprom, I realised that I really enjoy operations and handling the physical commodity. Being a relatively small gas team at Maersk Oil means I get to see more sides of the business, whereas at Gazprom they have grown so much that the roles are pretty segregated. This means that the operators will always do the operations and the traders the trading, and so forth. That makes it harder to move across different tasks. Our lean team here means I get varied experiences. I am relatively new to the industry, and therefore I think it’s a pretty good opportunity to get an understanding of the whole package.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I wanted to be a vet, which is very different from where I ended up. I think it changed while working in Germany, since that’s when I got into trading. I like the idea of commodities being a bit more tangible than just speculating on stocks and shares. That is why I applied to Gazprom in the first place. Also being a vet was my dream when I was about six. I also wanted to be an astronaut, but of course there’s still time for that!