By Katherine Scott, editorial coordinator
Promoting a positive message about the oil and gas industry is one of Bob Warren’s ongoing missions. The industry has to work harder to emphasize that this is a career destination with unlimited opportunities for people who are willing to work hard, said Mr Warren, president of Baclenna Inc, a Houston-based energy consulting service.
“The earlier that message becomes part of the discussion, the sooner a young person can say, ‘I could work in the energy sector,’” he continued. “At some point, all young people need to make a career decision, and they need to make an informed decision.”
Mr Warren got an early start himself, when he was 17. “I walked up on a rig in West Texas and told them I needed a job. The driller told me, ‘Get a hard hat, and get on the floor.’” The gritty smell of diesel fuel, the nonstop noise of drilling operations, and the experienced, older men from whom you learned everything – Mr Warren was hooked. “It gets in your blood. They were my heroes. It becomes part of what you are, and you don’t ever want to turn back,” he said.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas Tech in 1970, he worked as a drilling engineer for Conoco before serving a tour of duty in the US Army. He then joined Pool-Intairdril in 1974 and worked through their operations in the Middle East. After rotating back to the US 14 years later, he earned an MBA at the University of Texas and joined Pride International in 1991. For the next 20 years, his roles at Pride included vice president of international operations, marketing, investor relations and industry affairs.
In 2011, Mr Warren founded Baclenna. “We exist to serve industry companies and organizations who need assistance moving some part of their presence to the next level. We can provide expertise to develop an organizational requirement, a community affairs program or an international startup,” he said.
Mr Warren says his drive to educate the younger generation comes from his respect for the industry. “This is a dynamic, multifaceted industry that requires more people who are self-starters and can think outside the box,” he said. “It attracts men and women who seek the challenges that don’t exist in other places, who are really energized by the (job) requirements, and work to higher standards because it’s the right thing to do.”
He believes more effort must be made to inform young people about industry career opportunities and encourages parents who work in the industry to reach out to their children’s schools. “Participate on some level in the education system – give talks, go to the classroom on career day,” he said.
“There are many opportunities for moms or dads to talk about their role in our business.” It encourages discussion and transparency of an industry that is too often maligned and misunderstood, he said.
Today’s young people should know, too, that the industry is a doorway to worldwide destinations. “You can work in Oklahoma or West Texas, or offshore Gulf of Mexico or Brazil. The globe is your map, and there’s not another industry like that.”
Beyond the oilfield, working in the drilling business has provided the opportunity to give back through charitable organizations and industry association work. Mr Warren is a director for the Texas Oilman’s Charity Invitational Fishing Tournament, which raises money for children’s charities, and is a director of Boys & Girls Country and Houston Achievement Place, both foster care organizations. He also serves as a director for the Offshore Energy Center and IPAA Petroleum Academy Board, both focused on energy education initiatives. “There are enormous opportunities to contribute with these and many other organizations.”
Mr Warren is a longtime participant with IADC activities, serving on the Ethics Committee since its inception in 2007 and as an OTC director on behalf of IADC from 2006 to 2011. The association presented him with an Exemplary Service Award in 2010. “IADC fosters the fellowship of this industry,” he said. “It’s essential that (IADC) continues to be represented everywhere there’s industry activity.”
Recently, Mr Warren launched a consulting project for IADC to review the association’s committee structures. He will provide recommendations concerning committee alignment with members’ critical issues. “As part of his work, Bob will interview current and past committee chairpersons and attend various committee meetings. IADC is pleased that he is working on this important project for us,” said Steve Kropla, group vice president of operations and accreditation for IADC.