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ZEST - Zero Emissions: Skills for Transition

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Given its pivotal role in the decarbonization imperative, the Energy sector is likely to be the most affected by the socioeconomic transitions of the 21st century, the digital, generational and in particular the Energy transition. Public reactions to the decarbonization challenge range from climate emergency denial to the call for the immediate stop of all fossil fuels usage. A reasonable approach lies somewhere between those extremes, as mentioned by Ed Daniels, Head of strategy at Shell at the 2019 Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon :

“There will be a role for oil and gas . . . while we work out how to decarbonize the energy system” ( Quoted in First Break, vol 37, pag32 , Dec 2019) .

At the same time, this role cannot be passive, with a business as usual approach, waiting for someone else to solve the problem. Companies in the Oil & Gas sector are aware that paths for change, that will lead to substantial contributions to decarbonization, include the question of how to reinvent themselves to strive in a carbon neutral world. This will require new approaches to strategies, business models, leadership and skill sets, both technical and behavioural :

We will need to be inclusive in our approach, inclusive of all energy sources, but also cognizant of all the skills, talents and digital and technological solutions that the energy transition will unlock and require Mark Gerrits, Shell EVP Exploration First Break, vol 37,pag16 , dec 2019

The Earth, as seen from the Moon. Taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2015.

Last but not least, changing "the system" involves also being able to take a step back, observe it from the ouside, and at the same time realize that, as we are all part of the system, each of us has a role to play and we should explore how we can play together. Reaching such a degree of awareness at the organizational and societal levels requires recognizing and dealing with needs, motivational drivers, and emotions in order to open new perspectives and take action.

At LUSVAL we are deeply interested in the evolution of the competencies for a changing world and we are keen to put our expertise to the service of the geoscientist community to identify those skills that will be most needed in the future and provide useful insight to companies, for recruitement, training and coaching, universities for curriculum design and individuals for their own career planning.

Enters ZEST : a project to analyse the socioeconomic trends and to identify the changing needs of the industry in terms of skills and competences. ZEST is developed by LUSVAL and partners with the support of enthousiastic members of the EAGE Local Chapter in Paris.

We will rely on the analysis skills of MILEVA, our partner in Artificial Intelligence (AI), to identify trends, risks and weak signals. AI is used to chew the work in depth, without getting tired, avoiding the risk of missing information which might seem trivial but which is important. Moreover MILEVA accomplishes in a matter of hours the work that a team would take several weeks. The interpretation of the results, as well as the question asked to MILEVA, definitely rest at the hands of people and not of a machine.

MILEVA has already been used to analyse relevant economic, societal and political issues such as the evolution of the Business Models in the electricity sector. The interpretation of its graphical and statistical answers allowed to anticipate the role of Russia and the actual strength of Bashar-al-Assad in the Syrian conflict, to review the trends in avionics electronic systems and to point out, before the last French presidential elections, a high-risk of social crisis linked to the diesel fiscality, had Macron been elected president (a year later this will be named “la crise des gilets jaunes” ) .

MILEVA' analysis starts from a framework that identifies all the agents (people, companies, organizations, technologies, concepts, etc..) that may be relevant to the issue being investigated. Each agent is defined with a set of keywords that will help MILEVA scout the web for related information.

Here is an example of such a framework, used in the analysis of the electricity market. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see a large image.

Once the information is collected, MILEVA performs a complex analysis of the interactions and relations between the different agents, in the context of the question being asked. The key parameters retained are: information content, unpredictability and uncertainty. Broadly speaking these parameters are used to identify who is creating relevant information, who is close to whom, who is influencing whom and who may react in a surprising way. A scenario analysis can also be performed, resulting in probability distributions for each possible outcome.

We are now putting together a panel of experts with diverse backgrounds, in the Oil & Gas sector, human resources, and energy transition that can help us refine the framework that will be used in the analysis and will interact with MILEVA in the discussion of the first findings.

Collective intelligence versus Artificial Intelligence:

Get in touch if you would like to contribute to this research by participating to an online survey or some one-on-one interviews. You can participate to the survey (it will take less than 10 minutes of your time) or register for an interview by clicking here .

(The survey was closed on April 30th).

You can also get in touch if you would like to be informed of the results or you are just curious to know more about MILEVA!


This is an example of a framework provided to MILEVA (study: analysis of the electricity market).

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Roberto Bonino
Roberto Bonino
Mar 20, 2020

On March 10th ZEST's expert panel managed to meet just a few days before the general coronavirus lockdown in France, for our first brainstorming session. Anne Frisch, Ferran Jean-Charles, Lucia Levato, Carmen BRAZON (in the picture from left to right) and Roberto Bonino, have discussed trends, challenges, risks, opportunities in the Oil&Gas sector. Lucia and Roberto are now analyzing and reviewing the panel’s inputs to update the socio-economic framework that will be used by the MILEVA team, our partners in Artificial Intelligence. We will have a follow up meeting online, to review the updated framework and finalize it before setting MILEVA in motion to investigate the competencies needed by the Oil&Gas industry to address decarbonization and the energy transition. Stay…

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