Q&A With Lynn Coutts, Regional Managing Director, ATPI

Lynn Coutts, Regional Managing Director, at ATPI shares her insight into the challenges faced by the energy industry and the impact perceptions can have on attracting new talent.

Why did you choose a career in the energy industry?

Born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland, a city synonymous with the oil and gas industry, I was surrounded by leading global operators, whilst many of my family and friends worked within the sector. During the major oil and gas boom, it was nearly impossible not to know someone who was in the industry.

My line of work was in the hospitality and travel industry, all of which focused on energy sector prospects and clients. Energy and Oil & Gas have always fascinated me, and I believe that in order to be successful in any industry or job role, you have to develop a deep knowledge and understanding. Gaining this knowledge aligned with my keen interest in the sector.

The new energy sector is rapidly evolving, what do you think we can expect to see in the next three, five, and ten years?

Although ‘traditional’ energy sources like oil and gas or coal remain necessary and in demand, with many leading analysts expecting this to peak in 2030, change is very likely on the horizon. Pressure around climate change and global emissions is the biggest area of scrutiny and call for change that will lead to industry transformation and the decline of traditional energy demand, despite the belief that we have enough resources for the next 50 years (depending on output).

Throughout the sector, the focus is on efficiency and transitioning sustainably and safely. Because the industry is often driven by geo-political tensions that can affect supply and demand, the exact details of what will happen and when is a great unknown.

At ATPI, we stay connected with professional industry bodies. From EIC, IADC, and Women In Energy, these connections and relationships enable us to shape our company around the needs and expectations of our clients.

What would you say is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Managing a successful business comes with many challenges – especially when working with diverse clients from across the energy sector, all of whom have varied requirements, expectations, and complexities.

As a woman and a Senior Leader for ATPI based here in the Middle East, I did have my concerns when I first took over. Initially, I was slightly apprehensive about how I would be treated and respected, however, this was nothing to concern myself with as the UAE and the energy sector are so inclusive and diversified regardless of general global perceptions.

I think the toughest challenge for the energy sector is attracting new talent – especially women – to the industry because of existing perceptions. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the best team – especially one that is heavily weighted with women. When first taking this role in the Middle East, I didn’t think I’d have the chance to lead an all-female Senior Management Team.

Why do you think diversity within the new energy sector is important?

Diversity in any sector is so important. I do believe that within this industry, the gender gap is closing. Maybe not at the pace we would all like to see, however, the industry is evolving, and it offers many rewarding positions and opportunities for succession. I believe the perception of the industry plays a crucial role in the overarching problem.

The industry gets some bad press on sustainability, however, the simple fact is the world needs, and will continue to need energy security, and as the world changes, so will the extraction and supply of vital resources. AI will also play an interesting role in the future of business where many dangerous, and manual jobs will become safer, and specialist roles will be subsequently created.

With green energy, there will be some attractive opportunities available. What I am not so sure of is how the energy sector will attract females to the sector. Already, we are seeing sourcing and recruitment stemming from Upper Schools and trainee sponsorship apprentice programmes that offer opportunities to make a difference in how the world ensures a steady and sustainable energy supply – increasing the focus, funding, and sources for this would be an amazing step forward, especially with backing from leading operators. At the end of the day, how rewarding would it be to know you contributed to climate change?

What advice would you give to women considering a career in new energy?

I would say work hard and enjoy the ride! One thing I believe that the energy sector holds for women is an attractive career path especially aligned with green energy. The sustainable sector is perfect for women who are ambitious and enjoy a fast paced ever changing sector that offers amazing prospects!

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