Houda Dabboussi, general manager of commercial and NBD MENA for Shell, talks about diversity & innovation
Houda Dabboussi of Shell talks about the importance of diversity and inclusion in fostering innovation.
INCLUSION Diversity and inclusion are key topics for the oil and gas industry, which has a gender breakdown of 10% women and 90% men. But it is not simply about representation; hiring a diverse workforce and promoting inclusion is just good business.
“[By 2050,] we expect demand to be double what it was in 2000, and it has to be with almost half the CO2 emissions,” says Houda Dabboussi, general manager of commercial and NBD MENA for Shell. “I think that means our industry will require a lot more innovation, and studies have shown that diversity and inclusion breaks that groupthink, and brings a lot more ideas, innovation and agility, which is something our industry will need.”
With a growing population and a global trend towards urbanisation, energy demand is increasing, and greater awareness of environmental issues places restraints on the oil and gas industry.
But typical initiatives surrounding diversity, which usually cover inclusion based on gender and nationality, are not enough, Dabboussi says.
“It’s not only gender and nationality but also age, background, everything you can imagine, because the more diverse our workforce is, the more we can solve problems,” she says on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).
With a shifting energy landscape, there will be many issues requiring innovative solutions. As the energy mix shifts towards gas and technically challenging reservoirs, the industry will need sustainable techniques to extract resources. As operators seek to raise productivity without increasing costs, they will have to find ways to lengthen to life of their fields while balancing environmental concerns.
“It’s not only important to have these people, but it’s how we foster an environment where people feel respected for their ideas and feel comfortable to put forth what they bring to the table without having this feeling that they ned to conform to a certain culture,” Dabboussi says.
“[They should feel] that they’re really coming with their bright ideas and developing themselves as individuals to add value to the company.”