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Meet the team: Martyn Fear

Martyn Fear: From the wellhead to the boardroom

February 28, 2023

Martyn Fear, Chairman, Elemental Energies

Supporting the energy industry engineer the transition to becoming greener and more efficient takes a team of multidiscipline experts. Over the coming weeks we’ll be introducing you to the people who make Elemental Energies the trusted wells engineering consultancy for the energy transition.

First up is Elemental Energies’ Chairman, Martyn Fear. Martyn has more than 30 years of experience in senior leadership roles within four major operators, and more recently has held board roles with private equity-owned service companies. His career has taken him around the world to places ranging from the Artic Circle to Trinidad, Russia to the USA.

Today, he splits his time between his family in Houston, Aberdeen, and Norway.  When he’s not helping companies bridge the gap between c-suite ambitions and teams on the ground, he enjoys spending time with his family, and keeping fit.

As Elemental Energies prepares for a critical year of growth, Martyn’s guidance will play a central role in delivering the company’s ambitious plans.

What attracted you to the role of chairman of Elemental Energies?

Elemental Energies’ model is founded in upstream, but with a natural transition to decommissioning and onto the portion of energy transition that works to both my and the team’s specialist skill set.

The founders were the real appeal. They already had the roots of a very smart strategy that had wells expertise at its foundation, and the three strands of upstream, decommissioning and CCUS and Geothermal. They have a very collaborative mindset and were very open to input from early on, so we got off to a flying start.

There’s a lot of enjoyment that comes from moving out of the corporate world after 30 years and helping smaller businesses understand the opportunities. I get a lot of satisfaction from giving those insights back to teams who aren’t yet able to be completely self-sufficient. I try to take an approach that is the opposite of being ego-driven – it’s all about working through the leaders.  

You have an extensive drilling background - do you think wells expertise is underrated when it comes to decommissioning and the energy transition?

I don’t think it’s underrated.  The need for a wells-centric approach is recognised but solutions are scattered and integrating the various sub-disciplines is always a challenge – that’s what clients need help with.  They need top-notch capabilities to deliver excellent time and cost performance with solutions that deliver long-term well integrity.  

There’s an opportunity for Elemental Energies to be the trusted, knowledgeable partner because they bring the breadth of expertise that some clients find difficult to build and retain in-house, whilst also maintaining independence from any specific product line.

Do you think the oil and gas industry is moving quickly enough towards net zero?

There’s a clear shift towards net zero but the pace and regionality of it are difficult to predict.

It can feel like a bit of a mug’s game even trying to predict how things will go. A year ago, we wouldn’t have predicted the level of influence that energy security now has. The conflict in Ukraine has brought that to the fore and curtailed some of the energy transition activity. It’s made some more liberal economies put a focus on energy security that others have been doing for a long time.

The energy industry is only one part of a complex landscape that exists to meet society’s needs, so it cannot move in isolation. However, there are clear examples of leadership accelerating progress, so that is heartening. Elemental Energies will be a key provider in the progressive shift from upstream, to decommissioning, to the part of renewables where wells skills can help. For example, there are some companies who don’t know where to start to repurpose their facilities for CCUS or geothermal – we can help them understand the steps they need to take and execute the programme on their behalf.

In terms of approach to the energy transition which leaders or companies do you most admire?  

I met a selection of bp leadership recently, a company that I left in 2010, after 21 years. I was stunned, and impressed, by the capabilities and diversity in the company’s leadership now, and how well-equipped bp, therefore, appears to be, to contribute to the energy transition. The company has actively recruited the brightest minds from outside of the energy sector such as machine learning experts and researchers from the automotive industry.

Closer to home, identifying how pivotal well engineering can be in the energy transition was a very clever strategic move by the founders of Elemental Energies.

How important a role do investors play in supporting the energy transition?

They’ve got a huge role to play. These stakeholders have created massive momentum in energy transition investment, in a relatively short time. It’s very helpful to those participating in the transition, so is a positive force.

For Elemental Energies, it means that we have an opportunity to distinguish ourselves from the traditional consultancies and be part of a societal shift – helping energy providers make the transition by providing them with the capabilities to make the change work.

When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Supporting my family first and foremost and keeping fit a close second. Good food and wine - the latter without the car keys - is an occasional third!

Finally, do you live up to your name?!
I hope not! Fear is the last thing a leader should project. It’s just a good thing I wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor.  

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