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Go out and grab the world by the lapels - what it takes to be a winner.

Read our interview with Lyrna Esmeralda-Hewitt, a principal petroleum economist at LRQA, who was presented last week with the prestigious AIPN president's Award in Houston.

Who is Lyrna Esmeralda-Hewitt?

I'm an investment and evaluation strategist with over 17 years extensive experience in conducting in-depth review of business investments' commercial value, building financial models, strategic business planning and consulting, energy financing, reviewing contracts, market studies and benchmarking of global fiscal regimes in the O&G industry. With an in-depth knowledge and understanding of ASEAN, Middle East and African market trends.

In my current role as Principal Petroleum Economist at LRQA I provide technical and commercial advice related to M&A, financing, strategy, corporate planning and stock exchange listing activities.

What is the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators?

The Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) is an independent not-for-profit professional membership association that supports international energy negotiators around the world and enhances their effectiveness and professionalism in the international energy community. It is composed of around 4,000 members in more than 110 countries, representing numerous international oil and gas companies, host governments, law firms and academic institutions.

What is the AIPN award and what does winning entail?

AIPM Presidents award 2016-2017The AIPN President's Award is the most prestigious award conferred to individuals who have shown exemplary service to the AIPN and to the energy industry. The award is based on rigorous review of nominations from industry peers.

I have been involved in AIPN in numerous roles but my primary role is as member of its Board of Directors, and particularly, as Regional Director for Asia. This year is the third year I am holding this position.

I am also leveraging my expertise in economics and finance by being an appointed member of the newly formed AIPN Subcommittee on Valuations, with two other industry colleagues based out of the USA, among others. The first Valuation Workshop had been conducted in Houston this week as part of the International Petroleum Summit Events and we hope to bring this closer to AIPN members and non-members around the globe.

I engaged the largest number of sub-committee members composed of colleagues in governments, NOCs, oil & gas companies, law firms and other energy stakeholders amongst fellow regional directors. I provided an innovative solution to engage a greater number of industry stakeholders given the very constrained environment of limited capital. Despite the downturn, in 2017, Asia has grown in membership base from 15% to 25% of total membership for AIPN.

This has helped AIPN achieve its growth aspirations and mission of educating colleagues in the industry to make them better negotiators and professionals. As per the AIPN Executive Director, with initiatives I have started and delivered on, AIPN Asia Chapter is leading as an example to other AIPN Chapters around the globe.

How do you manage your time and juggle responsibilities?

Time management is key, as is the passion for what I do. All of the above has been achieved without sacrificing performance of my responsibilities with LRQA, continuing to deliver quality work on time that is well received by LRQA clients.

I am honoured, and grateful, that out of the thousands of AIPN members, I was chosen to receive this award. I'd encourage professionals from all disciplines to actively take part in local chapters of individual-member organisations, committees and forums. Not only does it enhance your knowledge of the industry, provide networking opportunities and allow you to give back, you also raise your profile both with your current employer and externally.

However also balancing personal time can be a challenge. You have to make every effort to achieve a healthy work / life balance. I enjoy cooking and entertaining family and friends, yoga/pilates classes, and watching movies. In the future, I hope to travel and experience various cultures with my family.

What motivates you?

My motivation comes from proving that gender is irrelevant and that success comes from being good at your job, focusing on customer needs, and a determination to succeed in challenging times. In a male-dominated industry, I am very proud to have made my mark in the industry as an example to younger colleagues. I am particularly proud of being the first female, first Asian and first Filipina to hold the AIPN Director for Asia position, and be chosen to receive the awards and recognition I have received.

The context of my job is also a key motivator. Since January 2014 when I joined LRQA, I have advised on approximately 40 E&P assets/transactions for 18 independents/majors, 7 national or government-linked E&P companies and 1 securities commission body, involving over 60 petroleum acreages in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Norway, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Egypt, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Kazakhstan. These projects/assets are estimated to have a value of more than US$8 billion combined. This is massive amount of work and experience in a very short time and I am immensely proud to have been involved in these projects. Enjoy is not quite the word. I love what I do.

In 2010 you also won the SPE Northern Asia Most Outstanding Young Professional award, could you tell us some more around that?

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), recognises contributions and leadership to the public, the community, and the petroleum engineering profession within the region through the Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award. In 2009-2010, colleagues in the industry whom I have worked closely with, nominated me for this award, for dedication and skills in reinvigorating the Singapore Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

This also came as a pleasant surprise, and I have been motivated to do more for the SPE and the industry. It is not an easy feat to spare the time to prepare the nomination documents, to justify why an award has to be given to a certain individual, and to actually list down all his/her achievements and major accomplishments. Several people had obviously been paying attention! And I am also very grateful to them. Subsequent to this SPE recognition and based on merit, I was chosen as one of 8 Young Professional SPE representative to the Emerging Leaders Alliance in Washington DC, USA in 2011.

You've received the SPE Northern Asia Most Outstanding Young professional award and the prestigious AIPN President's Award, what's next?

I love what I do professionally and as a volunteer, and I love being able to the kind of change that the industry can build its future on. This recognition is very motivating and I will make every effort to be able to do more, and to do better.

Who is your greatest inspiration?

My family. Everything I do, I do because of my family.

Do you have any words of advice?

In everything you do, strive for excellence and integrity always.

I hope that through my vocation and achievements, I can be a role model for younger colleagues in the industry, and inspire women, Asians, and the minority, to excel in their chosen fields.

I quote Maya Angelou, a famous American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist: "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels...You've got to go out and kick ass."


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