Archive for February, 2011

Oil and Gas Industry training

Friday, 25th February, 2011

I try to invest one or two weeks each year in extending my skill set. Partly because I like learning new stuff, but mainly because I am a consultant/contractor and my skill set is my product/service.

Last week I did an Oil and Gas industry fundamentals course at the Energy Institute in Lndn. This covered the full stream from geology and exploration to refining and trading and hedging. Details here. This is a great course, and a great way to fill in the knowledge gaps. What I especially liked was the mixed formats, with lectures, quiz, team discussions, videos. I was really impressed with the delivery. Of course it helps the presenter had a few decades experience across seemingly the whole industry, and a keen interest in recent developments.

The current oil price excitement adds a good backdrop, and helps focus the interest. Brent.

We covered such things as

  • the different products, crude oil, Gas, LNG, refined products
  • The geology, and seismic investigation techniques (I used to work on a seismic survey team many moons ago)(not as good as the job I had in a biscuit factory – but a close second – when it wasn’t raining)
  • Enhanced recovery techniques
  • Unconventional sources (topical with current shale gas interest)
  • Environmental and safety, security, sustainability issues
  • Carbon capture and sequestration
  • Transportation techniques
  • Refinery processes and economics.
  • Trading physical and hedging strategies
  • Road fuel and bio fuels
  • Alternative energy sources
  • fuel switching issues

Overall it was a excellent course, with a vast array of content. As such it was really only scratching the surface across the breadth of the industry. There look to be follow on course in many of the sub areas so you should be able to find one to match your specific area of interest. (I have a few in my gun sights – time permitting)

If you are interested in this critical industry and have 3 days to invest, I would highly recommend this course. Interestingly one of the delegates mentioned she had been advised that the Energy Institute course was much better than the others. (I didn’t even find any others, so couldn’t compare.)

A few weeks ago I did a commodity derivatives course with bpp. here are the details. The presenters and the course content were very good. Lots of useful stuff, highly targeted to the CISI certificate exams, which are luckily very relevant to the real world of trading.  Another one I would recommend – it was 2.5 days on derivatives, 2 on regulations – you could probably skip the regs unless you need the certificate.

Are you doing any business training? Any technical training? Any training at all?




Sunday, 13th February, 2011

What do you think of the Nokia Microsoft tie up?

I think its good for choice, and good for Win phone 7. But it looks like a disaster for very large parts of Nokia. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft ended up purchasing whatever is left in 6 or 12m for peanuts. (NOK are already down 20% on the news)

I’m not convinced its a great move for Microsoft, although I’m not sure what other choices they had if they actually want to participate in the mobile phone market. Of course all of Nokias hardware competitors will be looking carefully at how close this tie up is before they decide which operating systems to invest in. I suspect they will be staying away from Win phone 7 in droves.

The whole thing looks a bit desperate to me, which I think is fair, for both sides.

On the plus side it does show how serious MS are on phones, and chucking a few billion at Nokia is somewhat reassuring. If, for example you were about to embark on a new business venture in windows phone software. (I’m not – are you?)

Are you planning a windows phone? a Nokia? (I havent had a Nokia since they went irrelevant somewhere in the mid noughties.)



Codematic Excel development site down (again)

Saturday, 12th February, 2011

I’m not quite sure why my hosting company is trying to sabotage my business. But for the third weekend on the trot the Codematic and spreadsheethell sites are down and my email is not working.

I am of course looking for another provider at this very minute



Phone update

Friday, 4th February, 2011

I’ve been training this week (in commodity derivatives) in our wonderful capital (in between the pub anyway).

Being a sad kit freak I was casually (not staring at all) just checking out peoples phones.

I reckon about 80% had a blackberry. And about 60% had an iPhone. and a few had something I didnt recognise. like my pile of poop Millstone.

Thats right the latest news from the street is everyone should have two smartphones not one. Luckily I have the obligatory bb and touch screen lemon – have you?

I guess if you work for a proper company and you want to keep your work life and home life separate it makes some sense, so perhaps being self employed I maybe can’t justify it.

One of my colleagues has twos phone too, he has one from the eighties and one from the nineties.

(A bit like this one)

Has anyone seen an andoid phone in a blackberry form factor?



London Drinks Wed 2nd Feb

Tuesday, 1st February, 2011

Lets go for the Railway Tavern that Marcus suggested opposite Liverpool st station.

here is the link

I’ll be there from 6 ish probably. I’ll try and get somewhere near the door, because if its the place I’m thinking of it has about 100 different rooms and alcoves. Later we can then go on to the place Andy suggested and on for a ruby.

Somewhat less importantly, is now back on line, so all of you who couldnt sleep during the crisis can rest easy now. And I think my normal email is back on line although anything sent the last few days has disappeared forever. (Thanks my ISP!)