Can you tell us about your journey that ended up in Chief Executive Officer of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG?
I spent many years working in Norway for Norsk Hydro and Statoil (now Equinor) before starting on a slightly different career; first as Investment Director for the Aker Group, the company which today owns 40% of AkerBP. Then I became the Managing Director for ENGIE’s E&P company in Norway, before ENGIE’s CEO Isabelle Kocher asked me to come to Paris and become the CEO of ENGIE E&P worldwide. After having spun off and sold ENGIE E&P to private equity (today Neptune Energy) I got the opportunity to come to Hamburg and head up DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG. I can thank Lord Browne for giving me that opportunity.
What, in your view, has been the key to DEA’s success?
DEA, after having been separated from RWE and sold to L1Energy in 2015, has become a lean company with a real entrepreneurial competence combined with their distinctive technological expertise. Focus is now really on efficiency and value creation. I am looking forward to the day we can combine DEA with Wintershall and take the best from both companies to create the largest European Independent oil and gas company.
How can independents best evolve and raise capital over the next few years to continue to be a driver of play opening discoveries?
From my perspective as CEO of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, I believe that successful independent E&P companies are characterized by a convincing and sustainable business strategy, an excellent portfolio, a highly efficient, lean organization with the ability to act flexible in the continuously changing market environment and above all, top personnel within a diverse, highly qualified and motivated workforce. A sustainable business strategy contains a clear reflection of the implications of climate change and steps to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry while staying competitive during the energy transition.
In the case of the planned merger of DEA and Wintershall, we are eager to actually work on an IPO, envisaged in the medium term after closing of the transaction.
As one of the Council’s shortlisted nominees for Female Executive of the Year and Executive of the Year, how much do you feel the situation for women in energy has changed over the last 10 years?
Since I am a Norwegian who has been working in France and Germany during the last couple of years, I have to say that I see clear cultural differences – even between Norway and Germany. I see that Norway may be a country where it is slightly easier to be a woman in the energy industry. However, from a pure statistical / factual perspective and looking at the oil and gas industry globally (reference is made to BCG and the World Petroleum Council’s comprehensive study from 2017 “Untapped Reserves”) it does unfortunately not look as if it is improving. I therefore believe we as industry leaders cannot sit around and wait for this to happen as a result of more and more women getting higher education. We actively have to attract female talent to STEM studies, into the oil and gas industry and encourage those that we have to stay and develop as leaders.
What do you believe to be the biggest challenge with regards to diversity/equality in the energy industry?
Making the oil and gas industry attractive for talents of both sexes. And getting the gender balance within each company above a critical minimum. I believe at least 30% gender diversity at all levels are needed for women to not continue to feel and be treated as a minority.
About Maria Moræus Hanssen:
Maria Moræus Hanssen is Chief Executive Officer of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG since January 2018. Before joining DEA, Maria Moræus Hanssen had been working as CEO of ENGIE E&P International and Head of E&P Business Unit in the ENGIE Group in Paris for two years. Maria looks back to a broad spectrum of jobs in management and operations in the Norwegian Oil and gas industry such as Investment Director at Aker ASA (2008 – 2013), Senior Vice President Gas Supply and Infrastructure at Statoil ASA (2007 – 2008), Vice President / Offshore Installation Manager at Hydro ASA (2006 – 2007), to name but a few.
Maria graduated in “Petroleum Economics and Management” from IFP School – Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs, Paris, in 1992 and holds a degree in “Petroleum Engineering” from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, in 1989. She is also the Deputy Chairman, and the leader of the Audit Committee, of the Supervisory Board of Yara International, a global leader in nitrogen-based fertilizer production.
Maria Moræus Hanssen will be presenting on the opening panel, alongside Aker BP ASA, Equinor, Schlumberger & BP, at the 10th World Energy Capital Assembly (WECA).