A Day in the Life: 3D Oil managing director Noel Newell

3D Oil managing director Noel Newell has a long history in the oil and gas industry, but describes his current role as his favourite to date.

Noel Newell #2

Q. What does your role involve?

A. My role revolves around managing relationships. I liaise with a wide range of parties which includes staff, contractors, board members, shareholders, joint venture partners, stockbrokers and lawyers. As a geoscientist at heart, I can’t keep my head out of the technical side of the business because that is ultimately where my passion lies and is probably my greatest strength in the job.


Q. Describe a typical work day?

A. As a managing director, it is important to have some space in your role to be able to step back and think about the bigger picture; as once you’ve lost your vision, the company is effectively rudderless. It doesn’t come easy as there is always an email waiting for a reply or a phone call to make. Fortunately, I believe I am relatively good at delegating and tend not to micro manage. As a small cap company working in the offshore sector, we only undertake operations very occasionally and that is the most exciting component of the job. We recently conducted a seismic survey off King Island and the vessel was in port one day, so we were able to visit the operations. The jack up drilling rig we are using to drill our Sea Lion well in a few months has arrived in Port Phillip Bay, so I am hoping to visit in the coming weeks.


Q. How did you end up working in the oil and gas industry?

A. I attended a working-class school where we weren’t presented with a range of career options. I originally wanted to be a surveyor but I didn’t get into the course. I combined my love of science and the outdoors and commenced a civil engineering degree, but the only part I really enjoyed was geology – which I had never been exposed to previously. I changed to a geology degree and never looked back.


Q. What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

A. I think the challenges of running a small cap resource company are universal; trying to find capital and new opportunities while minimising both the dilution to existing shareholders and the risk exposure are the main issues. Recently people have started saying “I am a survivor”, but I would rather them say “I am brilliant and have made my shareholders wealthy”. I will get there.


Q. What has been the highlight of your current role so far?

A. I hate to say this but surviving in the post-global financial crisis climate was a great achievement in itself. People who invest in small cap companies are really taking a gamble and the longer you stay in the business and keep rolling the dice for them the more chance they have of getting a great return.


Q. During your time in the industry, which role has had the biggest impact on you?

A. This role has given me the opportunity to meet an incredible array of interesting people, especially those that have succeeded in their careers due to their tenacity.

When I was 21, I started my first job for a small oil and gas company in which I shared a room with the chairman of the company – who also happened to be one of the founders of Woodside, Rees Withers. I think my time at this company left an indelible mark on me, which eventually led me to start my own company.


Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a similar career to yours?

A. My biggest piece of advice would be that, if you really want to do it, now is the best time. Most people find reasons to delay or let the naysayers diminish their confidence. It can be an incredibly hard and lonely road but every now and then you have incredible rewards. Despite the difficult climate we are currently experiencing, I am strangely enjoying my job more now than at any other time in my life. Perhaps having many years in the business makes you realise it is cyclical, and there are some things you can’t control, so it is best to just enjoy the ride.