Jop van Hattum – Chief Operating Officer, Theia Energy, and Operations & HSE Manager, Finder Energy
Attracted by the adventure of working internationally and in the offshore oil and gas industry Jop van Hattum’s first foray into the energy industry began in 1991 studying Petroleum Drilling and Production Technology at Noorder Haaks in Den Helder.
He obtained his offshore tickets so he could work as a roustabout and roughneck on jack-up rigs on the Dutch continental shelf during study breaks and make enough money to go rock climbing in Italy, France and Spain.
Wanting to extend his skills, Jop began studying Petroleum Engineering at Delft University of Technology. During his studies, he was offered the opportunity to complete work experience with Halliburton in Perth.
“It took me on my first stimulation and cementing jobs in the Perth Basin and offshore on the North West Shelf to grout the piles for Woodside’s Goodwyn A platform,” Jop said.
He obtained his Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering in 1997 after completing a Shell-sponsored research project at Schlumberger-Doll Research in the US and immediately joined Schlumberger Wireline & Testing where he worked in Brunei as a wireline logging engineer.
After a number of roles between 2002 and 2015 where Jop worked on projects across Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia, and during which he obtained his MBA and Master in Commercial Law from the University of Melbourne, Jop joined the Northern Territory Government as the Senior Director Petroleum Technology and Operations.
He was tasked with engaging the community, Traditional Owners, and landholders, which resulted in the State moving ahead with the exploration of unconventional resources in the Beetaloo and MacArthur Basins with substantial public acceptance.
Jop currently divides his time between his roles as Chief Operating Officer for Theia Energy and Operation & HSE Manager for Finder Energy, privately-owned early-stage exploration companies which focus on identifying and delivering drill-ready prospects such as the Egle-1 well being drilled currently by our JV partner SapuraOMV.
Jop’s current focus is the Great Sandy Desert Project, which involves the exploration for oil and gas resources from the onshore Canning Basin.
“The opportunity to work on such a truly frontier project is unique and tremendously challenging and rewarding; our permits comprise more than 1.5 million acres and the potential resource size is substantial,” Jop said.
“Importantly, we have demonstrated the liquids potential of the Lower Goldwyer Shale which could potentially offset a quarter of the more than 1 million barrels of liquid fuels that are being imported into Australia daily.
“However, our vision for the project extends beyond the development of the hydrocarbon resource and could, for instance, provide feedstock for new fertiliser facilities in the northwest of Australia.”
He said the development of the resource can happily co-exist with irrigated agriculture and renewable energy, and also sees opportunities for geothermal energy in the basin if the project moves to development.
Jop considers his career highlight to be the successful negotiation with Traditional Owners for land use agreements following the lifting of the moratorium on hydraulic fracture stimulation in Western Australia.
Although difficult, he enjoyed the process of coming to a shared agreement by being empathetic and accommodating to their requirements and ultimately the strong relationship that has been built between the company and the custodians of the land. “Understandably, there were mixed views within the Karajarri community about allowing fracking on their land, and therefore we regard the trust they have placed in us with the utmost respect,” Jop said.
“Having previously disallowed cotton farming, we knew that there was no guarantee that we would be successful in gaining their consent.
“We were given the opportunity to explain the process involved in developing unconventional petroleum resources and the potential of the project over many meetings and many months.
“I’m looking forward to presenting a paper on our work with the Karajarri people at the upcoming APPEA21 Conference.”
Jop’s sense of adventure and desire to travel to remote places kept him motivated, and he saw the integral role petroleum engineering had in the energy industry even as it came under pressure from low oil prices, a declining number of new projects, and a call to eliminate emissions to arrest climate change.
“Be it in the underground storage and transportation of gas, oil, hydrogen, and carbon, the further development of geothermal energy, or managing large and complex projects more broadly, petroleum engineers will continue to play a vital role in the energy industry,” he said.
It was for this reason he welcomed the Energy Club WA’s name change earlier this year. “It better reflects the role we play in industry,” Jop said. Jop joined the Energy Club of WA in September last year for the engaging, and topical industry dinners and networking opportunities.
When not working, Jop enjoys being on or in the water, either kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing, or swimming. He also enjoys mountain biking and coaching his son’s soccer team.