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Lance switched from studying archeology to study petroleum engineering at the University of Texas, USA. He believed this gave him better job prospects. He may have been right as, after graduating in 1979, Lance joined Shell.

He chose to work in drilling because it looked like fun: travelling the world and dealing with impressive kit, such as ships and deep-water floating vessels. Lance started his career in the USA, first in New Orleans, Louisiana, then in Anchorage, Alaska, as an engineer in Shell’s exploration drilling programme.

Next he moved to Houston, where he would spend the next 25 years in a variety of roles. He spent several years heading a Shell joint venture that commercialised and refined revolutionary expandable casing liner for use in deep water.

He turned down several job moves because his wife, who has a PhD, was carving out her career in Houston.

From the USA to China – and back again

In 2007, Lance was appointed Shell Vice President of Global Technology. He became involved with Shell’s joint venture with China National Petroleum Corporation. In late 2011, Lance was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Sirius Well Manufacturing Services in Beijing. Finally, he packed his belongings and moved to China.

While still in this role, in April 2012, Lance took on the extra responsibility of Shell Chief Scientist for Well Engineering and Production Technology. He frequently travels between China and USA for work – and to see his wife! He is helping create a unique well-manufacturing system for oil and gas production, similar to a production line in the car industry.

For Lance, advanced technology is not developed for its own sake. It is the means to an end. Lance is passionate about implementing new technologies that will improve production rates and enhance safety.

Video testimonial

Watch the video: Lance Cook reveals an efficient approach to unlocking tightly trapped gas that can help meet the world’s growing energy demand.