Despite his humble claim of “I would say I’m not a natural leader,” Jim Arnold’s love of learning and predilection to technology placed him in positions of responsibility and challenges early in his career. The Senior VP says, “The key is to take on those characteristics that are natural and complement who you are … [it] is not sustainable to try to act like someone you are not.”
“From the moment I first experienced how much could be accomplished through … team efforts … I was hooked, and that has led to my acceptance of roles where accomplishing more is possible.”
In full charge of Nexen’s Long Lake oil sands project, Arnold is a proven game changer.
“[Long Lake] was especially a challenge because the team was demoralized; there were few believers in the industry that this project could be salvaged … It has taken tremendous energy, resolve, resilience, and conviction by the team who has worked on this to see this through … I am so pleased for their sake that they are now seeing results from their tremendous efforts,” states Arnold.
Arnold’s journey has provided him with a broad range of exposure “from reservoir simulation through to facilities construction … exploration and development … [and] working in the mid and downstream areas.”
Long Lake “has a number of Alberta project execution firsts.” It is the only upgrading solution integrated with in-situ oil sands development and has pushed the boundaries. “The percentage of modularization accomplished was about double what had been done before for a significant scale downstream plant located far from tide water.”
He goes on to say, “Technology has re-invented and re-invigorated the industry time and again, and continues to do so. [Many of my university colleagues] refused to consider the oil industry for careers, convinced it would disappear within a decade. Technology is why that has not happened, and why it will not happen for decades to come.”
When asked to share his accomplishments to date with THE OGM, Arnold states, “I could name projects and innovations, but I think the memories that create feelings of pride that will last the longest are of the teams I have been honored to work with. I am humbled by the capacity, resilience, and spirit of my team, and count it a great honor to work with them. It is also a great responsibility.”
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