Yet before joining WSP I didn’t know about due diligence – even though I’d been in the industry for a while since graduating, working for a major producer. This reflects the fact that the industry tends to focus on the technical aspects of oil and gas projects, with people concentrating on particular roles.

In my previous role, I worked first on inspection before moving on to oil and gas production and optimisation of the fields. Since joining WSP I’ve had the chance to become involved in all the aspects of due diligence for major deals. For one recent overseas project, we were acting for a client buying an asset that was the same size as Cadent, formerly known as National Grid – Distribution. Imagine being able to put this on your CV at such an early stage in your career.

For a graduate, working in oil and gas due diligence is a great experience. I now understand a lot more about the financial, health and safety, and legal aspects of projects. While this is obviously important in due diligence, it’s also useful for my overall professional and personal development. For example, I’m now even more aware of what I need to do to stay safe when I go on site visits.

Giving graduates this sort of experience is certainly not the norm in the industry, which tends to treat all the elements of due diligence as separate skills to be bought in from outside. At WSP, in contrast, due diligence is an integral part of the oil and gas team, who carry out tasks such as putting together risk assessment matrices in house.

I’m keen to help WSP spread the word about the benefits of working in this way, which is why I chose it as my topic for a recent presentation at Salford University. The presentation was for a competition run by the Institution of Gas Engineering and Management and I hope it opened eyes to the benefits of an integrated approach to due diligence.

Salford University offers MSc courses in oil and gas, so I’m planning on returning to talk to students about the opportunities that due diligence offers them.

Claude Nzalankazi Loko, Graduate Engineer – Oil & Gas, WSP

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