Energy, Fellowship Type, Single Company Fellowship | August 2013

David Davies MP and Total

David Davies, Member of Parliament for Monmouth completed a Company Fellowship in 2009 with international energy company Total. His 20-day programme explored a number of Total’s business interests, including global energy perspective, security of supply, safety and environmental stewardship, energy efficiency, new energies. In doing so he visited Total’s offshore facilities in the North Sea, the Gas and Power division in Canary Wharf, Total’s Research Centre in Pau, France together with visits to other industrial sites in the UK including Lindsey Oil Refinery. The Fellowship also included a visit to Shetland where Total is involved in a major investment programme and implementing a number of community and stakeholder initiatives. David also heard about Total’s initiatives to help young people understand the energy sector and the challenges it faces in the 21st century.

I thought that oil was stored in vast underground lakes and it was just a case of drilling down and pumping it up; that’s about how much I knew when I began my Fellowship,” David Davies recalls. However, Total’s geologists soon put David straight and over the course of his 20 days, David saw first-hand all aspects of Total’s global business.

What followed was a journey into a company that has a large global reach. In an article written for the IPT David writes,  “Although my initial focus was on dwindling oil reserves I had no idea of the range of activities in which Total is involved…I wanted to do a Fellowship with a multinational because it is at the opposite end of the spectrum from my experience.”

Reflecting on his Fellowship David says he realised that “the stereotypical image of big oil companies needed readjusting. They are trying to make a living, and I’m glad they do because they provide jobs, but the reality is they are intelligent thinking people who like me worry about their children’s futures and are taking steps to ensure that the lights don’t go out when the oil does run out.” He now feels qualified to talk about the energy industry and is keen to further develop his knowledge so that debate and discussion can be based on mutual understanding. “I hope I convinced them (Total) that most MPs have a willingness to find out more about areas of which they are ignorant.”

The Company View

atTotal also sees huge benefits in the Fellowships scheme. Total believes that good exchange between the energy industry and Parliament is vital at a time when climate change, carbon emissions and future of energy top the agendas on both sides. Explaining why Total signed up for the scheme Patrice writes, “A Fellowship gives us the chance to take an MP deeper into these issues and the other challenges that govern our activities”.

The Fellowship was a chance for Total to show a parliamentarian just how global and technologically challenging the business is and to highlight the challenges the sector faces in the years to come. David wanted Total to treat him as somebody who knew nothing about the business. “Equally for Total”, Patrice writes, “it is very important that those who make political decisions that affect the energy industry are as well informed as possible.” David’s willingness to learn and Total’s desire to explain made for a perfect Fellowship. 

Summarising the benefits for organisational involvement in the Company Fellowship, Patrice says “A Fellowship gives us the chance to take an MP deeper into these issues and the other challenges that govern our activities. People think that energy companies don’t care about climate change, but in fact they care more than most and are doing more about it than many realise.”

Patrice de Viviès, Senior Vice President for Exploration and Production in Northern Europe

To read a full account from David and Patrice on the Fellowship please download ‘Bridging the Gap’.

Interested in hosting an MP or Peer for a day as part of an IPT Fellowship? We are always looking for new host organisations from across all of the UK. To find out more about how to get involved in an IPT Fellowship, please contact:

Liz Dawson

Parliamentary Affairs Manager

0207 839 9405

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The IPT Fellowships Team

For more information on the Fellowship programme please contact a member of the Fellowship team:

Elizabeth Dawson

Parliamentary Affairs Manager

0207 839 9405

Alex Reeves

Parliamentary Affairs Officer

0207 839 9412

Radhika Madlani

Parliamentary Affairs Officer

0207 839 9404