Innovators in Geoscience Series

Interview with Rudencio Morais, ENH, Mozambique

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

The field of geology can inspire a passion for understanding the earth and an ongoing quest for knowledge which can be used to bring people together and achieve the dreams of communities and countries. Welcome to an interview with Rudencio Morais, Vice President for Exploration and Production, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), Mozambique.

What is your name, background and your current position?

I am Raudencio Morais, a mozambican by nationality. I am a Geologist by profession working with ENH a Mozambique National company, I also write literature books of which I have so far published two (Os Dialetos do Amor & Suturas do Amor). I am affiliated to different Geology associations of which am the vice president of Mozambique Geological and Mining Association (AGMM). I also lecturer at Instituto Superior de Ciências e Tecnologia de Moçambique (ISCTEM) and Universidade Técnica de Moçambique (UDM) Lecturing Geostatistic and Evaluation, Petroleum Geology and Petroleum Exploration.

Rudencio Morais with students studying shallow marine and fluvial deltaics
Rudencio Morais with students studying shallow marine and fluvial deltaics

One of my Interests as a geologist is creating opportunities for young geologists and mentoring in order to enable geologists to professionally communicate more, engage more and building capacity that can lead us (Mozambicans) to a position where we can better understand and manage the dream of our country. I have taken some university students for field work in order for them to appreciate Geology in some of the places in Mozambique. This helps mainly the youths to improve their skills in Geology.

How did you first become interested in geology?

I was first inspired by my longtime friend Beny Virgilio. He went to University two years before me and really inspired me into getting into the geology field. After I completed high school I had a discussion with him about my interests and inquired from him what I was really required to pursue a career in geology. It’s by then that I realised that the subjects I had done in high school would lead me to my dream career.

Then I got enrolled in Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) which is one of the best universities in Mozambique. Geology is so interesting, you get to always be connected to nature and nature is what makes me live connecting things as geologist and a writer. When you're at exploration side, in some how you need to find movement, breath, even life in the rocks, it's like a crazy thing but it's really an amazing career.

What were some of your formative experiences? who has influenced you over the years?
Rudencio Morais
Rudencio Morais

I have had some very good experiences. My first ones occurred during the time i was pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Geology and since that time, I’ve had many more. In fact, I’m growing and enjoying geology.

My first memorable experience was in 2008 when in my second year at the university. I was selected to join a group of enthusiastic and very hardworking students in Mozambique to attend an advanced course held by Capes program in Baia Federal University, in Brasil. There, I had opportunity to learn about Potential Methods (Gravimetry & Magnetometry) used on petroleum exploration. This lasted for three months. Following this, in the last year (2010) of my course in UEM, I was selected to join Vale Mozambique, as a trainee. That was the turning point of my life which taught me that I can multitask and do both work and studies at the same time.

After earning my Bachelor's degree, I won a scholarship to pursue a Master's degree in Geological and Mining Engineering. This was funded/sponsored by Ncondezi Coal Company. Therefore, I did my master’s degree in Coimbra University, Portugal. Before that, I moved to Tete Province (Mozambique), where I started to work as an Exploration Geologist for Ncondezi Coal Company.

Rudencio Morais with Denise Cox at URTeC
Rudencio Morais with Denise Cox at URTeC

Regarding the influences over the years, I may say that I am lucky, and I'll explain why. In the first six years of working with ENH, I had the opportunity to represent the Company at URTeC-2018 in Houston, where I presented about the opportunities and the potentials of Hydrocarbon in Mozambique. On that conference as well I was lucky to meet Susan Nash, a Director of Innovation and Emerging Science/Technology at AAPG. She is such a powerful and transforming woman, a professional who made me believe that we can change the world with our work. Being with Susan for two days helped me to deepen not just my professional side, but also to re-shape my personalities and dreams. Hence I understood that I can be a man who can impact people and make changes. She said, "We all have a huge potential to do great things; we just need opportunities and someone who can guide us." Honestly, I have changed from that day. In just few hours, Susan and I conceptualized some ideas to hold a conference in Mozambique. On the same day, we met the team of professionals of Anadarko & Exxon Mobil in their offices in Houston. Together, we discussed and shared ideas. A day after, we identified all topics and the prospective panelist. That was an outstanding professional opportunity. I was reborn, so today I can say for sure that Susan has influenced me in such a way that I better understand how to use our potential to do great things, and how to implement things happening that we have on the papers. I know how and when to show up.

What are some of the insights in geology made a difference to you early in your career?

When I think of insights in geology, I see myself putting together technology and innovation. In exploration, one of the main challenges is to obtain best representative results at a minimal cost and being highly effective. So technology and innovation play a very important role on that issue. We need to put ourselves in a position where we can fully utilize technology and also being in a state of constant innovation so that we can stay current. Remote sensing & modelling provided some of the insights that I have gained very early in my career. Being able to collect geological information remotely or using geophysical technology to collect data that allows better understanding of the subsurface and building a model that can communicate in a kind of geological language that closely resembles what we really have in the subsurface makes me believe that technology and innovation will lead us to the future.

What do you think will be exciting about the future of geology?

I am inquisitive and also quite sure that the future will be connected with Machine learning and Artificial intelligence techniques. Both will lead us to a position where powerful algorithms will be used to face geological challenges in the future. Human intelligence will be used to train those algorithms, and I do believe that will be exciting to communicate with those techniques, aligning them with all geological needs. This approach will open horizons to develop internal solutions for each company, but for that to happen companies will have to invest in technology and innovation.

Please recommend a few books that you have enjoyed.

Winning by Jack Welch
Psychoeducational Assessment and Report Writing by Stefan C. Dombrowski
Knowledge Management by Klaus & Gita Kumta
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Business Ethics - Philosophical and Behavioral Approach by Christian A. Conrad
The Happiness of Learning by Rubem Alves

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