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Kelly Vaughan: the competitive edge

16 August 2019
Head of Market Intelligence, Kelly talks about her career at BP and the future state of trading analytics

Tell us a bit about your role at BP


I currently head up the Market Intelligence team in Front Office Trading Analytics. The Market Intelligence team provide competitive intelligence to the trading floor through the data, tools and techniques employed in capability development and project delivery. We achieve this in a number of ways including finding and testing new data (third party vendor engagements), developing real-time image analysis capabilities using satellite and drone images, and utilising big data and artificial intelligence techniques for processing and analysing data.


How did you get into this area of work?


I hold a PhD in Nuclear Physics and have worked as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the TriUniversities Meson Facility (TRIUMF) in Vancouver, Canada. Whilst I loved my academic career, I wanted to apply my skills in more of a practical way and so I moved into defence and spent nine years working for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) as a Senior Scientist and Project Manager. During my time at AWE a particular highlight was leading the Novel Detection Concepts team developing solutions for Counter Terrorism as part of the National Nuclear Security Division.  


I joined BP in October 2017 from Teradata, a big data technology company, where I helped build data lake and enjoyed analysing 4D seismic survey data and reservoir souring data.

The best thing about my role is having the freedom to think outside the box and find novel, and often competitive, ways of solving business problems. I can leverage my physics background and experience in detector development to think of novel ways of exploiting existing data sources to create unique intelligence on market events and locations of interest. The ability to find new data and provide it our trading benches quicker than the rest of the market is a source of serious competitive advantage.

Why did you choose to work at BP?


BP has a good reputation for looking after its own; there are plenty of opportunities for self-development in the form of training courses and opportunities to learn about other roles in the business. With BP’s footprint covering upstream, midstream and downstream activities, there is so much variety of the work that you can get involved in.


What do you think will be important in the future of analytics?


The competitive edge is always moving and therefore I feel that the most important thing for analytics is going to be the ability to change. Being open about new capabilities, new tools, new technology and new ways of working is going to be the key for adaptability and identifying tradable opportunities.


How is BP positioning itself as a leader in this field?  


Trading Analytics is moving towards a ‘Future State’. There has been a lot of work over 2018 from our leadership to define what the future should look like and to distil this into actionable items. This includes free access for analysts to Coursera courses to develop the skills that we need to be more agile in the future and recognising that redeployment of resource whether permanent, or project-based, can facilitate greater success by allowing us to drive towards a ‘perfect team not perfect person’.

What does this mean to you as an employee?


For me, this is great. I have a diverse team with a wide breadth of skills ranging from military intelligence right through to data science. We are involved in many projects and have an active role in capability development which is deployed across the whole trading floor. It’s an exciting time to be part of BP!


How would you describe a career in analytics in BP?


A career in analytics in BP is interesting, fun and fast-paced.

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