Adnan Khan

Managing Director, The Carnrite Group, Houston

Adnan Khan has experienced many aspects of the oil and gas industry over his career. He started as a field engineer, working in remote rig locations and extreme temperatures, gaining a true boots-on-the-ground perspective. He then transitioned into advising and eventually into the managing director role with the Carnrite Group, where he continues to play his “small part” in reenergizing U.S. energy independence.

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?

“Having seen my father design and build some of the largest construction projects in the U.A.E. (especially the golf courses), I subconsciously was prewired for something that didn’t involve sitting in a typical 8-to-5 gray cubicle. I wanted the excitement of operations and to be part of an industry that had such a meaningful impact on human progress and societal well-being—and thus I started my career as a drilling field engineer with Schlumberger [Ltd.] in Canada coming out of university in 2006. My earliest oil and gas exposure was a summer internship with Schlumberger in Abu Dhabi in the maintenance department. Watching the field engineers getting ready to go offshore was quite inspiring at the time.”

Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to have experienced a broad exposure to various segments within the energy value chain, focusing on a variety of business and operational challenges. More recently though, I’ve been extremely passionate about shaping and accelerating the innovation (2.0) engine by establishing an open-innovation ecosystem model, bridging the gap between corporations and startups within the oil and gas industry and, in doing so, playing my small part in reenergizing the U.S. oil and gas energy independence.”

What advice would you give other young professionals in the industry?

“Change is the only constant, especially in our industry. The sooner you accept and adapt, the sooner you are able to position yourself to grow and be able to address the dynamic challenges of our industry. Additionally, ‘smooth seas don’t make good sailors.’ Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and force yourself to be uncomfortable—that’s the catalyst for all growth.”

Who are your mentors?

“I have been blessed to have a strong group of mentors throughout my life who believed in and guided me both professionally and personally. First, and most importantly, my parents, who have taught me that hard work, resilience and honesty form the foundation of success. My earliest professional mentors were Muqsit Ashraf, Mo Saadat and especially Al Carnrite, who has exemplified his advice of building long-term relationship trust (both with clients and our team). I stand here today as a direct result of the support network I’ve had over the years and cannot thank these individuals enough as well as many others.”

What are your long- and short-term career goals?

“In the short term, I would like to further establish myself as a trusted advisor to the executives within the oil and gas industry on strategic imperatives (especially at the intersection of energy transition and innovation) to meet the energy demands of the world. At the Carnrite Group, we recently expanded our geographical footprint in the Middle East, so helping grow our business internationally, as well as continue to expand and grow our digital innovation and energy transition practices, is a very near-term focus for us.”

What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?

“Three things continue to drive my motivation and passion: 1) Recent events have reaffirmed the importance of energy security for the world. This imperative has to be balanced with the need to responsibly and rationally act on climate change; 2) Advances in digital technologies are occurring at a mind-bending pace, and innovation (broadly) going forward is likely to be based on a convergence of seemingly heterogeneous and unrelated things that can create an exponential outcome based on the economies of convergence and network; and 3) The caliber of people within our industry to collaborate and solve complex challenges domestically and at a global level.”

Three More Things

1. I wouldn’t be here without the support of my wife. Her infinite capacity to be patient and keep up with my demanding schedule, long hours and traveling commitments is perhaps surpassed only by her capacity to love and support our family in all aspects of our life. 

2. I have traveled to over 27 countries.

3. I genuinely believe in the spirit of true mentorship. If I can help you succeed in any way, I would be more than happy to share my experience, wisdom and network.