Basak Kurtoglu

Managing Director & Head of Technical, Quantum Capital Group, Houston
Kurtoglu, Basak

Basak Kurtoglu began pursuing her doctorate while working full-time at Marathon. “My academic research, combined with my field experience, provided early insight to the opportunities and hurdles the industry was facing,” she says. Her team proved the technical feasibility of increasing oil recovery through gas injection in unconventional wells and characterized well performance faster, with only days of production, to guide well completion and spacing design, rig pace and, eventually, capital allocation decisions. “This invaluable experience and time in my career shaped who I am today.”

Why did you enter the oil and gas industry?
“My reason for pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry is different from many others. I am from Turkey and was not familiar with the industry because it was not a major economic driver for the country. As I was researching industries for my career, my great uncle gave me advice that planted the seed for my long career in the energy sector. He said given the global demand of energy and water, there will always be jobs to meet these needs. As I continued my research on the industry, I found my passion growing for the sector due to the global impact, market dynamics and potential for technological innovation.”

What has been your most challenging project to date?
“Several years ago, we made a strategic decision to invest in our digital transformation, recognizing that it is essential for our firm and portfolio companies to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing technological landscape. Developing, aligning and implementing our digital strategy across the entire firm and portfolio has been quite a journey where we evolve and innovate every day. I developed a sincere appreciation for ‘fail fast, learn faster.’”

What qualities do you think are necessary to be a good leader in the oil and gas industry?
“There are several core values and characteristics I have embraced throughout my career that define my leadership style, and I believe these qualities exist well beyond the oil and gas industry. It starts with ‘being there and having done it’ to be able to understand and empathize what it takes to do one’s work and relate to their career goals. Fostering a culture where our team is aligned to the firm’s vision creates an understanding that we are part of something bigger than ourselves—what we do every day makes a difference. I also believe that it is the role of a leader to develop a strategic vision for the group and provide clear guidance to achieve individual and team goals, as well as taking ownership for what is happening or what has happened.”

What advice would you give other young professionals?
“Start your career by developing a strong foundation without being worried about promotions or titles—focus more on the experiences and opportunities. Be great at what you do and broaden yourself personally and professionally. And remember, technical competencies are important but personal skills such as communication, empathy, collaboration, and teamwork are critical if you want to lead people in your career.”

Three More Things
  1. I am married to the best geologist I know, without whom I could not be here today. We have two beautiful kids, Evren and Aylin. I love being a mom and spending quality time with my family. It can get exhausting at times, but it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.
  2. I am from Turkey and my family is still there except my younger sister, who works in New Hampshire. I left home when I was 23 right after college and looking back, I still cannot believe my parents let me go at the time. But without their wisdom and belief in me, I would not be here to share my story today. So, I am very thankful to them! I am also fortunate to grow up with two strong sisters whom I admire and learn from every day.
  3. I love practicing yoga and walking, which both gives me a little time for myself and makes me feel stronger and healthier both in body and mind.