Abhijeet Inamdar

Investment Manager, Equinor ASA, Houston
14 FortyUnder40 feat. Inamdar, Abhijeet

Since joining Equinor ASA seven years ago, Abhijeet Inamdar has proven to be a valuable member of the company. He led efforts to optimize field development techniques for unconventional plays and held a key role in evaluating acquisition and divestment strategies for the company. He has also developed a reputation for his knowledge of various complex reservoir engineering techniques.

And as a deal-flow leader of Equinor’s technology ventures (ETV) Shale O&G group, Inamdar led four crucial startup investments, which he considers to be his crowning accomplishment. One investment, Ambyint Inc., is used on Equinor’s more than 300 Bakken wells. Another, Reveal Energy, has won numerous awards for innovation within the industry. 

“I have an opportunity to work with many amazing startups in the energy space that are run by talented and dynamic entrepreneurs,” Inamdar says. “These companies are bringing game-changing technologies that have the potential to transform our industry and are making a valuable contribution to the bottom line.” 

The long road: Inamdar grew up in Barshi, India. His parents supported him and about 10 other relatives on a salary of $300 per month. He couldn’t afford to attend graduate school abroad, but what he lacked in money he made up for with hard work and ambition. Inamdar attended the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on a full scholarship, and he graduated with a master’s degree in petroleum engineering. 

He spent five years working as an engineer for Schlumberger and then moved on to SM Energy Co. as lead reservoir engineer for the Eagle Ford. He joined Equinor in 2012 as a lead reservoir engineer. 

Altogether, Inamdar has been working in energy for 15 years, and he is constantly amazed at the sector’s resilience. “Despite some very challenging business cycles, it continues to evolve and improve,” he says. 

Of Equinor in particular, he says, “[It] has also evolved from a traditional oil and gas company to one that has a laser focus on the energy transition. I am excited about what comes next and proud that Equinor is at the forefront of advanced technologies. This idea motivates me daily.” 

“You cannot do it all alone.”

Culture shock: On the day Inamdar moved to the U.S., his friends took him to McDonald’s for lunch. Coming from India, he didn’t know hamburgers were made of cows, which are worshiped in his culture. 

“They did not tell me until I was finished eating,” he says. “When they told me what I had eaten my face went pale. What would my parents say?” 

His friends comforted him with the reminder that in the U.S., cows are not considered holy. This lessened Inamdar’s remorse and ultimately changed his perspective on life. 

“The experience taught me to be open minded and always learn about others’ perspectives, cultures, traditions and food,” he says. “This has helped me enjoy great things around the world.” 

Today, brisket is one of his favorite foods. 

Challenging times: Overcoming the cultural shift wasn’t the only challenge Inamdar faced during his career—he encountered many professional challenges too. 

Recently he was tasked with setting up an implementation-driven hybrid accelerator program while working with three major energy operators and the startup company Eunike Ventures. It took more than a year to get the project up and running. 

“Getting everyone on the same page from technical, commercial and legal groups from all four companies was one of the most thrilling tasks in my career,” Inamdar says. “I managed to stay positive and be open to sharing information to gain trust from all stakeholders.” 

Of course, Inamdar notes, accomplishments are a group effort. “I always believe in team work. You cannot do it all alone,” he says. “Always be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but do learn from them as you go.”