About Us

About MN Solutions

MN Solutions (Cambridge) Limited is led by Dr Michael A Naylor. Mike is an alumnus of Cambridge University. He has M.A and Ph.D. degrees in geology and 39 years experience in the oil and gas industry. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, a respected speaker on management panels at international conferences and has a growing client base.

Where MN Solutions provide integrated or wider-reaching programmes, we rely on a network of trusted associates to provide content and experience in their own field of expertise. Learn more about this select group on our Associates page.

What we do

MN Solutions offers advice and consultancy to upstream oil and gas companies, regulators and investors. We specialise in exploration and business development.

In that context, we can help you

  • Define your strategy and translate it into action
  • Analyse your portfolio
  • Review potential investment targets
  • Promote good project management
  • Use technology more effectively
  • Build an effective organisation
  • Find expert advice through a network of high calibre experts
  • Develop your leaders

Our clients

Our client list is confidential but it includes

  • Oil & gas companies of all sizes, including independents, national oil companies and (super)-majors
  • Private equity firms, hedge funds and investment banks
  • Leading management consulting firms
  • Premier industry training organisations

We regularly present keynote lectures at conferences and business schools on the role of technology and innovation; historic oil and gas discoveries; global energy demand and the peak oil debate; and trends in multi-national partnerships.

For an in-depth conversation about how we can help your exploration business, please call or e-mail Dr. M.A. Naylor Email or call on +44 7531 640239                   

We can provide references from past clients on request.

About Mike

Download Mike’s CV from this link CV-Naylor2018

Personal data

Name:    Dr. Michael Anthony Naylor

Qualifications: B.A.(1st class Hons, Cambridge 1975) & M.A. in Natural Sciences, Ph.D. Structural geology (Cambridge 1979), F.G.S. (1979), M.I.o.D. (2014)

Contact details: tel. +44 7531 640239; or Email

Personal interests: Gliding and flying (holder of a Commercial Pilot Licence and Instructor rating); Aviation journalism and photography; DIY; Foreign travel.

Employment history

Worked as an independent consultant for the past 7 years, and prior to this was employed by Shell for 31 years, initially as a research scientist and geoscientist in oil and gas exploration, and later in senior management and leadership roles. Mike is also senior advisor on energy to the Boston Consulting Group, and a member of the Advisory Council of RWM, Radioactive Waste Management Ltd.

Personal portrait

Dr. Naylor has strong achievement drive and personal commitment to the business or organization in which he works. He is a creative and innovative strategic thinker, who applies well-developed analytical and problem–solving skills to deliver superior business results. He is a pragmatic and compassionate leader with a genuine interest in coaching and developing people, and a good communicator who networks effectively across organisational boundaries and cultures.


Mike has extensive experience spanning a career of over 30 years, please click below to read more.

  • Relevant recent experience & career achievements
    • Management consultancy & executive education: advice to investment banks, businesses and major consulting firms. Specialist expertise in upstream oil & gas, with in-depth experience in exploration strategy, portfolio valuation and risk assessment.
    • Leadership: managed and led teams and departments ranging from 3 – 60 in size. Provided technical leadership to a cadre of 800 explorationists in Shell worldwide. Member of the 12-person VP team leading global exploration in Shell, a $3 bln p.a. business and recognized as the most effective and successful amongst its industry peers.
    • Accountability & decision-making: accountable for bottom-line results: in a range of successful exploration ventures with budgets ranging from $10’s million to $100’s million. Made, or contributed to, complex business decisions / investments, taking into account strategic, technical, commercial, organisational and political considerations.
    • Corporate governance: served as non-executive director on the Boards of the South Rub al Khali Company (oversight of gas exploration studies and drilling in Saudi Arabia) and SEAPOS B.V. (exploration deep-water drilling and facilities management).
    • Technical & operations: skilled in exploration opportunity evaluation, the technical de-risking of prospects, portfolio analysis and managing the interface between exploration and well engineering activities. Unparalleled knowledge of the oil and gas basins of the world, and of different operating regimes and contractual structures, ranging from Alaska, Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, through to the Middle East, former Soviet Union, Far East and Australia.
    • Safety: following an unsatisfactory audit, became accountable for safety performance in Shell’s exploration new ventures. Through personal advocacy and leadership of a small team, delivered pragmatic and effective HSE systems, tools and staff training / engagement and a dramatically improved safety record.
    • R&D: experience in the 3 key roles in R&D: scientific researcher, research manager, and ‘customer’ for R&D products. After re-defining Shell’s exploration R&D strategy, led the re-structuring of the R&D organization, its interface with ‘the business’ and approaches to deployment and commercialization.
    • Strategy: accomplished at formulating competitive strategies in business, R&D and technology deployment, translating them into actionable tactics and results. Defined the exploration strategy of PDO (a Shell subsidiary in Oman) and latterly of Shell’s global exploration programme.
    • Professional education, behavioural / motivational coaching: experienced in organisational re-design, change management, leadership education and talent development.
    • Commercial skills: I have personally negotiated drilling compensation claims, educational contracts and E&P contracts, with values of $5 million to $100+ million.
    • Speaker and writer: creative in presenting difficult or controversial material simply, with maximum impact and engagement. Regular panel speaker at oil and gas industry conferences.

    Summary of positions held

    2010 onwards: Director, MN Solutions (Cambridge) Limited

    • Management consultancy in strategy development, portfolio analysis and development, organizational change and project management processes. Has particular expertise in relation to high-risk, capital-intensive, high-tech businesses. Specializes in oil & gas exploration and science-based major project investments.
    • Senior advisor to a leading global management consulting firm on oil and gas exploration projects
    • Advisor to oil companies on corporate strategy, exploration strategy, organization, capability development, technology deployment & business processes. Client base exceeds 15 independents, majors and NOC’s – in USA, Europe, Russia, Middle East, Latin America & Far East
    • Provides a unique and highly acclaimed training course on best practice in exploration management to exploration leaders from a diverse client base
    • Acts as expert advisor to investment banks, hedge funds and private equity firms

    2003 – 2009: VP Technical, Global Exploration, Shell Exploration & Production

    Accountable for:

    • HSSE standards and performance management in exploration new ventures;
    • technical / non-technical risk assessment, assurance and advice to Executive VP Global Exploration on major projects and investment opportunities across the world, annual business plans and regional portfolios
    • management of a team of regional technical experts who provide expert assistance in projects and local assurance of project quality.
    • strategic direction of in-house R&D programmes (geology, geophysics and well engineering); technology deployment and commercialization; funding and delivery of a portfolio of IT/IM projects to support the business
    • definition of competence frameworks, and development programmes for exploration technical staff and leaders, and provide staff with individual career development advice.
    • development of exploration processes / standards and delivery of an annual functional improvement plan.

    Dimensions: direct budget of $53 million p.a. with a strong influence over R&D and software development budgets of $150+ million. Managed 9 direct reports and provided ‘functional’ oversight to 7 regional consultants. A member of Shell’s global exploration leadership team, reporting to the EVP Global Exploration, impacting a $3-4 bln+ global exploration budget, making discoveries of >1 bln barrels of oil annually. During this period, and based on external benchmarking, Shell’s global exploration performance was recognized as best practice and industry leader.

    2001 – 2003: VP Kazakhstan, Shell EP Middle East Directorate

    Governance of the politically and technically complex North Caspian (Kashagan / Kalamkas) joint venture with 16% Shell interest, $277mln p.a. budget. Identification and delivery of 100% Shell commercial acquisitions for $200 mln, covering an oil-field with pipeline interests. Negotiation of access to high-quality exploration acreage (two significant discoveries subsequently made). Oversight of exploration activities in 8 countries (budget $119 mln p.a.)

    1998 – 2001: Exploration Planning Manager, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)

    With 5 immediate subordinates, was responsible for portfolio management and strategy formulation, with oversight of $135 mln annual program. This role was combined with Corporate Discipline Head for exploration geology (“Chief Geologist”) providing technical guidance and standards in an exploration directorate of 200 staff and oversight of the near-field exploration programme (below).

    2000 – 2001: Near-field Exploration Manager, PDO

    Executed by 9 staff, budget $32 mln p.a. Coordinated physical and financial resources, directed and QC’d exploration evaluations, and supervised operational activities (well drilling and seismic acquisition/processing. Delivered oil reserve volumes above target and immediate oil production of 18,000 barrels per day.

    1997 – 1998: Member of organisational re-design team, PDO

    Member of a 4-man change-management team which re-structured PDO’s functional organization into an asset-based structure. (PDO: 4500 staff and an annual budget of $1.3 billion, operating across Oman).

    1995 – 1997: Manager of geological services, PDO

    Department of 65 staff, 3 direct subordinates, budget $14 mln p.a. Provided short-term geoscience services (stratigraphy, structural geology and geochemistry), IT systems and longer-term technology studies and investments to a customer base of 115 geoscientists in PDO’s exploration directorate.

    1991 – 1995: Manager of structural geology research, Shell Research

    Managed a programme of fundamental scientific research, applied R&D / technical consultancy to Shell globally, and technology transfer though delivered training programmes and software delivery. Made the case to increase staff and funding by 50% to 16 staff, annual budget approx $3 mln.

    1986 – 1991: Senior exploration geoscientist, Gulf of Suez & NW Desert, Shell Egypt

    Responsible for exploration in Shell’s Gulf of Suez and Western Desert concessions, leading to discovery of the Gemsa oil-field and the Obaiyed gas field in desert and sensitive offshore environments.

    1983 – 1986: Exploration geoscientist & seismic interpreter, PDO

    Conducted evaluation studies based on limited prior data, resulting in novel play concepts which justified the drilling of 7 exploration wells in a hitherto-unexplored part of South Oman.

    1979 – 1983: Research structural geologist, Shell Research

    Executed a research programme directly impacting basin analysis and the evaluation of drillable prospects. The work encompassed mathematical and physical modeling, analogue studies and technical consultancy.