INTERVIEW BY DANIEL CANTY
What would be a typical day for you at Maersk Oil?
There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ offshore. By the very nature of the industry we work in, it presents various challenges – economics: with the global oil supply glut, weakening demand and slumping oil prices, unplanned operational challenges – equipment reliability and ageing infrastructure and then geographical constraints – especially the harsh environment of the North Sea can change dynamically, which makes it so uniquely satisfying to have different challenges.
Personally, the challenges are one of the main reasons I find the work so gratifying – believe me when I say, no two trips are ever the same!
When did your your offshore experience begin?
I have been working in the offshore energy business for 25 years now, although I started my career as a Merchant Naval Deck Officer working on Very Large Crude Carriers and refined product tankers. My travels took me all over the world – the Middle East, Australasia, North and South America.
It all sounds very alluring but we spent far less time in port than you would imagine, with very short turnarounds! Although, I was very fortunate to be part of dry-docking projects in both Malaysia and Singapore which I enjoyed immensely. I started my North Sea Oil and Gas career in 2003 as a Marine CRO, then Barge Master before Maersk presented me with an opportunity to develop myself as an Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) – and the rest, as they say, is history!
What did you want to do when you were a boy?
Funnily enough I wanted to be a helicopter pilot. I remember watching an old black and white American TV show called the “Whirlybirds” (showing my age now!) which fuelled my interest. Ironically my offshore career indirectly led from approaching the Admiralty recruiting Fleet Air Arm pilots which ultimately steered me into being a ‘ship driver.’
What’s it like working for Maersk Oil on the Global Producer III (GP3) offshore?
Honestly – I’ve never enjoyed a job as much as I have working for Maersk as OIM and particularly on the GPIII. Understandably we’re experiencing tough times, not only as a global upstream exploration and production company, but particularly in the North Sea, where we operate in a harsh environment coupled with a high cost base.
That said, look at what we have achieved on the GPIII over 2015. It has been an amazing success story that has been built by a motivated and visionary offshore and onshore team. The camaraderie offshore is second to none. There is literally no where else one can experience a ‘togetherness’ and, for want of a better word, ‘banter’ that you will find in an offshore environment.
You could say I’m biased as I’ve only been working offshore for a quarter of a century! But we often get good feedback from visitors and particularly office-based staff on short-term offshore secondments from their positive and enjoyable tours on GPIII.