Author Archives: Jake Barnes

Why Rex Tillerson Stands Out

There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal about Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s departing CEO and the man who Trump has picked for the role of Secretary of State.  The whole article is worth reading, but this bit caught my eye: Mr. Sechin came to like Mr. Tillerson because he was transparent and forceful in his communications—and was one of the few Western executives strong enough to push back against Mr. Sechin, said people familiar with the matter. … Mr. Putin, who […]

Major Comparison 2015

Similarly to what I did last year, now all the 2015 annual reports are out I thought it would be interesting to create tables showing revenues, profits, number of employees, and profit per employee for each of the majors. Despite the prolonged downturn, ExxonMobil is still doing very well as a company.  True, revenues are down and profits halved but any company that can make north of $16bn clear profit in the biggest slump in a generation must be doing […]

Total’s new strategy?

Via Phil in the comments under this post, I see that Total has bought a battery company for just under a billion Euros: ‘The combination of Saft and Total will enable Saft to become the Group’s spearhead in electricity storage’, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total. ‘The acquisition of Saft is part of Total’s ambition to accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity, initiated in 2011 with the acquisition of SunPower. Saft’s renowned technological […]

ExxonMobil Resists

Real-world stuff has kept me away from the keyboard for the past month or so.  This will happen occasionally, but I have no intention of quitting the blog permanently.  If I do I’ll let you know, so please do keep checking back. While I was away ExxonMobil came under pressure from a minority of shareholders to adopt various climate change policies: After a long battle to even get on the agenda for ExxonMobil’s 2016 Annual Meeting, the company’s shareholders on […]

Roundup

In what is becoming a regular occurrence in that company, Mexican state-owned oil company PEMEX experienced another deadly explosion, this time in one of its petrochemical plants: Four more people have been found dead after last week’s explosion at a petrochemical plant in southeastern Mexico, raising the death toll to 32, state oil giant Pemex and Mexican plastic pipe maker Mexichem said in a joint statement on Sunday. The vinyl petrochemical plant in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz is a […]

Total surrender?

On Tuesday France’s Total presented a new organisation which purports to achieve its ambition of “becoming the responsible energy major”.  I must confess, if I thought Total’s strategy was rather unclear before, it is doubly so now. Total spent 2015 meeting the short-term goals set in response to the ongoing imbalances resulting from the fall in oil prices that began in June 2014. Yet even as it addresses these immediate challenges, the Group must also prepare for the medium and longer […]

The value of promises for the future

When I was 18 years old and first got my driving license, all the talk among my peers was about insurance costs.  When you’re a young male – and by definition a total idiot – car insurance is understandably very high, and you can end up being quoted premiums of $2,000 per year on a $700 car.  The standard refrain from the insurance companies was “it’s high because you’re under 21”, and 21 was the magic age at which car […]

The Varying Standard of Expats

In among a series of rather haphazard comments on this post, reader Kale Sid raises a point which is worth discussing further: the … system that perpetuate mediocrity over excellence in the name of local content allows some nitwit from elsewhere that are not qualified to be painters in their countries to lord themselves around as ” expats”. Unless I am mistaken, what I think Kale Sid is saying is that countries which have stringent local content laws end up employing […]

PENGASSHOLES piqued

Barry Morgan, writing on the proposed reforms to Nigeria’s oil industry in Upstream Online, manages to get in a wonderful snark at the end of his article: Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu, who doubles as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) group managing director, will over the coming days lay out plans to split the state company into 30 standalone units before a proposed initial public offering in 2018. After four decades, the NNPC is clearly in a bit […]

Women engineers face discrimination, but not in the way you think

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day and as such I received a company-wide email from the bowels of HR telling me I should respect women for the job they do.  Which I thought I already did, but obviously not. I met up for lunch with a former colleague of mine who now works for another company, an intelligent, pleasant, and competent female engineer.  In the morning she had been called together with other female engineers in her office by one […]

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