Author Archives: Jake Barnes

QA/QC Fail

He Who Pays the Piper

This article is refreshing in the honesty of the words reported: Quality in the supply chain is the biggest concern for Shell when it comes to its giant Prelude floating liquefied natural gas project off Australia, according to the project’s director. … The sheer volume of individual contracts involved in the LNG project off the north-east coast of Western Australia also, however, causes problems for those in the supply chain, leading to delays. … When pressed during a conference session […]

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Brother, can you spare a dime?

Oh, how lucky those Russian pensioners are! Russian oil behemoth Rosneft has asked the government for more than $41 billion to help it ride out the effect of sanctions imposed against it and Russia by the US and European Union, according to a report. Company president Igor Sechin has laid out five suggestions for support from the federal government, with help from the National Welfare Fund one possibility, local newspaper Vedomosti reported on Thursday, citing four unidentified government officials. According […]

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Ming the Merciless

King for a Day

Several years ago I found myself stuck in some far-flung oil town over Christmas.  As the holidays approached, one by one the company management flew home and handed over to a skeleton crew who would keep things running in their absence.  Due to no other reason that I was literally the only expat left in the office that particular day, on 28th December I was put in charge of an entire operational department. I had two issues to deal with […]

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Boko’s Harem

I have witnessed two motorbike accidents in my life.  The first occurred in Bali, Indonesia.  I was travelling in the back of a taxi when a downpour started, and a girl in her late teens on a scooter skidded in a traffic jam at low speed and went over on her side.  I was two cars behind her, and after a few seconds of wondering what had just happened I told the taxi driver to stop and jumped out to […]

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Pass me a white feather

Recently I watched one of Hollywood’s latest outputs, a film called The East which concerns a blonde chick who infiltrates some anarchist-environmentalist group bent on holding unethical corporations to account.  The premise was pretty lame to begin with: apparently it’s based on the experiences of the director and lead actress from when they joined an anarchist collective, whatever one of those is.  Why they thought this would be a good basis for a film I don’t know, but I found it […]

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Uganda be kidding me!

There is a press release on the website of Irish independent Tullow Oil which needs to be given wider attention (emphasis mine): Tullow Oil plc announces today that its subsidiaries operating in Uganda have received a ruling from the Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) in Uganda relating to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). … Tullow can confirm that the TAT has ruled against Tullow on the key issue of the express tax exemption contained in the Production Sharing Agreement for Exploration Area […]

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Putting the Low in Local

I once heard a story that the people running a Nigerian refinery were so useless that they were unable to produce petrochemical products and so switched to making oil drums instead.  And this story turned out to be true. The people in charge of Angola LNG seem to have found themselves in a similar situation, only on a far grander scale: The Angola LNG consortium is looking to charter out its entire fleet of liquefied natural gas carriers after a […]

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Ivan’s Ambitions

Earlier this week the main story in the news was that of a $400bn gas supply deal made between Russia and China.  Most of the media was seemingly awestruck by the magnitude and the much-vaunted (by those making it) significance of the deal, and social media went wild with Russians congratulating each other and making derogatory remarks against the US and Europe. The western media are not the best at intepretting what goes on in Russia to put it mildly, […]

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Cash-All-Gone

There appears to be no date in sight for a restart of the giant Kashagan project offshore Kazakhtsan, which started up in September last year following 12 years of engineering and construction only to be shut down almost immediately, then restarted and then again shut down a few days later and left that way until now.  The most optimistic are hoping that it starts up sometime this year. The Kashagan project is extremely complicated and technically challenging, not least because […]

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I said scaffold, not gallows.

I have a buddy – let’s call him Alf – who used to run a scaffolding company in a somewhat backward country which, like so many of them, had stumbled across a whole load of oil and gas and had little to no idea how to get it out of the ground safely.  As such, a large western oil company had been invited in and subsequently built and operated a plant in the middle of nowhere (and they’re still there).  […]

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