Author Archives: Jake Barnes

Sharpen those axes

Norway’s Statoil isn’t fucking about in Houston: Around 70 Statoil employees reportedly were stripped of their jobs with immediate effect at its Houston-area offices in the US after refusing to take voluntary redundancy as part of manpower cutbacks at the Norwegian state-run oil giant. Ouch!  I don’t think we’re in Norway any more, Olaf! Retrenched staff – largely drawn from the company’s IT, technical and communication departments within its upstream business – were offered voluntary redundancy packages or alternative positions […]

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Petrobrassneck

Well, fancy that: The initial report of a Brazilian congressional investigation into corruption at state-run Petrobras concluded late Monday that the company and politicians did no wrong, and that suppliers and rogue employees were responsible for graft, according to a report. Thank heavens for that!  When the CEO and senior executives of Petrobras resigned in February, I pessimistically thought Brazil had sunk into the mire of corruption and graft that seems to plague South American countries in perpetuity. But it turns […]

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Get off your knees!

This is not good news for anyone who holds stock in the companies concerned: The leaders of 10 of the world’s biggest oil companies have offered their qualified support for a new global treaty on climate change. The producers of 20% of the world’s oil and gas say they share the ambition to limit warming to 2C. They promise to work to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the global energy mix. … The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative represents […]

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Les Produits des Grandes Écoles

First this story: Two Air France managers have had their shirts torn as they were forced to flee a meeting on job cuts by angry workers. Human resources manager Xavier Broseta and senior official Pierre Plissonnier had to clamber over a fence, while several others were injured. The men were taking part in talks about plans for 2,900 job losses when hundreds of workers stormed into Air France headquarters at Roissy. This scene couldn’t be more French if it had […]

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And everyone will have a pony

This, from the clot running Greenpeace, deserves a proper fisking: The world can more than afford to switch to 100% renewable energy as the savings in fuel usage will outweigh the cost of switching from fossil fuels, a new Greenpeace-backed study has claimed. Erm, if 100% renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels, then what is the “cost of switching from fossil fuels” he is talking about?  If it’s cheaper to switch to renewables, then there are no costs of […]

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Rood Boyz

There is an odd phenomenon in corporate environments whereby extreme rudeness and impolite behaviour is perfectly acceptable provided it is of a certain form, while others are very much frowned upon.  Here is an example. A project I was managing required a specific type of insurance document to be drawn up on behalf of one of the contractors.  For this, I had to go to a chap who called himself Head of Legal Affairs.  I explained to him what was […]

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Too much information

A mate of mine from my university days works as one of the bosses in a company supplying specialist equipment to the oil and gas industry.  A few years ago, back in the days before the oil price collapsed and such jollies were kyboshed, I met him at his company’s stall at the ADIPEC exhibition in Abu Dhabi.  We started talking about his role in flogging equipment, and he told me over the course of the conversation that you can […]

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In Reply to Young PETE

Commenter Young PETE has asked me a couple of questions in the comments under the previous post, and I have decided to answer them in a post of its own.  First, YP’s comment: I stumbled upon your website and have been reading your posts for the past few hours, and agree with practically all of it. One of the common trends you discuss within majors is technical ineptitude and lack of integrity/character on a junior level, which evolves to middle […]

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Who judges the judges?

An employee in a major oil company finds themselves bombarded on a daily basis with advice, most of it unsolicited, uninformed, patronising, self-serving, and muddle-headed.  This is especially true if you are under 30, after which it tends to die down a bit as men who are not afforded respect at home quit trying to be your dad. That said, occasionally one stumbles across a gem.  One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given came from an […]

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Is Total feeling a Russian chill?

Following the tragic death of Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie in a plane crash last October, I said: [T]he Big Moustache’s enormous character made him genuinely popular among the Russian leadership and it is no certainty that his successor will make the same impact in a country where personal relations count for so much.  It could well turn out that much of Total’s commitment to Russia was down to de Margerie personally.  Having not been involved in E&P in Russia, […]

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