Categotry Archives: Major Fuckups


With Socar being a state-owned company in a country which is about as transparent as Hillary Clinton’s past business deals, I doubt we’re ever going to find out what caused the fire on board their platform in the Caspian sea over the weekend which seems to have cost the lives of 29 people, with another 3 having been swept overboard a separate platform operated by the same company. Which leaves the floor clear for people like me to indulge in uninformed […]

At least it’s not another mass grave

On 1st April a fire broke out on a platform belonging to Pemex, the Mexican national oil company, killing at least 4 people and injuring 16 others.  The fire is out, and now Pemex has released the picture below showing the extent of the damage: That an oil company which can, in all seriousness, release a photo like that should have suffered a fatal explosion on one of its platforms doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  There are clearer […]


It’s difficult to overstate the seriousness of the impact the Petrobras corruption scandal will have on Brazil’s oil and gas industry, with even top politicians now being accused of involvement in an enormous kickback scheme. Until this scandal broke, there were hopes that Brazil was breaking away from the South American tradition of oilfield development going hand-in-hand with corruption and mismanagement, resulting in stagnation of the whole industry.  With Brazil choosing to channel the bulk of its future development through […]

I know-a nothing!

In amongst all this doom and gloom there’s a bright ray of sunshine for one company: Saipem has finally secured the $1.8 billion contract to construct a pair of pipelines at the giant Kashagan project in Kazakhstan’s Caspian Sea region. The Italian contractor has been handed the deal to build the two 95-kilometre pipelines by the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), Kashagan’s operator. Now that’s a nice little contract, isn’t it? Saipem was thought to be in pole position to […]

One supermajor too many?

It is difficult to talk about the oil price these days without somebody or other popping up with a conspiracy theory involving the Saudis deliberately not cutting back on production in order to simultaneously cripple Russia, damage Iran, and hobble the fledgling US shale oil industry. Streetwise Professor does an admirable job of explaining why this is bollocks, that the price drop is from the demand side, and the Saudis cutting production would cause them to lose revenue (which is […]

Project Management is about to get harder

Every project I’ve worked on that has found itself adrift of where it should be in terms of costs and schedule with the end nowhere in sight (i.e. all of them) there has always been a mentality among the project team that “it will get done eventually”.  Meaning, no matter how bad it looks now eventually the project will be completed and production will start and the whole thing will be deemed a success.  In other words, the concept that […]

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 […]


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 […]