Categotry Archives: Cowardice

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 […]


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 […]

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 […]

Vertebrates need not apply

The other week I was at a party and I heard a splendid little anecdote.  The party was on behalf of a driller who was turning 65, but had retired several years before.  The driller was a real, old-school company man and had worked for the same oil company for his whole working life, clocking up something in the region of 35 years with them.  During the party somebody happened to mention a certain individual from the driller’s former company […]

Cry ‘Havoc!’

It is well known among those familiar with military history that those who excel in a peacetime army are often useless during wartime.  The reason for this is the personalities and skills required to succeed in the intensely political and bureaucratic environment of an army at peace are completely different from those required to ensure the same army prevails when the bullets start to fly.  As such, when an army embarks on the first campaign of the war it often […]

Don’t ask, don’t tell: oilfield version

Upstream Online reports a change in ExxonMobil policy: ExxonMobil has changed its business conduct policies to explicitly forbid discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, a move the corporation has previously resisted. … The US supermajor had, to the chagrin of LGBT rights activists, previously insisted that broad anti-discrimination policies were adequate to protect its employees. Multiple shareholder resolutions on the subject were brought up but ultimately rejected. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organisation, has previously ranked […]

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 […]

Malheureusement, nous ne sommes pas Charlie

Before the echoes of the gunfire from the first attack in this (hopefully) now completed week of carnage in Paris had faded, debates erupted all over the internet as to how other news and media organs should respond.  How they actually responded, with very few exceptions, was to condemn the killings and reaffirm the importance of free speech while refraining from reprinting any of Charlie Hebdo’s content that might be deemed offensive.  This resulted in many charges of cowardice against […]

No Balls Means Bad Numbers

There is a terrible affliction among managers in the large companies which make up the modern oil and gas industry.  The medical term for it is “lacking balls” and it prevents those with the condition from making decisions. (Before I go on, let me just say that this is nothing to do with women in the industry: Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher showed that women can have balls, and sometimes more so than their male peers.) Let’s suppose I was […]

What did you learn in school today?

What did you learn in school today, Dear little boy of mine? What did you learn in school today, Dear little boy of mine? I learned our government must be strong. It’s always right and never wrong. Our leaders are the finest men. And we elect them again and again. That’s what I learned in school today. That’s what I learned in school. -“What did you learn in school today?” by Tom Paxton Does anyone remember a Malaysian Airlines plane […]