Monthly Archives: September 2014

If I’m a guest, you’re a rotten host!

There is a peculiar notion out there that expatriate workers, or at least those in the oil industry, are “guests” in their country of assignment. This term conjures up images of being invited to a party, or staying with a friend or family member on holiday, and is often used to imply the expat should behave in a manner befitting such a guest. This idea needs to be looked at in more detail. Let’s first consider whether oil industry expats […]

"This is a private matter."

What price your life, sir?

When oil companies set up shop in some backward, dangerous shithole the biggest risk they face is how to transport their employees without getting them killed or injured.  Road accidents is always by far the biggest cause of deaths and injuries in the oil business, mostly because the places they operate feature one or more of the following: bad road surfaces, poor signage, no lighting, no road markings, ice, snow, sand, mud, vehicles subject to no maintenance, poor training and […]

But it's within the budget!

Sleeping Around

During my career I saw many companies attempt to accommodate their travelling employees by entering into agreements with hotel chains. The most sensible I saw worked like this. The Oil Company entered into an agreement with a global hotel chain, which set out an agreed rate for a standard room in each hotel around the world. I don’t know whether this was set as a percentage of the standard rate, or set individually per hotel, but the agreement was that […]


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 […]


It’s really not that difficult

There are essentially two ways to organise and run a project in the oil and gas business. Here’s the first. A small team of Company managers and engineers (plus a handful of finance folk) decide what they want to achieve. They then decide on their preferred method of achieving it, listing in as much detail as possible what tasks need to be done. The list of tasks is called a Work Breakdown Structure. They then look at who they need […]