Monthly Archives: November 2014


Staying on the subject of Russia, in August I linked to this article: Rosneft refused to publish Sechin’s income declaration for 2013 this June, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin signing a decree in July last year ordering state-controlled companies to disclose payments to top managers. Now we know why: Rosneft president Igor Sechin’s desire to keep his remuneration under wraps has hit the skids.   Speaking in Russia’s Duma — the lower house of parliament — on growing corruption in […]

Let’s party like it’s 1968!

Monday saw Moscow talking tough on the sanctions saga: Russia’s Energy Minister has said Moscow will seek new partners in countries that have not imposed sanctions on it if Western oil and gas companies pull out of projects with Russia. “If (Western) companies decide for themselves not to take part in organising investment projects in the long term, we will invite investors from countries which have not imposed sanctions against us and our oil and gas companies,” RIA news agency […]

Mean Numbers

Years ago, when I was still in school, my chemistry teacher gave me a bollocking.  Not for blowing up the school, burning a hole in a textbook, or squirting people with a pipette but for implying an accuracy that was not there. Eh? Yes, that was my first reaction too.  Here’s what I did. I had taken five measurements as follows (don’t ask me what of, or the units): 3.4 / 4.2 / 3.9 / 2.8 / 3.1 And presented […]

The Peasants of Hydrocarbons

Once upon a time I was working in Africa and we had a requirement for a very specific and specialised type of fluid mixing nozzle for one of our tanks.  This type of equipment cannot be bought off the shelf as it is a bespoke piece of engineering designed for a specific application, and fabricated as a one-off.  As such, it wasn’t merely a procurement activity but more of a mini engineering project.  Hence it fell on my desk. We […]

Fast Track to Failure

There’s a term that oil and gas company management like to use more and more often in relation to project execution, and that term is “Fast Track”, i.e. this project is Fast Track.  The term is used to designate a project as one whose execution will take place in a shorter time than normal, implying that it is considered a priority or at least its speedy completion is desired by somebody in the hierarchy (usually in order to realise production, […]

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 […]