Monthly Archives: April 2015

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, […]

It’s not only independence they’re deluded about

Somebody needs to pass a message to the good folk of Aberdeen that the 1990s are over: ALMOST three-quarters of oil and gas workers are considering looking for work outside the UK because the North Sea industry continues to suffer from plunging oil prices, according to a survey. The research by industry website Rigzone found 71 per cent of respondents across the UK are thinking about a move overseas, with a lack of job security cited as the main reason […]

Appraisals: the biggest waste of time short of washing submarines

May is almost upon us and, as is the tradition in the organisation which employs me, this is the month in which the annual employee appraisals are done.  I’ve thought about this and I’ve reached the conclusion that in no other field of our industry is there a greater disparity between the seriousness with which something is presented and the importance it actually has.  Even the boilerplate committment to Safety shoehorned in at the beginning of every report or presentation […]

Going, going, BGone

Four days ago, on 7th April, BG CEO Helge Lund – who had joined the company only in February – outlined his strategy for the company: Lund acknowledged that BG had sustained “operational setbacks” over the past two years, having been hit by lower liquefied natural gas exports from Egypt and construction challenges and cost overruns on its Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) project in Australia. He said “we must take account of the lessons learned from these experiences as we […]

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 […]

What hundred year war?

Further to this post, there is another way in which people tend to misuse numbers, oil company employees included. Supposing you see three cakes in the window of a bakery: a fruit cake, a sponge cake, and a chocolate cake.  How would you go about estimating the quantity of sugar in each, assuming you’d want to?  One way would be like this. You take a quick estimate of the size of each cake, and work out the volume of each […]