Have we lost our mojo in the Oil Industry?
In a career already spanning over thirty five years, in the energy industry, it never fails to amaze me what a fantastic industry the international oil & gas is. Whether it is in the subsurface domain of seismic assessment or reservoir engineering, the drilling domain with its well engineering or completions challengers, subsea engineering, topsides design or just getting the production fluids to market, every day is different. The industry continually needs to wrestle with its day-to-day challengers, most of the 'easy oil' has now been developed, so the industry, particularly the 'super majors' are exploring and trying to develop hydrocarbon resources in more extreme and hostile regions of the world.
Just by way of an example, of the truly gargantuan projects our industry takes from concept to realisation. In the period 2006 to 2009, I had the pleasure and absolute delight of working on the Sakhalin II Phase 2 Project. This was at that time reportedly the most expensive and potentially most complex of its type to be undertaken. The main elements of the project revolved around the construction of the LNG plant, the two gravity based design offshore platforms, the onshore processing facility and the two 800km long oil and gas pipelines. However, the reality was that the project consisted of thirteen projects, each substantial in their own right, but collectively something special. So, what I hope that you can sense is a project that for each day you are working on it, you'd jump out of bed and you couldn't wait to get started. Or was that just me?!
In addition to the physical engineering challenges, add into the mix, the remoteness of the construction sites from their sources of supply, the lack of transportation infrastructure, the variety of the terrain to be negotiated, over a thousand rivers to cross, hillsides to traverse and bogs to build on. But last but not least, with many archaeological sites, the uncovering of old soviet armaments dumps and the projection of the Western Grey Whale and the Steller's Sea Eagle. All in all this was a project that our industry can be rightly proud of.
So from this beacon of success to where we find ourselves in the summer of 2016. Our optimism of the possible has for many been replaced with doom, gloom and pessimism. So yes, the industry has lost its MoJo, but we are still completing some exciting , challenging and technologically innovative projects. For example the Chevron Wheatstone and INPEX Itychlys projects in Australia. the Yamal LNG project in Russia and a little closer to home the BP Claire Ridge Project, North West of Shetland. In addition, due to the hard times the industry is currently enduring, there is consequently an awful lot of innovation going on.
So in closing, yes although we've lost our MoJo a little, we still work in a fantastic industry and we must continue to believe that and promote its benefits to the next generation.
We MUST in short focus on the very people and skills that make all of this possible and turn the vision into a reality!