Category Archives: Oil and Gas Worldwide

Lone Working Expo

Lone working happens in all industries. In construction I am thinking  of site visiting, administration after hours and lone contractors specifically.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, set up following the awful disappearance of a young estate agent in 1986,  were recently at the ExCel Safety and Health Expo.

Code for the Safety of Lone Workers

It is easy to think of what happened to Suzy Lamplugh as a totally different set of circumstances to those found in construction, manufacturing or even off shore.

People do work alone and some distance from the nearest available help. By definition the general public are kept away from many of our workplaces. Sometimes the places we work are pretty isolated.

Suzy’s Code for Personal Safety says organisations should:

‘- Implement a buddy system (so colleagues always know each other’s whereabouts and contact details. This should include checking in and out when meeting arriving at and leaving the property, including out of normal office hours)

– Have a system in place for colleagues to raise the alarm back at the office in case of an emergency while working alone

– Have a clear procedure to follow if someone does not return or check in when they were expected

– Where possible, arrange for viewers to visit the office before meeting them at the property so that colleagues have also seen them

– Offer all staff a personal safety alarm and have discreet lone worker devices available. Before conducting a viewing, find out who else will be present in the property (current tenant, contractors etc.) when you visit

– Finally, make sure all staff are aware of and have access to the personal safety measures available’

Looking Beyond the Threats in Specific Industries

Generally our sort of work has a reputation, one that it is hard to get around even when we read the above. Not all construction workers, oil workers or engineers are tough to the point of fighting two burglars who wander onto a site. Our workers are not immune to sexual assault ( sorry to those who haven’t heard- I mean both sexes) none of us are immune to falls or other accidents or finally medical emergencies.

Going through the points in the code our work is covered by all of them at some stage. In addition there is that responsibility to watch out for those working for you. If push comes to shove and horrible people hurt your staff questions may well be asked about assessments that should have been made.

Stay Macho by All Means but Heart Attack!

We could debate all day as to who is vulnerable or who could take on a young Mike Tyson (probably no-one). a medical emergency can happen to anyone, end of debate. So even if you can’t see such and such as being vulnerable in any other way then the above code covers tragic sudden illness.

If I can help with any of the above then please contact me in the comments .

Take care,

Chris Hodge



Electric Cars Might Not Have Medium Term Effect on Oil Industry

Environmentalists have a cosy notion that you could ditch all the old and dirty and carry on into the sunset powered by water or wind generated electric. One day maybe, but now or even soon? Well we are learning that just because lots of people say a thing is certain that does not make it so. A Russian oil expert makes some good points to support the argument that electric cars might not have a medium term effect on the oil industry.

I’ll state my interest in this. I am a HSE adviser. In some regards it makes no difference if I work on a project constructing windmills, nuclear reactors or an industrial worm farm. I started out in the North Sea on the rigs and many of my friends still work there. It is important to them, their families and the economy that predictions for oil production are as accurate as they can be.

picture of the source article
Source article click the image.

If the Western world turned to electrically  powered vehicles in the medium term the oil industry would take a hit it can ill afford. I am not talking about the giants, I am talking about the people putting bread on their family table. If predictions are wrong and oil companies diversify, particularly into developing regions, as a result it is bad for Western oil workers and Western economies.

Tesla Criticised for Uncertain Sales Predictions

Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s oil giant Rosneft is quoted in Bloomberg as saying: ‘The unconditional truth remains in the fact that the hydrocarbon power industry has been and will be in demand. The market’s assessment of the prospects of electric car producers, in our view, is significantly overestimated.Until the electric transport industry becomes as user-friendly and attractive for consumers as the cars with internal combustion engines, the prospects for electric vehicles remain largely uncertain.’

Sechin was talking to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum recently.

The logic behind this seems sound to me. Electric cars are impressive in comparison to only a few years ago, no doubt. What Sechin doubts is that they can compete with combustion driven vehicles. The infrastructure supports traditional cars, the advances in performance and economy have been equally impressive. The combustion engine allows for greater diversity in design, size and range.  That is of course now, not in the future. So could an aggressive sales campaign globally force adaption of support services so that electric is just as convenient as oil powered?

I don’t think so and Tesla was singled out as not having the best future business model when it comes to sales predictions. Sechin pointed out that sales are still relatively small with only Norway showing an increase of any note. To balance this it has to be noted that Norway subsidises electric car ownership to a significant degree. Sechin says, and I agree, that for the electric car to make up ground on the internal combustion energy these subsidies have to continue.

If I look at the UK. If I put the current demands for public funding on the table and think of the issue of electric cars one thing is clear. Increased subsidies and increasing financial support for companies to provide recharging stations etc! I’m very doubtful of Tesla achieving the success they desire. It will be interesting to see how things develop but government coffers need filling, especially now. I cannot see masses of people taking on the inconvenience of electric transport in the hope that soon it will be as easy to use as their old car.

Take Care

Chris Hodge

Simply a Great Free Source of Oil and Gas News

These days I think quicker, even to the point of moving my hands than this computer. My day starts at 04.45 hrs and will end when it ends. I can’t be bothered with endless logins. I am not saying that I am hard done by. I enjoy what I do but when it comes to specialist, niche news I often want to scan a well laid out, up to date website without hassle. World Oil takes some beating.

screen shot of the online news source.
World Oil. Screen capture of this great source of news in the industry.

As you know, if you have read my landing page, I currently work in construction in Kent. I love it and I like the people. The project is a fine one, but along with this industry I have an active interest in all Health and Safety areas. I don’t mind paying for my news it is just that time is often an issue and many sites change their styles and requirements for reading. I don’t want to be bothered cancelling out a half dozen subscriptions every year as trends fade and new kids come onto the block.

World Oil lets you browse through global news on projects, trends and the various peripheral governmental strife that influences how much bread you can put on the table. When I was looking at decommissioning  ( see article on opportunities click here)  I got a nice concise article about the Brent operations. From there I could browse on but instead went to look at how Australia was doing, then what was going on in the controversial shale gas developments of New York state. Hey each to his or her own hobby eh?

The point is World Oil ticks the boxes for being quick, knowledgeable and a nice bonus is it is free. Click here to have a look yourself if you have not tried the website. Time is money as they say and World Oil saves time and cost nothing.

Take care of yourselves out there.


Chris Hodge

Quirky Video Highlights the Dangers of H2S

The advantage of writing up your own site is that when you are relaxing at home, you know watching health and safety videos as I do, you come across some quirky stuff. This one highlights the dangers of H2S.

H2S ( Hydrogen Sulphide ) smells like rotten eggs and is nasty. You come across it in the gas and petroleum industries and it occurs naturally when human and animal waste is broken down.  The right thing to do is to wear respirators if there is even a chance you might breath it in. This is one of those no ifs, no buts sort of deals.

The awful safety risks of this substance extend further. If you have a casualty who has suffered in an incident involving H2S don’t give them a drink of water, actually keep water as far from them as possible. If you don’t you can make this substance into an acid and as we know acid has little consideration for humans.


What I like about this video is the graphics ( especially the way the animations walk)  it is nice and concise. Training in health and safety specifics, like the hazards of H2S, should be brief. Here the makers illustrate also the need to be aware of others. The character who inhales the gas ignored the warnings, fair enough, but an occasional glance around looking for the ‘hard of warning’ is a good idea.

Anyway I will get on and wish you a good day.

Chris Hodge


Wood Group Wins Decommissioning Contract.

Further to the piece I did last week, Wood Group continues to work with Shell in the North Sea. They have just announced they have the contract to decommission the Brent Bravo platform.

I was writing about the future of this line of oil and gas work recently and further evidence of the opportunities now pops up on my news feed. Click Here  

map showing Brent field NorthEast North Sea
Iconic Brent Platforms on their way out after 40 years service.

Wood Group, CEO Dave Stewart, said, ‘We have over four decades of experience supporting Shell’s Brent field and this new contract clearly demonstrates our client’s trust in our consistent delivery of innovative and efficient technical services that have been designed for offshore decommissioning challenges.’

The plan is to prep the platform for a single lift removal. This continues the Shell trend of beginning the onerous and absolutely massive headache of clearing up redundant operations. This multi billion pound task will take up to ten years.

The iconic Brent field rigs were built in the 1970s and at one time produced 10% of Britain’s North Sea oil. The field underwent an extensive upgrade in the 90s which extended production, but all good things have to come to an end.

The best of good planning to all involved in the decommissioning.


Chris Hodge

Source article;  World Oil. Click here

Guardian article Click here

Shell Optimistic About Their Slimmer North Sea Operation

Various bits and pieces of the media have reported on the 140% increase in profit claimed by Shell this week. Shell’s financial chief, Jessica Uhl,  said the North Sea remains important even though streamlining in future will leave the company with less of a presence in the area.

Since writing this , as of today, it looks like the deal has gone through. Click here.

This follows the January sale of half  its UK production assets to to Chrysaor for upwards of $3 billion. According to the Chrysaor website the deal has not quite been finalised but looks on course to make this independent player one of the biggest in the UK.

picture of a platform and a link to Chrysaor.
Chrysaor talk positive about their role. Click above to link to their website.

Of course that is not necessarily great news for the return of the jobs lost. When the deal was announce Phil Kirk, Chrysaor chief executive said:

‘Chrysaor is acquiring a high quality package of assets which combine low cost production, a substantial reserves and resources base with strong cash flows and a highly competent and skilled workforce. These assets, combined with our own experience and the outstanding team who will transfer from Shell, provide an excellent platform for change and growth in the North Sea.’

After dealing with any health and safety issues, words like strong cash flows are what I want to hear, however, we will have to see where that cash flow goes if indeed it ever comes back with any strength at all. Much has been made of the rally in oil prices over the last year but globally oil stocks are still high and continue to threaten uncertainty in the barrel price.

In comparison the development of gas production off Shetland is more encouraging and of course Shell has a big hand there. Broadening the picture slightly is the interest the company has in deep water projects off the Brazilian coast.

1700 people in the North East Scotland and will be subject of this Shell/ Chrysaor deal. Maybe the first indicator of real confidence will be if all of them retain their jobs when the transaction is completed in the second half of this year.


Chris Hodge

For one of the source articles, Click here

Family Deals with the Tragedy of Missing Oil Worker

Currently the search is still on for a 49 year old North Sea oil worker who has not been seen since 21.20 hours on Tuesday. Steve Sutherland was operating on the Noble Lloyd Noble installation, 90 miles miles east of Shetland.

picture of a middle aged man smiling into the camera
‘Steve is a much-loved and well-respected father, grandfather, partner, son, brother and uncle, adored by his children Morgan, Lenah and son Joe, and doted on by his four grandchildren.

There appears to be no suspicious circumstances and his disappearance is not linked to a workplace incident at this time. The larger scale search was scaled back on Wednesday and his next of kin have been paying tribute to the much loved Aberdeen man.

Det Insp Norman Stevenson, who is leading a team of officers flown out to the rig said: ‘An extensive search has been carried out which has involved a search and rescue helicopter as well as standby vessels and a platform supply vessel.’

map showing the location of the rig east of Shetland
Mariner field operated by Statoil where the rig is located.

The rig is a jack up drilling platform. Operations were halted while the search went on. I can only hope that some peace and closure is found for all concerned.

Reference BBC Click Here

North Sea Decommissioning Opportunities Linked to Retiring Specialists

It is with a touch of regret that a North Sea decommissioning boom is seen as a positive thing. I know the cycle of life in mortals and engineering follows the same path but still I would rather report about upgrading and investment. Every cloud has a silver lining I guess and so may retirement and redundant platforms.

satellite view of the north sea with Europe and the UK shown.
NSA photograph of the North Sea where lies a potential clear up boom.

For sometime those of us with a North Sea background have been  casually watching for opportunities in decommissioning. Being a specialist area, however, the jobs go to those with direct experience. Sure, transferable skills can be adapted to a reversal roll, but still openings are rare.

The North Sea is Literally Littered with Work

According to Boston Consulting Group Director Philip Whittaker, the door to more opportunities in this field may be on the horizon. Rigzone has the full article and I will not steal their thunder so the link is below. In short, decommissioning crews have enough skilled people to cope with the work load. What the article suggests is that at some stage the 500 plus installations out there will need to be tackled and many of the top operators are approaching retirement age.

In addition to the fixed installations there are about the same number of sub sea ones with an estimated 10,000 wells to be sealed. I would hate to foot that bill and in some regards the sooner these issues are tackled the cheaper it will be. As always these days only time will tell.

Rigzone article Click Here 

The Remarkable Shell Prelude FLNG

The sheer scale of the Shell Prelude FLNG is remarkable. So is its purpose for existing. At 488m long and 74m wide it is colossal. The Empire State building would look stumpy next to it and the One World Trade Centre in New York is a mere fifty or so meters higher than the vessel is long. Such comparisons are fine but this is a ship so let’s talk other ships. Here is a very rough visual demonstration.

colour picture of the full scale of Prelude, red hull with processing apparatus across the whole deck
Shell Prelude at 488 metres. C/O The Shell website


photograph of Titanic
RMS Titanic at 269m
colour shot of the QE2
QE2 at 294m

A One Stop Refining Shop

The Prelude field is located off the north west coast of Australia and that is where this massive processing ship will operate. It will be the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas processing platform.

The below explains all about it in glorious Technicolour. My reasons for mentioning it is because it is a marvel. Given the fierce competition in the industry today and the multinational sources of supply who knows if there will be another one on this scale?


I have left the best chunk of hugeness about this project until last.

The Prelude is a mostly South Korean masterpiece. Dock yards with 5000 workers who start the day with team building exercises. I was born just after the era of the ship yards in my home county. Granted, there the workers started each day with a cigarette and a bacon sandwich but they got the job done. I digress, all those workers building for Technip Samsung, using 250,000 tons of steel, how much will it cost?

Estimates run to  12.5 billion USD. That is just a little under the amount the entire Olympic Games cost in London. Impressive, now all they have to do is get it out there and working.




Ivory Coast attempts to Organise Oil and Gas Push

I never gamble but I do know people who do. Seldom does an outside prospect upset a dead certain winner but they can get in the way and occasionally they steal the day.


Location Côte d'Ivoire AU Africa
Ivory Coast, north of the Gulf of Guinea. By Alvaro1984 18 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
While we look at Brent prices and investment is being squeezed some small corners are nothing but gung ho. The Ivory Coast, an African nation of about 23 million people, is more stable than many in the area and looks to oil and gas development to secure its future.

Russian firm Lukoil withdrew interest early this year but with established resources and increasing production of both oil and gas other parties are interested. Total, Exxon Mobil, Anadarko and Tullow are all either there or seriously thinking about it.  Already producing are Canadian Natural Resources and Ivory Coast’s own Foxtrot International who have been responsible for raising production to 53,000 barrels of oil and  250 million cubic sq feet of gas per day.

Abidjan commercial centre of the Ivory Coast.By Zenman+ Marku [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Encouraging possible investment in offshore drilling in the Gulf of Guinea is the nation’s dedication to improving its domestic energy efficiency and there may well be contracts awarded to build gas fired power stations. Already the area is pretty well placed with a reliable grid and increased domestic consumption.

To counterbalance the otherwise rosy outlook is a recent history of internal strife and human rights question marks. Although stable now there are significant historical factors that will take some careful risk assessment before jumping in with both feet. In addition there is long standing animosity between Ivory Coast and its eastern neighbour Ghana over offshore and border rights.  This has now been settled, I only mention it because often as we know old disputes can return with a vengeance.

NB. Believe me or believe me not, I just went to check on the dispute and low and behold it is simmering again. I hope it is resolved soon but I’ll not hold my breath.

Source: Ghana Web. Click Here Reuters. Click here