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Claxton uncovered: 'Making the Middle East our home' with Nick Marriott

CHALLENGES BEYOND THE ECONOMY

Nick has been the first to note the change in his current role in the Middle East, compared to the Commercial Manager role he held for five years in the UK. With plenty more “hands on” work, Nick has overseen a multitude of challenges that his regional team have had to overcome.

“There are many and different problems to face when undertaking work in the Middle East but the increased security and clearance requirements to enable service technicians to go offshore is a major one.

“Each company has different requirements. A H2S certificate may be acceptable for one company but not for another. From start of process to end can take two weeks or more for a single client, which all has to be factored in when preparing for a project.”

Beyond regional challenges, Nick and his team have worked as well on some new and complex projects that have tested and expanded the knowledge of the team. Q4 in 2016 will see the team complete its biggest challenge to date in the Arabian Gulf, as Nick explains:

“We’ve developed a clamp and sleeve conductor stabilisation system for clients in the region. The first four systems of which will be installed in Q4 of this year and be the culmination of a year of work involving Claxton’s design office, local fabrication and testing and local installation.”

“This system should be exportable throughout the Arabian Gulf where there is an ageing well stock and opportunity for Claxton to help operators.”

REGIONAL DIFFERENCES AND DRIVING THE REGION

With a passport full of stamps from around the world, Nick has certainly experienced the nuances of the offshore industry internationally. Despite the continued standardisation practices being brought into the industry to raise safety and reduce operating costs, Nick explains how the Middle East compares and where he thinks there is potential for Claxton’s expertise to be used.

The main difference is the number of different countries where work is carried out and the logistics problems there can be to get equipment and people to site. All countries have their national oil companies, then the majors followed by small independent operators and the drilling contractors.

“The process of pre-qualification for some of the NOCs can be very onerous and takes a long time to complete along with the need in some countries for an agent to represent Claxton. All this means that everything tends to take longer and be subject to changes without prior notification.

“As for the working conditions in the region, the water depth is quite shallow and the wave, the wind and current effect a lot less than the UK. Therefore, the need for risers and tension system rental is very much reduced, so we had to identify where the niches were and move into them.”

SUCCESS AND THE NEXT CHALLENGE

From a standing start, Nick has built Claxton’s Middle East team into a region-leader that can effectively work with some of the largest firms operating in the Arabian Gulf. It’s no coincidence that when asked about his biggest success, Nick points towards his skilful and loyal team.

“The most rewarding experience has been to see a locally hired and trained crew go offshore and successfully execute a full, diamond wire external cut, slot recovery followed by CDT installation project with all the equipment prepared and maintained locally – the CDT was also fabricated in Abu Dhabi.

“This last job set new records for the first time a 24” conductor was run through a 36” CDT, which saved the operator millions of dollars versus milling. Claxton in Dubai has come a long way since I arrived three-and-a-half years ago.

“We have been lucky enough to have a very low turnover of staff here, meaning the knowledge we have built up together over the last few years has stayed within Claxton and is helping make it happen for our clients in the Middle East.”

While Nick believes his next job is to assure the future of Claxton in the Middle East by succession planning for his own position, he believes the challenge for the industry is still what it was forty years ago.

“The oilfield has changed immeasurably over the 40 years I have been involved in it yet the silly mistakes still remain. The ability to get it right first time, every time still eludes the industry and is the key to a step change in productivity and profitability. The next challenge for me and the industry is already waiting!”

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