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Claxton uncovered: The IMechE engineer looking to save operators money

One of the greatest highlights at university for Charles was winning an award from the ‘European’ Crown Packaging Institute. This was for his end of year assignment where he designed an electric superbike.

CLAXTON CAME CALLING

After initially working for nine months back at the company where he completed his one-year placement, Charles was approached by the Claxton team. The role on offer was too hard to turn down.

“I have now been at Claxton for five years and fortunate to have been involved in some of the most significant engineering challenges across the business. My main responsibilities now include working on some high-profile projects/designs from start-to-finish, reviewing and developing innovative, technical specifications and drawings for bespoke requirements, and actively working with most departments in the company to deliver success for our clients.”

Charles also regularly liaises with machining houses, fabrication shops, party verification boards and clients to continually improve performance and find new solutions to offshore problems.

As with all our staff Claxton have supported Charles in his development since joining in 2011. He recently achieved a Chartership with IMechE, one of the biggest steps in the development of a professional engineer.

A MOTIVATION TO BE CHALLENGED AND TO SAVE MONEY

In between trips offshore to undertake surveys for various product lines, it is getting involved in challenging engineering projects that motivate Charles.

“My favourite projects are the ones that begin with, what appears to be, incredibly expensive and complex solutions. But after a few days of investigation into the root cause of a problem or requirement, it becomes evident that a simpler, more effective, and cheaper solution is available.”

We asked Charles to choose one project from the plethora he has worked on which has really stood out?

“I have worked on many complex challenges over the past five years. My aim is to develop innovative, yet logical solutions that save people unnecessary expenditure and effort where possible.

“The simple solutions are always the most satisfying for me. When a client provided detailed riser analysis, which was undertaken for an upcoming abandonment campaign they had in the North Sea, the results were not good! They had a large predicted bending moment on the riser. The solution that had been proposed to them was a titanium riser joint, an incredibly costly item, which they had approached Claxton to supply.

Rather than diving in and cracking on with the detailed design of such a riser, I took the time to understand the problem and to review the riser analysis in depth determining the real issue. It became clear that the root cause of the problem was a long unsupported length of a riser. So, the solution was simple – support the riser.

“I proposed a simple centralizer, which was a fraction of the cost of the original titanium joint. The analysis was re-visited and the solution accepted.”

COMMON PROBLEMS IN THE INDUSTRY

Charles believes that one of the main issues that affect both the projects he works on, and the industry as a whole, is the timing of when operators approach a problem – a problem that was also raised by our Middle East region manager in his Claxton Uncovered blog.

“Occasionally, a problem will have been identified, and a solution proposed before Claxton get involved. This can be quite frustrating, as we are almost designing in isolation of the actual problem to be solved, making it difficult for us to foresee any issues that may arise as a result of the actual problem.

Personally, I want to add value where I can by getting involved at the initial scoping stage, rather than being involved a third-of-the-way through. This could mean Claxton even being involved for the initial feed and concept study so we can influence the strategy from the outset”.

THE NEXT STEPS FOR CHARLES…

“I hope to keep progressing as a technical authority here at Claxton and gain further experiences to support our customers and generate even more value for them.”

If Charles could provide any advice to the next generation of students looking towards a career in the oil and gas industry, Charles concluded:

“Hopefully, my story into the industry shows that with determination and realising your own strengths, you can achieve your career aspirations. I work in an exciting and challenging environment. If you want to develop your career look no further than the oil and gas industry.”

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