Based in Perth, Australia, Eduardo Robaina is the Executive Vice President of Drilling & Well Engineering, leading a highly experienced team to deliver world-class consultancy services and engineering support for both onshore and offshore operations.
While the past 12 months continued to present significant challenges in the energy sector, particularly related to fluctuating oil prices and reductions in resources, Eduardo’s team persistently adapted to enable the delivery of excellent and reliable work to clients.
In this blog post, which forms part of ‘The Big Picture’ series from our leadership team, Eduardo shines a light on the challenges and opportunities they faced, what was key to his team’s success, and what they are striving to achieve in 2022…
2021 reflection:How would you describe the last 12 months?
“With Covid-19 still very present, we had limited long-term visibility and understanding of the changes we’d face. This meant we couldn’t prepare for what was to come, and, instead, we had to work day-to-day - limiting our capacity to respond when something out of the ordinary happened, and putting unnecessary pressure on our processes. This resulted in a more reactive nature of delivery of our work, for example planning scenarios or understanding of issues in a particular asset.
“Looking more widely at the industry in general, we continued to see operators adjusting their manning levels versus workload requirements. Throughout the pandemic, our industry was faced with lower oil prices and a reduction in CAPEX investment, which forced operating companies to adjust their workload requirements, and largely reduce their volume of staff.
“On a positive note, this meant we had increased workflow with a number of our clients, as their need to outsource work increased due to their staff levels decreasing, as well as a greater need for remote engineering work due to vaccine mandate requirements.
“Overall, our team successfully navigated through a challenging 2021, not only delivering exceptional work to our clients, but also achieving personal and professional objectives.”How would you describe last year in one sentence?
“A year of continuous adaptation, innovation and response to new operating models.”What were the biggest challenges faced by businesses in the energy sector in 2021?
“There were two challenges in particular. The first was more operational - businesses had to continuously address the ongoing overhead costs driven by the pandemic, related to quarantine, additional paperwork, travel restrictions and so on.
“The second hurdle was around understanding the safety critical requirements. Businesses needed more of a big picture view but instead saw themselves only focussing on costs per scope.”What do you believe were the biggest opportunities that arose during this period?
“The biggest opportunity was definitely the increase in demand from operators for outsourced support, to aid with the reduced manpower levels.
“We also saw the need for ongoing independent, third party verification assessments increase in order for companies to adhere to regulatory requests and compliance.”What were the biggest highlights for your division this year?
“Our team performed exceptionally well, despite the continually challenging environment we had to operate in. The ability to deliver excellence through high quality work while adjusting our financial models to meet our clients' expectations, and overall remain profitable, was by far the biggest highlight for me - and something our entire team should be proud of.
“Key to our success was business integrity and cost discipline. From the outset of every project, we focused on outlining the requirements, understanding our clients’ expectations, defining a clear delivery process, and maintaining strong communication and transparency throughout the duration of the work. Simultaneously, we maintained a clear understanding of the business expenditure, priorities versus “nice-to-haves”, and focused on assets that provided the best return on investment.”
What challenges and opportunities do you believe the energy sector will experience in 2022?
“The pandemic will continue to affect the access to experienced personnel globally, and the volatility of oil price will continue to hinder further funding of new projects.
“However companies have endured years of these pressures, and are adapting and responding at a rapid pace - which opens up a plethora of opportunities. Companies like ours can step up and tackle these issues head on for our clients, providing experienced personnel to address a shortfall of resources and the increasing complexities of projects, and identifying and recommending technology to alleviate issues or enhance performance. We have spent over 24 months building our internal capabilities to support companies facing these challenges.”
“This year, we are aiming to maintain our technical excellence, expand into new regions with our service offering model and continue to support our trusted existing clientele.”
“We will also capitalize on personnel shortage from clients through the provision of outsourced support and bespoke engineering solutions, and focus our time on maintaining good relationships with our people, attracting new resources to support ongoing workload and concentrating on decommissioning opportunities.”
Any exciting plans or news you can hint towards for 2022?
“We will be expanding the business into new sectors outside of the traditional oil and gas sector, as well as supporting the ongoing transition into alternative energy by using existing oil and gas transferable processes and procedures.”