Claxton Uncovered is a new blog format featuring behind-the-scenes information from staff members throughout the organisation. This week is the turn of Claxton Project Engineer Rob Horton…
With over ten years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, Rob is responsible for the delivery of products and services to clients on time, on budget and without compromising on quality. This includes project planning, technical support and financial forecasting.
After completing a three-year Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, a Project Engineer trainee programme and experiencing the engineering and delivery of topside and subsea control packages in his former role, Rob joined Claxton as Project Engineer to gain further operational experience both offshore UK and overseas.
The role of a Project Engineer
The projects Rob handles can range from straightforward equipment rental, detailed design and the manufacture of equipment, to the supply of full equipment suites accompanied by a comprehensive offshore technical support, all of which can assist on drilling or abandonment campaigns. Together with the Claxton team, they can also help to provide:
- An interface for clients and suppliers to ensure projects run smoothly
- Prepare detailed programmes of work, equipment and instructions for onshore and offshore preparation and installation
- Offshore operational support for both planning and offshore execution.
Common project challenges
At a time where the industry is focussed on reducing expenditure where possible, Rob explained that Claxton can work with clients to find the best operational solutions within the required time scale and at the right cost. “Financial restraints currently in the industry means we are adapting the way we work and always working with clients to find a solution that works best for them.”
“This could include front end engineering and ensuring we are offering the simplest solution for clients’ needs. Whatever changes we make, our products must be fit for purpose and of the highest quality and still adhere to the industry’s governing standards and safety regulations.”
Rob also explained how short lead times, changing project scopes and last minute calls for equipment can be a challenge, but completely achievable from the Claxton team. “We have a reactive approach, and a can-do attitude to pull out the stops for our clients. We don’t shirk away from getting our overalls on and getting the equipment out for clients ourselves if required.”
Supplying riser packages for North Sea projects is Claxton’s bread and butter, but doing the same for a project in the Gulf of Mexico presents new challenges. However, it was a challenge Claxton and Rob rose to when a customer required the experience of Claxton to guide it through its first foray into running a high-pressure riser system from a jack-up rig for a plug-and-abandon programme in the region.
Speaking on the project, Rob said, “This was my most rewarding project to date because of the magnitude of the work scope and one that Claxton as a company are proud of too. On a personal front, it was my first major project at Claxton and fulfilled my objective when I first come to the company of gaining overseas and further operational experience.”
“This included me personally being based in the USA to provide in-country support for several weeks before, during and after the project. The time spent in the USA included overseeing the in-country testing of the equipment to ensure it has not been affected during the shipping from the UK, as well as last minute changes to certain items of equipment to suit revised offshore operations and requirements. A significant project for Claxton, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.”
How to ensure a successful project?
Every project has its unique challenges, but operators could benefit from Claxton’s expertise if they involve the team sooner, according to Rob. “As well as getting in touch early in the planning cycle, clients that give as much information as possible, such as work scope, any areas of concern or restrains, can subsequently expect a much smoother project – even if it is a last minute.”
“As a Project Engineer I can get involved with the initial kick-off meeting, weekly calls and updates, as well as a wash up meetings to talk about the successes and what can be improved for future projects. These touch points can help to run a project smoothly and build upon the already good relationships we have with clients. This has been built on Claxton’s years of good work and good results.”