Claxton Uncovered: Overcoming challenges and nurturing growth in the Middle East

Posted by Claxton Marketing Team on 08-Aug-2018 10:00:00


Claxton Uncovered is a blog format featuring behind-the-scenes information from staff members throughout the organisation.

From Aberdeen to Dubai, Claxton’s recently appointed Middle East regional manager brings an interesting career path and years’ worth of experience to Claxton. Graham Milne is responsible for managing all aspects of Claxton’s projects in the Middle East whilst being the key focal point for our other regional offices around the world. His team, based in Dubai, has recently expanded to meet operational demand and consists of service technicians, engineers and administrative staff.  

In this blog, Graham shares his experience of the industry changes since leaving his homeland for the second time to work abroad. He also provides an overview on managing a new regional team, how he will develop his people, and improve processes to influence change.

Transferring operational excellence into inspirational leadership

With almost 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry and 18 years’ experience working globally, Graham took up the position of Middle East regional manager at Claxton in late-2017. Graham first made the transition from a solely field position to a combined field/managerial role in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria back in 2005. Working for an Aberdeen based service provider, the role entailed everything from marketing to performing the actual operations and reporting requirements across Algerai, Libya and Tunisia. Building upon this experience Graham returned to Aberdeen to manage a global coring provider’s UK and European entities, before transferring to Singapore and finally, the United Arab Emirates. These locations all have diverse requirements, so taking on the challenge of growing Claxton’s Middle East offering was something that Graham was certainly excited about.

During his short time at Claxton, Graham has already refined operations, management and the sales process, whilst improving the company’s exposure to risk in accordance with industry requirements.

best CLAXTON project?

Experienced in regional management roles, Graham has seen and mitigated a multitude of operational challenges over the years. When asked what common challenges he and his team face, he summarised:

“Resource restrictions and supplier interruptions can all contribute to project delays. We work seamlessly with the client as a team to mitigate the impact of these issues. Being a relatively small team, we are not afraid to get stuck in to tasks outside of our usually daily activities to meet a tight deadline. When our service technicians are between offshore duties, they can be found maintaining equipment onshore in the company warehouse. This reiterates the importance of having a multi-skilled workforce.”

In addition to typical operational challenges, Graham and his team have already worked on some new and complex projects that have tested and expanded the knowledge of the team. Graham explains:

“During site surveys to wells for an operator in the Arabian Gulf it was noted that some wells were showing degradation. Due to internal well tension and severe corrosion, one particular well conductor was buckled and badly corroded just above the splash zone area. Based on the anomalies observed, a special inspection survey was performed and the condition of the existing conductor was evaluated. The team prioritised integrity risks and provided repair recommendations. Working seamlessly with Claxton’s UK based design engineers to provide a viable engineered solution for these critical repairs resulted in the well returning to service within a matter of weeks. The replacement components that Claxton provided have extended the life of the well by up to 25 years. To date Claxton has project managed four repairs to this field, with further operations expected.” 

Growth in the middle east

On the subject of future plans for Claxton Dubai, Graham revealed what he has instore for the company and his team;

“I believe that the oil and gas industry in the Middle East is poised for growth. We have already seen a heightened demand for our hot tapping services which has led to us successfully completing several campaigns over the past year or so. I am immensely proud of the team here, who are all locally hired and trained, and look forward to building on this solid foundation with more resources to meet the growing demand for Claxton’s life of field services. The recognition of Claxton products and people, which comes directly from our clients is testimony to the value-added services Claxton bring to all projects.

“Business development in the Middle East is still a major opportunity for us, and with the help of our dedicated regional business development managers, we are already observing green shoots in fields we have not worked in before. Therefore, plans to expand our facility and team will support this growth and re-embed us as leading oil and gas service provider within the region.”

Topics: conductor integrity, Middle East

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