Fri, 08/11/2019 - 16:44
Operating with innovative, agile tendencies, Foresight Offshore Drilling is proactively positioning itself as a spearhead of oil and gas excellence
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: David Knott
Between mid-2014 and early 2016, the oil industry experienced one of the sharpest downturns in its modern history.
70 percent price drops sent shockwaves throughout the global market as booming US oil production, receding geopolitical concerns and shifting OPEC policies collided with deteriorating demand prospects.
Indeed, the market has since begun to recover, and confidence has bolstered. Yet a consciousness in regard to price volatility remains ever present amongst industry stakeholders, pushing developers to take a more innovative stance in ensuring that current financial hurdles can be overcome.
One company embracing this change is Dubai-based Foresight Offshore Drilling, a division of Foresight Group International Limited.
A firm with nearly three decades of expertise in offering full service offshore drilling solutions across India and the Middle East through its rigs and expert crews, it is proactively pursuing a revitalised strategy, becoming more agile and cost effective in a multitude of ways.
“The downturn in 2014 created an exciting opportunity – an opportunity to become more innovative in how we use data, technology and collaborative efforts to drive improvements in performance that support a lower cost environment,” affirms John Wishart, the organisation’s Chief Operating Officer, who joined Foresight in 2017 having spent time working in China.
Unsurprisingly, undertaking such an evolution has been no mean feat, the company already operating in a highly complex, niche field of work. Yet the organisation has been successful in doing so, the COO pointing to its staff as crucial to these efforts.
“We acknowledge how crucial our personnel are to our ability to achieve enhanced performance goals,” he declares.
“Our crews are experienced and take ownership of every task and every process involved in the drilling operation, and it is this that contributes to our industry-leading 99.7 percent uptimes.”
In every sense, Foresight’s employee base acts as a crucial differentiator for the company, something both appreciated and actively maintained by its leadership team, including Wishart.
“We truly recognise that people are at the heart of everything we do,” he states, pointing to the salary, private healthcare, life assurance and discretionary bonus schemes as just some of the comprehensive benefits packages offered to staff as part of its talent retention efforts.
Arguably the most successful employee satisfaction drives, however, come from the family-centric culture that the business has cultivated over many years.
Striving to take care of its people, emphasising equality, diversity and safety, the company’s staff are empowered in turn to take care of Foresight’s customers and assets to the best of their ability.
“To date, we have completed nine million man hours without a lost time incident – a 14-year endeavour,” Wishart reveals.
“Through training efforts, regular safety drills and extensive practice we do everything we can to ensure all our crew members are equipped with the right skills, supervision and guidance they need to work safely and securely.”
Likewise, Foresight holds its relationships with its suppliers and partners in the highest esteem, recognised as a second crucial reason behind the firm’s ability to uphold its exceptional 99.7 percent uptime performance, recently evidenced by its three Vivekanand rigs.
Working with a vast multitude of different entities, from rig builders and original equipment manufacturers to classification societies, yards where rigs are laid up or prepared for service and a vast network of alternate service providers, the organisation is grateful for the expertise that each individual partner brings to the table.
“To operate drilling rigs successfully, partner and supplier relationships are obviously very important,” Wishart iterates. “Collaboration is often crucial in addressing urgent issues where exceptional levels of service and quicker than normal turnaround times are required.
“It is in these instances that these relationships show their true value, and I would like to thank all those organisations that work with us for their continual and valued support.”
Expert employees and powerful partnerships combined, Foresight’s extensive project portfolio speaks volumes of its emphasis on excellence across the board.
From the three new LeTourneau state-of-the-art Vivekanand (VKN) rigs that it recently secured (delivered by Cosco Shipping Heavy Industries) to the performance that it has achieved since 2016 with major clients Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the firm has maintained the highest levels of standards in each and every one of its endeavours.
“We have delivered exceptional safety performance, operating without significant environmental incident, and delivering exceptional rig uptimes,” Wishart affirms. “This is a credit to the spirit of cooperation that we have developed between the Foresight Offshore Drilling teams, our clients and our rig builders.”
Resultantly, the company’s reputation has enabled its pipeline to become equally impressive, the firm gearing up to take on a host of new projects in the coming months, including its first land-based drilling project courtesy of a letter of agreement with Oil India.
Indeed, Wishart is hoping that this particular project and its associated diversification opens up a host of new doors and opportunities for Foresight.
“We have access to additional land rigs, and discussions with some other potential clients around their use are also in progress,” he affirms, also revealing that its FDIX rig is being readied for exploration drilling operations in offshore Oman in support of a new client.
“Looking at the broader ambitions of our parent company, Foresight Group International Limited (FGIL), we are anticipating exciting developments related to ports and gas infrastructure, hospitality, branded retail and shipping.
“The former is particularly exciting as it represents the creation of a new business vertical for our group and allows us to build exciting new relationships with those who we will collaborate with.”
Undoubtedly, the future looks bright for Foresight Offshore Drilling and the wider FGIL group.
In the coming year, the company hopes to add four more offshore rigs to its fleet, take the total number of onshore rigs with contracts to five, add two more crude carriers to its shipping fleet and win a concession for a port to develop gas and other infrastructure.
And all of this will be done in tandem with the expansion of its existing drilling operation.
“Am I optimistic about the direction of the drilling industry?” Wishart responds when asked to sum up his own personal outlook on the future.
“There are clearly some positives as we see clients undertaking more exploration and production activity, thereby increasing rig utilisation. But at the same time, there are fundamentals that need to be addressed.
“New generation rigs are not cheap to build and there are costs if we are to maximise the benefits of the attributes they have. We therefore need to look at how costs can be effectively amortised and covered.
“I suspect a paradigm shift in collaboration between rig builders, rig operators and clients is needed. Appropriately, greater emphasis is being placed on safety by all connected with our industry. However, I don’t think that squeezing costs, day rates or cash flow supports this important focus.
“Yes, we must control costs and improve efficiency, but to improve, there must be funds available for investment.”