At all the right street addresses around the world

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Maersk Oil has exploration activities in 12 carefully selected countries on five continents. Combined, these locations create a solid foundation for Maersk Oil’s future and will enable the company to sustain a production of 400,000 bpd after 2020.

 West Polaris, a deepwater drillship off­ the Angolan coast, has recently started its drilling work for Maersk Oil. It will drill 24 hours a day to complete as many prospects as possible until the end of the year.

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Working at Maersk Oil

Maersk Oil can offer a powerful proposition for professionals who wish to be at the forefront of global challenges, technologies and innovation in the oil industry. 

We have a culturally diverse, stimulating workplace where employees are empowered and supported to make valuable contributions to fulfill company objectives. 

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A day in the life of a Lead Petroleum Engineer

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Gilles Bourgeois, Lead Petroleum Engineer in the Danish Business Unit, specialises in mature oilfield management. Before joining Maersk Oil, he worked with Shell for 19 years, where he endeavoured to influence priorities and methods for safe and economic extraction from some of the oldest oil fields in the world.

Prior to Maersk Oil you worked in Romania. What was it like?

Romania is a very beautiful country, rich in natural resources and beauty - it could rival Canada. The country has many large oil and gas fields developed in the midst of a lot of history and conflicts, World War I, Nazi Exploitation in World War II and Soviet occupation followed by Communism until 1989. With more than 150 different fields containing 2-10 reservoirs and several types of oil and rocks, the fields are a patchwork of complex geological settings with just about every oilfield challenge in the book.

The optimisation potential was (and still is) tremendous but the prevailing environment caused basic oilfield practices to fall prey to the egos and whims of those in charge. The experience proved to me that technology and process are no replacement for fundamental knowledge and application of engineering principles.

How can this experience be used in Maersk Oil?

My experience taught me all the things I took for granted while working for Shell. The act of learning was replaced with acts of filling templates and process to “justify” replacing old with new. I started writing a journal about the oilfield atrocities that resulted, and were often repeated.

Of relevance for Maersk Oil… keeping things simple, avoiding “black box” and template filling processes to make decisions. And most of all, rebuild the ability to listen to the production system (Reservoirs-Wells-Facilities as a single integrated entity) along with the ability to respond proactively to opportunity.

Technology and process have the purpose to facilitate conversion of data into useful information, and to disseminate knowledge so that human judgement is as good as it can be.

Since joining Maersk Oil, we have developed a Surveillance Strategy along with a WellBooks project, a singular Opportunity Register for our business unit and in development is a high-tech project that performs machine surveillance of 1000’s of production system elements. 

This gives a much better foundation for decision-making and ensures that all decisions are integrated in the overall asset management strategy and plan for each field.

Why did you choose to work for Maersk Oil?

When I travelled to Esbjerg for the job interview, there was a poster stating that Maersk Oil aspired to become a second-to-none mature field operator. 

Exploration work is often seen as a treasure hunt, finding black gold. Why do you find mature fields interesting?

There is a common misconception that reserves are secured with the wells and facilities that are in place. The reality is that mature fields are also a major treasure hunt. These treasures are in the form of safeguarding, restoration, optimisation and redevelopment gains that often cost only cents to USD 20 /boe (versus the sale of that barrel for USD 110).

Below a minimum level of surveillance, along with review work and intervention capability, the future production will very likely become lost due to natural features and circumstances that can never be accounted for in the development phase.

It can be much richer treasure hunting for those involved as contributions are experienced directly. My colleagues in the Exploration and Development teams are often the target of my dry humour. I tease them by demonstrating how green field work is the ‘money spending side of the business,’ while brownfield work is actually the ‘money making’ that you need to stay in this business.

Meet more of our people here

William Abson working on the Dunga Project in Kazakhstan

Stephen Daines, our Senior Director of Exploration

Look North



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I recently attended a talk about Greenland. The talk was in Danish, so it’s not entirely impossible that a couple of nuances escaped me, but the gist was that the speaker had spent a summer attached to a geological expedition to Greenland.

They’d travelled with the geologists, by ship and by helicopter, camping in the wilderness, and had emerged with a series of extraordinary and wonderful photographs of a landscape of jagged mountains and glacier-blue ice.

After the talk, there were many questions, and one of them was “how do you become a geologist?”

That question made me think - there was I sitting among a group of people who thought of my profession as being something very desirable (at least for the moment). I was sitting with the appropriate qualifications to go and do something special, to work in a unique environment. Like, I suppose, most geologists and geophysicists, I got started studying geology because I liked nerdy subjects, but also was inspired by being outside in nature. And yet here was I, in a dingy room in Nørrebro, just looking at pictures on a screen. Why?

Of course that question has many answers of a pragmatic nature. Field geology has its attractions, but it’s hard to make it pay the bills. Plus, there aren’t that many jobs anyway. But what I also found, when I was a university researcher, was that the problems I was working on (earthquake prediction, as I mentioned once before) are the same problems that we are working on in our industry (how does a fracture propagate away from a well, for example). The Earth we are looking at is the same, whether we view it from a helicopter in Greenland, or via a computer screen in Oslo Plads. Of course the physical experience is different, but the sense of wonder provoked by the study of our planet, and the forces that shape it, is the same. Geologists may sometimes seem a bit obsessed, a bit mystical. They may be sitting next door to a railway station looking at wiggly lines on a computer screen, but in their minds they are looking at Greenland.

Jeremy Henderson

Senior Geophysicist

Key project: Culzean field

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In 2008, the high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) Culzean gas discovery was made. As one of the largest UK discoveries in recent years, it could meet around 5% of the UK’s energy needs in 2020.

The high pressure, high temperature (HTHP) discovery is located in a water depth of approximately 90 metres. Maersk Oil as operator holds a 49.99% interest in Culzean, with partners JX Nippon UK (34.01%) and BP (16%).

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Shake…fold…

Whilst perusing TED talks for some inspiration, I noticed Ryuichi Sakamoto had a play list. I love his music, so I took a look.

The first talk was by Joe Smith, on how to use a paper towel. What possible interest could this be? As it was only 4 minutes long, and was described as ‘amusing,’ I gave it a try.

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An attractive career with Maersk Oil?

I am sure we could all do more to remind those we love, what we love about them more than we do. I know I get reminded at home – and judging from friends and colleagues I suspect I am not alone!

Sometimes it seems that we either forget why - or forget to express why something is appealing, attractive or what excites us about it.

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