Gaz | - France

Oil tanker after all

Born in 1941 into a peasant family, in this region of the South-West called the BEARN, essentially devoted to agriculture, nothing destined me to embrace a career in oil, but rather tempted me towards technology. But then the decade of the 1950s was going to metamorphose this region.

The first source of interest for me was "geophysical" prospecting, which criss-crossed the entire territory and probed with its "little drills" in search of black gold showings. Then came the time of the "heavy": the establishment of huge derricks that drilled night and day. The search was still a little "empirical" and was not always successful (so much so that I experienced a site at the bottom of the valley, on which there were very strong presumptions, and which, despite the displacement of the derrick several times and a few hundred meters from the initial drilling, was doomed to failure. But not quite, because it was necessary to count on the near certainty and perseverance of the researchers, who moved the drilling on the back of the hill, from where the precious product finally gushed out, symbolized by a beautiful "flare" that lit up for miles around when it was active.

The product was found, it had to be refined.

And came the SAGA from the LACQ site. I am told that, at that time, SNPA was a unique case in the life of a French company, for its investments with practically no downtime for years and for the employment that resulted.

My high school studies were short, as the job (rather well paid) offered so many opportunities, qualified or not. Thanks to all my bosses who gave me the chance, despite some sacrifices.

First job: through a friend, I was hired, guess where...at the sulphur pouring. Departure from home at 4 o'clock, 25 kilometres by bike, starting work at 5 o'clock and finishing at 1 o'clock.

Definition of the job: creation of the first sulphur "casting" site; a team of 3 people made a formwork with galvanized sheets fixed on the planks, sealing liquid leaks with solid sulphur. This was carried out over heights of a few metres. The liquid sulphur, coagulated after a few days, the formwork was dismantled Entered into action: a conventional bulldozer, equipped with a blade at the front and claws to be smashed at the back, attacked the sulphur mountain, crushed it, to allow a bucket crane to take it and load it into the dumper cars, parked on the immediate edge of the site. (Anecdotally, the "non-explosion-proof" bulldozer sometimes swiveled and swung to ignite the sulfur).

This work was subcontracted on a "governance" basis to a company in T P

My first steps in "oil" lasted 3 months, untenable for my almost 17 years.

But the first step was taken and the next one was more to my liking.

Hired the next day in a boilermaking piping company, on the site itself.

This job allowed me to get close to the wellheads we were equipping for the operation, as well as all the refinery piping, from the basement to the top of the flares.

Then came the time of military service, with its almost compulsory passage in AFN.

There again, fate surprised me; incorporated into the SEA training centre in Chalons sur Saône where I acquired my speciality 1 and 2, then a training in the TRAIN regiment, 6 months passed. Algeria was waiting for me, transferred to the 701st CME in Oranais.

In addition to my wartime military duties, I took my first steps in the management of fuel and lubricant depots, having been appointed NCO in the meantime. Twenty-two months passed and my return to France became clearer, except that the oil and gas from Sidi Messaoud arrived in ARZEW where my Company was installed. I attempted demobilization in Algeria but the Army refused.

After my return, I approached a "Geophysics" company in the Bordeaux region which granted me an interview, without any follow-up. In the meantime, influential people (who apparently liked me) with connections among the management of the SNPA told me of their wish to get me a job in the company (a chair in ...) I declined the offer, to their great amazement, but I wanted to prove myself, without privilege; it is this state of mind that has led me all my life, rightly or wrongly ...

I have no choice but to go back to building refineries in France and Europe, it's the big boom, and a move into nuclear power at CEA Pierrelatte.

Feyzin will be my last job, a matter of stability. A subsidiary of a major French oil group is recruiting for a job as a technician in Lyon. I passed the interview and tests and was hired (1967).  In 1972 I was offered to manage an LPG depot, I accepted without hesitation, especially since as the future operator I would follow its construction. As technology has always been my privilege, I was spoiled. This repository has been at the origin of national or world "firsts", let's not be afraid of words.

It was a national first, as it was the first self-service LPG depot for loading tanker trucks 24 hours a day, and it served as a model for the introduction of safety regulations for this type of depot following the Feyzin accident.

A world first was the embankment of the sphere using an innovative technique, which allowed many of the facilities concerned to remain on site.

My oil career ended on this site, which to my knowledge is still in operation, despite all the obstacles that "someone" was able to put in our way.

The loop is closed, the Company I did not want to enter by piston, entered the bosom of my parent company a few decades later, but I live a few hundred kilometers from my origins, the price to pay!!!

In conclusion, I agree with Daniel Reclus.

My advice to young people? Listen, first of all. Listen, observe and take ownership of the environment gradually and then apply it in the field.

I would add

Don't be afraid to go down several rungs and change lanes if necessary, be curious, because if you are lucky enough to have in front of you people who know how to recognize your value, your time will not be wasted.

One Total, our values
Safety, Respect for Each Other, Pioneer Spirit, Performance-Minded, Stand Together

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