Ten years of rotational maintenance
There are two things I hate: routine and ease. I need technical and human challenges ... My experience is a proof of that! I entered Total Raffinage-Chimie at the beginning of 1995 (Elf Aquitaine until 2000) after a first three-year experience and a mechanical engineering degree (INSA). In the early 2000s, at the turn of a trip, I met Nicolas Brunet, then director of Total EP Exploitation, who wanted to integrate "refiners". I seized the opportunity - at that time mobility from one branch to another was quite rare - with the idea of going to do maintenance on sites abroad ... In 2003, I found myself on the Lacq site, a must to acquire the EP culture and its technical processes. I had to stay there two years, finally it took me five years to change continent! With as first destination: Congo.
From Congo to Russia, through Angola and Yemen ... The big technical and cultural gap!
Congo 2008-2010, a human challenge
I arrived on the offshore platform of N'Kossa (Congo) in 2008 as maintenance superintendent. A few months ago, a dramatic accident happened. I found a traumatized, injured team on site, which needed to be helped. I had to manage some 40 maintenance employees - Total and contractors - technically competent, but some of them had developed a fear panic preventing them to take the simplest technical initiatives ... But we had scheduled stops to ensure a park of rotating machines to maintain and a rate of availability to meet to maintain the level of production. It took listening, patience, pedagogy, a lot of presence so that trauma gradually fade. I understood that we can be the best technician in the world ... but without listening and kindness we can not do anything!
Angola 2010-2013, a technical marathon
It is a different context that was waiting for me on Pazflor: an important project of the Group, the largest FPSO in the world at the time, innovative techniques, big imperatives on start dates ... In other words, the 30 days spent on the spot at each rotation, it was non-stop! With very big challenges in terms of maintenance: organise the maintenance plans, define procedures adapted to the staff present on the FPSO, have the necessary spare parts to start ... In a project, we must know how to manage stress, we wipe the plasters and the team is very busy. Here again, the managerial and human aspect is fundamental, everyone shall keep the objectives, you have to work as a team. The award is a timely FPSO that has produced up to 240,000 barrels / day from 2011.
Yemen 2013-2015, a context of war
Another landmark experience, this time as maintenance manager on Yemen LNG with a team of 150 people. I discovered the LNG, the process of the liquefaction plant, its two gas trains started in 2009, the regular ballet of LNG tankers who came for liquefied gas, the dual constraint land and sea ... And then complex geopolitical context. The site had already been victim of pipe sabotage, the risks were real ... The army was present permanently to protect the factory, each employee with a beep on him in case of emergency, it was always necessary to be ready to go to Djibouti ... Apart from this atmosphere punctuated by many exercises safety which I abstracted from, I got involved in my work ... until a rocket fell near an electric turbine. Beyond this environment, I had an extraordinary contact with the Yemeni, open, competent, themselves victims. I kept many links after I left. Humanly, this is my strongest expatriation!
Russia 2015-2018, a coded environment
To become maintenance manager (250 people) on Yamal LNG, we must pass several roadblocks: many interviews, documents to fill ... And once you have your pass and visa in your pocket, you take time to observe ... Understand how the Russians work, the way they handle emergencies, the verbal jousting sometimes on site, the omnipotence of the hierarchy, the great technical masses in Moscow ... And then, we must also start learning Russian. And then trust is established! And we can start working, doors open. I discovered an "other maintenance", in extreme weather conditions, with almost ten months of winter. Exciting and challenging!