John White - Managing Director

The challenge of being innovative

Managing Director John White looks at the need for some companies to think outside of the box.

Welcome dear reader to your latest edition of Inside Oil and Gas. We are pleased to present you with that which you desire, namely some interesting and informative news, advertisements and company profiles that might help you gain new customers and suppliers and maybe even a chance for you to put your feet up for a few minutes and simply have a good read.

But let’s not put our feet up for too long because it is fair to say that this industry – and therefore our publication – is having a roller coaster of a time. Many of us enjoy the highs associated with this challenging energy sector one minute and the next we are confronted by the lows. Still, such is life and this sort of challenge is what keeps us sharp and pushes us to take chances and move forward during those difficult times as well as recognise that just because we are enjoying one of the highs, we should not sit back and assume that it will always be thus.

I recall watching a movie in my youth called Parenthood. The main character, Gil Buckman, played by Steve Martin, was having a difficult time balancing being a full-time worker, a husband and a parent. At one point in the movie, Gil was simply overwhelmed by it all, felt he could not cope with the stress and could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. He longed for a simple life! At which point, his mother-in-law, who he had written off as senile, said to him ‘I always preferred the roller coaster to the merry-go-round’. He looked at her, concluding that she had indeed lost the plot and didn’t know what she was talking about.

It took Gil’s loving wife to point out to him the wisdom of this old lady’s words. In short, would we really wish to simply go around and around with no challenges, no highs or lows and never be challenged to step outside of our comfort zone? Or would we rather have the ups and downs that do take us outside of our comfort zone from time-to-time, challenge us and ultimately push us to grow, develop, learn and move forward? I have always applied this philosophy to my life at home and at work.

The oil and gas industry has certainly not been a gentle merry-go-round in recent years but this has triggered in many companies a survival instinct – that sink or swim mentality. We are forced to think outside of the box, look at new ways of doing things and it is often this pressure that we are under that creates innovative and successful developments.

We have some companies in this edition that have found themselves in such a situation, and excel within it. For example, we have a compelling interview with Iain Hutchison, the man behind extended reach drilling engineering firm Merlin ERD, who is using this roller coaster ride to offer his services and wisdom to drilling companies in transforming oil fields written off as too challenging, risky and/or expensive into viable – and profitable – operations.

I will leave you now to ponder the above, flick through the pages created for you and to ponder whether you prefer the merry-go-round or the roller coaster. Before I go though, I’ll let you into a secret; I like them both. It’s all about the balance, but I do recognise the advantages of each and fear not the roller coaster but welcome its challenges as a reminder for me to keep pushing the boundaries of what I can do.

Enjoy this read. Enjoy the ride!