How I ended up in Asia is a long story in itself. I spent my entire adult life outside the USA. The fact is that I was in Jakarta Indonesia in 1981 and I had to find a job. The company I started with was Halliburton Oilfield Services their regional office is located in city state of Singapore. When I was first interviewed by their office in Jakarta they showed me a brochure and manual of their trucks and oil well cementing equipment and said I would be sent to Singapore for training. I flipped through the manual and said “Oh yes this is great, I can do this no problem!” Thinking at the same time, what in the hell is this stuff for. My mind went blank as I grew up in the city of San Francisco, which does not have any oil fields.
I arrived in Singapore and started training at Halliburton’s facilities located at Loyang Offshore Base near Singapore’s Airport in Changi. I was taught the mechanical aspects and science of oil well cementing. It took two weeks I finally figured out what my job was, I was to become an oil well cementer, or as Halliburton referred to them as a "Cementing Engineer.“
While most of people in my training class had experience working in the oil field, I had none. I read the manuals and studied the equipment and pass the class. I was ready for my first assignment. After a month, I was sent to a drilling location in remote northeast Bangladesh, near the Indian border. I saw my first oil well cement job and thought, “This is it? This is all there is to it?” I found I had an aptitude for doing oil field work. After my job with Halliburton ended, I moved back to Jakarta Indonesia, which was now my home.
In the mid 1980’s I was working all over Indonesia and made a couple of trips to Vietnam’s Vietsovpetro.
I have been very fortunate to work as a consultant all over the Southeast Asian region for the last 25 years. Toward the end of the 1980’s I was working as a contractor for Dowell Schlumberger “DS” On Shell Oil’s offshore platforms located in Kuala Trengganau West Malaysia, and Miri East Malaysia.
During this time I was I was living in Jakarta and commuting to work in Malaysia. At the end of one my rotation I was sent to work in Hokkido Japan.
Because my experience is vast and varied, and each job is a story in itself I’m going to skip to the future and describe my assignment with Gat Bangkudulis Petroleum 1998 - 2000.
I was working as project manager for field operations. Our head office was in Tarakan East Borneo. The field operations were located on Bankudulis island 35 miles up the Sesayap river from Tarakan. Interestingly, Bangkudulis is located about 300 miles south of the Pulau Tiga location where CBS filmed the first USA reality show SURVIVOR.
Bangkudulis Island is a malaria filled swamp (Red arrow shows location of base camp and the road I built on Bangkudulis Island), it is full of insects, poison snakes and wild bores. It is hot, humid and isolated. It is also full of untapped oil reserves. As bad as the place is to work in, there is rarely a dull moment. Something interesting happens on a daily basis. During the change in government things are really exciting for a time. Construction of drill sites and roads were very difficult. By adapting construction methods to the environment were able to construct roads and drill sites at very low costs to the company. You will find more information on my resume and Continental Energy. Like the commercial says “Best told over a beer in a bar in Phuket, Thailand.”
From the year 2000 to 2002 I was working for the State of Oregon as Natural Gas pipeline safety analysis.
My former office at State of Oregon My work location in Northeast Borneo
I started back to work in Southeast Asia in Spring 2003. The project will be located in East Borneo Indonesia about 40 miles (65 km) south of Tarakan. I am always interested in profitable projects in the Southeast Asia region.
Recently I found myself working in Baghdad Iraq. Its was challenging and interesting work. For the most part working in a war zone for a long period of time is new to me. While I do have a fully automatic AK-47 7.62 mm in my lap while we drive through hostile areas, I have found most Iraqi people to be kind and pleasant in nature. If you would like more information in the type of work I am currently doing you will have to come to Bangkok and I will tell you over a beer.
Ready for trip into Red Zone Baghdad On location in Tikrit Iraq (John Center Photo)