Team spirit spurs 15 years of Premier Oil success in Vietnam

09:33 | 11/10/2019 Companies

(VEN) - Phil MacLaurin, B. U. Manager, Premier Oil Vietnam, looks back at the contributions his company has made to the local oil and gas sector over the last 15 years, and on future directions for sustainable development.

team spirit spurs 15 years of premier oil success in vietnam
Mr. Phil MacLaurin - BU Manager gives an opening speech to 15 years anniversary of Premier Oil in Vietnam

The bottom line

Premier Oil operates a Joint Venture (JV) with PVEP and Medco, an Indonesian partner. The JV has invested US$1.6 billion to develop the Chim Sao and Dua oil fields in the Nam Con Son Basin. In 2011, it started producing oil from Chim Sao, expecting to produce about 55 million barrels before ending production in 2018.

However, the JV is still continuing production. It has already sold 66 million barrels of oil plus 75 billion cubic feet of gas, contributing US$1.5 billion to the State budget of Vietnam in the process.

It plans to continue production until 2028, and by adding new wells and careful management of existing wells, expect to produce more than 100 million barrels of oil from the project.

team spirit spurs 15 years of premier oil success in vietnam
Tony Durrant - Premier Oil CEO (the right) hands the long term service award to staff

Pleasant surprise

MacLaurin said he recently saw some statistics that surprised him. Oilfield operations in this region were typically three times safer than in Europe or America. He attributed this “amazing outcome” to team spirit.

“Here in Vietnam we have achieved an amazing ‘One Team’ philosophy with key contractors including PVTrans OFS, PTSC Supply Base, PTSC Marine, Vietnam Helicopter Company, and PTSC M&C who built our fixed facilities. These companies have embraced the Premier Oil core belief that great operations are safe operations: No Shortcuts + No Exceptions = No Incidents.

“Together we have developed a culture of reporting, investigating and learning from our mistakes, which has resulted in world class health, safety and environmental performance,” he said.

MacLaurin also said that Premier Oil’s biggest achievement was the team they have established in Vietnam.

“The returns on our investments in the career development of our Vietnamese employees have been amazing. We are a young company - our average age is 41 years - managed by a majority Vietnamese team of four men and four women. Our team is predominantly female including many engineers, geoscientists, lawyers, commercial and financial experts.

“We have a vision to be ‘one team’ consistently achieving excellence in everything we do. For our companies. For Vietnam. And we truly aspire to deliver that vision.”

team spirit spurs 15 years of premier oil success in vietnam

Giving back

MacLaurin said Premier Oil places great emphasis on its CSR activities in Vietnam as part of giving back to the local community.

“Premier Oil is an ethical investor with a responsibility to the community in which we operate. Community investment is not charity or altruism, because business benefits from strong communities. To make a sustainable impact on society is challenging, because it requires long-term relationships with outcomes that are hard to measure and rarely impact our business directly. Also society is very complex, so our investments are only effective if made in cross-sector partnerships with organizations very different from Premier Oil.”

He said that Premier Oil’s corporate responsibility projects in Vietnam focused mainly on education, training and the environment.

“We partner with established Not-for-Profit Organizations that understand local community needs. An oil company is “big business” and some people think ‘big’ is a threat. But when it comes to developing society, ‘big’ offers opportunity. Premier Oil invests a lot in training our employees who develop a lot of knowledge and experience, and that is something we can share.”

MacLaurin cited an example of a CR Partner unable to attract funding because it did not have a transparent management accounting system.

“Two of my colleagues used their IT and Finance skills to build a fit-for-purpose management accounting system for that partner. That not only strengthened our partner but also created and a sense of purpose and wellbeing in our team, which goes beyond our business targets and our paycheck. At Premier Oil we actively encourage all employees to take time out to invest in our CR Partners. This develops awareness of society, and encourages teamwork and improved relationships when people get back to the office.”

Sustainable future

MacLaurin noted that in the first half of 2019, Chim Sao had averaged 12,400 barrels of oil a day that were sold at a US$4 per barrel premium to Brent crude.

On their production facility, the PVTrans OFS operations and maintenance team have achieved high operating efficiency, in excess of 90 percent, and he is confident that “at year-end Premier Oil will have beaten its production targets.”

“We plan to drill two new wells in 2021 to get additional oil from Chim Sao and extend its productive life. Now, we plan to be producing until 2028, and by adding new wells and careful management of existing wells we expect to produce more than 100 million barrels of oil from our project. We have lots of activities planned to try and maximize recovery from Chim Sao and extend its field life.

“However, we struggle to find commercial opportunities beyond our existing acreage.”

He said that as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, Vietnam was a good place to be.

“Like most business leaders here, I am happy with the current business environment. WTO has certainly changed Vietnam, as has the excellent labor force and increasingly investor-friendly regulations.”

Asked what advice he would have for new British companies coming to Vietnam, MacLaurin said, “, “Step outside the expat community and learn about the amazing and complex country you are investing in. Understand the environment your business will operate in; it will not be perfect, but nor is it entirely negative. Most of all, invest in the development of your workforce. Provide your employees with opportunity; many are keen to learn and will surprise you (and themselves) with what they can achieve.”

Phung My