The Brothers of Mahogany

Let’s meet Oluwa Pierre and Weslyn Arjoon. They met at a training course in Falck Nutec before they officially started offshore duties as operator technicians at bpTT. Oluwa needed some help on the course and Weslyn offered. They got to talking and realized they were both assigned to the Mahogany Bravo (B) offshore installation working on Crew B. So, why do people refer to them as brothers? Apart from the fact that they have built a strong friendship, they say: “People always see us together. We have the same job and work the same shift. We take our training and development courses together and we study together for our competency assessments.” They have become family.

Q: How long have you been working in the oil and gas industry? 
Oluwa Pierre: I have been working in the oil and gas industry for nine years.
Weslyn Arjoon: 14 years. 

Q: How long have you been working at bpTT? 
Oluwa: I have been working at bpTT for two and a half years. 
Weslyn: Two and a half years

Q: Can you give us an idea of what you get up to?
Oluwa: In addition to my daily responsibilities, I hold the position of health, safety, security and  environment (HSSE) safety committee chairman and my top three crucial functions are: firstly, to make recommendations on a wide range of programmes, measures and procedures. Secondly, to keep and review information as provided under legislation. Thirdly, to address issues referred by safety and health representatives. Apart from that, I am the single point of authority (SPA) for Chemical Management at Mahogany B, where I manage Mahogany B Chemical Inventory Records and ensure actions are closed. Finally, I have been actively involved with Habitat For Humanity Trinidad and Tobago, conducting volunteer work on my ‘off cycle’. My team members and I are very passionate about this work. 
Weslyn: I am also a member of the HSSE safety committee and I am the green team leader at my site. As the green team leader, I am responsible for organizing environmental management systems (EMS) meetings, informing teams of EMS performance and ensuring incidents are reported. Internal audits and compliance audits are carried out and corrective actions are tracked and closed out in Traction. I also need to be aware of the minimum level of compliance of environmental management of the facility. Recently, the Green Team successfully completed the external EMS audit (International Standards Organisation 14001) by Det Norse Veritas, a company that provides assurance. I am also an unofficial “volunteer advocate” for the Mahogany platform. Our crew conducted a successful beach clean-up on the 25th May 2014 at Pilot River Rossville Guayaguayare and my team and I have been actively involved with Habitat For Humanity Trinidad and Tobago. 

Q: What made you decide to take an offshore post? 
Oluwa: It was a childhood dream of mine to work in the oil and gas industry as a production technician. I believe that this position offers a lot of growth potential and stability for any young professional.
Weslyn: Prior to working for bpTT, an opportunity arose where I was one of ten chosen to attend Metal Industries Company (MIC) on scholarship from bpTT to complete the Journeyman Programme. While training “on the job” I found the calling to become an operations technician. But I was employed with several different contractors prior to working for bpTT.

Q: Were there special preparations that you had to make or certifications you had to obtain? What was that experience like? 
Oluwa: My special preparation was my nine years work experience for another oil and gas company. I have had meaningful work experience working as a technician and team member with others from various sectors in the said industry. 
Weslyn: Nine and a half years prior work experience, successful completion of the Journeyman programme at Metal Industries Company (MIC) and Process Plant Operation (PPO) certificates in: fluid flow, transfer and mixing of solids and fluids and compressors and compression technology. The work experiences were both challenging and rewarding as these were the foundation for where I am currently.

Q: How have you been able to invest in your personal development? 
Oluwa: BPTT offers many opportunities for personal development. Two of which I participate in include ‘Web Learn’, which facilitates work-related and personal development online courses for us employees such as conflict management, business management training, etcetera. The other is ‘Continuing Education’ which allows me to pursue tertiary education whilst being employed.
Weslyn: BPTT provides a wide variety of training and personal development programmes. We are provided with the training schedules and it’s just up to us to execute and become competent. The respective tools are there and managing them has to be of high importance. The key is to work with timeframes/deadlines and this has proven to be successful for me.
Q: How are you able to balance work and life while working offshore for two weeks at a time? 
Oluwa: Working offshore creates an unusual dynamic within family life. Family members must understand this and work together for a balance to be struck. When onshore I spend most of my time with my family and taking care of personal household business. The rest of my time is spent engaged in personal development, sporting and social activities. This is truly a great challenge for me but I am committed to achieving this balance of work and life.
Weslyn: I worked fourteen days offshore on a platform with a fourteen day rest period with a previous employer for five years, so I knew of the expectations. It is always a challenge, but with the positive support from my family at home and my colleagues at work it compliments each other. I have been married for the past eleven years and I’m a proud father of two daughters ages six and eleven. My wife and daughters are very supportive of the work lifestyle I chose. I am also very supportive of their personal goals. With one week extra on the agenda, I have more time for personal development and growth both on and off the job and more quality time is spent with my loved ones… so on the bright side I always acknowledge the positives of any situation and do not allow negativity to steal my joy.  

Q: How do you contribute to work safety?
Oluwa: I constantly focus on improving our work environment on the Mahogany B facility by planning ahead and thinking about what could be done to prevent injuries and illnesses there. Within the HSSE safety committee, my co-workers, ‘Crew B’ for Mahogany B and I have established effective ‘two-way communication among ourselves which enables us to respond to each other’s safety needs and concerns. With a great safety culture at this facility, we continuously focus on improving the safe execution of our jobs. I believe that I go "beyond the call of duty" to ensure a safe work environment that fosters trust, creativity, and general well-being by taking personal responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for my co-workers and myself.
Weslyn: Putting safety first to me is an individual achievement, but reaching out to another is completing the safety circle, therefore no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment. On Mahogany B our safety committee is made up of both company and contractor personnel. We are free to voice opinions and to learn and develop as one team. Issues are discussed and timeframes/deadlines and SPA’s are assigned and addressed to same. If external support is required we contact the relevant personnel. Some examples which are currently being worked are upgrades of the living accommodations to be fit for the 14-14 rotation; and assisting engineering with reducing vibration levels on the Mahogany B Hub as we are currently ramping up production with the recent successful drilling of Savonette 06 and 07. Providing a positive change is all I can ask for. Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, but from overcoming the challenges you once thought you couldn’t.