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My Career: Andy Collins

Andy Collins, BP’s global operations organization’s vice president for non-operated joint ventures, operated by others (OBOs) and regions, talks about how his varied career at BP has taken him from deep sea to the desert

Flying by helicopter to facilities in the middle of the sea, taking boat rides into the remote rainforest and travelling for six hours into a vast desert by four-wheel-drive vehicle - I’ve had the chance to do all three during my BP career.

My interest in a career combining travel, engineering and natural resources led me to study mining engineering at university. While studying, I wrote hundreds of letters to mining companies all over the world and secured a summer holiday job at a mine in the Australian Outback. It was remote; the engineering challenge was tough and it crystallized everything for me - I returned home and applied to BP.

I started out as a Challenge graduate offshore on a remote North Sea platform that had never hosted graduates before. It was tough going at first, but if you knuckle down and show what you can do, you will win respect. I learned a lot from the experienced technicians, which gave me a solid foundation. I then took the opportunity to broaden my experience and gain business acumen with some time in commercial and planning - it was a very exciting place to be during interesting times, the liberalization of the UK gas market.

However, nothing matched the thrill of taking over as offshore installation manager (OIM) for the first time, which I did on the North Sea Harding platform. It still stands out as one of my most memorable moments in operations. OIM is a job that requires huge responsibility, big decisions and total focus at all times. I turned around the safety record of that platform and was moved on to leading performance improvement in other locations, including Indonesia.

Think radical! Don't get anchored by accepted beliefs and don't anchor those around you.

While there, I oversaw the development of the Tangguh LNG plant; watching it grow, literally, from mangroves to a state-of-the-art facility supplying LNG cargo. But, my proudest moment was seeing the Papuan technicians we recruited and trained operating the plant. I still mentor young technicians today - I enjoy seeing people develop.

 

I then went from a tropical environment to the Sahara Desert, as vice president of In Salah Gas, a BP non-operated joint venture (NOJV). I had never been to Africa or the desert, but, again, the remoteness and the engineering challenge of overseeing operations for In Salah’s four gas fields ticked all the right boxes for me. Working with partners and the CEOs of Algeria’s national oil company, and leading a large group of people were great experiences.

 

Then, in 2011, I became country manager for Algeria, which was a dream come true, and I’m proud of having led BP’s recovery efforts following the January 2013 terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas plant.In my role now, I am accountable for much of BP’s global operations organization’s gas portfolio. I’m also responsible for NOJVs, which is where BP has an interest in a joint venture, but is not the operator. I’m responsible for providing operations functional input and expertise to the BP staff who manage our interests in the Upstream NOJVs, offering them support and challenging them on operating performance. 

While this organization continues to give me challenging and stimulating things to do, I’d never consider going anywhere else. I’m as excited today as I was when I first joined.