Making it happen

It simply can’t happen without the Logistics team, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week the team keeps BP Trinidad and Tobago going! The Logistics team is small, just nine people, but together they are responsible for ensuring that BP Trinidad and Tobago’s operations continue running. That’s because they manage all marine and air transport to and from the company’s offshore facilities. Everything that is needed for operations offshore needs to be shipped. That includes people and everything from equipment to food.

“The fact that all installations are offshore means we play a critical role,” says Sham Parasram, the Marine Team Lead responsible for the safe and efficient operation of vessels.  “We’re the oil that keeps the engine running,” adds Trudy Patrick, Aviation Coordinator.  Logistics is big business not just for bpTT, but for the country. 

The 24-hour nature of the energy business adds to the challenge because many times they need to deal with last minute requests.  “Logistics is a dynamic operation.  That’s the real good part about it,” explains Selwyn Mathura, Health, Safety and Environment Site Lead.  Marine Coordinator Krishna Harrikisoon agrees, putting it simply: “A lot of times when I have a plan I need to change it.” Harrikisoon has been with the company for 40 years and so has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the demands of the oil and gas business.

They all understand the challenges that face their teams in fulfilling last minute requests which are always critical to the business but they also agree that they simply have to make it happen.  The team also has to rigorously manage all of the associated aviation and marine risks involved in running a logistics operation.  However, as Harrikisoon says, “It’s like playing football. If you’re not challenged, you don’t feel like you’ve played a good game.” 

To illustrate, Patrick recounts a recent experience in which equipment needed to be flown offshore to keep drilling operations running.  “It was immediate. It was hectic.  We had to take all the seats out of an aircraft,” she says.  “It was a challenge but the response was well coordinated and safely executed.”

Mathura recounts a similar experience on the marine side. The challenge was to get equipment offshore quickly and safely.  That meant fitting it into an already tight schedule because even if critical equipment is needed, it has to be accommodated on a vessel that supports other installations.  Simply pulling a vessel off the schedule to deal with one issue could affect other aspects of operations.  “The question was: ‘How are we going to get that out there without wasting time?’  We had to juggle everything because you don’t want to have one piece of equipment going to one platform.“

Although there is an emphasis on getting the job done, it must be done safely.  Aviation risk is one of the major risks in BP’s operations worldwide.  There is also risk involved with marine transport, including lifting at sea alongside platforms. 
Maintaining safety also means close collaboration with Suppliers to make sure that everyone understands and follows standards and procedures. 

“What stands out for me is seeing them [my Team and Contractors] overcoming challenges daily but still putting safety first,” says Logistics Cost Analyst Anika Bacchus-Ballah.  She recounts a safety stand down at the marine base at La Brea and seeing the approach to safety first hand.

The relationship with Contractors has grown over the years.  BPTT has placed greater emphasis on adherence to BP procedures and standards. Clive Cruickshank, Supply-Base Team Leader gives the example of the marine base which is managed by ASCO.  . “We grew in knowledge and experience, reviewing their procedures, policies and guidelines,” says Cruickshank.  As Krishna explains, this approach has led to increased emphasis on safety by contractors generally, to the point where the contractors will stop a job if they believe it is unsafe. 

This is important because of the amount of activity undertaken by contractors, according to Logistics Manager Julian Bada.
“On our side we’re saying it’s important but we’re also saying to the contractors that they need to be safe as well and that message resonated with the contractors who work with us. Getting the job done safely and efficiently is a one team effort” he notes. For example, although Cruickshank and Harrikisoon are responsible for getting equipment offshore safely, they rely on the vessel crew to work safely with the personnel offshore to unload it.  This involves following agreed procedures on lifting and approaching a platform and knowing that operations can be stopped should there be a risk of compromise.
Cruickshank has been with the company for 34 years and combines knowledge of offshore operations with the demands of managing the Logistics side.  He conducts regular site visits and has encouraged other members of bpTT to do the same.

Logistics Manager Julian Bada has seen the results to the point where he notes how difficult it is to get the whole team together for this interview.

Contractor management is just one of the changes that have taken place over the years.  Bada explains that initially the local team managed its own operations with the focus on getting the job done.  The team is now part of a wider logistics sub-function with BP. “So it works two ways: We’re getting a lot more focus but it also means the things the team is doing are getting a lot more visibility.” Being part of a bigger organisation means that the local team is able to share its experiences and as Julian points out, the team is being recognised for its leadership and approach in a number of areas.  Cruickshank has been asked to lead a tank cleaning programme.  This was based on an audit carried out about a year ago.  The auditors noted that the local team was “best in class” in BP in terms of the documentation that was put in place to manage tank cleaning locally. Cruickshank will be making a presentation to the Supply-Base Community of Ppractice in October.

Aviation Team Lead Jason Penco has been singled out because local aviation incident reporting has been described as “the most transparent” in BP. “As a sub-function we’re becoming more prominent,” Penco says.

Patrick set up a Community of Practice for Helicopter Landing Officers (HLOs) and Helideck Assistants (HDAs) locally.  She has been asked to share the framework with her peers in the Aviation network across the wider BP.

The Logistics team has made great strides in the last few years of which Bada is very proud.  He states “The Logistics team will continue to play a critical role in the operations at bpTT and the team will continue to focus on getting the job done safely and efficiently.”