PGK X-mas lecture: Steering between Scylla and Charybdis
17:00 – 18:00 hrs: Social drinks
18:00 – 19:00 hrs: Xmas Lecture by Evert van de Graaf (VDG Geologische Diensten)
19:30 – 23:00 hrs: Xmas Dinner at Luden
In Greek mythology [e.g. Homer’s Odysseus] Scylla and Charybdis were major hazards to sailors that wanted to pass through the Strait of Messina. Scylla was a six-headed monster that threatened to devour the sailors on board a ship, whereas Charybdis was a whirlpool that could cause the loss of the entire ship. For the EP business I use Scylla and Charybdis as metaphors for respectively ‘paralysis by analysis’ and ‘the 80% solution will do fine’. EP projects are typically manpower and capital intensive, high risk / high reward projects. To ensure commercial success it is critical to strike a proper balance between ‘paralysis by analysis’ through overly detailed studies, and the cutting of corners by assuming that ‘the 80% solution will do fine’. To achieve this balance it is essential to understand the technical, economical, commercial, organisational and political risks that can cause an EP project to de-rail. Based on a number of well-known and not so well-known examples [e.g. Cormorant Block IV / Chinguetti / Ekofisk / Kashagan / Sakhalin / Macondo] the consequences of not understanding and/or ignoring key risks are highlighted. In hindsight those risks though either not recognised or acted on at the time, were rather obvious and disaster could have been easily avoided. It is hoped that awareness of these ‘learning points’ will help members of the PGK to successfully ‘steer between Scylla and Charybdis’ in their own EP projects. If nothing else, hearing about some juicy case stories should help to put you in the proper mood for the Festive Season in these times of Industrial gloom and doom.