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The contractor factor
By Lo van Wachem Developments Manager

Partnerships are the bedrock of any successful endeavour – whether in life or in business. At the heart of every good partnership is trust, something that is easily lost and very difficult to win back.

With its unique challenges and niche sectors, the global oil and gas industry couldn’t operate without collaboration. There are 101 examples of successful partnerships where each side has brought their own experience and expertise to the table.

By far the most common is the operator-contractor partnership, something which when it works well, delivers value to both sides.

To be successful, partners must have shared and aligned goals, supportive and open behaviour, and an honest and committed approach. Where trust starts to breakdown, is when one side starts to feel it isn’t getting its money’s worth.

Individuals need a clear structure and accountability to deliver. They also however, need the people they are working with to understand what they are trying to achieve. Clear and consistent communication is key to achieving this.

From a technical perspective, a good contractor will carry out the correct assessment and make recommendations that progress the project or deal with the problem and really make a difference.

All too frequently however, the decision on whether to proceed or not is made by people who don’t understand the reality of the environment, its challenges and logistics. They have the top tier understanding but not the on the ground experience.

As a result, too often ill-conceived, unnecessary work that doesn’t deliver the required change is carried out – with some contractors happy to provide the manpower and expertise to do it as long as they keep getting paid.

This is not just unsustainable - it’s irresponsible. With the squeeze the industry is feeling set to continue, we need to break the mould when it comes to fostering contractor-operator relationships.

In a true partnership in which you are both working towards the same goal, operators should be able to hand over control entirely in order to gain real value.

If you have a valued partner, this need not be a leap of faith.

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