LARGE ABROAD: JA­MAICANS FIND SUC­CESS OVER­SEAS J’can en­gi­neer ends on a ca­reer high at ExxonMo­bil

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - An­dre.poyser@glean­

JA­MAICA-BORN EN­GI­NEER Keith Pat­ter­son, who spe­cialises in the de­sign and con­struc­tion of oil and gas pipe­lines, still re­calls with rev­er­ence his con­tri­bu­tion to erect­ing the plat­form used to ex­tract oil from Arku­tun-Dagi, an off­shore oil­field lo­cated on Sakhalin – Rus­sia’s largest is­land.

“The Arku­tun-Dagi project was the most chal­leng­ing from a de­sign and con­struc­tion point of view, with the Rus­sian code and reg­u­la­tion re­quire­ments. The fact that it was the largest top­side plat­form built and trans­ported was a huge achieve­ment and to be part of that, I can be proud,” he said in re­sponse to ques­tions from The Gleaner.

As the lead pip­ing en­gi­neer with ExxonMo­bil, Pat­ter­son has worked on projects in Qatar, Ja­pan, Paris, Nige­ria, An­gola, In­done­sian, Canada, Rus­sia and the United King­dom; end­ing his near 10-year stint with the global oil gi­ant in June on con­struc­tion projects in Korea.

A na­tive of West­more­land, Pat­ter­son, who has lived in Lon­don since the 1960s, ex­plained that he en­tered the oil and gas in­dus­try be­cause of his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with his pre­vi­ous job.


“My first job was in a signs and graphic dis­play com­pany in Cam­den, Lon­don, as a trainee draughts­man. I could not see a fu­ture or ad­e­quate pro­gres­sion in this field, so I changed to the oil and gas in­dus­try, where train­ing was be­ing of­fered by Fluor (GB) in Moor­gate, Lon­don, which is an en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion com­pany,” he said.

Pat­ter­son even­tu­ally went on to earn a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in en­gi­neer­ing, which paved the way for him to be a stress en­gi­neer at en­gi­neer­ing firm Stone & Web­ster and later on at Bech­tel, where he was pro­moted to lead pip­ing en­gi­neer.

“I re­mained with Bech­tel for 16 years, com­plet­ing nu­mer­ous global projects in the po­si­tion of lead pip­ing en­gi­neer, with in­ter­na­tional as­sign­ments to Saudi Ara­bia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Paris, Tu­nisia, Italy and Rus­sia, then look­ing for a change, I posted my CV with em­ploy­ment agen­cies to see what was avail­able. One agent con­tacted me with a lead pip­ing en­gi­neer po­si­tion work­ing with the ExxonMo­bil project man­age­ment team in Houston, Texas, which suited my ca­reer de­vel­op­ment,” he said in shar­ing how he landed the job with ExxonMo­bil.


His first project with the oil gi­ant was based in Qatar, af­ter which he was trans­ferred to ExxonMo­bil De­vel­op­ment Com­pany Of­fice in Texas and was Keith Pat­ter­son (sec­ond left) with Wor­leyPar­son team mem­bers. They were tak­ing part in the He­bron Top­side plat­form project, which con­tained the process and util­ity units, com­pleted and re­cently sailed to Canada, leav­ing Ul­san, Korea on June 30, with ar­rival in New­found­land, Canada on Septem­ber 5. The to­tal de­sign and build cost for He­bron is ap­prox­i­mately US$8.3 bil­lion.

charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of tech­ni­cally sup­port­ing all ac­tive ExxonMo­bil projects, from a pip­ing de­sign per­spec­tive projects that ranged up to US$10 bil­lion in terms of cap­i­tal cost.

“I have been with ExxonMo­bil from 2007 through to June 2016, dur­ing which time all of my in­dus­try knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence was utilised in one way or an­other. My knowl­edge of spe­cific oil and gas in­dus­try codes and stan­dards (Euro­pean, Rus­sian and Amer­i­can), stress anal­y­sis, con­structabil­ity awareness, safe work­ing prac­tices, gave me the sound foun­da­tion to suc­cess­fully sat­isfy ExxonMo­bil’s needs,” he said.

Now in his fifth month of re­tire­ment, Pat­ter­son has left ExxonMo­bil with a deep sense of sat­is­fac­tion and a trea­sure trove of life lessons from his jour­neys around the world.

“I have seen and lived with a va­ri­ety of cul­tures, and each one has its at­trac­tions along with ob­sta­cles, but hav­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence gives me a broad cul­tural un­der­stand­ing and ac­cep­tance, which will stay with me through­out my re­tire­ment,” he said.


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