In Aberdeen, I joined Shell as a consultant at a very critical time, in 1991. There was a blowout in the North Sea, and the environment agency decided to conduct a lot of testing and make standards more stringent. That's how I got involved in the real field-testing of VAM® connections
. We worked hard with Vallourec on new HPHT solutions
for the North Sea. I recall the VAM® chap was a very knowledgeable gentleman called Nick Palmer, who eventually became a magistrate once he retired from the VAM® programme… I worked closer than ever with Vallourec, visiting mills and research and testing centers.
In early 2001, I moved on to the Shell Expandables team in the Hague, and ended up almost once a week at the Vallourec Research Center. We developed cladded solution that eventually succeeded. In early 1999, we needed further improvements and supported the development of VAM® HPTM
and VAM TOP®
. Interestingly, at the time, it was discovered that testing protocols didn't demonstrate the real performance of the product: we tweaked the testing protocol that revealed a great weakness in competitor's products, so we came to Vallourec and asked if you could come up with a solution that would meet our requirements. That's how we got involved in VAM® HPTM, double seals and more…. with lots of questions for designs. There was a VAM® HPTM designed for Shearwater, as well as a lighter version. It became the standard in the UK, and, to be honest, it's still used today, with great success. We developed 10 inch VAM TOP® casing, in 2001-2002 as well.
I worked for Shell, then for Maersk, in Denmark and the UK following the evolution of the whole VAM® offer to this day, in 2015. I have been proud and happy to support Vallourec and have invaluable memories of old school engineers of Vallourec who have proved that trust and professionalism are the true core of engineering. If I had to sum up my recommendations in engineering, my motto would be: check it. Check it in the real world. Do it by hand, get it double-checked… and check it again!"
Geoff's reputation is that of a dedicated, vastly experienced engineer. Everyone who has come to work with Geoff has welcomed his honesty and his opinion is highly valued.