One Man’s Vision Of A Greener Oil Industry

One Man’s Vision Of A Greener Oil Industry

Sam Wurzelbacher had his moment after a serendipitous encounter with Barack Obama and Joe The Plumberwas born, and given a platform.

We now take for granted the opportunities technologies like social media create. These days almost everybody is a click away, and sometimes the big names even respond in person. Now, if we can better connect those at grassroots with ideas and real experiences with those in positions of power and influence we should be able to accelerate change.

If Sam Wurzelbacher is Joe The Plumber, then please meet the irrepressible  Barry Slater or ‘Joe The Oil Worker‘, a Tour Pusher / Supervisor of Drilling Operations with 18 years of experience in the oil industry.

Thanks to a connection via Ian Berry of Differencemakers I spoke to Barry to explore what help in any way  I could offer, and I do like a challenge.

Please take 3 mins to read through the very brief Q&A below and maybe give Barry a step up to create change in an industry that needs it.

Describe your career / industry experiences:

“I’ve worked in the industry for 18 years, have 100% safe working history ,was educated in my early days good practices and principles and have followed them throughout, sadly during this time I’ve frequently crossed paths with the lawbreakers in the industry and additionally stood up against them and at this time being of a junior position seem to find that my position has then been terminated, albeit and additionally without proper investigation , on a positive note the higher I reach in the industry which I’m still climbing, my discipline then allows myself to implement standards which will always allow 100% compliance to safety and environmental  procedures.”

What is your big idea?

“My big ideas would dramatically reduce the oil industry’s carbon footprint and believe that I can allow offshore vessels to become almost self-sustainable. I’ve built solutions regarding waste management and disposal on board the vessels which would eliminate the current methods used and additionally eliminate the high cost to company’s who currently ship this waste back to shore to be disposed of. Additional ideas involve increasing the performance of these vessels, whilst maintaining a 100% safety record, and eliminating the risks to the environment – all whilst still putting a smile on any shareholders face.”

What are your barriers to making this happen?

“I can’t get past administration to get to the people who can implement change, the largest barriers are getting past the sceptic’s, or the persons who focus first on wealth and have no compassion for the future.”

What have you tried so far?

“I’ve tried to telephone, write, knock on the doors of both organisations involved in the oil industry within operations and their clients. I’ve also tried approaching the actual owners of these companies whom sometimes amount to the wealthiest men on the planet. Having had no positive response using this method I’ve tried approaching organisations whom partner with the oil industry to support the reduction in the carbon footprint.

Most recently, knowing just what effect these changes would make I decided to step up my campaign and had made 40,000 beermats, travelled to London, approached the Guardian, the Daily Mail , BP’s headquarters and even approached Virgin’s HQ. You can never get past admin, or should I say mostly you can’t get past admin. Virgin allowed myself to talk to a manager whom seemed happy with my ideas and informed me he was sending ideas to their division called the Carbon War Room. So basically in London I left a trail of around 4,000 beermats stuck on railings, covering steps and trees. I now know that these companies know my cause as it’s written on the mats.  Later that week, and I do apologise for this action but I travelled to Aberdeen and threw 36,000 beermats out my car window all around the oil company offices, which I additionally know its impossible not to recognise. It must have been like walking on egg shells. So far nothing has worked.”

What help do you need?

“If anybody could help I would just like to get to the top people whom can implement change,practice what they preach. I would like my ideas to be heard and if appropriate allow our industry’s governing body the IADC ( to attend to prove these ideas do hugely reduce the carbon footprint in this industry for the sake of the world. The IADC can then implement such practices as a must comply procedure. I know and have seen first-hand the negligent behaviour of some of the top supervisors running these vessels which is basically law breaking and endangering the lives of the people on board. This behaviour eventually creates environmental disasters. And I believe all I need to implement such changes is to get someone to listen.”

Naive? Definitely.  Raw? Very.  Maybe something, maybe nothing but sometimes grassroots disruptors just need a platform to create change.  I’ve met a few amazing people like Barry and they often initially struggle to convincingly articulate their individual missions to the people in positions to affect change. Granted, it takes more than passion and big ideas to change the world but Barry’s experience and ideas could be valuable to somebody.

What advice would you offer Barry? Who else should listen? 

Leave your ideas below as comments or contact Barry directly via his Twitter account @ProudofScotland

This post originally appeared on the Coethica Blog