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Out of Kazakhstan: Wilson Comes Home

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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After four years in Kazakhstan on the world’s largest oil and gas project, JPCL Top Thinker Lee Wilson has returned home to the UK with a new position.

The highly regarded author of the Paint Inspector’s Field Guide has joined Aberdeen-based Gemini Corrosion Services as a corrosion and coating engineer.

 Lee Wilson is working on a second edition of the Paint Inspector’s Field Guide.
Lee Wilson is working on an update to the Paint Inspector’s Field Guide.

The move closes a four-year chapter that saw Wilson working on the Kashagan Field development off Kazakhstan’s Caspian Coast.

Discovered in 2000, the 75-by-45-kilometer field was the biggest oil strike since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay in 1969 and is the biggest oil field outside the Middle East. The oft-delayed project, headed by a consortium of seven oil companies, is expected to begin operations in 2013.

Kashagan Challenges

Wilson said the Kashagan project “entailed numerous challenges such as extreme environmental considerations (i.e. +40°C to -40°C), so planning, engineering, specifying and implementing a suitable corrosion control plan was certainly demanding.” detailed some of those challenges in an article this week.

 “After engineering the scope [of the Kashagan Oil Field project] and seeing it being executed, I decided that it was time for a change,” said Wilson.

 New Europe Online

“After engineering the scope [of the Kashagan Oil Field project] and seeing it being executed, I decided that it was time for a change,” said Wilson.

“Kashagan has confronted immense logistical challenges, ranging from its geographical position in the landlocked Caspian—which has meant shipping equipment thousands of kilometers by canal—to extreme climatic conditions,” the site reported.

“The oil lies over four kilometers below the seabed under shallow waters that freeze for five months a year, in temperatures that can plunge to minus 30°C during winter. Icebreakers can take 36 hours to reach Kashagan from the main supply port at Bautino to the south, navigating drifting pack ice.

“With harsh conditions making conventional oil rigs unfeasible, Kashagan developers laboriously constructed a small archipelago of islands out of local limestone, transported out to sea and positioned using GPS technology, then encased in an impermeable geomembrane.”

‘Time for a Change’

Said Wilson: “After engineering the scope [of the Kashagan project] and seeing it being executed, I decided that it was time for a change.”

Having worked on some of the world’s largest oil and gas projects for some of the world’s top companies on a global scale, Wilson said it would be “nice to now finally settle for the long term.”

 Gemini serves the global oil and gas and energy industries with a variety of corrosion protection services.

 Gemini Corrosion

Gemini provides corrosion protection services for the global oil and gas and energy industries.

He adds, wryly, that his local climate will not change much, however, since the northeast coast of Scotland, where Gemini is based, “is often subject to the four seasons in one day.”

Wilson is also working on a second edition to his popular Paint Inspector’s Field Guide.

‘So-Called Facts’

Wilson, MICorr, is a NACE-certified CIP Level 3 Coating Inspector; an instructor in the NACE Coating Inspector program; and a NACE Senior Corrosion Technologist. He has a regular column, “An Inspector’s View from the Field,” in PCE: Protective Coatings Europe.

Earlier this year, JPCL named Wilson one of the industry’s 25 Top Thinkers, saying: “Lee strives to improve the protective coatings industry and consistently questions existing ‘so-called industry facts’ from his perspective of working at the ‘sharp end’ of the industry—in the field.”

The editors added: “In his opinion, the industry is far from perfect and consistently needs improvement. Instead of going with the flow, he tries to use his publications to correct what he sees as potentially harmful and dangerous.”

About the Company

Gemini was established in 1982, when founder and Managing Director Ian Guthrie noticed the impact of corrosion on scaffolding fittings while working offshore.

Today, the company serves the global oil and gas, defense, renewable energy, and tubular products industries with blasting and peening, protective coatings application, thermal spray coatings application, and consulting services in its facilities and in the field.

“Gemini has recently developed and patented some remarkable corrosion control delivery systems,” said Wilson, “and it’s great to be a part of this unique and dynamic company.”


Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Business operations; Coating inspection; Corrosion; Education; Facility Managers; Oil and Gas; Surface preparation; Worker training

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