OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Tina Olivero

    BILL FANNING: An oil veteran’s view!

    The OGM – Our Great Minds
    Interviews visionary leader Bill Fanning, the President and Country Manager Kvaerner Canada.

    The OGM:

    What strategies have you implemented with Kvaerner to continue to build the business in Canada now that Hebron is completed?

    Bill Fanning,

    President and Country Manager Kvaerner Canada:

    We have pursued R&D activities that are suited to NL’s harsh weather conditions offshore but also transferable to other regions around the world. Also, we have invested in developing new floating production concepts for emerging deep water developments in the Flemish Pass and we have diversified our geography to western Canada, both the oilsands and BC’s LNG space to perform study work that positions Kvaerner for EPC opportunities down the road.

    The OGM:

    What advice do you have for local suppliers who are struggling right now with the low price of oil?

    Bill Fanning:

    We are all in survival mode and that means we have to cut costs, reduce overheads and get out there and turn over every stone we can to find new work. Reach out to others, even a competitor, to find ways to lessen/share the pain in order to keep your people, the competency and experience we have all built up over the years. It’s not easy; difficult decisions have to be made in order to survive but this too shall pass.

    The OGM:

    What do you think are the leadership attributes that support growth and prosperity in difficult times?

    Bill Fanning:

    Aside from showing empathy, I would say mental toughness, street smarts and being consistent in your execution and messaging more than anything else.

    The OGM:

    Where do you think the government should be focusing their initiatives for long-term offshore developments?

    Bill Fanning:

    A stable, competitive, reliable and predictable investment climate matched with high resource prospectivity is a winning formula. But my main message to government is that we need new development projects now.

    The Jeanne d’arc basin has a lot more oil and gas to give up; I can see a combination of subsea tie-backs and stand-alone developments that can have an immediate positive impact on our local economy and the overall Canadian economy.

    The deepwater developments are going to take time so let’s not lose focus on maximizing the recovery from the Jeanne d’arc basin.

    To date, our offshore oil and gas industry can best be described as one project at a time, which means we need to pick up the pace and get more projects in the queue. I commend the government for its continued support of Nalcor’s resource assessment work and I would go a step further to update the overall Energy Plan for the province with fossil fuels integral to our energy mix.

    I would also like to see a 25-year development plan of our offshore and onshore oil and gas resources with clear enablers for how both government and industry can realize future developments in a more timely manner.

    The OGM:

    What else can we do?

    Bill Fanning:

    We need to deal with the Paris Agreement on carbon in a proactive manner. I suspect Newfoundland has a very good story to tell about our overall carbon footprint into the future. We have an enviable mix of renewable and non-renewable energy sources; however, I don’t hear anything about it. A low carbon future should not preclude the development of our vast fossil fuel resources.

    The OGM:

    What are your thoughts on the oil and gas industry operating as collaborative and unified at this time?

    Bill Fanning:

    We need to do better. There are some very good initiatives talked about but too many stops and starts. At a national level, the importance of our province’s oil and gas industry is barely audible yet the economic value to Canadians including, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, is significant. It seems like Alberta and pipelines are getting all the attention.

    The OGM:

    On the global market, what’s your prediction for the price of oil and our progress given the US election?

    Bill Fanning:

    Any price I pick I will be wrong! The short-term impacts have been positive but let’s wait and see.

    The OGM:

    What’s the long-term “energy” picture for Newfoundland and Labrador, in your view?

    Bill Fanning:

    I believe it will be a healthy mix of renewable and non-renewable energy with hydroelectric power and oil and gas leading the way.

    The OGM:

    Do you believe that Muskrat Falls is a viable project?  Why/why not?

    Bill Fanning:

    The cost and schedule trends have not been favourable. In many respects, project’s like Muskrat Falls should be seen and developed as nation-building projects, but I’ll leave that thought for another day.

    The OGM:

    What do you think about the implementation of wind energy and the possibility of the Canadian Grid access?

    Bill Fanning:

    There are great examples of large-scale wind energy in places like Denmark and the UK but not so much in Canada. The real question in my mind, is there enough space in Canada’s current energy mix for large scale, affordable and reliable wind as opposed to already established sources of energy in Canada including oil and gas, hydro, nuclear and tidal power?

    The OGM:

    What are your thoughts on the Energy East Pipeline?

    Bill Fanning:

    Canada needs new markets more than ever for its energy; why not Energy East?

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