You worked at SSG Group in 2012 when the Oil and Gas industry was at its peak, can you give me an overview of the start-up and the growth of SSG Drilling:
“When I first joined SSG it was one of my first “proper jobs” after leaving University and I was completely new to recruitment and to Oil & Gas, so it was a challenge of learning two brand new industries from scratch. The company at the time had never properly worked Drilling & Wells disciplines so it was a challenge to try and make an impression in the industry that was very competitive, with zero contacts and zero reputation. The first few months were difficult, and I didn’t organise my first interview until 2 months in, a Night Drilling Supervisor for Nexen (CNOOC). However, that interview was successful (and the consultant is still with the client after 7 years) and a few more interviews and deals soon followed and we started to establish Drilling as a viable discipline within Subsurface Global. Later that year I made my first placement in Kurdistan and in 2013 we established a Kurdistan entity of Subsurface Global. From there the Drilling Department grew to being the most profitable division within the business. This continued for the next couple of years until the downturn hit late in 2015. It was an extremely rewarding time working with the company with the opportunity to meet new consultants and clients regularly, travel across the Middle East and genuinely help and support our clients and consultants in extremely challenging regions”.
How does it feel to be back with the company?
“I was nervous about re-joining SSG as I had always held the belief that you should keep moving forward and that having been away for 18 months, the industry and the company would have moved on and I would have struggled to find my place. However, in the short time that I have been back I have found it extremely easy to settle back in. The company itself is the same as I remember it and the team (old and new) have welcomed me back and made it feel like I have never been away. Regarding the clients and consultants, it has been very pleasing to see that many people I had dealt with in the past are still working in the industry and they seem genuinely happy that I am back. It seems like there is a lot more positivity within the industry and the hope is that we can build on that and start to bring consistent opportunities to the market and keep our consultants working on interesting and challenging projects”.
In terms of growth, where do you think SSG Drilling will be in the next 5 years?
“When I was with SSG the first time around the oil price was strong and was rising consistently year on year. This tied in with the growth of the Drilling Division and Subsurface Global as a whole. Having never experienced a downturn before I felt that there was no limit to how big the company could grow. We had grown the consultant base exponentially and with the opening of the new office in Kurdistan I was actively planning to retire in my 40’s. When the downturn did hit however, it was a big reality check and brought into perspective how fragile the industry can be and how you need to have strong foundations in order to weather the storm. I think that the company is stronger for having gone through the downturn. We saw first-hand how to capitalise on the good times and how important it is to be consistent in everything that we do. Taking those lessons learned and applying them to a strong drilling industry will allow us to set some strong targets. I feel there is a massive opportunity for SSG Drilling to grow and become a major name in the Drilling Industry. In 5 years, I hope to still be with the company, leading a team of consultants that are consistently delivering and growing the business into new markets and regions across the world”.
What do you most enjoy about working for SSG?
“What I enjoy most about the job is the challenge of making something from nothing. Identifying an opportunity in a region or a company that we have never worked with before and building a relationship that leads to opportunities and solutions. It is this aspect of the job that gives me the most satisfaction, you see the positive impact you have in the industry by helping the clients lead a project with the right people and providing our consultants with consistent work. Being able to do this on a regular basis has been one of the highlights of working with SSG.
There is an excellent company culture with SSG which is great and suits my style of work. I love the opportunity to be rewarded well for the work that you do with regular company incentives that include yet more chances to travel”.
What do you see as the most challenging aspect of the job?
“The most challenging aspect of the job is consistency. Many people do the job well for the short term, work with one client or on one project, sometimes at the expense of others, but in order to build the business and regularly bring opportunities, you need to be consistent in everything that you do. Keep speaking to new clients and contacts, keep looking for new leads and opportunities and approach the job like you are doing it for the first time. That way you are less likely to miss things and your clients and consultants will always expect that level of service from you. If you keep challenging yourself to work that way and keep your standards high you won’t limit yourself and it will lead to further opportunities and the business can grow”.