Global knowledge leading decommissioning in the Gippsland basin

Richard’s adventurous international career brings him back to where it all began

After an adventurous career working on a variety of offshore energy installation projects across the world, ExxonMobil Decommissioning Manager Richard Perry now tackles a new challenge right here in Victoria.

As the operator of some of Australia’s most mature oil and gas fields, ExxonMobil Australia is committed to safely and responsibly decommissioning our non-producing facilities in Bass Strait. 

“The team are in various phases of planning and executing the projects required to safely remove, recycle or dispose of our various offshore assets. We’re actively engaging with contractors, stakeholders and regulators to align on our approach and that the work we undertake meets community’s expectations,” said Richard.

Following completion of a Civil Engineering degree at the University of Queensland in 1998, Richard moved to Melbourne and started with Esso as a Project Engineer on the Blackback Project.

“Different opportunity and project roles since then have seen my family and I travel from Nigeria to Malaysia, Houston to Newfoundland, and most recently to Qatar prior to moving back to Australia last year” said Richard.

“One of the most amazing career experiences I had was while living in Newfoundland where I was the Marine Installation Manager for the Hebron Project. After fabrication of the ~1 million ton gravity based structure in a floating construction site in a deep water cove, I had the privilege of being onboard and leading the tow offshore.

The tow involved hooking up five of the world’s largest ice class tug boats and hauling the platform 150km over 15 days, avoiding icebergs and sheets of sea ice before setting the structure down, ever so gently, within a few cm of the final target which is just a short distance from Titanic’s final resting place. That was a true wonder of the capability of our industry and a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget,” Richard continued. 

Richard and his family returned to Melbourne, Victoria, in mid-2021, to lead the decommissioning projects in Gippsland.

“It’s very exciting that after 23 years of working at ExxonMobil, I still find myself engaged in new and unique areas of work,” said Richard.

“Safely decommissioning offshore facilities presents complex challenges and requires many years of planning. These are some of Australia’s most mature oil and gas fields, and over the last few years, we have completed around $600 million of early decommissioning works in Bass Strait.”

“This includes successfully removing the Seahorse and Tarwhine facilities, completing plug and abandonment activities on our Blackback and Whiting wells, and significantly progressing well decommissioning activities on Kingfish B and Mackerel.”

“I feel as though I have come full circle, having contributed to a range of projects around the globe installing offshore platforms, I’ve now been afforded the opportunity to leverage my experience and transition to removal of our facilities in the Gippsland Basin,” Richard concluded.