TRADEWINDS – Foresight names new drilling head for future expansion

30 / 12 / 2020

Foresight names new drilling head for future expansion

Mid-sized, nimble companies can survive the oil exploration industry’s woes,says Foresight founder Ravi Mehrotra

Foresight Group has named an industry veteran as the head of its drilling business, eyeing future expansion despite persistent pessimism over the upstream oil sector.

Alok Jha, who had held various managerial roles at Seadrill and Transocean since 1997, will be based in Abu Dhabi alongside Foresight’s drilling business team.

“We are on a positive growth trajectory at Foresight Group and extremely well-positioned to continue building on our strong momentum with the addition of Mr Alok Jha to our leadership team,” founder and executive chairman Ravi Mehrotra said in a statement.

Energy majors in the West, pressured by environmentalists and governments to reduce their carbon footprint, have been divesting from oil exploration and production in recent years.

Their departures will leave a gap that can be filled by mid-sized, nimble companies like Foresight, according to Mehrotra.

“The oil exploration industry is declining…Luckily, all our six rigs have 100% employment,“ he said. “Hence, once the market improves, we want to take full advantage of that market.”

Jha was operating out of Houston, one of the world’s most important drilling hubs, in his last appointment as director of operations at Seadrill Americas.

Having received training as a mechanical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, he is accredited in petroleum technology by the French Institute of Petroleum.

The Foresight statement said Jha will be tasked with “building best-in-class operations with highest safety and efficiency standards besides developing sustainable and strategic relationships to drive business growth”.

Milind Orpe, the current head of drilling business, will become a Dubai-based director to focus on the group’s merger-and-acquisition strategy.

Established in 1984, Foresight has a fleet of offshore jack-up rigs, land rig and crude tankers.

In September, the company also signed a deal to build compressed LNG vessels and terminals in the Middle East and India.

The $500m project involves constructing a compressed natural gas terminal and other cargo terminals at New Port Bhavnagar in Gujarat, as well as an export facility in the Middle East.

Foresight has partnered with Mumbai’s family owned chemicals group Padmanabh Mafatlal and Dutch shipowner Royal Boskalis Westminster for the scheme.

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