Offshore, how does it feel?
The weeks of Guido de Groot
It’s a changeable existence. One week you’re on the wind farm, the next week you’re in the office. Planning & Cost Engineer Guido de Groot has no problem with the lifestyle. In fact, he likes the variation. A peek in his well-filled diary. Never a dull moment.
Sometimes life can be really strange. A computer scientist, a graduate in Robotics from the Universities of Groningen and Madrid, ends up at Gemini. ‘I rolled into this sector through Shell Windenergie. I supervised the first Dutch wind farm there. Later, I moved to Shell’s engineering firm and I supervised all kinds of projects during the realisation phase, with the emphasis on the way the planning is progressing.’ In April 2014, that expertise stood Guido in good stead at Gemini, when he became involved in the planning in the realisation phase. ‘Contractors submit their time schedules, I check whether they’re okay and whether there are any risks or critical paths. Do all the jobs follow on logically from each other, are there any possible delays?’ For this project, he spent a lot of time in Amsterdam, but also in Antwerp where the OHVSs were built. ‘I enjoy alternating between the office and outside.’
In April 2016, Guido was presented with a new challenge. ‘I was able to switch from the construction to the Operations & Maintenance organisation. With a new routine: a week offshore, a week at the office. I left on Wednesday and came back the next Wednesday.
Photographic impression of life on board the Gemini hotel ship. It has all the mod cons you could think of. And of course, they haven’t forgotten the inner man either. Offshore, a good meal keeps you going.
First on the hotel ship, which is a converted ferry, and since recently on Siemens’ special maintenance ship.’ He is very positive about life on board: This new ship is a breath of fresh air. As quiet as a mouse. And so stable! I sleep better in my cabin than I do in an average hotel room.’
‘I enjoy alternating between the office and outside.’
The days on board are really intensive, explains Guido. ‘The work is very focused. We have the joint briefing at 7 a.m. We discuss what the teams will do. My role as a client representative is to monitor how everything is progressing. I also go with teams to the turbines. Then I check for all kinds of things. From Health, Safety, Security & Environment up to and including the general feeling on the work floor. Is the operation under control?’
Another of Guido’s tasks relates to the production forecasts: ‘How many turbines are running, how many are going to be running? We put that in a weather model so that we can say to our electricity purchaser Delta: this is the amount of electricity we’re going to deliver.’
Every day, Guido de Groot is in contact with the office from the wind farm. He also writes reports and sends them on to Amsterdam. In the meantime, he enjoys life offshore: ‘I once fixed up an old sailing boat and sailed around the world in it for two years. It suits me, life at sea.’ He is really far from home.
‘My role as a client representative is to monitor how everything is progressing.’
Sometimes that can be difficult: ‘When I was in Antwerp, I could be home in two to three hours if there was an emergency. That’s not the same here. But if it’s really necessary, the helicopter comes and flies me ashore.’ On the other hand, there are lots of perks on board: good health care, a gym, a cinema, a laundry service. ‘It’s a hotel and an office in one. In short: I’m having a great time here!’