Under the Surface with... Neil Gordon
Prior to the inception of Sentinel Subsea, Neil Gordon was all set to take a step back from industry and embark upon a well-deserved retirement. However, after almost 40 years in global well construction, successfully championing and launching new and innovative technologies, he found that it was impossible to “switch off”; especially with a particular idea still buzzing around his head…
Starting out as a field engineer and eventually undertaking several global vice president roles with some of the world’s largest oil and gas service companies, Neil spent the most of his working life dealing with wells at all stages in their lifecycle. He was therefore ideally placed to notice a gap in the market for a cost-effective and efficient well integrity monitoring system, which didn’t rely on regular fly-overs, vessel-time or (worse) third-party reports of a compromise in well integrity.
Initially, this built upon Neil’s natural interest in what eventually happens to wells when they reach the late life/decommissioning stage. For both professional and personal reasons, the responsibility behind the decommissioning process - and what comes after that - fascinated him, thus creating the initial catalyst to develop Sentinel Subsea’s Tracer Detection System (TDS).
Originally (and infamously) termed the “smoke alarm for subsea wells”, Neil created the TDS in conjunction with business partners, Andrew Jaffrey and Elliot Kinch. Initial focus on the late life and decommissioning market soon broadened as the range of applications for passive, in-situ and long-term well monitoring technology became clear. Now, it has developed to suit all stages across the well lifecycle and includes the Hydrocarbon Detection System (HDS), designed to retro-fit quickly and easily to any active well.
Right now, the global oil and gas industry is subject to more speculation than ever. Will a drop in prices affect current well integrity monitoring methods? Are those methods aligned with pan-industry cost-cutting? Will decommissioning projects be brought forward? Will current projects (whether E&P or decom) be mothballed? Will carbon capture storage increase as the energy transition moves further forward – and if so, how will storage integrity be monitored?
For Neil, this is exactly what has made the Sentinel Subsea journey so exciting; whatever the global energy market has in store, cost-effective and efficient means of well integrity monitoring will become increasingly critical. Anticipating market conditions and continuing to develop Sentinel Subsea’s technology on that basis, is proving hugely satisfying as Neil continues in his quest to ensure that the offshore oil and gas industry has the means of demonstrating sound environmental stewardship.