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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 11:14

Economy of west started growing again and that will increase demand for energy - Chris Mott

Economy of west started growing again and that will increase demand for energy - Chris Mott

 “At the moment we have a safety program called iPower. When we are working together as a team, doing something that is potentially hazardous, the iPower initiative means that we will all be looking out for our own and each other’s safety, be aware of the risks and hazards and prevent any unsafe actions. It is all about people going home to their families at the end of the day having done a good job and done it safely” Chris Mott, General Manager, Fugro Survey Ltd (Caspian) said in the exclusive interview to Caspian Energy Investor. 


Caspian Energy Investor (CEI): How many years has the company been operating in the Azerbaijani market?

Chris Mott, General Manager, Fugro Survey Ltd (Caspian): Fugro has been active in Azerbaijan since 1993. There were formerly two companies here working in competition with each other, Fugro and Racal. Since 2003 they have been working as one Fugro company.


CEI: Who are the founders of the company?

Chris Mott: The Company was founded in 1962 in Holland as a small geotechnical site investigation company for onshore developments. Since then it has grown both organically and by acquisition of other companies into the large organization that it is today. The equity within the Group is traded on the Amsterdam stock market as it is a publicly owned company.


CEI: How do you evaluate the results of company’s activity since the beginning of 2012 and what are the plans for coming year?

Chris Mott: In terms of operations here in Azerbaijan, we are on target to meet the profit plan that we set for ourselves this time last year for 2012. Every year at this time (in the fourth quarter) companies like ours create profit plans, and I am in the process now of finalizing our profit plan for 2013. We detail what we will invest, what revenues we anticipate, the clients we hope to work for etc. When we create our profit plan we look into the future, we have to imagine what will happen in terms of the projects that will be available to us. We have to forecast what our success rate will be in winning projects, and then we have to look at the way in which we think we will perform in terms how much it will cost us to do the work and how much revenue we will get for doing the work. We are on track to perform as we expected at the time. We had no unexpected surprises in our business in 2012.


CEI: Are there any certain main goals set for 2013?

Chris Mott: The main goal is to set a plan in accordance with corporate guidelines. That is the main goal because as a publicly owned company, is to deliver value to our shareholders who expect return on their investment in terms of growth in the value of the share price and also the dividend. We have some business development targets that we will have to meet. We also have some clients with whom we would like to do more business.


CEI: What are the main lines of activity in the Caspian-Black Sea region?

Chris Mott: We don’t really operate in the Black Sea. There are other Fugro operating companies there, because the Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean Sea. In the Caspian area we have been in active in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. But the biggest area by far for us is Azerbaijan.


CEI: Did the global financial crisis impact on your work?

Chris Mott: I think that it did when it first became known and it was reflected in the figures. In 2009 and 2010 our commercial performance fell but now we are slowly improving our position.


CEI: Do you think that the crisis in Eurozone countries may influence oil demand decline and reduction of its price globally?

Chris Mott: Yes, I think that it has the potential to do that. But I am reading in the press that, by and large, the West seems to be coming out of recession and back into economic growth, certainly in the UK. So the economies of the West have started growing again which should increase demand for energy. Europe is very keen to get diversity of supply of energy and one of the ways it can do this is via the Southern gas corridor. I think decisions to commit are being delayed, but I expect that the demand for gas from Europe will grow to be as originally forecast.


CEI: What importance is attached to environmental and safety issues in the company?

Chris Mott: We place a large degree of importance on both of these issues, environmental and safety. We really don’t differentiate between them in importance. We operate in accordance with our integrated management system which is accredited against international standards for safety, environment and quality. We have recently undergone and successfully passed a recertification audit by Moody. We also actively have environmental and safety campaigns to do everything that we can do to ensure that our people have a safe environment in which to operate and they themselves operate safely within that environment. We don’t want anyone to injure themselves or cause other people to be injured. At the moment we have a safety program called iPower. iPower is the power of me watching out for myself and others. When we are working together as a team, doing something that is potentially hazardous, the iPower initiative means that we will all be looking out for our own and each other’s safety, be aware of the risks and hazards and prevent any unsafe actions. It is all about people going home to their families at the end of the day having done a good job and done it safely.


CEI: Which foreign markets are of interest to Azerbaijan?

Chris Mott: This Company works mainly Azerbaijan. I regard Azerbaijan as my domestic market. We have for us, relatively minor operations in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

We are very heavily engaged in the offshore oil-gas market. We have very little activity outside of that sphere.


CEI: What could you tell about the activity of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club?

Chris Mott: I am quite impressed with the level at which the business club operates. I go to meetings when I can. When I do go to the meetings we hear from ambassadors and heads of international companies, we hear from the presidents of large organizations. It gives people like me, representing small and medium size enterprises, the opportunity to speak to these people. It is a good forum to be able to talk to people that make the policies, as well as the people that are doing the work.


CEI: Which schemes and articles do You mostly like in journals of the Caspian Energy International Media Group?

Chris Mott: I personally like to see articles from both my clients and also others in the supply chain so that I can keep up with the developments in terms of what projects are coming up that we might like to get involved with, and any new technologies, techniques and strategies that the supply chain may be bringing to Azerbaijan. The factual articles that most interest me are articles that will inform my ability to plan my business.


CEI: Where were you born and studied?

Chris Mott: I was born in the English county of Yorkshire. It lies in the center of England, half way between London and Edinburgh (200 miles from each).This is where I got my secondary education. I left Yorkshire many years ago to go to university. I studied in Reading which is a large town close to London. I also studied at Manchester University the city where the Manchester United football club comes from. I got a bachelor’s degree in geology. I went to Reading to begin with, and I completed my studies in Manchester.


CEI: Do you have any affairs with Manchester United Club?

Chris Mott: No, because I grew up in Yorkshire, I naturally supported another football club, Leeds United. But the sport that I played as a young man, and which I still prefer, is Rugby.


CEI: What did your career start from?

Chris Mott: My professional career started between my time at Reading and my time at Manchester. I got the opportunity after one year of studying at Reading to work in industry and I worked for three years in the seismic exploration industry looking for oil in several countries. When I felt that I had gained enough experience I went back to university and got my degree, bringing my industry experience to my academic studies.


CEI: What have been engaged in before you started heading Fugro here?

Chris Mott: I have always been involved with the oil-gas industry, mainly in upstream activities and in exploration work. As a geologist and also a geophysicist I have been involved in geophysical work. I have operated in many different countries. From the 1980s I have held managerial positions in different parts of the world. I am a geologist, so I am interested in geology and I like to be in the wide open spaces. My wife is a zoologist so she is interested in wildlife. Together we like going out to the country side just seeing the geography and geology and appreciating nature. We enjoy trips to the Gobustan mud volcanoes, Shirvan Nature Reserve, Lahic and camping in the mountains. We enjoy going out in the countryside of Azerbaijan to see how different it is from the Absheron peninsula.


CEI: Is anyone of your classmates engaged in the same sphere or come your business partner?

Chris Mott: I don’t have any classmates as business partners, but several of the people that I graduated with from ManchesterUniversity are also in the oil-gas business.


CEI: Many countries make a list of wealthiest people. How do You assess your financial status?

Chris Mott: My financial status is acceptable.


CEI: What is your position to charitable activities? Do you think companies and their owners have to be actively engaged in this issues or the solution of the poverty issue should be a business of states?

Chris Mott: Well, there is a role to play for everyone here. Speaking for myself I make donations from my income to charities mainly to do with children. As a company, since I came here in 2010, we have been making contacts with local orphanages, not to give them money, but to provide suitable people from those orphanages with work experience that they are finding difficult to get via normal channels. As a company we feel that we have a part to play in the community We hope that this work experience will help them with their career path.


CEI: How many hours a day do you work?

Chris Mott: It varies and depends on the demands of the job. It is very rare that I work for less than 10 hours day, frequently 11 or 12 hours a day. And more if it is necessary to do so.


CEI: What do you dislike in your character?

Chris Mott: I tend to see both sides of the situation too much I think.


CEI: What feature do you value in men and women?

Chris Mott: I do not differentiate between man and woman. I treat everyone equally based upon merits and capabilities. I value very highly honesty and integrity.


CEI: Which cuisine do you like? What are your favorite dishes?

Chris Mott: I have lived and worked all over the world. I have had the opportunity to experience many of the world’s cuisines in their home countries. And I have to say that whenever I think of Singapore and Malaysia I think of their food and my mouth waters, therefore my favorite cuisines are Chinese and Malaysian Hawker Stall food. A Hawker Stall is small mobile kitchen on wheels that people will set up by the road, where you can find small and quite inexpensive food. Freshly cooked with fresh ingredients of Malaysia this food is absolutely wonderful.


CEI: What do you prefer eating from local cuisine?

Chris Mott: I like a lot of things about Azeri cuisine. The first melons appearing by the side of the road in early summer is very exciting. I like the Azeri kebabs and doner with lavash. The vegetable are so fresh and tasty.


CEI: Could you, please, tell about your family life?

Chris Mott: I am married and my wife lives with me in Baku. We have a house in Icheri Sheher where it is very quiet. I have three children and they are all grown up and live away from home. One of my sons lives in Thailand. He is a scuba-diving instructor. I have a daughter who lives in England. She is a deputy head mistress of a secondary school. I have another son who lives in Scotland and he works for a finance management company.


CEI: How long do you manage to spend time with your family? Would you like your children to follow your steps in their career?

Chris Mott: I would not have any problem with that. They seem to have chosen careers different from mine. However, my daughter did marry a geologist!


CEI: Could tell us about any funny or strange incident or situation you have ever fallen into?

Chris Mott: One incident that comes to my mind which is not funny but had things been different, we would not have had this interview. It happened in the 1980s. I had been working offshore in Ecuador. At that time my base was in Houston, Texas. After my job was finished I was flying from Ecuador to Houston through Miami. The plane between Ecuador and Miami landed late so I missed the flight to Houston. The plane that I should have got on crashed in New Orleans and everyone on board was killed. My wife and my daughter were waiting for me in Houston and thought that I was on board the plane.


CEI: Which countries did you have a rest in and where did you like it most?

Chris Mott: Well again, because my job is an international one, I have had the privilege of visiting a lot of countries. My last holiday was in Thailand. I am going to spend Christmas in the United Kingdom with my family. My next vacation will be scuba diving in Indonesia.


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