Cairn employee on board ship looking out to port

New supply base at Dakar port

Establishing a permanent facility

In September 2016, we opened a new supply base on the quayside of Dakar port to better meet our increasing operational needs in Senegal. The new supply base gives us a number of operational advantages including a dedicated quayside, which means we are able to work uninterrupted in what is one of the biggest ports on the coast of West Africa. Its proximal location to our offshore acreage (approximately 60 nautical miles / 111 km in distance and six hours in travel time by vessel; helicopters transit from Dakar international airport with a flight time of around 25 minutes) is also a significant advantage. This new facility demonstrates our commitment to working in Senegal and our increasing investment in-country. Oil and gas is an emerging industry for Senegal and this is the first time that a dedicated, permanent supply base infrastructure has been built in Dakar port. The process took 18 months and was handled by our key local contractor Necotrans Senegal, a subsidiary of the international logistics and transport conglomerate Necotrans.

Working with Necotrans is part of our approach to maximising local content wherever we work. We employ, on a permanent basis, 16 Necotrans contractors, and much of our work on the base focuses on training them to support our operations as well as to enable them to participate in the oil and gas industry longer term.  

The supply base is the main hub for our activities in Senegal and is the main point of contact for our many contractors during and in preparation for drilling. We store critical equipment on site, including oil spill response equipment, and carry out activities including loading and unloading of offshore support vessels that supply our drill ships. In the handling of this equipment and the management of these activities, specialist knowledge, oversight and a focus on safety at all times is required. As such one of our main focuses at the base is on Health, Safety and Environment (HSE). 

Working with so many contractors means careful management and providing training to ensure our HSE standards are met. This is overseen by our experienced team of industry experts on site, which is made up of two supply base managers, two logistics supervisors and one HSE advisor. All contractors are inducted on arrival at the supply base in our ten ‘Life Saving Rules’, which they are obliged to apply and follow at all times and they are also required to attend morning meetings, pre-job ‘toolbox talks’, weekly safety review meetings and monthly ‘Safety focus’ meetings.  

This supply base was built and operates to UK Oil & Gas guidelines. For many of those who are working with us, this is the first time they have had exposure to working in these types of conditions and they are acquiring valuable skills which we hope will benefit them in the future. As our key contractor, Necotrans personnel have been trained and mentored by our supply base team in basic yard operations, such as oil field inventory recognition, handling and inspection; boat loading; and discharging. We have also brought in external experts from, among others, North Sea Lifting, Oil Spill Response, St Johns Ambulance and the Dakar fire service to provide additional training.  

Amadou Sakhir Gaye, Logistics Coordinator, Necotrans

“I have worked with Cairn since their first drilling campaign in Senegal in 2014. I first worked as an HSE supervisor within the logistics team but in 2015 I was promoted to logistics coordinator. Necotrans provides logistics support to Cairn in the port of Dakar and I am the key link between the two companies. I am in charge of a team of stevedores, crane operators, forklift truck operators, truck drivers and HSE supervisors who ensure Cairn’s requests are met to their high standards – on time and in a safe manner.

Prior to working for Cairn I was a teaching assistant at a university, delivering HSE courses. As part of my BA, I had completed a dissertation on Corporate Social Responsibility but I had no oil and gas experience. As a result of my experience with Cairn I was able to complete my MA in Business Administration and HSE with a project on ‘Risk Analysis in the Oil and Gas Industry’.

As an international oil and gas company Cairn has a lot of experienced people who are always happy to help me if I have any questions. This gives me confidence to do things I may not have done before because I can always find guidance. The support goes both ways, we work to deliver what Cairn needs and they help us to deliver it.

Training is a big part of our activities. We have received training in lifting, banksman and slinging, oil spill response, risk assessment, firefighting and first aid. One of the biggest focuses in our day-to-day work is on HSE and understanding that people are more important than the job. If we identify a hazard, a danger to anyone, we understand that we can stop the job we are doing at any time.  

As a Senegalese I am excited about the oil and gas industry in Senegal because I think it is a great opportunity for my country. Of course, there are concerns that the development of this industry must be managed in a proper and transparent way, and our country’s leaders know they need to listen to the needs and concerns of their people. It is an opportunity to create a new sector in the country’s economy, a source of energy and jobs for the young. I am proud to be one of the Senegalese people involved in this new sector.”

The supply base is the main hub for our activities in Senegal and is the main point of contact for our many contractors and our activities during and in preparation for drilling.

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