10-YEAR SPECIAL (Part 7) – Welcoming Dr. Ben Boardman, WKC’s new Partner

In the latest in our series of articles celebrating WKC’s 10-year anniversary, WKC’s most recent member of their senior management team answers some questions on how he intends to bring his rich experience in HSE, particularly in the oil & gas sector, to good use in his new consultancy role.

By Dr. Ben Boardman, Partner – UK

Why WKC?

I have watched the growth of WKC in the UAE and elsewhere from its early days and have always been really impressed with what the business has achieved. In fact, I can’t think of another start-up in this sector that has reached the level of growth, technical expertise and admirable reputation that WKC have.

I am really impressed at how much focus WKC puts on growth economies such as the Arabian Gulf and the African continent. The WKC senior management team, of which I am now proud to be a part, understand the importance of having ‘boots-on-the-ground’. This is what clients want; international expertise, combined with local knowledge and nearby resources. Having lived on and off in the Gulf for more than 30 years, I am fully behind WKC’s strategy of investing in these exciting and dynamic economies, whilst at the same time maintaining strong links back to major economic hubs, such as London, where the history and cultural ties go back generations. Getting that balance is not easy, and I think WKC get it about as right as anyone.

Ben growing up in Dubai

Having lived on and off in the Gulf for more than 30 years, I am fully behind WKC’s strategy of investing in these exciting and dynamic economies…

Why now?

When my young family and I decided to move back to London at the end of last year I realised that it was an excellent time for me to make a positive change in my career. I previously held a senior position working for a major oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi. This was a position that I thoroughly enjoyed, working with exceptional HSE professionals in the vibrant world of oil & gas. I felt that, given all the valuable lessons I had learnt over the years, I could add genuine value to client organisations in helping them achieve their HSE goals by offering consultancy and advisory services. WKC was the obvious choice for me and is the perfect company through which I can achieve that given their excellent track record, and talented and highly motivated multi-disciplinary team.

Ben (left), being welcomed to London by Tristan (Director and co-founder)

Joining WKC now is, I believe, great timing. WKC have completed their first decade of profitable operations, proving themselves many times over to be able to compete with anyone at the highest level. But there is still so much more we can achieve. This is still, after all, a young and up-and-coming company. The senior management team is relatively young, full of optimism and confidence, with the overriding feeling that we have only just started. So, for me the opportunity to join WKC’s new central London office was one I was not going to miss.

… the opportunity to join WKC’s new central London office was one I was not going to miss.

Tell us about your previous role.

I was working for ADNOC Sour Gas, a joint venture between ADNOC and Occidental in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Systems Manager. My ultimate responsibility was for the health, safety and wellbeing of thousands of employees and contractors working on one of the world’s largest ultra-sour gas processing facilities. It is an USD 11 billion mega project, the first of its kind in the region located in a remote part of the Arabian desert.

My ultimate responsibility was for the health, safety and wellbeing of thousands of employees and contractors working on one of the world’s largest ultra-sour gas processing facilities.

Shah Gas Plant, Abu Dhabi’ (credit; ADNOC Sour Gas)

The scale of the project was enormous; when I joined, for example, the plant was under construction with a workforce of 43,000 contractors! 200,000 tons of steel were used for construction, 8,700 km of electrical cable and 1,400 km of process and utility piping were fitted. The Shah plant covers an area of 21 km2 and processes over one billion cubic feet per day of ultra-sour gas. Over 500 million cubic feet of sweet gas and 11,000 tons of sulphur (5% of the world’s daily sulphur production!) are produced at the facility every day.

Throughout all phases of construction, commissioning, operation and expansion, I provided HSE leadership, strategy, governance, advice and assurance…

I was responsible for the development, implementation and optimisation of a fit-for-purpose HSE Management System. Throughout all phases of construction, commissioning, operation and expansion, I provided HSE leadership, strategy, governance, advice and assurance, often reporting directly to the CEO.

Ben (left) receiving a HSE Award with his colleagues at ADNOC Sour Gas

Prior to working at ADNOC, I was a Principal Consultant where I led the Performance Assurance and Transaction Services team for the Middle East and gained extensive project experience across a range of sectors, clients and countries. During this time, I was seconded into the ADNOC Supreme Petroleum Council for two years and was the project manager responsible for standardising, coordinating and managing the HSE and Sustainability Reporting across all the ADNOC Group Companies.

I was seconded into the ADNOC Supreme Petroleum Council for two years and was the project manager responsible for standardising, coordinating and managing the HSE and Sustainability Reporting across all the ADNOC Group Companies.

What do you hope to achieve at WKC?

I have learned first-hand the demands that organisations face in meeting their HSE goals. I look forward to being able to draw from my experiences, moulding and developing WKC’s service offerings such that we can provide real value and cost-effective solutions to our clients.

I will intend to leverage WKC’s position as an up-and-coming, high-tech, innovative, and agile consultancy firm to help develop new business relationships, develop new services and provide greater reach into new markets. Being based in WKC’s new central London office is an ideal location from which to help further develop the business. I look forward to spending time back in the UAE where I have lived for most of my life and spent most of my career, as well as, travelling to other regions such as Africa, where WKC also have a strong presence. I look forward to a fulfilling career with WKC, working again with old friends and doing great work that we both believe in and enjoy.

Being based in WKC’s new central London office is an ideal location from which to help further develop the business.

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