employee-Eric-Gilles-responsable-Perenco

Eric GILLES

Maintenance Superintendent

Eric joined the oil industry after 19 years in the French Navy. He has been in charge of maintenance operations at Perenco since 2008, mainly in the DRC, but also in Cameroon from 2011 to 2015, during the Rio del Rey takeover. In Kinkasi, he heads a team of 70 people, who have the task to maintain the company installations, including the production and process facilities, as well as the power plant.

Can you describe your career pathway?

My taste for boats and travelling made me to join the Navy, where I worked for 19 years. I then worked in the maintenance teams, at Schlumberger, Total - like many others from the Navy – before finally joining Perenco. The Navy is a real learning experience, we learn to work while being away from home and we focus on results, which requires versatility and availability. The important thing is that we get things to work.

In 2008, I applied to Perenco because of the team spirit and the responsibilities entrusted to the employees.

Tell us about your journey at Perenco?

I started in the DRC, on land, in Kinkasi. I held the same positions as today even though, since then, the facilities have evolved a lot.

In 2011, I left for Cameroon, when Perenco finalised the acquisition of the Rio del Rey basin. A wonderful experience that lasted three and a half years.

Then, I returned to the DRC, but at sea. Since the end of 2017, I have been based again in Kinkasi.

What does your role entail and what challenges do you face?

I am directly involved in production, so I work with the site manager, the IP and the Operations Manager.

I manage the maintenance of all the equipment, be it oil production plants, process plants, pumps and the power station. Everything that operates and that is used in production, in fact! The important thing is that there is no stoppage or loss of production. My goal is to exceed expectations.

I manage a team of 70 people with two supervisors, an HTBT electrician and a control engineer. In my current position, I am also the mechanical supervisor. HSE is inherent to my functions. Before taking any action, we analyse the risks and brief the teams.

I work in rotation 5/5 (5 weeks on site of continuous work / 5 weeks off). I am used to it. For me, it is even easier than when I was in the Navy. The schedules are fixed, it allows me to get organised.

What do you like the most about your job?

What I like most is when everything works!
I also appreciate the human dimension of my job. At the same time, I like leading teams but also training and sharing knowledge with the youngest in the group, who have just come out of school. In my role, we see them a lot. It is important to be available to answer their questions, as sometimes we see them a few years later…

How do you work as part of a team?

First and foremost, my job is to work in a team. At Perenco, the spirit of helping each other has been nurtured. It is common to call on colleagues, to discuss the projects on which one works, to solicit others on a particular expertise, which they might have.
When we do not know we ask. We search and we find!

Which project are you particularly proud of?

The most memorable experience that is the buyout in Cameroon. I was lucky to be involved from the first day. We had to take real care over the reconditioning of the equipment to make it work. The work was important because when an operator sells a subsidiary, he has stopped investing for a while.
We managed to increase production from 18,000 barrels to 35,000 in less than 18 months. A great success!

What do you think is your best contribution to Perenco?

As a former soldier, I have a real respect for hierarchy and also a clear strength of character. It is a definite advantage to get all the teams to work together.

Which one of your qualities is most appreciated at Perenco?

Humility and my sense of responsibility.

How would you describe the company?

Perenco is a different company, with a genuine team spirit and real access to management.

Which corporate value(s) do you most admire at Perenco?

Trust and responsibility.
Trust is everywhere. That is what allows us to move forward. For example, when I propose an investment, I am trusted and receive quick answers. This allows you to progress and promotes taking responsibility. Everything is connected.

What would you say if you had to convince me to join Perenco?

If you master your job, are motivated and like taking initiatives, you will be welcome. Anyone passionate about his work can be fulfilled at Perenco.

Staggered questions
  • Your favourite word and one that you hate ?

    RAS / « when are we starting again ? »

  • A way to relieve stress ?

    A break, a coffee with colleagues…. And reset.

  • In a football team, what position would you play?

    Goalkeeper (but I prefer rugby !)

  • What is your favourite acronym ?

    BOL

  • Someone you admire ?

    Tabarly and Cousteau (the sea !)

  • 6. What do you miss the most when you are far away from home ?

    My family

  • How do you stay connected to those close to you ?

    Telephone

  • Your favourite country ?

    Oman

  • Your favourite holidays ?

    A resort by the sea

  • Complete the phrase …

    Eric, is a link in the Perenco chain.