GeoMar: How an energy start-up became one of the most successful energy players in the Mediterranean
I had the pleasure to interview Giota Giogli, CEO & Founder of GeoMar, discuss the country’s potential, and find out more on the company and its current and future activities and priorities.
- I am very happy you could join us today. I know you are a busy woman, especially these days.
I'm happy to be speaking with you as well, wishing you all the best for 2021, may this year bring opportunities for us all, with exciting prospects ahead!
- We keep meeting around the world in IN-VR events. You are active in the Balkans, Africa, especially North Africa, and beyond.
GeoMar is a relatively new company, having been around for less than 10 years. IN-VR’s services have proven invaluable for us because they’ve enabled GeoMar to grow further. - As a company founded less than 10 years ago, you have been involved in some of the most ambitious projects in the Mediterranean, Africa and South Europe, actively partnering with the region’s key Seismic and Exploration companies. What are GeoMar’s main activities in the region?
We have grown and developed at a great pace over the past few years. GeoMar has been involved in aspects of exploration as 2D/3D surveys, offshore drilling and land exploration projects.. A major catalyst for our growth has been our involvement in the latter, also baseline surveys, as they vary greatly depending on the region have given us opportunities for innovation.Being involved in baseline surveying in the Mediterranean for example, was an excellent opportunity for us to develop that part of the business, as the scientific, environmental, and technical aspects are fascinating, and gave us a lot of room for new solutions and approaches.
Our successful collaboration with our clients have helped GeoMar establish its reputation as one of the most dependable and innovative partners in the region but also to become involved in projects in several other countries in the Med, including Israel, Greece, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Montenegro.
- In reference to the projects you just mentioned, how have your services changed to reflect that?
We have developed a wealth of knowledge thanks to our collaboration with Mediterannean’s key players and earned our reputation as a reliable, adaptable and effective partner to seismic companies.
In addition to that, we have established a database of trustworthy consultants that we access to select the ideal person for each bespoke task all over the world.
Furthermore, we have grown significantly in the onshore sector, as our previous success with oil and gas majors enabled us to extend our collaboration with them and enter the onshore side of E&P.
A few years ago, we were presented with the opportunity to develop the first onshore block in NW Greece. We supplied and managed hundreds of workers per month for the biggest oil & gas project in the region at the time. Looking back at the start of that project, it gave us the opportunity to grow exponentially as a company, acquiring a wealth of knowledge and experience, providing unique services to the country, and dealing with all aspects of a multi-faceted and complex nature of the project. I am very confident with the support model we developed, and we look forward to new opportunities to implement our complete service support scheme again. We’d like to consider the outcome of it as an excellent start to onshore activities in Greece.
We use the knowledge and experience we acquire during every project to build an even more comprehensive and solid business support model, with an ever-increasing value.
Following that, we invested in providing top-notch services for renewable energy as well, extending our umbrella of services to the entire energy sector.
- What’s really drawn my attention is the great reputation GeoMar has achieved with local communities, from fishermen to entire onshore communities which I imagine must be very challenging to undertake. The core foundation for any marine project that takes place in a sensitive area - in terms of marine traffic, fishery status, is to work with local knowledgeable, local professionals who speak the language, and have to have experience in communications - this is a mandatory aspect for us.
Our consultants share the same goals, it’s rewarding to be part of a network which benefits all parties involved. When we started working on the 3D survey in Patraikos Gulf, we had to work on all nine ports around the affected area. The best way to deal with such challenge is first of all, to start liaising with the communities ahead of any operations. We started by sending a team of people to every single port to meet liaise with the fisheries associations and community leaders. We remained active in those communities until the end of the project works and left at very good terms with everyone. Whether working onshore or offshore, our strategy is to continuously work with the community, build strong connections and aim to leave no impact when the job is finally done.
We always speak of a project in a good manner and invest time in communications. When we work with a client, our biggest commitment is to enhance their profile - establishing strong roots in the area is a key deciding factor to a project’s success - good relationships leave zero footprint. In addition to that, we ensure that all our consultants are paid very well, and treated excellently. Our talent retention has been very high, and our consultants know they can depend on us. We believe that a partnership must be beneficial to all parties involved.
This is not a unique concept nor is it complicated, but investing in people, taking care of people, reflects greatly in the community as well the client. At the end of the day, all our efforts have paid back so we plan to carry on along those lines. To answer your question; this is the foundation of how we built our name and our reputation.
- Based on your experience in forming partnerships and collaborations in projects around the world and having worked with a range of companies in all the steps of the energy journey, what are some common key qualities that you will always find in a good partner?
What is it that separates an effective project from one that is struggling? A good partner will realise the importance of preparatory work as being of the utmost importance, and setting the right parameters, sets the path to success in stone.
Prior to operations, establishing a good project plan and a clear partnership, with common, agreed targets will minimize any potential negative effects or possible unpredictabilities.
To give you an example, when working offshore on a survey or exploration drilling, it is of the utmost importance to minimise unnecessary downtime when it comes to mitigating operations for environmental reasons.
When marine life is spotted close to source- quite often whales and dolphins, our onboard experts should be able to deal with the encounter in a way that ensures protection of the animals whilst disrupting operations as little as possible.
In such cases, the right professional making expert judgements can make all the difference in operational costs. Let me stress that ensuring wildlife and environmental safety with the least interference in operations is our mission, our priority commitment to the client.
- Fantastic. When meeting with stakeholders, you always speak very strongly about marine life and the environment. From personal experience, I know that you are very environmentally conscious, both as a person and as a CEO. I have always been intrigued by your unique environmental outlook, which is very reflective to your oil and gas operations as well.
For any activity that involves noise at sea, such as drilling and survey operations, you need to follow strict state as well as international legislations.
If I speak about my business as an environmentalist, I can tell you that people will often expect an approach like I don't want to hear about oil and gas activities. The answer to that is, instead of rejecting reality, why not opt to be involved and use your scientific expertise to minimise the environmental impact of these activities?
Since oil and gas exploration and production is taking place around the world and will continue for a number of years, implementing scientific expertise for the benefit of the natural world is the most valuable tool in safeguarding and preserving the ecosystem we live in.