Brian Geddes: Transition at St Fergus

In this feature, we talk to Brian Geddes, the Deputy Asset Manager at St Fergus Gas Terminal, who is currently based in Aberdeen. Brian received a Rising Star award from the Energy Industries Council (EIC) in 2019 at an event hosted by Dara O’Briain, with his prize being a fully funded MBA at Robert Gordon University.

We learn how Brian’s role has changed on site, how it and his team are changing given the tricky last year or so, and where he sees change coming in the future.

Before joining px Group, Brian had spent early parts of his career working in Belgium and the UK for a host of different companies, including ExxonMobil. Safe to say then that he had the experience to know exactly what he was looking for when weighing up his options before ultimately choosing us – a company that looks after its people, gives them responsibility and flexibility in their job, and a has a proven track record in allowing staff to develop both in and out of the office.

And Brian is certainly proof of that. In his four years at px Group he has worked his way up from Functional Safety Engineer initially through a number of various roles to Deputy Asset Manager at St Fergus. Brian has constantly been recognised for his outstanding contribution to the safe, efficient running of St Fergus and his impact on the team on site.

So great was his initial impact that he was put forward by his manager, Eddie Wallace, as an EIC rising star in 2019. Long story short, Brian overcame a dozen-strong field later that year to be named the 2019 Rising Star, partly due to his written submission that concentrated on the importance of ensuring the energy industry was attracting the best people – particularly amid the rise in popularity and competition provided of other fields, like software and technology.

Brian says: “There is a relentless focus on the people at px Group. It’s a cliche, yes, and at many companies when you scratch the surface it’s not the case. But even when you dig deeper into px Group, the people remain at its heart.”

“The company and the people around me at St Fergus have taken a true interest in my progression. From Eddie putting me forward to the EIC off his own back, to allowing me to adapt my schedule – often at the last minute! – to accommodate my studies.”

“My thanks go out to everyone at St Fergus in particular – I’m looking forward to getting the whole team back together as soon as possible.”

Reaping Rewards

Brian wasted no time in taking advantage of his prize – a fully funded MBA at Robert Gordon University – and started in January last year. January and February were like being back at school, sessions in the classroom face-to-face with lecturers. However, when the pandemic hit the UK and we were all told to stay at home, RGU quickly transitioned to online learning.

He says that – even though he still has some time to go before he completes the Degree – he has already been able to take some ‘soft’ skills from how the course adapted and implement them into the workplace.

Brian picks out how impressed he was with RGU’s communication and contact in helping students transition from in-person to online, and took that learning to St Fergus, where he ensured regular contact and discussions with teams on site continued to take place. Brian adds: “you learn so much about how things are going on site outside of official scheduled meetings, for example walking into work alongside a colleague or perhaps at the coffee machine. We had to make sure those tidbits of information were still being shared and relayed.”

“I hope that as well as personally reaping the rewards of the MBA, our team at St Fergus has benefitted too.”

Transition for Good

Whilst you could say that the transition hasn’t stopped for Brian personally since he stepped on site four years ago, he tells us that the biggest transition is yet to come.

px Group’s fledgling impact on the Energy Transition is a source of pride to him. He namechecks Saltend, which he has been following closely and which he says is a “truly revolutionary” location for new, less carbon intensive industries that he’ll be keeping an eye on from north of the border.

Brian’s glad to be playing a part in the Energy Transition at St Fergus, too. St Fergus is the centrepiece for the Acorn project, which will implement a major Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) on site – a key enabler for blue hydrogen production at St Fergus.

Brian finishes, “The Energy Transition is definitely a point of motivation for me, and why I’m still keen to continue learning. Teams up and down the country at sites like St Fergus have a huge role to play in cutting emissions and hitting our goal of Net Zero by 2050. It’s innovative trailblazing projects like Project Acorn and H2H Saltend that will get us there.”

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