Global Logistics LLC: Supporting the Backbone of the Oil Industry
By Molly Cohen
Originally Published Spring 2010
U.S. Energy Journal
Mark Moreau began his career almost 30 years ago as an offshore production operator trainee. As his knowledge of the energy industry grew, he began dabbling in other facets of the trade. Based on his experience working on offshore rigs, he quickly sparked an interest in dispatching equipment to such facilities. In 1999 he founded Global Logistics LLC to handle these needs. “I finally got an offer to go into the business when an acquaintance offered me a contract on a rig sharing deal between two operators, seeing this was my break I had been waiting on my whole career I took advantage of his offer and the rest just fell into place“ says Moreau who still ranks as his company’s president.
Global Logistics now employs an average of 42 people, having topped at 65 in 2008, all of whom are dedicated to the dispatching and logistical needs of the industry. From the Gulf of Mexico, throughout Louisiana and its surrounding coastal waterways with some work reaching abroad this has resulted in the company being solid enough to have withstood the recent down turn that all service providers in the industry have experienced.
Providing the Means
Moreau explains his company is comprised of people who do offshore Rig Clerk duties as well as
shore-base Dispatching / Logistics Coordinating. These men work with rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico and those scattered along Louisiana’s inland waterways. First Global Logistics collects information on the tools and equipment that will be needed throughout the operation, they will then order and gather this equipment up the shore-base of operation and send these tools out to the rigs for use during the current operation. The Rig Clerks on the rigs will receive these tools sent out to them by the shore-base dispatcher, they will check the tools in to assure they are the correct ones ordered and needed at this time. The rig clerk will then record and track the daily cost of these tools till they are no longer needed on the rig, the tools will then be manifested back to the shore-base so that the Dispatcher can return them to the vendors they were initially rented from. Once the rig is released by the Operator it is Global Logistics Rig Clerks and Shore-Base Operators sole responsibility that each and every tool used during the Drilling and Completion of the well has been charged for its use and accounted for its return.
Global Logistics has no need for outside subcontractors since it can handle all of its tasks in-house. Generally, the company does most of its work as part of a Master Service Agreement (MSA). “We have a number of MSAs; some stay quite active, while others not so active most MSA’s are open ended meaning there is not an end date unless requested by either party which makes it nice when say a not so active customer decides to go forward with a project all the terms are normally already in place except for the occasional current rate schedule discussion,” says Moreau.
But overall, Global Logistics is a service-based organization, working to meet other companies’ needs instead of producing a product. “We provide a service to the operator, whether it may be Apache or ExxonMobil, for example,” says Moreau. “They are the operator and we provide a service to them.”
Dispatching companies, like Global Logistics, may not be that prevalent, so what sets the company apart in a relatively small field is “the quality of personnel that we provide in our service" Moreau explains. "We have better trained more knowledgeable guys.", Global Logistics is more of a family orientated company rather than our employees feeling like they are just a number.
Finding those top-notch employees takes a discerning eye. Luckily, Moreau has the process down to a science. “I’ve got a man in here for personnel management who has a knack for people’s personalities," divulges Moreau, Jerry can take a man through an interview and tell you just how long that guy will take to achieve certain levels of growth, on top of that Jerry can place personalities together which is really important when you have men working together in such close proximity to each other like they have to on these drilling rigs.
Moreau prefers to hire people who have experience in the industry and know the needs, lingo, and knowledge of what it takes for a rig to turn to the right. “Only twice in the last 10 years have we taken somebody without field experience and made a “hand” (worker) out of them; everyone else came in with experience or at least the basics ” Moreau reflects.
Once Moreau has his ideal employees, he offers those better benefits and steadier work compared to other companies. These measures lead to a low turnover rate and tend to make our employees more committed to Global Logistics. “Simply being small and having loyal customers who give us work lets us keep the same amount of people,” Moreau says.
Knowing Where to Focus Energies
Currently, Moreau is not having trouble finding people interested in working for Global Logistics, but that might not always be the case. He sees the younger generation avoiding the petroleum industry. While the industry’s specialized positions such as the engineers tend to be readily available, Moreau sees limited entry level resources available. “Years ago people prided themselves on working in the oil industry and now you just can’t get the same quality person you used to,” he says.
Another employee-related issue is the inflexible growth abilities the industry has recently been fostering. According to Moreau, individuals in the industry have a harder time moving up through the company ranks than in previous years. “You used to start in an entry level position and work your way up into a management position, making good money and having a secure future for you and your family” he remembers. “Now if you don’t have that degree or a higher level of training, you don’t move up what so ever. You are stuck right there.”
Although the workforce issues concern Moreau, his greatest challenge is competing against other companies. “I have qualified guys,” he says, “but it’s just competition for the next job that’s my biggest problem.”
Despite these recent challenges, Moreau focuses on maintaining the company’s safety record since those issues are becoming more and more prevalent in the energy industry. “I’m just trying to stay on top of our companies’ safety training and requirements … and keeping people on the straight and narrow,” he says.
Most noticeably for the last 3 consecutive years Global Logistics has been the recipient of the Safest 70 Award which is an LWCC (Louisiana Workman’s Compensation Corporation) sponsored program that recognizes a company’s safety record out of some 18,000 participants.
Meanwhile, Moreau awaits massive changes in the energy industry in the form of alternative energy sources. But Moreau believes that fossil fuels will always be needed in some fashion, so Global Logistics will not pull out of the industry or start looking for new lines of work at the moment. “Alternative energy sources are fine with me, I just think it’s a ways off before we can use them practically,” he explains.
A Link in the Chain
Even though Moreau sees the longevity of his company to be in good shape, he has no plans to make any capital investments in the near future. "Like everyone in the business the economy affected our bottom line from where we were in previous years, although we had to let a few people go, it looks like things are changing for the better. We’re seeing a little more activity even though it is still some months away we feel possibly by the third quarter the industry overall will be in a little better shape than what we have been through last year.
While he waits, Moreau has scaled back Global Logistics’ spending and overhead. “We do without certain things, entertain a little less than we did before and basically spend our money a bit wiser,” he says. Moreau sees this careful spending as a continuing habit; he does not believe the country as a whole is looking economically sound. “I would like for things to get much better, but I have not been convinced of that yet,” he says. “Small businesses are still hurting.”
However, Moreau also believes that small businesses are the backbone of the country. And, as long as Global Logistics can continue its frugal habits and maintain its humble, yet successfully stable business, the company plans to remain one of the country’s supportive vertebrae.