Four unique contributors to Woodside’s success have been inducted into the company’s new Hall of Fame. Keith Cahill, Michael Chaney, Lachie MacLean and Grant Ross were announced as the inaugural inductees at an event in late August.
As our chief executive officer Peter Coleman noted, each has played an important role in supporting and spurring Woodside’s progress.
On 6 September, Keith officially become the first employee to chalk up 40 consecutive years of service. He joined in 1977, back when our supply base was located in Broome and before we had achieved first gas. Over the course of his ongoing career, he has seen and embraced much change, from cutting drilling mud by hand in little more than a pair of shorts to loading out ever bigger and more sophisticated equipment for a growing number of offshore assets.
His knowledge, influence and dependability led fellow logistics operator Erana Halls to say she couldn’t imagine the supply base, now located in Dampier, without him.“He kind of is the supply base,” she said in a video tribute. “If you don’t know something, Keith will… and he’ll happily help you out.”
Michael Chaney first became involved with Woodside in 1971, a few years before Keith. Then a geology graduate, he sent in an application letter stating his belief that the company’s prospects “would offer the best experience and conditions of any in Australia at this stage”.
Offered a salary of $5200 a year, he joined during the time of the big North West Shelf (NWS) discoveries and become known for his willingness to work hard and keep learning over a seven-year tenure. One Human Resources report noted that he had “all the equipment necessary to achieve a supervisory level in a successful oil company”.
Of course, he returned as a Woodside Board member in 2005 and became Chairman in 2007, overseeing growth that has included the start-up of several new assets, including Pluto LNG Park and the North Rankin redevelopment, and an expanded global footprint taking in Senegal, Myanmar and more.
This sort of growth could not have been foreseen by his former colleague Lachie MacLean. Lachie became involved with Woodside back when it was a hopeful explorer but he helped pinpoint the finds that turned the company’s fortunes.
Renowned as a quiet achiever, this diligent and determined geophysicist spent long days at his office desk and many nights and weekends at his kitchen table, slide rule in hand, determining where wells should be drilled. His attention to detail and sharply honed instincts were instrumental in the discoveries of the North Rankin, Goodwyn and Angel fields. He was described as “an excellent details man”, “humble and hard working”.
Sadly, Lachie passed away almost two weeks before the Hall of Fame event and a month short of his 91st birthday but his wife Judy accepted the award on his behalf, saying she had been able to tell him of the pending acknowledgement and it had brought him joy. Judy explained that Lachie had thought of himself as a backroom boy, someone behind the scenes who was happy just to be doing a good job.
The same could be said of the fourth inductee, Grant Ross. Grant began his working life as a bank clerk and went on to work at a Kwinana refinery before taking a chance on Woodside, then a little-known oil and gas company setting up its first gas plant in Karratha. He joined what was known as the Dirty Dozen, the original group of Karratha Gas Plant operators, and became so good at his job that he earned the nickname of The Oracle.
The Oracle played a key role in the writing of our first operations manuals and helped train many during his 34 years with Woodside, working onshore and offshore in a variety of roles. He was noted for his focus on health and safety, as well as his strong sense of teamwork. Grant was also a key player in a landmark moment – he was the one who lit the flare that marked the start of Woodside’s domestic gas phase.
The Hall of Fame announcements were made at the company’s fourth annual 20 Year Club dinner. Membership of this club, which acknowledges people who have contributed 20 years or more consecutive service to Woodside, now numbers 366. More than 200 of those people are part of the current workforce.
As our CEO noted, the event epitomises the spirit and culture of our company. “Woodside’s progress is testament to the quality and dedication of the people who drive it, not least of whom are the members of our 20 Year Club,” he said.
Trunkline Q3 2017