Our Business member, Perth based Searcher Seismic, a geoscience data and technology enabling company in the exploration, geology, petroleum and gas sectors  – and its sister companies Finder Energy, Theia Energy (clean oil fuelling + Great Sandy Dessert Project) and Discover Geoscience (Petroleum Subsurface Consultancy) – like many organisations, have now moved its workforce on to a reduced working schedule and remotely for the first time. This has largely been in response to their clients: major oil companies slashing and reducing their budgets left right and centre.

But as Searcher Seismic’s Founder and Managing Director, Odd Arne Larsen, has observed together with his co-owner Jan Ostby, not only are they learning a lot from the impact COVID‐19 is having on their business so far but also on how their staff and oil companies are rapidly adapting to a new way of working remotely which has resulted in some interesting outcomes for them all.

Some of our senior geo’s believed you had to always go to the office to put in a day of honest work. However after a short period of time they find themselves enjoying the flexibility working from home can give. Staff with small children, especially with schools being closed during the main COVID-19 outbreak, are finding working from home more challenging. However, we are seeing some of these staff now coming back and telling us that with schools opening they would like to be working more from home in the future when things return to normal.

Odd and Jan have also been surprised how fast the oil companies and contractors responded to the changed work environment. Pre the COVID-19 pandemic, you had to meet face-to-face to discuss or negotiate your business. This was the case especially if several technical advisors or managers were involved in the process. The COVID-19 measures have demonstrated that productive meetings can be held remotely via video conferencing which is more time efficient and less costly.  However, it is noted that there will always be the need to meet in person, albeit maybe not that often anymore?

Before the pandemic there was an expectation that if you cared about your business relationships you had to travel, even long distances, to meet with clients and project partners. The COVID-19 measures have reset these expectations and highlighted the effectiveness of video conferencing which will provide efficiency and effective benefits in the future.

This pandemic has forced business to deal with technical challenges associated with video conferencing facilities and be more familiar with the various technologies to be able to participate across the different video conferences applications.

For those members and companies who are targeting and working in the sectors that Odd and Jan’s  companies specialises in, check out their interest publications and resources which provide sector insights and updates on how its technology and technical know‐how are leading the way to unlocking further commercial potential and outcomes. The Searcher Seismic, Finder Energy or Discover Geoscience websites being the central communications hub allowing the oil companies  to browse extensive data libraries, evaluating farming opportunities or looking for subsurface consultancy support. You will also find their technical papers plus being informed on their latest and most recent news and developments. And if you make contact with Odd or Jan you may even get some tips on working remotely!