Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) EVP Per Arild Reksnes Operations Artifice (First published on NoPGS.com 9 June 2018)
Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.Spencer Johnson
Art’ is the same word as ‘artifice,’ that is to say, something deceitful. It must succeed in giving the impression of nature by false means.Edgar Degas
It has been demonstrated, for some time, through the work of W. E. Deming and others, that it is the management of processes and assets that overwhelmingly determines enterprise performance and not individual workers. Management must first thoroughly understand the interactions of processes and assets in order to make the kind of changes that will continually improve enterprise performance. Without such knowledge, there is no guarantee of improvement. Within the May 2018 issue of Oilfield Technology magazine, marine seismic service company, Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS), Chief Scientist Andrew Long, based in Australia, has penned an article, Streaming Ahead, which examines best practices for marine seismic 4D data acquisition and processing. Apparently, PGS is also recognizing their 25th GeoStreamer™ (dual sensor streamer) 4D survey, as well. The problem is that every decision made by PGS board of directors and management is predicated on artifice – a game of let’s pretend. When concession operators issue requests for tenders to service providers, the companies respond through providing information about the company’s capability and historical performance in operations, as well as the organization structure identifying those with final decision making authority to be held accountable. This is especially with respect to health, safety, and the environment (HSE). However, such information/data is only relevant if it is accurate, applicable and reproducible. These elements are essential for all processes and for all types of data, seismic or HSE. In the latter case, PGS processes fake data and lies to stakeholders. PGS management will engage in nefarious and illegal acts to silence the voice and destroy the careers of HSE whistleblowers. The PGS Board of Directors participated in the charade through making their own selfish and self-preserving decisions to support corrupt management decisions, to the long term detriment of PGS enterprise performance.
My blog writing campaign has been going-on now for approaching three-years. It has been a rebuke of PGS managerial integrity. Operational Integrity is the objective of good management. It is the synergistic optimization of enterprise resources, along with the best processes and practices that affect product service and delivery. Operational integrity is enterprise utopia where every process, asset, and person is behaving as prescribed and the results are coincident with optimum expectations. In the real world, complex systems are managed through analyzing the residuals between actual results and expected results and then endeavoring to continually improve the use of processes and resources to minimize these residuals. Integrity is defined as concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. Understanding thoroughly the interaction between processes and resources and then making thoughtful decisions to improve these interactions is managerial integrity. Pretending to understand and not following the prescribed interactions between processes and resources and then taking action is artifice. Action alone will never result in the desired outcome, only correct actions will. How human resources are managed impacts all enterprise performance where humans manage. What is certain is that there can never be operational integrity in the absence of managerial integrity. This is why corruptly managed enterprises can never perform optimally. As PGS EVP Marine Contract, Per Arild Reksnes abused his position of trust by breaching legally guaranteed processes. Reksnes signed fabricated personnel records intended to exonerate corrupt PGS management from HSE, policy, and legal transgressions from accountability in order to destroy the career of an honest employee and whistleblower.
On 13-Jun-2013, I was called to, in what is referred to in bullying lexicon, an ambush meeting. The day before this ambush meeting, I had attended the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) annual meeting in London. I was able to attend only one day of the EAGE event. However, I did make a point of listening to a talk presented by Long. I am a USA citizen and was working with PGS’ affiliate PGS Exploration (UK) Limited, 4 The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge, England KT13 0NY (PGSUK) on a sponsored Tier 2 visa. I was called to the ambush by then Human Resource (HR) Manager, David Nicholson. Also in attendance were my first line supervisor, Edward von Abendorff, VP Marine Contract Sales – Africa, and his direct superior, Simon Cather, Marine Contract –Africa Regional President. The ambush meeting was a watershed event in my life. I was working within the Contract Sales – Africa group, at the time. My attending this event had been scheduled and even paid for weeks before. Nevertheless, Abendorff was apoplectic about my attending this event. Yes, we were busy. But, the sales group had selected me to attend the event. Therefore, I had organized my work accordingly. And it seemed that attending such an event where potential clients may be attending in our own backyard would be beneficial from a business standpoint too. I had been member of SEG and EAGE for years, long before my role in sales. However, the toxic, narcissistic and sophomoric PGS/PGSUK workplace culture believed that my attending to the delicate egos of corrupt bully bosses took precedence over generating new business relationships. My belief was that abiding by PGS core values, of which HSE performance was high-lighted, took precedence over such egos. This was the back-drop to my being called to the ambush meeting.
True science thrives best in glass houses where everyone can look in. When the windows are blacked out, as in war, the weeds take over; when secrecy muffles criticism, charlatans and cranks flourish.Max Ferdinand Perutz
The integrity of men is to be measured by their conduct, not by their professions.Junius
I was very offended by the ambush meeting, as well as the bullying behaviors which preceded it. Following this ambush meeting, I requested minutes from the meeting, as well as an explanation as to how the ambush meeting complied with PGSUK policy and practices. I was denied all of these requests. Six-months later, I would no longer be working with PGSUK. I signed a settlement contract agreement (SCA) that would terminate my paid employment with PGSUK, 5-Dec-2013. My signing the SCA was the culmination of enduring months of having material personal data withheld from me, multiple misrepresentations being told to me and about me, and threats to my job security. My grievance claimed, among other things, gang-bullying and harassment, misuse of the PGSUK performance management system, breach of contract duty of care and mutual trust and confidence provisions. Workplace bullying/harassment behaviors are the abuse of authoritative power with health harming effects. Such behaviors are often antecedent or coincident to othercorrupt behaviors. After I arrived to Houston, Texas, USA, January 2014, I noted strange behaviors and reactions from professionals that I interacted with during job searches and attending Geophysical Society of Houston (GSH) events. Something was off. In October 2014, I filed a subject access request (SAR) citing the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and learned that PGS/PGSUK data processors were processing forged records within my professional personnel file. I was in disbelief. Since that discovery, I have uncovered substantive evidence showing that PGS/PGSUK agents (likely) bribed my legal adviser(s) to forward and process forged documents supporting a false narrative to support a performance based termination to replace the much more serious HSE and defamation claims brought forth within the grievance. I believe that the reason the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) caseworkers were not able to assist in correcting my personal data is because the forged documents were also processed and supported by the other lawyers who formed the SCA.
The grievance directly implicated the ambush meeting participants, von Abendorff, Cather, and Nicholson. The grievance was submitted to the bullies Norway based superiors, who at the time were, Reksnes, and Terje Bjølseth, SVP Global HR. The grievance was also sent to John Greenway, SVP Marine Contract, who the group often interacted with in strategy meetings. My coworker/witness, John Barnard received a copy. Once the grievance was delivered to the Norway based PGS executives, the decision as to how to handle the grievance became the providence of the executive management team, and in particular, the PGSUK directors/secretary. Reksnes was part of the PGS executive management team. Reksnes’ response should have been guided by his superior, then President and CEO, Jon Erik Reinhardsen. Reinhardsen also served as a director for PGSUK. The other PGSUK directors who shared responsibility for the decided course of action in handling the formal grievance were Gottfred Langseth, PGS CFO and EVP, and Christin Steen-Nilson, PGS Chief Accountant. Carl Richards, PGSUK Head of Legal, had recently (13-Sep-2013) assumed the role of PGSUK secretary prior to the submission of the grievance (20-Sep-2013). My ability to submit the grievance had been obstructed since my communications following the ambush meeting. There was an effort to obstruct my ability to counter or discuss allegations. I never was provided the opportunity to review the data to support the claims made in the ambush meeting, which in hindsight was a DPA violation.
Nicholson stated that both the PGS and PGSUK legal staff had reviewed the grievance and determined that I was in dispute with the Company. I was also informed that I would need to engage a solicitor if I were to consider the SCA. I declined this proffered SCA and stated that I wanted to continue down the grievance process. As a UK trained lawyer, as well as the sole UK national, as secretary, Richards was principally responsible for ensuring process compliance with PGSUK policy and UK laws. Notwithstanding that Pedersen, as General Counsel, also shared these responsibilities. Bjølseth, in addition to being SVP Global HR was on the PGS Compliance Team, along with then PGS General Counsel, Rune Olav Pedersen. The grievance document submitted 20-Sep-2013 was unambiguous. I was initiating the grievance process. However, I have reason to believe that Norway based executives had been fore-warned that a formal grievance would be submitted. Certainly, Nicholson was aware of that I intended to submit a grievance. However, he was likely caught off guard to be named and implicated directly within the grievance. Therefore, Norway based executives had likely already coordinated a planned response for what they expected to receive, but also needed to adjust their response. A meeting was eventually scheduled for 14-Oct-2013 by Nicholson. No PGSUK officer or PGS compliance, or legal staff (Bjølseth, Pedersen, Reksnes, Richards, etc.) ever contacted me between 20-Sep-2013 and 14-Oct-2014. However, on 10-Oct-2014, Nicholson, who had been accused of defamation and misuse of the performance management system, among other things, proffered a SCA so that I would abandon the grievance process.
We know that we cannot live together without rules which tell us what is right and what is wrong, what is permitted and what is prohibited. We know that it is law which enables men to live together, that creates order out of chaos. We know that law is the glue that holds civilization together.Robert Kennedy
When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.William Blake
Why was Nicholson, accused of lying about me to destroy my career (bullying and defamation), allowed to even meet with me alone at this point? When Nicholson initially proffered the SCA, there was no evidence to suggest that any real investigation had been carried out. I never had been told how the ambush meeting or the subsequent ambush letter which provided similar unsubstantiated allegations regarding performance and threatening my continued employment comported with PGSUK policy or UK law. Also, I never received the requested minutes from the ambush meeting. These facts were explicitly expressed within my submitted grievance. I had always felt that the ambush meeting was inappropriate. The bullies were able to continue violating my human rights as a foreign worker, as well as my rights under employment law and contract law. Nicholson must have also known that the ambush meeting was inappropriate. Once I informed Nicholson that I intended to submit a grievance, there was a concerted effort to obstruct my right to submit a grievance. PGSUK bullies withheld information and misrepresented facts intended to damage my professional reputation and rob me of income. In between the ambush meeting (13-Jun-2013) and ambush letter (24-Jul-2013), 15-Jul-2013, PGSUK renewed and endorsed their sponsorship of me and my family’s Tier 2, Shortage Occupation List (SOL) visa. It was never clarified to me how investigating a possible performance improvement plan (PIP) comported with my status as a Tier 2 visa holder. None of the fabricated performance issues noted during the ambush meeting or within the ambush letter were shared with me or the UK Border Agency. PGSUK intentionally withheld these unsubstantiated allegations from me, and omitted these details on the renewal application of my Tier 2 visa and dependents.
I attended the 14-Oct-2014 meeting by video conference. I was accompanied by my witness, Barnard. Both Reksnes and Bjølseth chaired from Norway. I mostly retold the points raised within the grievance. Meanwhile, I had already been in email communication with Philip Landau, then with Landau, Zeffert, and Weir. Remarkably, Landau was also supportive of abandoning the PGSUK documented grievance stages and move toward an SCA. Landau had been made aware of all details, and provided with the actual grievance document with names redacted 11-Oct-2014. Landau was all aware that I was attending the grievance hearing. There were no other HR proceeding involving me, beyond the grievance. I formally engaged Landau and made payment for his services 22-Oct-2013. I had no direct personal, telephone, or e-mail contact related to the grievance with anyone from PGS/PGSUK following the 14-Oct-2014 grievance hearing through my departure from England, 24-Dec-2013. All communications went through Landau and his assistant, Holly Rushton. PGS/PGSUK enlisted the services Watson, Farley, and Williams’ Rhodri Thomas to negotiate the final terms of the SCA, which began 1-Nov-2013. Progress was slow. An additional consideration to the SCA was repatriation costs to the USA. The stress from all of this was building-up, and I took five consecutive sick days in mid-November. Abendorff and Nicholson demanded that I see a contracted occupation health nurse, and I did. I related to her my current circumstances and that I hoped for a fair and timely resolution. She recommended that I see a GP and issued a draft report for me.
Per Arild Reksnes + Bjolseth
On 5-Dec-2013, I signed a final SCA under some pressure. The reality is that I was a foreigner and I wanted the ordeal to end so I could leave the bad situation. However, on 4-Dec-2013, I requested assurances that the data PGSUK was processing as my personal data was accurate and queried Landau about getting an unfit note and abandoning the SCA discussions and pursuing a constructive dismissal. Landau, Rushton, and Thomas provided assurances that the data was accurate, although at no time was the data itself seen or discussed while Landau was engaged. At the time, I was not as knowledgeable about the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), which was a provision in my original employment contract. I was placed on garden leave until my departure from England. Even though the SCA was signed 5-Dec-2013, the terms of the SCA were not fulfilled until April-May 2014. While my repatriation was paid for, PGSUK agreed to only reimburse for moving expenses. When PGS affiliates had moved me and my family before, they usually paid for three months accommodations so that the employee could find suitable permanent living arrangements. My household items finally arrived to my residence in Houston, Texas, USA from Weybridge, England a few months later. And then I had to submit expense forms to PGSUK HR for reimbursement. I had noticed strange interactions when I returned to Houston, where I had not lived for ten years, during job searches and Geophysical Society of Houston events. In October 2014, I submitted a subject access request (SAR) citing the DPA to PGS/PGSUK. When I received copies of my personal data, I discovered that PGSUK was processing false/forged records in my personnel folder.
Accusations fit on a bumper sticker; the truth takes longer.Michael Hayden
If you are undergoing a character assassination as we speak, or seem to be cycling through them like Rasputin, it is possible that you are simply an asshole.Ryan Pannell, How to Survive a Character Assassination
Discovering that defamatory records were being preserved and processed as my personal data has been the impetus behind my blog campaign. PGS/PGSUK has never been compelled to explain or defend how these records were created and allowed to be processed in definitive legal terms. However, over time I have deduced that PGS/PGSUK must have conspired with the lawyers from LZW and WFW to process false records to support a bogus and unsubstantiated performance based termination that would cost PGS/PGSUK much less to settle than fairly addressing the health and safety, breach of contract, and defamation issues brought-up within the grievance. How were LZW and WFW informed and to process illegal documents supporting a false narrative? The answers to these questions point to criminal and civil liability for those in positions of legal accountability, namely the officers of PGSUK and PGS legal compliance, and the lawyers from LZW and WFW who consummated the SCA on false pretenses. My published criticisms and accusations of these principals are not responded to. The PGS compliance team, officers, or lawyers do not respond to my allegations of fraud, embezzlement, and bribery made to their “hotline”. Their collective silence shouts guilt. Yet, stakeholders allow officers, general counsel, and those responsible for enterprise legal compliance to abrogate their agency responsibilities and not defend the interest of the Company, but rather protect themselves personally acknowledging events or taking any responsibility. PGS has now restructured and formed a leaner executive team. Unfortunately, the new PGS executive is composed of the same officers of PGSUK and agents who have been publicly accused of criminal behavior. The corrupt provide the corrupt with sanctuary in Norway.
Companies Act 2006
The top-tiers of the PGS corporate hierarchy are corrupt and selfishly misguided. I was very surprised after I published, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) CEO Jon Erik Reinhardsen Should Resign (6-Sep-2015) and received no response from any executive of PGS. This confirmed that Reinhardsen is not an enterprise leader. Reinhardsen’s commercial acumen seems to be his ability to distribute other people’s money to corrupt benefactors to buy allegiance in place him on various Boards of Directors or in executive management positions close to control of the enterprise money spigot. Stealing money from shareholders and redistributing it to corrupt supporters demonstrates a kind of corrupt political acumen, but notreal leadership. I have published numerous articles or images stating Reinhardsen and his disciples, Pedersen, Reksnes and Langseth are liars, cheaters, criminals, fraudsters, and assholes. They remain silent and unfazed by such rebukes, as if this is actually doing their job. Leadership is not about being okay with criticism about you. It’s not supposed to be about the person, as an officer of a company. Leadership is about not accepting criticism of the company and its stakeholders, especially employees. Employees, above all others, represent the character and values of the company, after all. And now Reinhardsen carries his cowardly and dishonorable soiled baggage as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Equinor. Reinhardsen’s corrupt disciple, Pedersen, continues his debauchery as CEO and President of PGS.
My first PGS focused article, An American, the UK Data Protection Act, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) and the Tyranny of “Accurate Data” (3-Jul-2015), also called-out PGS employees, by name. If the named employees are upstanding in character and performance, wouldn’t true leadership and agency defend and extol them? And if the allegations of malfeasance are true, then wouldn’t true leadership and agency address the issue in a legally compliant way? Honorable leadership would absolutely defend the honor and character of those whom they lead, as well as the enterprise that they lead, above themselves. They would practice the values they sign to represent, because it is their job and agency to do so. They would defend their honor, because their defense of their own character is inextricably intertwined with the reputation and success of the enterprise. (Apparently, this does not apply to Norwegian corporations.) Leadership that does not step into the fray to defend the honor of the enterprises Chief Scientist is simply cowardly, feckless and corrupt. As for the Chief Scientist himself, who at a different time, published an PGS internal (intranet) essay exalting the benefits of practicing Core Values, where is your outcry and allegiance? I implore you to step into the fray and maintain the integrity of PGS as a technically focused geophysical company (and not a hedge fund). My queries have been simple for a legal and compliant enterprise. I want PGS/PGSUK to demonstrate that only the processes and data PGS used to support an SCA between myself and PGSUK was accurate, applicable and reproducible to support the outcome.
Letter from Reinhardsen
Companies cannot operate reliably, safely and profitably without having all people, processes and assets working properly and cooperatively toward the same objectives. Compliance means demonstrating compliance and not simply stating that there is compliance (Pedersen/Bjølseth). As top-cited workplace hazards, workplace bullying and harassment behaviors negatively impact enterprise reliability, safety, and profitability. The proliferation and damage from workplace bullying and harassment behaviors require the misuse and abuse of legitimate enterprise power. This is why workplace bullying and harassment behaviors are viewed by many as a form of corruption in of itself which negatively impacts most every aspect of enterprise performance. It is also known that workplace bullying and harassment behaviors are too often supported by corrupt management structures against whistleblowers. Corruptly managed enterprises are always less reliable, less safe, and less profitable. Toxic workplaces become a Petri dish for corrupt workplace culture. Toxic workplaces allow processes and resources to be mismanaged to preserve and protect the corrupt power structure at the expense of enterprise performance. The abuse of power manifests itself when there is an existential threat to the enterprise power structure through the proper and principled use of processes and assets. There is a global workplace bullying epidemic. Eliminating such top-cited workplace hazards, such as workplace harassment and bullying, is essential for achieving operational integrity, as well as eliminating corruption. And this includes operations in conducting 4D seismic surveys.
Do not punish people for being honest and truthful. The day we will start punishing people for demonstrating honesty and truthfulness, will also be the day we will start surrounding ourselves with liars and dishonest people. Reward the behavior you want your people to demonstrate.Sanjeev Himachali
All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.Scott Alexander