19 March 2021
Marc Geffroy, Project Manager - Louis Dreyfus TravOcean
1/ What has been your career path so far?
I always have been attracted to the sea, so it was natural for me to get specialized in Ocean Engineering during my studies at Centrale Marseille Engineering School.
I wanted to start my career with an operational experience. I had the opportunity to do my end-of-studies internship at the Toulon naval base. The company was in charge of the maintenance of the French navy ships. As an assistant project manager, I was lucky to be involved in the disarming of the Dupleix Anti Submarine Frigate. During the second part of my internship I was in charge of the technical stop of the Gapaud landing barge, which was connecting the Levant Island and Hyeres.
In addition to this “field” approach, I wanted to travel. This is why I applied for a project engineer position at Louis Dreyfus Travocean, which seemed to tick all the boxes.
I started to work at the La Ciotat office in 2015. Since then, I have gained experience in submarine cables installation, repair or burial in Telecom, oil and gas and even offshore windfarm markets.
2/ Could you tell us more about your current role / your missions?
I am mainly in charge of managing different service agreement contracts: supply of ROVs and personnel to assist one of our clients during offshore windfarm inter-array cables installation and burial.
In addition to this long-term mission, I am involved in different submarine cable installation or burial projects.
My job starts, as soon as the contract is awarded, by a preparation phase: project documentation, definition of the technical solutions to be implemented, follow-up of equipment preparation on our different sites, purchasing, logistics…
This initial stage is followed by an operation phase on the project location, starting by organising the mobilisation of the equipment on the chosen vessel. Then, depending on the project, I am either involved in the operation on land or at sea.
3/ How did your position evolve in the LDA Group?
I was hired as a project engineer in 2015 and gained a strong experience thanks to the variety of projects I was involved in and the trust I was given by the company. About a year ago, I became a project manager, working on various projects at the same time.
4/ What do you like the most in this job?
The great diversity of projects: in the space of a few months I can go from working on the burial of a seismic cable in an oil field in Norway, to the laying of shore ends in the United Kingdom or Argentina, and finish by the mobilisation of various ROVs in Poland on a vessel dedicated to the laying and burial of offshore windfarm inter-array cables. All of this during a global pandemic !
5/ Could you name 3 must-have qualities for this job?
I think you must be very curious, be self-sufficient and able to adapt to different situations: operational and weather conditions on site can change very quickly. Also you need to have good interpersonal and communication skills. This job involves working with a lot of different people and cultures.
6/ Any anecdote or major fact you would like to share about your job?
In 2016, following a storm in the English Channel, 4 network cables between the United Kingdom and France were damaged close to Dover. Louis Dreyfus Travocean had to perform a repair very quickly. Almost 12 months later, we got a call informing us that the network was damaged again, but on the French side this time. It is a rare event in the life cycle of this kind of cable, and I was lucky to be involved in both projects with very different technical solutions, within a year.
To bounce back on funnier statistics: before I started to work for Louis Dreyfus Travocean, I had only been on a plane twice… Since then, I have stopped counting !
7/ Are you a land or sea person?
I would say a mix of both: I am a littoral person.
8/ What are your hobbies and interests?
I really like outdoor activities whether at sea (sailing, diving…) or in the mountains (skiing, hiking...).
9/ What is your motto?
I don’t really have a motto but I always try to learn something from every situation, whether difficult or not.