Alan Mills is the Managing Director of Falcon Global and CEO of Global Falcon Americas. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST).
In 1980, he was working in the Brent field when the Alexander Kielland was lost. It was a foul night, with a terrific storm and mountainous seas. Pulled away a safe distance from the North East corner of the Brent Charlie platform was the Henrik Ibsen, a sister rig to the Kielland and being used at the time as a flotel. Alan was staying on Treasure Hunter, another flotel normally moored on the South East corner, but also bridge disconnected and safely away from the Brent C platform. He had worked late that evening and looked outside. He could see waves crashing over the bridge of the Ibsen. Waves that had to be well over 30 metres high. He hoped nothing serious would happen and the storm would abate overnight. Taking a shower before bed, Alan heard news from a colleague that the Alexander Kielland gone down in the Ekofisk field and there was no news of survivors. This happened several hundred miles away, in the Ekofisk field, but on such a stormy night, it could have been right there in the Brent field, it could have been the Ibsen. Over the coming days, as the story unfolded, the sad news chilled everyone to the bone.
Alan worked for Brown & Root, and had been on the Brent Charlie project since early 1978 in Stord, Norway. Although he had already gained over 2 years valuable experience with the company, working in Peterhead, Rotterdam and Gt Yarmouth, he was by some distance, the most junior member of the project management team that “punched out” the offshore hook-up scope in Norway. He was part of the very first crew to mobilise offshore to Brent Charlie in June 1978, just hours after the massive, gravity-based structure was deballasted to the seabed and grouted in position following its tow from Stord.
In the summer of 1979, the ever-present danger of working in the North Sea offshore industry struck when 17 people died in the Sumburgh Air Disaster on 31 July. By good fortune, Alan was on the opposite rotation and at home when the accident happened. But for those that died, several were his friends and Alan had come to know them very well. Listen to Alan recall the story to Thomas Stuenkel (from 03:30 to 05:30) and then talks about Alexander Kielland to 07:20. Listen to the start of his interview with Thomas to find out how Alan became involved in Commissioning (from 01:50 to 03:20 and 08:00 to 09:35).
A few years later, on 6 July 1988, the day after the Piper Alpha tragedy, he was working for Shell Operations in the Southern sector and took a crew offshore to begin the Summer Shutdown Campaign, starting on Leman Charlie (read Alan’s account here, and listen to him talk about the impact of Piper Alpha on him from 09:35 to 12:43 in the interview with Thomas Stuenkel). The 3-month campaign went well, with no accidents or injuries. The excellent cooperation, camaraderie and team spirit was something Alan had never seen before over such a sustained period. All work scope was completed and the gas platforms restarted without any hitches. This hadn’t happened before. All Alan could think was … why can’t we work like this all of the time?
With Safety as his personal North Star, Alan has guided Falcon Group to focus on Systems Completion (SC) and Commissioning & Start-Up (CSU) through the entire project life cycle until final handover to Operations. Today, Falcon Group are recognized worldwide for their specialist knowledge of how the Zenator software relates to the energy and process industries. Our technical consultancy and training programs approved by the American Petroleum Institute (API), enable us to build skills and expertise in your organization.
See our recent achievements: Falcon Group References.
Falcon Global Ltd was established in 2000, to help our customers start-up, operate and maintain their assets safer and better. Within the energy and process industries our expertise is in Oil & Gas, Power Generation & Distribution, Nuclear New-Build and Decommissioning, Renewables, Pharmaceuticals, Petrochemicals and Civil Infrastructure.
Formerly based in Houston, Texas and since mid-2022 operated from Norwich in the UK, Global Falcon Americas Inc was created in 2006 to maximize potential throughout the Americas and Caribbean.
Our customers are Operators and Contractors, and we are uniquely placed to help them to fulfill their objectives, achieving sustainable business improvement, risk reduction and excellence in Process Safety.
Process Safety comes as Standard
We focus on Systems Completion through Commissioning & Start-Up (CSU) because we know this reduces your risk and exposure. We are a major contributor in helping your organization attain higher standards of Process Safety.
Blending Technology and Field Experience
We provide our customers with knowledge-based software, training and technical consulting services through the term of a project cycle and the life of the assets.
Our expertise is in SC and CSU and we are at our most effective in Phases 2 and 3, prior to Final Investment Decision (FID), through Phase 4, until final Handover to Operations. We also support customers with Shutdowns, Turnarounds, Operations and Maintenance. Our value to customers is so strong, we often continue well into Phase 5, the Operational Phase.
We fully understand the risks and effects to benefit your business performance. We minimize your risks, ensuring safe and timely project delivery. Repeated across all projects and operations, this boosts business performance and your bottom line.
Training You to Execute Projects Better
In April 2013 Global Falcon Americas delivered its first training workshop in, “Commissioning & Start-Up with API RP 1 FSC”. It was to a class hosted by our Nigerian partner, Nexus Alliance Ltd, in Port Harcourt and jointly attended by over 40 operators, technicians, engineers and managers from Chevron and Shell. Since then, and re-branded MasterClass CSU, over 300 CSU professionals from the United States, Ecuador, Trinidad, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, UAE, Oman, Nigeria, Ireland, Scotland and England, have benefited from public and private training sessions for individuals and project teams. In-person, virtual classroom or eLearning, we have a course that’s right for you, your project and your employer.
We are a leading provider of technology and expertise. Our policy, wherever we operate, is to develop Zenator Super Users and Power Users from local talent, creating high value positions in the local economy.