August 03, 2017

On the Vissolela, Chris Rentzke is the director of subsea operations at ExxonMobil block 15 in Angola. A look at his career and the mission he is in charge of.

Chris Rentzke began his career in the offshore industry in 2005, moving up from anchor handling to rigging superintendence in just a few years. “When I joined BOURBON in 2010, I started out as a deck foreman,” he explains. “Since then, as has been the case for everything I have accomplished throughout my career, I have been working my way up, step by step. My current position is Offshore Construction Manager.” A career path that can also be attributed to the opportunities that he didn’t hesitate to seize.

On board the Vissolela, Chris Rentzke and his team supervise subsea operations at ExxonMobil’s block 15, off the coast of Angola. “We coordinate all the subsea works related to hydrocarbon extraction, particularly lifting and subsea installation of connections,” he explains. “The Vissolela is customized for these kinds of operations. This MPSV is equipped with class 2 dynamic positioning and thanks to its crane and winch with active wave compensation features, this vessel is capable of installing heavy equipment, such as jumpers (connections) for example, in deep water.” At block 15, the wells are at depths ranging from 600 to 2,000 meters.

" What I really enjoy is guiding my team to success, rising to the challenges together, in addition to designing and implementing solutions to identified problems."
CHRIS RENTZKEOFFSHORE MANAGER

RISING TO THE CHALLENGES TOGETHER 

A jumper is a pipe connecting 2 subsea structures, in this case, the wellhead and the manifold. “The manifold collects the oil that will make it possible for the new well to start production,” Chris Rentzke explains.

While prior human preparation is of course essential, the crews receive assistance from 2 ROVs for these operations. “With the master, we would position the vessel and the ROVs at the precise location of the operation. The ROVs would then connect the electric and hydraulic lines so that production could be supervised from the surface.”

Even more than the technical side of his job, Chris Rentzke is motivated by the managerial aspects. “What I really enjoy is guiding my team to success, rising to the challenges together, in addition to designing and implementing solutions to identified problems."

 

KEEP MOVING FORWARD 

Chris Rentzke remembers one moment in particular during his career with BOURBON: “It was during a mission in Nigeria. As the deck foreman, I supervised a crane lifting operation for a 30-meter long jumper, in very difficult conditions. Each end of the jumper then had to be repositioned on its support stand on the deck of our supply vessel.”

So there you have a glimpse into the mindset of this self-made man. His advice to anyone interested in pursuing the same career? “Keep moving forward, don’t ever give up. Sometimes you’ll feel overwhelmed by the scope of the project, the size of the equipment to handle... but with time, experience, a lot of preparation, and a committed team, you will learn how to get all of these parameters under control and to provide the best possible service to the client,” he concludes.