P R Marriott Drilling

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from P R Marriott Drilling is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Director John Beswick
Oil exploration, Belize
Established in Derbyshire in 1947 by Richard Marriott, PR
Marriott Drilling has expanded from a small family business
focused on water resources to now working internationally,
with projects across the UK, Europe, Central and South America,
and East Africa. Alongside their oil and gas exploration projects
abroad, they are looking to develop the extraction of shale gas
in the UK. Director John Beswick tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the need for government support to develop the domestic
shale gas sector and to expand their international business.
We offer a range of specialist drilling and associated services to the oil, gas, gas
storage, shale gas, coal bed methane, geothermal, mining, geoscience and water
We are a leader in safety, innovation and technology for both domestic and
international exploration and the development of natural resources, with bases in the
UK, East Africa, and Central and South America.
The company has an experienced and versatile team of some of the best in the
industry, with a commitment to project and customer success. This is underpinned
by comprehensive quality, health, safety and environment programmes, together
with personnel training to ensure service excellence. We are accredited by Lloyd’s
Register for safety, quality and environmental management. The combination of
personnel expertise, local knowledge, and modern rigs and equipment, together
with the ability to provide a range of critical support services, offers a strong
capability both in the UK and in selected international markets.
»Director: John Beswick
»Established in 1947
»Based near Chesterfield
»Services: Specialist drilling
and associated services to
the oil, gas, gas storage,
shale gas, coal bed methane,
geothermal, mining,
geoscience and water
»No. of employees: 200–300,
depending on location and
P R Marriott Drilling
Highlighting best practice
Our team is led by the three grandsons
of Richard Marriott: Jonti, Paul and
Alan. We currently employ some
200 to 300 employees worldwide,
including other members of the
Marriott family, with a 30-strong head
office team at our headquarters near
Chesterfield. For international projects,
we have a reputation for training local
personnel to our high standards and
are proud of the fact that in Kenya our
operations are crewed by over 80 per
cent Kenyan nationals and in Central
and South America almost 100 per
cent localemployees.
Our expansion onto the
international stage
Our success is illustrated by our
development from a domestic
family company to a player on the
international stage within the last
15 years. In the UK, this includes
pioneering work in shale gas
exploration and development, which, if
eventually successful, could provide the
UK with gas resources for many years
to come. We have also been the main
contractor for the discovery of one of
the world’s largest potash deposits at
a site in North Yorkshire. In the UK,
we also operate a water resources
department that provides services to
water authorities and other industries.
International operations commenced
in 2002 in Spain followed by our
discovery of the first oil in Belize. Since
then, we have drilled over 50 wells
there and also extended our operations
in the oil, gas and geothermal sectors
into neighbouringGuatemala.
Our entry into Africa was by way
of a project to drill two challenging
high-pressure, high-temperature
gas wells in Cameroon, followed
by the development of some of the
world’s most productive geothermal
wells in Kenya. In recent years, we
have also undertaken a long-term
contract for oil exploration in a remote
part of northern Kenya for a major
independent oil company against
strong international competition,
which has consolidated the company’s
position in the new energy markets in
East Africa.
The possibilities of shale gas
The focus of shale gas as a potential
source of cheaper gas in the UK
could offer significant opportunities
for us in our home market, but only
if an assured market develops. The
right support from government is
also crucial. So far, the burdensome
regulatory regime makes exploiting
gas from shale unattractive, which,
Shale gas exploration in
the UK (left); geothermal
production in Kenya
Our success is
illustrated by
from a
company to a
player on the
stage within
the last 15
together with the failure by both
industry and government to present a
strong PR case, may prohibit significant
exploration and development due to
the high cost, even if exploitation is
shown to be feasible.
With a more positive outcome in the UK
market, we could grow further in the
shale gas business. This would help to
channel the benefits to the UK economy
by establishing local manufacturing
facilities and workshops in shale gas
areas and providing employment and
training programmes for both younger
and older workers. Some of the drilling
rig and associated components could
be manufactured or assembled in
the UK, given the right environment
and local personnel, particularly the
young unemployed. They could also be
trained to crew the rigs and maintain
the equipment, with very significant
benefits to the local communities and
the UK’s industrialfuture.
Where do we go from here?
Our main operational focus is on
quality and on the health, safety and
welfare of our employees, together
with environmental protection. To
adapt to the future trend towards
more-robotic drilling rigs and associated
equipment, designed to minimise
personnel exposure to danger, we are
already planning to introduce the latest
state-of-the art rigs coupled with some
artificial intelligence into East Africa.
The last two years since the oil price
collapse and the hiatus in any form of
exploration at home have focused our
attention on overseas opportunities.
Working in these highly competitive
markets, we need as much support as
we can get from government to allow
us to invest in appropriate equipment
packages, which are disproportionately
expensive for a company of our size.
The long-term rewards are potentially
significant and could provide
substantial tax revenues to the UK.
Our significant efforts and investment
in selected international markets have
presented us with a portfolio of major
long-term contracts, including oil and
gas exploration and development in
Bolivia and Mozambique and the next
stage of an exploration programme
for mined repository locations for
high-level radioactive waste in
Switzerland. As we enter 2019, the
business portfolio suggests that 85
per cent of our trading may come
from international projects in the next
year or so, some of which, however,
is dependent on UKEF support. In
the UK, in 2019, our operations will
include shale gas exploration wells and
two deep geothermal wells in Cornwall
to demonstrate power production, one
being the deepest onshore well in the
UK at over 4,500 metres depth.
Maintaining strength in our home
market, and expanding our UK skills
base, is important in helping to
create a company with the ability to
succeed in competitive international
markets and to provide stability
and opportunities for personnel
development. Our journey from a small
family business to an international
player in a variety of energy and
subsurface resource industries over
a 15-year period has to be a UK
Our significant
efforts and
investment in
markets have
presented us
with a
portfolio of
major long-
term contracts
Modern head office
facilities in Clay Cross,


This article was sponsored by P R Marriott Drilling. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.