John Thorogood




Senior Technical Advisor, Drilling Engineering and Operations


John Thorogood has a 44-year career in drilling engineering, field operations, drilling technology and exploration well project management.  He is a self-employed drilling engineering advisor working mainly for operating companies.  His areas of practice encompass technical standards, processes, policies and procedures, technical and organisational reviews, exploration well project management, risk management, process safety and human factors.

John has BA and PhD degrees in Engineering Science from the University of Cambridge.  He is a chartered mechanical engineer and member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, where he served on the Board of Directors.  He started his career with Burmah Oil, later through nationalisation and privatisation, continued in the BP Exploration drilling organisation in technical, operational and project management roles with the last ten years of his career spent in frontier exploration projects involving dynamically positioned rigs operating in deep water, harsh environment and arctic conditions.

Since retiring from BP in 2007, he has consulted for a diverse range of international clients, including major operators, small independents, service companies, research institutes and law firms.  He is a member of several scientific and technical advisory committees, a director of two oilfield technology companies and two companies outside the oil industry.  He maintains a continuing interest in drilling automation, human performance, decision-making and resilience of drilling organisations.

He has extensive experience of developing management systems for new-start operations.  He has written high level well engineering policy documents and a diverse set of technical standards and operating practices contained within them.

Management of new start operations in Norway, the Faroe Islands, UK, and Russia provided him with exposure to a spectrum of regulatory regimes from highly prescriptive to goal setting.  Experience in less-regulated areas, such as Chile, Argentina, Paraguay has underlined the necessity for effective top-down risk controls in operating companies.

John has undertaken a peer review of draft regulations for the Government of New Zealand Ministry for the Environment and provided input to the joint committee set up by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering to analyse the environmental, health and safety risks associated with shale gas extraction in the UK by means of hydraulic fracturing.  He advised the US Chemical Safety Board on the human factors aspects of their report on the Macondo disaster.

He has published over 60 technical articles and peer reviewed papers on: organisation and human factors, drilling automation, deep water and exploration drilling, wellbore surveying, directional drilling, well control and shallow gas and other aspects of well engineering.