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International Women’s Day – Claire Jennings

Every year on the 8th of March, people all over the world celebrate the progress and achievements made by women. This year, Precise Consultants interviewed 7 women from the Oil and Energy industry who are all at different points in their careers. Although it is commonly perceived as male dominated industry, many women have accomplished rewarding careers in Oil and Energy.

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Focussed, Fearless and Female.

Meet Claire Jennings, the Managing Director of AquaGeo, which is considered to be the first all-female managed marine seismic project management company in the world.



Claire on her introduction to the industry
I was born and raised in the industry, spending some of my school holidays in the 80s aboard a survey vessel whilst my Father was working on a seismic survey in Poole Harbour in the UK. I stepped into the geophysical industry following in my fathers footsteps, he worked in a number of large oil and gas related organisations based in the UK before taking a decision to start his own business.  I was soon to follow suit when there was a requirement for my services as in 1994 when the limited company was established.

Claire’s company: AquaGeo
AquaGeo is a British geophysical acquisition and project management company with combined experience spanning over 35 years in the oil and gas sector. We offer a range of services specialising in shallow water acquisition and marine transition zone surveys and we have a vessel dedicated to projects working with 1.5 metre water depths.  Following on from a recent refit, this vessel is currently based in the Caribbean seeking new opportunities.  To complement seismic exploration we have recently entered the oceanographic research sector, and we now have an additional two vessels in our fleet that we are promoting for potential surveys during 2016. Our skill-sets also extend into project management of oil company assets to maximise extraction of existing oilfield reservoirs. We are concentrating our efforts in offering this service to oil companies as we have amassed experience in Permanent Reservoir Monitoring (PRM) gained over a decade.

The best part of Claire’s career
The best aspect of this career choice is the respect I have gained through my client’s, colleagues and employees from serving over 20 years in the industry.  I also have a business ethos of encouraging not stifling initiative in the workplace.  I have seen so many companies fail through my career in the industry where the only way is the highway if you don’t follow management or board procedures.   That is not to say procedures aren’t to be adhered to, I just like to see a happy workforce – with freedom of ideas and speech, and the ability to contribute to all aspects of the company. The good, the bad and the ugly!

What Claire is most proud of
First and foremost I am proud of the company I have established just over 3 years ago.  I left behind WGP, the company I had jointly established and led since 1994, as changes were being implemented and driven by investors and felt the needs of the company weren’t being met.  It was a tough decision, but I see now what goes around comes around.  I have learnt through my experiences and there was light at the end of the tunnel.   Secondly I am proud of my achievements not only in building our profile, but becoming a recognised specialist in the oil exploration sector.

Claire on leadership
With one step forward there is always two steps back.  We are all human and some days we lack motivation and enthusiasm, you just have to get back on the horse with the support from your workforce.  The main focus, and where I provide motivation is I have the ability to explore and seek out new opportunities, and look for new avenues of potential business in what is a very difficult sector.  This is particularly the case taking into account the current oil price and crash in the markets.  We have achieved that as being a private company where we are able to make quick decisions regarding potential projects and fund budgets to explore new avenues.  I also have a great mentor in my Father John Duncan, who has extensive experience in top-level management and offshore operations. He remains as a consultant for the company and his advice has always been very grounding.

Claire’s advice
This industry for a woman is not for the fainthearted, you have to possess an ability to be able to take criticism on the chin!  The female senior team in AquaGeo have vast experience, ranging from providing logistic support to surveys in countries like Azerbaijan and South America – through to qualifications such as marine mammal observers and ISO lead-auditors. In addition I like to promote assisting women getting into the industry from an early age. I am giving a talk at the “Women in Geoscience” event at Plymouth University to hopefully entice some of these young students into making career choices in the marine sector.  After all, they are the future of the industry and women have a wide spectrum of strengths that can only contribute to an industry that I can proudly say isn’t just for men!


Happy International Women’s Day!!