Head of Operations

Olivier de Nadaï,
Head of Operations at Geostock

Head of the Operations Department at an underground gas storage site: an exciting and complex job that requires strong commitment and a great deal of motivation to provide the best possible service to clients. Olivier de Nadaï, in charge of this department for Geostock at the Geogaz-Lavéra site, tells us about his daily life, the path that led him to this position, and the challenges he faces day after day. If you are curious to find out more about the energy storage industry and the skills required to work in this field, this interview is for you.

1 / What is your current position at Geostock?

Since 2019, I have been Head of Operations for our client Géogaz at the Lavéra site in Martigues, in the Bouches-du-Rhône region. I am in charge of everything related to product movements, transfers by pipeline or by ship. In particular, I supervise the loading of trucks and wagons. More broadly, I take charge of everything related to the storage cavity, both in terms of flows and product quality.

2 / What is your background in the company?

It’s a long story! I joined Geostock in 1990. Before that, I had worked in the petroleum products trade, but also in a nuclear power plant and in a design office. At Geostock, I started as an external operator, a position I held for two years. Then I became a Panel Operator for the next 2 years before becoming a Shift Foreman. I continued my progression by becoming a Day Foreman and then Deputy Head of Operations in 2010. Finally, following the retirement of my predecessor in 2019, I am now Head of Operations. In all, I have been with Geostock for 33 years, which has allowed me to work in six very different positions.

3 / What are your daily tasks?

As Operations Manager for Géogaz in Lavéra, my daily tasks are to manage the flow and quality of products entering and leaving the storage caves. I manage the teams on site in 24-hour shifts and ensure that all product movements are carried out safely, in accordance with procedures.

Of course, I don’t do this alone. I rely on the skills of several trades. I am in constant contact with the Technical Department to monitor the installations and report any operational problems. I am also in constant contact with the Logistics department to check that all movements are carried out in accordance with customer requirements. I also work closely with external companies based in the region to coordinate movements between the refineries and storage areas, as well as with the loading and management companies of the autonomous port.

4 / What qualities are required for this job?

This job requires perseverance and consistency, as you have to ensure a constant quality of service, despite the many challenges you may face on a daily basis. You also need to be able to work effectively under pressure, moving from one subject to another with all the information in your head and adapting quickly to changes. This dual requirement makes it an exciting, varied, technically complete and intellectually stimulating job. This has enabled me to continue to learn and progress continuously throughout the years. Striving for excellence is in Geostock’s DNA, which is very motivating.

5 / What do you enjoy most about your job?

There are many aspects of this job that I enjoy. First of all, I appreciate the diversity of relationships. There is a lot of contact with other departments, as well as with external companies such as those working on the site or the tanker drivers.

I also appreciate the specific nature of our activity: underground energy storage. It’s a rare and very demanding job in terms of technical expertise and know-how. This leads us to think, to imagine processes and solutions that are specific to each cavity. You have to be creative.

6 / The Géogaz site is a Seveso classified industrial site. How does this impact your work?

The fact that the Géogaz site is classified as Seveso has a major impact on my daily work. More than anywhere else, you have to be extra vigilant and rigorous in every move you make. The safety rules are very strict. It is important to remember that they are put in place to guarantee the safety of everyone. It is important to be meticulous in their implementation. Our customers expect this from us: absolute respect for safety for the peace of mind of local residents, staff and the environment. This is also one of the company’s core values.

7 / What advice would you give to those who would like to join us?

This is a job that requires strong commitment and motivation to serve our customers as well as possible. You shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t have all the required skills at the start. Like me, you can progress by being curious, by taking an interest in the many professions that can be found on this site. There are many exciting areas to explore.

Come tell us about your project

Geostock provides a complete range of services covering the entire life cycle of an underground storage project.

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Cavité minée – Mined Roeck Cavern
Control room of operated site
Shalapa site operated by Geostock