Technical and Maintenance Manager

Meet Claire Baudry,
our Technical and Maintenance Manager assigned to the Jurong Rock Caverns site in Singapore

With a unique career path from her beginnings in chemistry to her current role, Claire provides insight into her career in underground energy storage. In this interview, she discusses topics such as the current challenges of the industry, shares her perspectives on technological advancements, and highlights the importance of diversity in technical fields.

Hello Claire, can you explain why you are in Singapore?

I work at BCSS (Banyan Cavern Storage Services), where Geostock is a shareholder alongside Vopak and Surbana Jurong, managing the operations and maintenance of the facilities for JTC since 2014. I have been based in Singapore since August 2020 at the Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC) site as the Technical and Maintenance Manager. The site consists of five underground caverns dedicated to the storage of crude oil and condensates for use by refineries and petrochemical plants.

What path led you to this international career?

It’s a long story. After earning an engineering degree at INSA Rouen, specializing in Fine Chemistry and Engineering, I joined GEOSTOCK in 2007 as a chemist to work on issues related to the quality monitoring of stored products and water quality. Even at that time, I was in close contact with the operational teams at GEOGAZ, GEOSEL, and Sennecey. I was fortunate to be well supported and to discover, alongside experts, geo and hydrogeology topics specific to the technology and operation of underground petroleum product storage.

Encouraged by my supervisors, I was able to move towards more field-oriented activities such as supervising the implementation of piezometers and seismic sensors while developing customer relationship management and administrative engineering.

In 2014, I was given the responsibility of the GEOGAZ Lavera underground LPG storage operations service. Past experiences and the quality of the teams in place allowed me to quickly adapt to coordinate totally new subjects such as the logistics part of truck/wagon/customs loading or managing shift teams.

Finally, in 2020, the opportunity for an international assignment presented itself to me, this time as Technical and Maintenance Manager. Initially a bit daunting (language, different cultures, distance, more technical role), encouraged by my hierarchy, I saw it as an opportunity to further develop skills and bring my past experiences in operations, customer/shareholder management, and customer focus to JRC.

In your rich career, could you tell us about a particularly significant experience?

A significant experience for me was, in 2013, my secondment to the Petit-Couronne refinery (Normandy) to initially assist Shell in the compliance works as part of the concession renewal (Normandy). My mission quickly evolved into creating a new entity, STONORGAZ, encompassing the creation of offices, procedures, recruiting a team, and liaising with the administration to ensure the continuation of operations.

Can you tell us what your typical day looks like?

Not coming from a technical background, my role is mainly to provide teams with the means, technical support, and work environment they need to successfully complete their mission. Most of my time is therefore devoted to coordination, understanding difficulties, anticipating problems. In practice, this involves monitoring daily activities, ensuring regulatory compliance, validating specifications and tenders, following performance indicators, developing predictive maintenance, and monitoring maintenance budgets. Indeed, routine is not the norm!

Among these many missions, which one did you prefer?

A part that I particularly enjoy involves the management and development of skills for engineers and technicians. This position allows involvement in a wide range of specialties (Safety, human resources, training, budget, client and shareholder relations, technical, operation).

What are the main challenges you face in your role?

They mainly concern the aging of installations and the need to plan equipment replacements while limiting costs and operational shutdowns. To achieve this, it is necessary to have a good understanding of client and operational constraints, establish a strategy for replacing and spare critical parts, and detailed planning. Beyond replacements, the development of predictive maintenance tools allows extending the lifespan of equipment and/or anticipating a failure.

Is being responsible for an industrial site that would be classified Seveso III in Europe a lot of pressure on a daily basis?

The quality of maintenance is crucial to ensure safety and continuity of operations as well as customer satisfaction. It requires managing a multitude of subjects in parallel without neglecting any. Good personal organization and a robust team are essential to avoid being overwhelmed. Good team cohesion allows us to face demanding periods and unexpected challenges calmly. I like to improvise moments of relaxation with the teams to release pressure or tensions that can build up in the face of difficulties.

What is your vision of the future of the underground energy storage industry, in general and for Geostock in particular?

Storage, and especially underground storage, has a bright future ahead. It has always efficiently addressed major issues (strategic storage, crises, securing factory supplies, massive gas storage) while minimizing land impact. Underground storage has also adapted to evolving environmental and administrative constraints. Geostock actively participates with many partners in the development of new technologies to meet the growing demand for new energy storage solutions. With both operational and technical expertise, Geostock should be a central player in this transformation, while integrating from the design of storages the consideration of the environmental footprint of our activities.

As a woman, have you encountered difficulties in a traditionally male industrial environment?

I have personally never had difficulty being a woman in a male environment. After a naturally observational period, I think I have always managed to assert what I could bring to teams and organizations through my involvement, listening, and over the years, my experience. However, earlier in my career, I was more apprehensive due to a lack of confidence and experience when I had to present topics in front of a board of Directors. But supported by my hierarchy, this feeling quickly faded.

What is your opinion on the “Elles bougent” initiative, which aims to encourage young women to pursue technical and industrial careers?

Do you think it has a significant impact? Absolutely! “Elles bougent” promotes diversity and opens up career prospects in technical fields traditionally dominated by men through actions organized in schools and higher education institutions. Testimonials help to present the professions and lift stereotypes that might deter young women from pursuing technical and ambitious fields.

What advice would you give to a candidate?

I would tell them that Geostock can offer a great career opportunity and professional fulfillment in an exciting sector. Any candidate with good listening skills will find an environment conducive to progressive responsibility and personal development.


Thank you, Claire, for this discussion.

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