Since joining Italmatch Chemicals Group in January 2023, Marc Archibald has used his extensive knowledge and expertise of oilfield scale and like-minded subjects to truly excel our Well Technology offering. With a diverse career that spans more than 24 years, Marc represents the vast expertise that is present within all areas at Italmatch.
Now 8 months into his role as Global Technical Development Manager for Well Technology P&A, we caught up with Marc who dissects his career thus far, what encouraged him to join our team, and what the future holds for Well Technology at Italmatch…
How would you summarise your career background and what has led you to where you are today?
“Prior to joining Italmatch, I enjoyed working as a Scale Specialist at a major service company for just over 10 years. The role covered a wide remit inclusive of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, where I tackled a number of responsibilities from project management to laboratory qualification. The technical aspect of my role focussed on the selection of scale inhibitors, scale squeeze treatment design, scale prediction modelling, and general scale management.
“That was actually my second stint with that company, as I first joined the organisation in 2001 as a Senior Development Chemist. Developing in this role for almost nine years, my responsibilities were predominantly lab-related and involved the testing and qualification of scale inhibitors.
“Looking back to my first start in the industry after graduating from the University of Aberdeen in Chemistry back in 1999, it was a Chemist role with Core Laboratories. This position helped me learn the basics of oil and water testing.
“In short, my career thus far has spanned more than 24 years in technical roles, while my latter position also granted me the opportunity to learn the commercial side of the industry, as I was in direct contact with customers and stakeholders on a daily basis.”
What encouraged you to join Italmatch?
“I had always been aware of Aubin / Italmatch due to its strong relationship with the major service company that I’d previously worked with, and had a number of connections within its team. When the opportunity arose to bring in a new Global Technical Development Manager for Well Technology, Aubin believed it was an ideal fit based on my skills and experience.
“When meeting with the team, they delved into the range of chemistries and products, while paying particular attention to Aubin® Xclude. This scale technology is predominantly used during plug and abandonment projects, and is a key focus for the role.
“The team then discussed the forthcoming acquisition by Italmatch, which promised to shape a fruitful and exciting future for everyone at Aubin. Excited by the role and the opportunities that the acquisition would present, I was delighted to take this next step in my career and was determined to become a great addition to this expert team.”
What is your area of expertise at Italmatch?
“While my key area of expertise is in oilfield scale, I also carry an in-depth knowledge of the chemistry behind the Aubin® product range, including the methods in which they are tested and deployed. My learnings from past roles can be applied directly to my day-to-day responsibilities at Itamatch - especially when it comes to scale technologies like Aubin® Xclude.”
What does a typical day look like for you and what is the ultimate goal in your current role?
“My day-to-day heavily revolves around Aubin® Xclude and the development of its marketing material, as we are still in the early stages of progressing this into the market. This involves liaising with a number of potential customers and searching for opportunities where Aubin® Xclude could be utilised, while pushing this unique product towards field deployment. Italmatch has numerous interactions on the potential use of Aubin® Xclude.
“The challenges associated with bringing a new well technology to market aren’t new, these have always existed within the industry. However, Aubin® Xclude is a safe and low-risk technology and it’s important that we get this message out there. We do have some exciting opportunities on the horizon though, where we will get to fully test its capabilities which will strengthen our position bringing this product to market.”
Why are you so passionate about your work? What do you enjoy most about it?
“I’ve always enjoyed problem-solving and building relationships with customers, which is why I have enjoyed this role so much since joining in January 2023. I like to get under the skin of our clients to really understand the scope of the problem it is facing, while spending time thinking of ways in which the suite of Italmatch products can help alleviate or address these issues.
“I also love the passion of our team towards learning - from project to project, we continuously evaluate how well our products have performed for our customers, and how we can take these learnings into our next job.”
Could you tell us a bit more about Aubin® Xclude, and the main benefit to its customers?
“The purpose of the technology is to aid plug and abandon operations by blocking the formation zones of wells - Aubin® Xclude is designed to scale in precise locations, meaning it won’t block or interfere with the well’s tubing.
“Current practices require a rig to plug and abandon a well which leads to an average cost of £5 million per operation, whereas Aubin® Xclude can create a barrier in the reservoir using existing equipment.
“Safe, environmentally-friendly and cost effective, the technology is capable of using inorganic scale formation to form a permanent mineral barrier in the rock, which isolates any hydrocarbon from entering the well. It’s essentially a low-risk approach to well abandonment.”
What do you see in Aubin and Italmatch’s future over the next 3 to 5 years?
“For both parties, I believe the acquisition is a very exciting opportunity as it brings together the reach and manufacturing capabilities of Italmatch with the expertise and products of Aubin, while opening doors for both organisations that were perhaps previously closed.
“In terms of my remit, I believe Aubin® Xclude will really take off in a big way once it has been field proven and becomes a recognised technology within the market. There are endless opportunities around the world where customers can benefit from this innovative approach to plug and abandon operations. As the energy transition kicks in, there is a requirement for an alternative to traditional cement techniques and we strive to be at the forefront of this major change to P&A processes.
“Alongside this is Aubin® Xmax, which provides a cost-effective alternative for permanent water shut off in a well - this too does not require a rig to be implemented. This technology is designed to help operators maximise production, and is another product that I believe will increase in demand in the foreseeable future.
“As we move through the energy transition, Aubin and Italmatch will continue to invest in our renewable chemical solutions - this is an area that excites our team, and we look forward to developing our suite of environmentally-friendly products that already includes our popular Axi-Gard and LiquiDense solutions.”
In your opinion, why do you think people choose Italmatch?
“During my time in previous roles, I was a customer of Italmatch as we bought many of its raw materials meaning I was able to see first-hand the immense quality of its products - this was another reason why I was delighted to join the team, and why I believe many customers continue to work with Italmatch.
“I also believe that the joining of two established, innovative companies like Aubin and Italmatch has attracted more customers to invest in Aubin’s legacy product range.”