Deeper water means more risk, but companies say they can help

With heightened public scrutiny, new regulations and more on the way, companies are more risk-averse than ever, says Mike Poland, director of asset management services at Life Cycle Engineering.

That’s good news for his company, which formed more than 30 years ago to help companies manage risk.

Poland, who grew up in Spring, is back in Houston this week for the Offshore Technology Conference, meeting with clients and talking with potential clients in Reliant Arena.

Mike Poland, director, asset management services at Life Cycle Engineering. (Jeannie Kever/Houston Chronicle)

Mike Poland, director, asset management services at Life Cycle Engineering. (Jeannie Kever/Houston Chronicle)

And he’s cruising the other booths, looking for new technology his clients could use.

Life Cycle Engineering is based in Charleston, S.C., but Poland said the company has worked in Houston almost from the beginning to serve clients in the oil and gas business.

It opened a Houston office about a year ago.

Life Cycle Engineering serves primarily government, pharmaceutical and oil and gas companies, he said; the government clients are mostly military.

All are clients with expensive assets, and Poland noted that the risk goes up for energy companies as they explore further offshore.

“The deeper the water, the higher the risk,” he said.

Life Cycle Engineering offers three main services, he said, including engineering services, consulting services to help companies address the human factor in improving safety, and an educational program that can be tailored to a company’s needs.

They’re usually called in for consulting services after a merger or acquisition, or following a significant downsizing, Poland said.

Companies were interested in safety even before recent “big events,” Poland said, using the catch-phrase for high-profile disasters including the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the water.

Federal regulations have been tightened in response, and another round of regulations are due soon. Poland said public pressure has had an impact, too.

“It’s driven companies to be a little less risk-tolerant,” he said.


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