I have been expecting something to come out, and certainly the implication is that we will hear a lot more about Transocean in the near future.
I am sure there’s a lot to say on that. But I’m not the one to say it now.
What struck me about the article was something else entirely.
Transocean is a company without a home. It has a Houston base of operations. But it’s executives are based in Geneva. And it’s 20,000 employees are all over the world, with manufacturing in Asia and some logistics in the sub-continent. The firm has more assets in the North Sea than it does in the Gulf of Mexico… where Deepwater Horizon has now made it famous.
The firm has announced a €1 billion dividend earlier this year. But the government of Switzerland is holding it up.
How much off-shore drilling is done in Switzerland?
And where do employees of Transocean call home?
It resonates today with another naturalised Briton I spoke to while playing cricket (as one does.) This man explained that his family has chosen not to bury it’s relatives anywhere. No stone, no grave. Because the children and relatives are spread around many countries and several continents.
“This way, if we cremate them, we can each have a little cup, to do with as we wish.” And we all nodded, as if we understood.
I’m not telling you this to make you cringe, or feel sad. But it’s in some ways a fitting analogy for companies like Transocean. They are not of the earth. They are not connected to the soil of any one jurisdiction. So it will be interesting to see how things play out for them.
BP has certainly had a great deal made of it’s “British-ness” over the last 5 months. And British is undoubtedly still important to the business. Even as they have an American CEO and few real operations even in Europe.
For companies that have no home, whose rules do they play to? Whose administration do they honour? What audience and people can they not stand to let down?
Who holds them to account?