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Clive Needham 1951-2017

fdgjClive Needham, who died on 1 July aged 65, was a man for whom geology was a lifelong passion. It was one he enjoyed sharing with others: no one who went for a hike with Clive ever looked at the landscape in the same way again.

Following a London University joint honours degree in Geology and Physics from Portsmouth Polytechnic, Clive began work as a mud-logger and well-site geologist in the mid-Seventies. He went on to follow a distinguished career in the oil and gas industries, holding positions in companies such as Geoservices, Getty Oil,  Amoco, Getty, Petrofina, Western Atlas, Eni and Jersey Oil and Gas. 

As a modern oil man, Clive never shrank from a challenge. He took up positions in locations all over the world, including France, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada, UK, China, Vietnam, Ireland, Faroes, Italy and Indonesia. Marrying in 1980, he and his wife Jane became very capable ex-pats. Their children, Robert and Merethe, were born in Stavanger during the Eighties. Robert has followed his father into the oil industry while Merethe is involved with business and technology services.

Clive’s straightforwardness in his evaluation of problems was well-known. He provided management with clear, well-reasoned analyses, from which flowed his scientific and commercial recommendations. He always gave science predominance. Sometimes his answers were not what management wanted to hear but his opinions were greatly respected, based as they were on years of well-rounded industry experience gained in numerous geological provinces across the world. When evaluating exploration and production assets, he was often able to say, “Ah yes, I sat the discovery well on that field.”

Clive was keen to help train and develop the next generation of oil men and women. One young colleague at Jersey Oil and Gas, for whom Clive worked until a few weeks before his death, described him as a real oil-man legend.

Passionate as he was about his chosen industry and geology – being both a Chartered Geologist and Fellow of the Geological Society – Clive also enjoyed a range of leisure activities. Full of vitality and enthusiasm, he threw himself into scuba diving, golf, sailing and mountain biking. He also like to drive interesting cars, and was a regular at Goodwood events.

Clive was an accomplished professional and a witty, engaging colleague and friend. But most of all he was a family man, a loving husband and father.

He will be greatly missed.

By Jane Needham