The UK Oil & Gas Chaplaincy

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Chaplaincy History

In April 1986, a Church of Scotland minister, the Reverend Andrew Wylie, came to Aberdeen to conduct a pilot scheme that would examine the pastoral needs of the vast onshore and offshore community in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

In the aftermath of the Chinook helicopter tragedy in Shetland in November 1986, the need for a Chaplain dedicated to the industry was highlighted.

The necessary steps to formalise Andrew Wylie's appointment as Chaplain to the industry were well advanced by the time of the Piper Alpha tragedy. The sad loss of 167 offshore workers naturally brought much grief and trauma not only to the next of kin but also the industry as a whole. Many people gave unstintingly of their expertise and of their assets to help and to provide any kind of relief. The contribution made by Andrew Wylie's expertise was both enormous and evident.

By January 1989, the industry had its own interdenominational chaplaincy fully funded by the United Kingdom Offshore Operator's Association (UKOOA) now Oil and Gas UK. Mrs Anne Fullerton was selected specially as Chaplaincy Administrator to provide the all-important administrative support to a rapidly-developing service. Anne retired from the post in Jun 2011 after over 22 years with the Chaplaincy. On Anne's retirement this demanding post was filled by Mrs Lynne DeBoer, a position she holds to this day.

The Reverend Andrew Wylie retired in August 1991 and was succeeded by the Reverend Angus Smith. He retired in February 2006 and was succeeded by the Reverend Andrew Jolly. Andrew received an MBE in recognition of his ministry to the industry and the support he offered in the wake of the Super Puma crash in April 2009. Sadly Andrew died in September 2010 following illness. The Reverend Martin Grashoff was appointed as Chaplain in March 2011 but returned to The Netherlands early in 2012. The Reverend Gordon Craig was appointed in Aug 2012 and joined the industry following 24 years as a RAF Chaplain.

Accommodation for the Chaplaincy is provided by the member companies of Oil and Gas UK. To date, the Chaplaincy has been located at the Aberdeen headquarters of Uncol, Phillips, Elf, Total and is currently based with Shell in Altens.