Houston 2022

John Dabbar

Jun 28 2010 Be the first to comment!

ARCO Alumnus John Dabbar is currently employed by ConocoPhillips in Kazakhstan; a move he completed recently after relocating to Moscow from the US fourteen years ago. In the fall of 1996 John was working with ARCO Pipeline Company at Cherry Avenue in Long Beach. At the time, ARCO was setting up the Lukarco joint venture with Lukoil. Part of Lukoil was to take an interest in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, a newly-formed venture to build the first private pipeline in the Former Soviet Union.

“I received a call and was asked if they could write my name in the organization chart” John tells us. “When I got home that night I told my wife I had a chance to get an international assignment. “Great” she said “Where?” I answered her “Probably Moscow” to which she answered “No, seriously, where?” An unusual location, the chance to take part in this joint venture proved too tempting to resist and John and his family made the move.

“I had a chance to work with many life-long Soviet “oil men” as they called themselves and learned a lot about the history of the oil and gas industry in the Former Soviet Union first hand from the people that built it”, says John. Eight years after the move, John, his wife and children were living happily in Moscow where his children enjoyed attending Russian school and the family had successfully integrated into the local Russian community.

When asked about discrepancies between the Russian and US oil and gas industries after his initial move, John mentions two main factors gained from his time on the continent. “First, the industry inside the Former Soviet Union was very much an autarky, independent of what was happening in the rest of the world; most equipment was built locally to their own standards, and everything was standardized-you need a pump station, this is the standard design of the pump station with it’s own bill of materials; procurement basically meant copying the standard list. The second factor was a lack of understanding of market forces; like a regulated utility, everyone based their prices on allowable costs”.

Fourteen years after completing the move across the Atlantic, John has seen tremendous strides in the working environment within the Former Soviet Union and significant improvements in mutual understanding. Now working for ConocoPhillips he works on oil and gas transportation issues for the Caspian region.

His recent move from Moscow to Astana, the capital of Kazakstan, enables John to focus on the region and be closer to the decision-makers. John can be contacted at

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