Whilst Peter left school with no qualifications, he was offered a job in 1974 when he was 16 years old, working for Balford Betty who were one of many contractors building the Occidental Refinery on Canvey Island in Essex. The refinery never completed construction, as planning permission was refused, which led to the site being shut down.
Following closure of the site, Peter was offered a job as a labourer working for a company called East London Contracts who mainly employed people from Canvey Island. The role was at the Occidental Refinery managing the site. Through connections whilst working at the Occidental Refinery, Peter was offered a job working for Pullman Kellogg’s who were building a new cracking complex at the Coryton Oil Refinery, owned by Mobil Oil, in Essex which was situated on the Thames Estuary.
In Peter’s early 20’s, he was offered a role by Mobil Oil as a storeman at the refinery which involved handling refinery parts and equipment used on the site. Peter held various roles at Mobil Oil, but following the joint venture in 1996 between Mobil Oil and BP, Peter applied for a role as a jetty operator which involved connecting the loading arms to the ships to be able to load and unload the cargo between the ship and landside tanks. During Peter’s time as a jetty operator, Peter’s boss showed him how to safely undertake the loading and unloading of the ships and completion of all paperwork which included safety documentation and cargo bill of ladings.
One day Peter’s boss called him into his office and said to him “You are not here on Monday”, Peter asked him why? (He thought he had done something wrong and was going to get the sack). His reply was that you are going to Edinburgh to undertake an Advanced Marine Engineering course which he successfully passed.
Upon Peter’s return to the refinery, Peter was promoted to Marine Controller and when he was on shift, he was responsible for all ship movements, berthing, discharge and completion of the relevant paperwork. This also included liaising with the Port of London Authority river pilots, ships captains, lighterman, shipping agents and BP’s trading division.