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Mapmakers aim to drum up oil and gas business

TWO enterprising cartographers have hung up shingles in Northbridge and are drumming up business from the local hydrocarbon and minerals industries.

Between them Robert ‘Bob’ Boulter and Ray Oberman have a combined 75 years of experience in the business.

Describing themselves as “prehistoric members of the drafting fraternity” they have joined ranks to operate separate businesses but sharing an office.

While conceding that “business at the moment is very quiet”, Bob Boulter said the start of the year was “excellent” and prospects are growing slowly.

Mr Boulter, who operates as Sunny Graphics, boasts a distinguished career working for some of the leading oil companies in State.

These include Woodside Petroleum (then Bocal), Mesa Australia, WAPET and WMC Petroleum. While in the army for nine years, he completed formal cartographic training in the Royal Australian Survey Corps, and worked at survey headquarters as topographic and cartographic draftsman for seven years. He has also worked on all aspects of oil exploration from Angel/North Rankin and Goodwyn discoveries through to the first stages of development of the North West Shelf.

Mr Oberman, who has been running Total Carto for three years, formerly worked for Marathon Petroleum WA Ltd as exploration services supervisor and was in charge of the computer mapping programmes and assorted software.

He was also chief draftsman at Getty Oil Development Company Limited for six years. This was preceded by five years with Woodside (Burmah Oil) as senior draftsman and a stint with Westfield Minerals in the same capacity.

“In the early days of oil exploration, before the discoveries of Woodside’s fields, drafting was entirely manual,” Mr Oberman said.

“Long hours of drafting exploration mapping using tape, ink and Leroy lettering sets went on often into the wee small hours.”

How times have changed.

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