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In 2017, Merlin transitioned into an employee-owned business, which today has 20 dedicated employees who are all beneficiaries of Merlin’s Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Whilst the Merlin team has always been a tight-knit group – employee ownership has heightened the determination and focus – creating a positive atmosphere of support for colleagues in project execution, and for those creating the next wave of technical development. In Merlin’s experience, employee ownership promotes teamwork and mutual respect, and ensures all are invested, engaged, and aligned in doing the best possible for Merlin’s clients. 

Merlin EOT beneficiaries at HQ in Perth Scotland, excluding international team members

The company’s holistic approach to delivery assurance is driven by a unique blend of practical drilling experience, which is at the forefront of industry capability, and the agility of a small business. In practice this provides tangible benefits across various departments:  

Engineering: Merlin’s engineers are highly qualified professionals, with decades of experience under their belts. Their expertise is essential to Merlin’s capability and with the EOT model every project is seen as an opportunity to enhance the company’s reputation, considering not just the immediate requirements of the project but also how its execution can lead to sustained client satisfaction. 

Operations: On location, Merlin’s advisors, engineers, and supervisors are there to guide, support, mentor, and instruct, proactively managing our core geomechanics, managed pressure drilling, and drilling advisory services to assure wells are drilled efficiently and effectively with due regard for risk and performance potential. Supporting the front line is a team of dedicated technical experts and administrative personnel, who ensure that everyone and everything is where it needs to be at any given time. 

Training:  Training is the glue that helps translate engineering expertise into seamless execution. It is acknowledged that well-trained personnel make better decisions – it’s that simple. Giving the wider team an understanding of risk and risk mitigation through plan and process is the first step in a proactive approach to drilling success, whether in a high angle drilling setting, a complex geomechanical environment, or when active control of annular pressure is required. Merlin’s training is highly regarded in the industry, taught by experts and continually improved.  

Software: Merlin’s drilling engineering software (TDH) was developed to satisfy Merlin’s own needs on edge of the envelope projects. Models are simple to build, with outputs that are easy to interpret and validate. The TDH feature set is constantly undergoing development, enhancing its utility to drilling engineers and it is underpinned by an uncomplicated and cost effective usage model with no hidden surprises. Merlin’s internal development capability allows clients to optimise tool placement, model system response, and streamline work practices through customised versions of the software.   

Merlin HQ in Perth, Scotland
Managing Director, Ron Ramage & ‘The Office Dog’ Stella

Employee ownership binds the elements described above in both purpose and potential. Purpose through a common goal for each and every EOT beneficiary, and the potential for all to directly benefit when the business is doing well.  

Each task is tackled with ambition not just to meet, but to surpass the previous “best”. Because when you take genuine dedication and multiply it across a team, the outcome can be exceptional.  

At Merlin, we’re all business owners, shaping the future together, rather than waiting for it to be shaped for us. 

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