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Caragh McWhirr

Technical Discipline: Process and development engineering 
Years in industry: 21
Years at Xodus: 17

What is your role at Xodus?

I am Head of Hydrogen Strategy for Xodus and I’ve been in that role for about 6 months, I previously worked in our Advisory division, and was Innovation manager for Xodus for 3 years. Before that I worked in the Process & Facilities division, mainly on early stage development projects. The opportunity to work in hydrogen came partly through investigating hydrogen as a trend as innovation manager, partly through a one day a week secondment with Net Zero Technology Centre, and partly by just using my skills to work on hydrogen projects we were winning as an organisation. Hydrogen crosses across many different parts of Xodus and in every geographic area – renewables, process & facilities, energy developments, subsea & pipelines, TSR, environment & emissions, advisory – so my broad background and experience working with all parts of the company is a real help.

You have been at Xodus for a long time, what has made you stay?

I’ve always enjoyed the world of consultancy, the variety of work and the opportunities to work with lots of different clients and in lots of different areas. The need to be flexible, to be prepared to jump into something new, and the fact that you often have a short lookahead can be daunting at times, but it keep things fresh and interesting.

What is the most interesting project you have been involved in while at Xodus?

We supported Frontier Energy with definition of a green hydrogen project in WA earlier this year. That project was in some ways very similar to an oil and gas development project in that similar decisions had to made on technology and process design, and understanding the cost to design, build and operate the plant was a key deliverable. Other aspects were less familiar – renewable generation energy yield, assessing options of where this energy came from, and optimisation of the renewable and hydrogen production systems and the degree to which the equipment items would be pre-designed vendor packages. It was interesting to be applying a very familiar way of working, but to also be needing to pay attention of where there were important differences and adjust the approach accordingly.

Why is Xodus architecting a hydrogen project?

There are three main reasons for Xodus to architect our own hydrogen project. Firstly, it’s a way to deliver more value from our excellent skills in front end project development, we know what a good project looks like and are in a prime position to lay out that opportunity to the industry. Secondly, allows us to demonstrate how we can bring together our experience of the development process, decision making, the management of challenges, and the unexpected opportunities of architecting a project clearly demonstrating to the industry we are in a position to advise them. And thirdly, we love to do things differently at Xodus and this is a really great example how we do this. We are able to take real ownership of a project and that’s something very engaging and empowering both for our own people and to industry.

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