Virtuoso Icons: Red Adair the daring Oil Well Firefighter
Paul Neal "Red" Adair (June 18th, 1915 - August 7th 2004) was a renowned oil well firefighter. He specialised in extinguishing the most dangerous oil fires in history. This is his story.
Virtuoso Icons is a series of blogs recounting the achievements of history-makers who inspire the Virtuoso Legal team. This entry is dedicated to Red Adai, the specialist oil-well firefighter who was called upon time and again to extinguish fires beyond the capabilities of all others.
Beginnings, against the odds
1962 - Decisively Extinguishing "the Devil's Cigarette Lighter"
1979 - Strategy at "IXTOC I" in the Gulf of Mexico
1988 - Piper Alpha
1991 - Kuwait
One of Adair's final jobs at the age of 76 was in Kuwait, extinguishing fires in the oilfields set by the retreating Iraqi army following the first Gulf War.
Adair and his team extinguished 117 wells, in a period of only 9 months. Estimates at the time had suggested that this under ordinary circumstances would have taken up to 5 years to achieve. He even spent his birthday on the job.
Upon completion of the job Adair stated:
"Kuwait was easy... we put out the fires with water, just went from one to the other." And when asked about the sizeable fees his team commanded in doing so, infamously remarked: "if you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you've hired an amateur!"
Virtuoso Icon: Red Adair
Red Adair is the second Virtuoso Icon. The purpose of this series is to recognise, in unconnected fields and the wider world, those people who represent the values that we seek to embody and those two inspire us to go above and beyond to achieve results for our clients.
Red Adair is a legendary figure in history, but never has his example been more relevant than today. Adair was a true specialist who, in times of crisis, could be called upon to solve a disastrous problem: decisively, strategically and beyond the expectations of what was thought possible by others - all against seemingly insurmountable odds and in stylish fashion.
- Principal Liz Ward stated:
- "Red Adair is someone that I have always admired since hearing tales of his daring interventions when I was younger. In many ways, he is truly the Virtuoso Icon. Whether it's going up against the odds, acting decisively, or defusing critical problems with strategy and care - these are all attributes that are emboded both within myself and the team at Virtuoso Legal. Aptly as well, one of his most famous quotes is to do with the relative cost of hiring an amateur to do a professional's job - something I can attest to! The mess that a non-specialist causes especially when it comes to highly critical work always, always, always costs more in the long run. During these strange times where many "fires" are raging, myself and the VL team are emboldened to help businesses extinguish them quickly and decisively."