Meet Boris de Koning, a funny Dutchman with gold teeth who enjoys life in Indonesia, especially in the peacefulness of Kalimantan where he works in a land rig as Drilling Manager.
Hi, Boris! Where are you from? When did you move to Indonesia?
Hi! I was born in The Netherlands. Moved to Malaysia in 2001, made a stop in China, moved back to Malaysia and finally moved to Indonesia in late 2009.
Did you move around a lot when you were younger? Do you have any funny stories from one of your postings?
I did; my dad worked for a large civil contractor. I ended up in Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Trinidad when I was young(er). While living in Sri Lanka, my younger brother and I spent every day after school and the weekends in the pool. At that time I was able to swim and he wasn’t. Being a nice older brother, I decided it was time for a change and took his floaters off his arms and attached these to his ankles, after which I tossed him in the pool. The result, although predictable now, was a surprise as only my brother’s feet popped up above the surface. An attentive guest at the pool saved him. As a reward, my brother knocked out a tooth a few years later – but more on that later.
You are now Drilling Manager of CGS (Coal Gas Solutions) Indonesia. Tell us what a typical day is like for you? What consists the bulk of your job?
Basically, I manage one small land rig drilling in East Kalimantan. I unfortunately spend a lot of my time dealing with small issues which in an ideal world would not exist.
Did you study Engineering? What attracted you to the field?
I studied Drilling in Holland. I wanted to be a psychologist but after a tryout decided that it was not going to work. My uncle, working for Shell overseas at the time mentioned travel, job stability, money and big boy toys – I was sold.
Are you based in Jakarta or on the field in Kalimantan? Which one do you enjoy more, Jakarta or Kalimantan?
I live in Jakarta but spend 2 – 4 days a week in Balikpapan or at the rig further north. Personally, I’d rather be in Kalimantan as I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere there, the small scale of Balikpapan and fresh air.
Where else did you work before coming here to Indonesia and assuming your position as Drilling Manager?
I started working in 1996, and spent five years all over Europe and Russia working as a rig superintendent. In early 2001, I was asked to move to Malaysia as I mentioned earlier. I have worked for longer or shorter periods in Holland, Belgium, Wales, France, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, India, Australia and of course Indonesia.
Drilling is a hard task (and often dangerous), tell us what kind of problems do you often run into and how do you overcome them. What are some safety measures you always take into consideration?
Safety comes first. We run Indonesia’s most modern and safe land rig with a high level of automation around the dangerous areas, keeping the guys away from harm. Training and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) are a must.
What is the hardest type of drilling; what kind of terrain and what kind of drilling technique/product?
I have spent time drilling pipelines, called Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) which carries more of a challenge, especially when drilling shore approach pipelines. In this case, there would always be a huge and expensive vessel waiting for us to finish. Of course, shore approaches also mean boats, seafood and water, which are fun!
You are listed as the owner of Borizontal. Could you elaborate on what that is and your role in it?
In 2004, I had a guy working for me in Thailand doing some HDD work called Terry. He invoiced me monthly through his company called Terryzontal. I then decided that in case I do start something for myself, I’d get the best name in the business, BORIZONTAL. A few months later I decided to leave and Borizontal started. I run it, whatever that may mean. At the moment it means almost nothing.
With your extensive travelling record, and busy schedule, do you still find time to travel within Indonesia for pleasure?
I haven’t seen much of Indonesia outside of work to be honest, outside the standard spots. I do recall the two-hour boat trips from Tangguh camp to a small airfield called Babo being extremely relaxing as we pass through untouched jungles, complete with extensive wildlife and mangroves. This always happened at sunrise, with the sun straight in the face as we travelled east.
A little birdie told us about your golden teeth. Would you care to tell the story of how that came to be?
My younger brother knocked the original tooth out when I was about 12. It was reinstalled but snapped off in West Papua a few years ago, and am now still waiting on my teammates from FC BuGils to sponsor a gold or ruby new tooth.
What do you do on your downtime to unwind?
I play soccer (and drink) with FC BuGils and play some baseball. I plan to pick up a guitar and enjoy throwing Caz around in a pool. Playing Van Halen very loudly also makes me relax.
What do you love most about Indonesia?
The positive attitude of most people, as well as their ability to get along despite having completely different backgrounds. My countrymen back in Holland could learn a lot.
You have a beautiful wife, a son and one more on the way (congratulations!) Are they your motivators?
First of all, thank you. Our first son is named after a bar (his name is Caz de Koning), so I would leave this question open for interpretation… Honestly speaking, life itself motivates.
Would you say you are a hard worker?
Only if it’s appreciated.
Thanks, Boris! To contact Boris, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org