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About Les E. Griffin, P.E.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer (TX licensed Professional Engineer) with 15-years’ experience in the Deepwater Oil & Gas industry, during which I've worked for an equipment supplier and an oil major providing technical expertise as well as project management. Along the way I've developed an array of technical skills and industry knowledge to successfully design, analyze, fabricate, install, operate, and maintain many of the critical structures that connect offshore platforms at the surface to the seafloor and reservoirs thousands of feet below.

As far as credentials go, I received my bachelor’s degree in 2006 from the University of Texas at Austin in Mechanical Engineering and became licensed in Texas as a Professional Engineer in 2011. LES is also registered with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers as a state licensed engineering firm.

Looking back on my first 15 years in the industry, I take great pride in the contributions I’ve made and the influence I’ve had on world-class projects. I started at Dril-Quip in 2006 as a fresh mechanical engineering grad from UT. In my first years as a design engineer, I worked with a wide variety of subsea equipment for different operators and global applications. Access to Dril-Quip’s vertically integrated manufacturing provided me with understanding of the processes, as well as an appreciation of design for manufacturability.

My first project engineering lead role was for the design, manufacture, and testing of hydraulic riser tieback connectors for Perdido, which continue to operate today connecting the spar’s risers to the world’s deepest DVA (direct vertical access) wells. In 2010-2011 I was Dril-Quip’s project/technical lead for the Olympus TLP / Mars B development project, which was my largest scope before joining Shell. The technical challenges on this project included designing for post-Katrina extreme loads, in addition to fatigue performance far exceeding all prior SSWH (subsea wellhead) system and TTR (top tension riser) connector designs.

In late 2011 I unexpectedly had the opportunity to join Shell’s Mooring & Riser team and took it, continuing my support of the Olympus TLP project from my new perspective at Shell. In addition to the SSWH and TTR connector systems that continued to be delivered from Dril-Quip, I had the chance to contribute to the fabrication of the drilling & production risers and take the role of fabrication lead for its qty.16, ~3000ft, 38” tendons. Where the SSWH and TTR systems provide structural links and conduits from platform to reservoir, the tendons provide the structural link from platform to seabed while overcoming extreme loads and continuous fatigue for the next half-century.


My first (only) offshore trip was to the tendon installation vessel for a couple weeks in summer 2013 to provide technical oversight as the tendons were run to depth, locked into their piles, and suspended freestanding by support buoys. In the months leading up to install I supported the logistics of transporting the tendons by barge to site, as well as identifying a high potential issue in the mechanical design of the support buoy clamps that required an expedited solution that I designed, had manufactured, and helped install offshore.

After Olympus I worked on the Appomattox project as riser systems pull-in lead, responsible for the development of a novel system to install all the SCRs and water intake riser using a single, mobile chain jack on a moving structural bridge. I gained a better understanding of semi-submersible deepwater applications and the challenges of working with SCRs. I spent the next five years in the role of TTR engineer, responsible for ongoing technical assurance and evaluation of Shell’s GoM TTR assets. Working closely with Wells and GoM asset teams to keep drilling and completion activities on schedule, I managed the execution of onshore inspections and refurbishment between deployments. I also provided technical support for SSWH design for fatigue applications, including a post-installation fatigue evaluation of a SSWH system in the Arctic with major business ramifications.

My last stop at Shell was working with the SURF (subsea, umbilical, risers, & flowlines) marine construction team, responsible for our GoM subsea tooling portfolio and finding ways to better plan activities and interact with stakeholders. I transitioned into this role remotely at the start of the pandemic, and a year and a half later left Shell without having had the chance to meet many of my new contacts face-to-face.

I'm launching Lateral Engineering Solutions LLC (LES) in 2021 to provide a unique, collaborative alternative for engineering design, consultation and services. The principles that LES is founded on are a direct result of my personal experience and observations to this point in my career, so I hope sharing a little about myself has provided some insights about my company.



The University of Texas at Austin

Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering


08/2021 - present

Lateral Engineering Solutions LLC

Founder & Engineering Director

  • Established Lateral Engineering Solutions LLC

  • Professional Engineer responsible for firm's engineering services

  • Developed a business model suited to company vision



Subsea Tooling Lead

  • Managed Deepwater GoM subsea tooling portfolio including IWOCS, THRAs, Dry Hole Trees and completions support tools.

  • Responsible for tracking/forecasting usage of GoM subsea tooling portfolio and managing M&T rental program for cost recovery.

  • Developed new sharepoint, spreadsheet, and database tools to streamline tracking of vessel/rig schedules, offshore personnel staffing, and tooling usage.



Top Tension Riser Engineer

  • Responsible for ongoing technical assurance of Shell owned and operated Top Tension Drilling/Production Riser systems in the GoM.

  • Managed structural capacity and fatigue analysis of TTR systems, utilizing latest data to develop remaining life estimates on a joint-by-joint basis.

  • Managed onshore inspections, dispositions, and refurbishment of TTRs prior to redeployment, often as part of critical path to maintain rig schedule.

  • Technical support for Arctic wellhead systems including post-installation fatigue evaluation and design/management of full-scale fatigue testing.

  • Technical support for Malikai TLP wellhead, connector, riser, and tendon systems.

  • Authored guidance and specifications for fatigue performance of non-DVA subsea wellhead systems. 


Shell - Appomattox

Riser Pull-in Systems Lead

  • Responsible for development of a novel riser pull-in system consisting of a structural bridge, chain jack, chain, chain handling systems, controls, power, HPU, and precision movement systems.

  • Managed interfaces to Topsides, Hull, Risers, and heavy lift installation vessel.

  • Responsible for development of new riser pull-in methodology without use of lateral steering winches and reduced diving scope.


Shell - Olympus TLP

Tendon Fabrication Lead 

  • Responsible for fabrication and delivery of qty 16, ~3000ft, 38" Tendons

  • Vendor management of Frank's Casing from receipt of Shell supplied materials thru completion of fabrication and loadout.

  • Managed HSSE interfaces with Frank's (Mode 3 contractor), influencing safety culture of site/company and driving safety improvements of project specific activities.

  • Supported weld qualifications and managed fatigue testing program to meet stringent requirements for the Olympus TLP Tendons.

  • Responsible for oversight of Shell Site Team, including Site Team Lead, several day/night shift CWI's, and 3rd party NDE technicians.

  • Responsible for design, expedited manufacturing, and successful offshore deployment of Tendon Support Buoy Clamp locking mechanisms, which resulted from observations while advising on FAT procedures.

  • Responsible for cathodic protection system design for Olympus Tendons and Piles.

  • Supported Tendon Installation Team including implementation of Tendon Grillage/Seafastening design requirements and providing offshore technical oversight during installation.


Dril-Quip, Inc.

Specialist Design Engineer

  • Typical responsibilities included engineering project management, conceptual and detailed design, analysis, manufacturing drawings, material/welding/coating specification, customer and vendor interfaces, quality assurance specifications, testing procedures, and operations support.

  • Established project engineering schedules, produced status reports, conducted design reviews, and reviewed designs, analysis, and testing.

  • Supported general subsea equipment development, manufacturing, testing, and field service.

  • Provided engineering interface with company Projects, Sales, Manufacturing, and Quality departments. Reported to and advised company upper management and Engineering Director.

  • Supervised teams of Designers and Engineers to fulfill project engineering requirements and acted as primary project contact to customers and stakeholders (key project leadership roles detailed below).


Subsea Lead Engineer 

(Shell Olympus TLP & Mars B)

  • Scope: High Fatigue Subsea Wellhead System, Threaded Connectors, Hydraulic BOP and Drilling Riser Connectors, Mechanical Production Riser Connectors, and Inner Drilling Riser Tieback Connectors

  • Responsible for management of engineering activities from bid evaluation through delivery and installation.

  • Supervised large team of Engineers/Designers and coordinated manufacturing activities. Reviewed and approved component designs, analysis, and qualification testing.

  • Responsible for overall subsea system engineering, global strength and fatigue analysis review, interfaces, meeting customer technical specs and industry standards, evaluating design operation and safety


Lead Engineer

(BP GoM 20 ksi HPHT System Development)

  • Scope: Hydrate Diversion system, Slope Indicators, Cathodic Protection system, 28” Supplemental Adapter/Hanger system, 18” Supplemental Adapter/Hanger system, 18-3/4” Lockdown Sleeves, Production Hangers and Dummy Hanger Adapters

  • Supervised team of Designers and Engineers throughout development, testing, and manufacture


Project Engineer

(Murphy Kikeh 9-5/8” Production Riser System)

  • Scope: 9-5/8” T&C Riser Joints, 42-1/2” Slim OD Tieback Connector with integral Tapered Stress Joint, Keel Joint, Tension Joint, Tensioners, Adjustable Spacer Joint, Upper Centralizer, Surface Wellhead, Tree, Tubing Hanger, and associated tools.

  • Performed complete preliminary design of 9-5/8” production riser system below Surface Wellhead and reviewed global riser strength analysis

  • Supported design and specification of Surface Tree equipment and Tensioners


Project Engineer

(Shell Perdido Hydraulic Riser Tieback Connectors)

  • Scope: 18-3/4” Drilling and Production Riser Hydraulic Tieback Connectors, with integral Tapered Stress Joints, and 18-3/4” Drilling Spacer Spool with Hydraulic Connector

  • Responsible for bid proposals, concept and detailed design, analysis review, manufacturing drawings and specs, quality documents, assembly and testing procedures, operational procedures, interfaces, and field service support

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