Scotsman Obituaries: Steve Remp, driving force in the Scottish energy sector

Stephen E Remp, oilman. Born: 5 May 1947 in Glendale, southern California. Died: 1 July 2021 in the Cotswolds, aged 75

Steve Remp loved international travel, having moved to Europe with his family as a boy
Steve Remp loved international travel, having moved to Europe with his family as a boy

A fourth-generation American oilman, from a very early age Steve Remp’s life was defined by both international travel and the oil industry.

Born in Glendale, southern California, he spent summers roaming the Oklahoman oilfields on horseback with his grandparents.

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In the mid 1950s his father Tom invented the “Rapid-Tector” oilfield tool and, after coming to the attention of oil services company Weatherford, moved to Europe with his family to expand its business.

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Steve was enrolled in German and Austrian schools and soon became fluent in German, finding in Europe a lifelong love for motorbikes, downhill skiing and geopolitics.

He also developed a fiercely independent attitude to life, living alone in Vienna from the age of 14 in order to attend the American school there.

After returning briefly to the US to pursue a Bachelor’s degree from Claremont College, and a Master’s from Johns Hopkins, Steve headed to Aberdeen, which was emerging as the oil capital of Europe, in search of opportunities relating to the new industry.

Aberdeenshire soon became his home, and with his first wife, he restored the ruin of the medieval Harthill castle near Oyne.

After spearheading several ventures including building the first Sheraton Hotel in Aberdeen in his mid-twenties, Steve founded what became Ramco Energy.

Ramco began life as a specialist in handling and treating drilling pipe, operating in both the North Sea and Brunei.

As the former Soviet Union opened up in the late 1980s, Steve was a prime mover in introducing western companies to the exploration opportunities in the Caspian Sea, making more than 30 trips to the region at a time when travel there was dangerous and eventful.

One of the first foreign oilmen to enter Azerbaijan for almost 70 years, Steve’s gregariousness and indomitable spirit of adventure led to him becoming a vital conduit between the Azari government and foreign oil companies, with Ramco designated the “eyes and ears in the West” for the state oil company.

In 1994 his efforts paid off, when Ramco became a key participant in the “Contract of the Century” to develop the giant 4.2 billion barrel Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oilfield.

Ambitious and forward thinking to the end, Steve later left the oil and gas sector to take Ramco into offshore wind projects in the North Sea before retiring from that business and venturing into litigation funding.

Steve passed away peacefully at his home in the Cotswolds at the age of 74, after a heroic two-year battle with bowel cancer.

He is survived by his wife Anna, and two sons and a daughter from a previous marriage.

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