Any Oil and Gas Drilling Engineers out there?

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  • Any Oil and Gas Drilling Engineers out there?
  • gonefishin
    Member

    Not a drilling engineer but most oil and gas companies around Aberdeen are hiring at the moment and simply can’t get the staff. A sensible person with a decent work ethic shouldn’t have much of a problem getting a job. Whether it is exactly the job you might want is another matter but getting a foot in the door shouldn’t be too difficult.

    london_lady
    Member

    If you are looking at becoming a drilling engineer I would not say that an MSc in Petroleum Engineering will get you there – it would more likely get you into an oil company or a seismic service company. IME of oil companies they prefer experienced people or PHd people and you are more likely to get into one of the exploration teams – so following a seismic survey through from design, acquisition, processing, interpretation and drilling. I work for a seismic service company and we hire MSc students but you may baulk at the salaries unless you go to Houston.
    Where are you planning to study? I know that the MSc in Petroleum Engineering at Imperial and Leeds is incredibly difficult to get into. My boss is also on the technical board for the Imperial course so it

    trail_rat
    Member

    Having seen the course material for the msc at herriot watt ( helping our lab engineer do it distance learning atm ) alot of the course will make alot more sense if you had a back ground knowledge in general oilfield workings.

    Not to say it cant be done without it – but youll find it much easier.

    As gonefishin says – good pickings for getting a foot in the door – esp if your willing to travel.

    flanagaj
    Member

    Looking at going back to do an MSc in Petroleum Engineering and am trying to find someone currently in the industry who would not mind having a chat about prospects post MSc and best options for a ‘mature’ individual who is trying to enter the industry.

    Thanks

    flanagaj
    Member

    So if an MSc in Petroleum Engineering is not the correct course, is there anyway someone who does not have an engineering background can enter that particular profession.

    It seems to me that the only way of becoming a Drilling Engineer is via one of the following routes

    1. Get a job as a rough neck and work your way through the ranks
    2. Study engineering at uni and join a graduate programme

    At 41 years of age neither of those show any real promise?

    Don’t laugh, but the only part time MSC PE course is ran at South Bank Uni in London. Waste of time?

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    Curious – why drilling engineering in particular? As opposed to other potential oil and gas jobs.

    robinlaidlaw
    Member

    Yup, shouldn’t be a problem finding work. My wife has worked in recruitment for oil and gas companies and has friends that do. The general consensus is that the oil industry in Aberdeen is thousands of engineers short at the moment.

    I dunno. It seems to me that you can work your way up the ranks on a drilling rig pretty damned quickly if you a) work your backside off, and b) are willing to take the unrelenting grief from those above you in the pecking order.

    Why Drilling Engineer, specifically? I’m currently doing the Heriot Watt MSc in Petroleum Engineering with a view to heading into reservoir modelling and simulation. I’ve got it on good authority (millionaire family member – on the wife’s side) that HW’s course is an excellent stepping stone onto some extremely high-paying career paths. And when it all boils down to it, 95% of us don’t work for the love of the job…

    gonefishin
    Member

    is there anyway someone who does not have an engineering background can enter that particular profession.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly is your background? I would have thought that you would struggle doing a Masters without some sort of science or engineering background.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    So if you’re at Heriott Watt and looking at reservoir modelling and simulation why not pursue that? I am a geomodeller for a oil major and I can confirm we are very thin on the ground… A good geomodeller that can understand and integrate the seismic, wells, geological knowledge and build a model that the reservoir engineer can history match quickly and easily are worth their weight in gold (almost literally).

    Edit: I got confused between the OP and a subsequent post. Apologies.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I graduated in 1997 with a first in Chemistry and have since been working in Investment banking IT. Currently, developing fixed income bond pricing systems.

    Drilling appeals as it is a very hands on process. In fact the whole drill planning and execution appeals far more than some of the other roles. I think it is the hands on nature of it all.

    I have spent 15 years in IT and looking at financial models and doing a role that is very simulation based does not appeal

    trail_rat
    Member

    correct me if im wrong drilling engineers BUT

    entry level drilling positions will involve a fair bit of traveling to get a jist for whats going on.

    is that something you want to start at age 41 ? what does your wife/kids if you have any think about that ?

    I sure as hell wouldnt be sitting here in equitorial guinea doing this given a choice but ive fallen into it and it pays the bills

    london_lady
    Member

    A good geomodeller that can understand and integrate the seismic, wells, geological knowledge and build a model that the reservoir engineer can history match quickly and easily are worth their weight in gold

    Really? tell me more….unless the job is in Aberdeen then not interested.

    flanagaj
    Member

    Having been a desk bound commuter who sits on the same train and at the same desk day in day out, the prospect of a role that provides travel to remote corners of the world and without routine would be a breath of fresh air.

    The Wife is cool with it and is supportive all the way

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    Travel can be good but a lot of it is ports, airports and heli-ports….

    Routine is also a double edged sword… being woken at 3am and told you’re on the next helicopter to “x” can get old quite fast..

    I started out as a Schlumberger Field engineer but decided after a few years it wasn’t for me and I’d prefer a more desk type job so switched to an operator. So I’m coming at it from the opposite perspective to you. I’m not trying to put you off but would recommend you really, really research this is being a mid-grade drilling engineer is not something I’d contemplate in my 50’s.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I’m not trying to put you off but would recommend you really, really research this is being a mid-grade drilling engineer is not something I’d contemplate in my 50’s.

    Why do you say that?

    trail_rat
    Member

    because seeing it all happen all over in my work has made me up my pension payments and make overpayments on my mortgage big time as well as not living to the size of my paycheck.

    If im still in the field when im 40 i did it wrong.

    I see guys offshore in their 70s – scares the shit out of me frankly. ok some of them love their work rather than the money but some of them seriously need the money after numerous failed relationships.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I have resigned myself to a future of working till I am 70. Poor property decisions and blowing too much money on hobbies (both me and the Wife) so I may as well go and try something I have an interest in rather than sitting here wanting out.

    My biggest concern is getting the initial role, especially, considering my age.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    I say that because in the main it’s physically tough.. not in a marathon / fitness way.. more in a lack of sleep and continuous disruption to the body clock tough.

    Depending on the role it can also be very disruptive to relationships.. you’ll probably miss key life events for friends and family due to being away.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I have spent some time contacting recruitment agents and speaking with companies involved in the drilling services sector and it appears that getting a position as a trainee drilling engineer is going to be nigh on impossible. Some of they suggest that I try and get an IT role and then once in the company try and move into the well sector. It was even suggested that I would be better off with a career in Well Planning than Drilling.

    Gets quite depressing that at 41 you feel you are over the hill when it comes to changing career

    BruceWee
    Member

    Look into MWD/LWD. I started out with Schlumberger in 2006 and when they’re hiring they’ll take virtually anyone or at least that’s the way it used to be. It’s not something I could stick with long term though as it meant working without a schedule and I find that really tough. I worked there for 3 years and I learned a hell of a lot in that time. Work at schlumberger for a few years and you’ll be in a good position to become a drilling engineer if you want.

    I’ve done various drilling engineering type jobs since then but now I’m back where I started doing MWD. The difference is that now I’m doing it in the Norwegian sector so I get more money and a very nice 2-3-2-4 schedule. Things turned out alright:)

    haggis1978
    Member

    I wouldnt go to drilling if you paid me OIMs wages! Drill rigs are dirty manky things with a safety attitude that leaves a lot to be desired. My bro who works drill crew (im on a production fpso) has encountered some crazy mental attitudes offshore. There are plenty of other engineering roles offshore to be considered.
    They say in our industry that its safety first. My arse it is! Only if it doesn’t get in the way of production and a drill rig is worse than any production platform.

    What the lads have said above is true about the skills shortage though. The average offshore worker in the UK is 52 years old. Going from a desk job in IT to offshore will be very hard though. Particularly at your age as you have no offshore experience or anything you can relate to the offshore sector at all unless you fancy using that degree to become a chemist offshore? By the time you finish an open learning/part time degree you could be 44-45. I remember trying to get a start when I was 18-19 and was phoning companies and had sent my CV out to god know how many places. For 6 months twice a week I phoned these people and kept on getting told the same, “sorry but you have no offshore experience” I had to join the merchant navy and qualify as a marine engineer that way before I got a start as what they are ideally looking for is people who are used to manual labour, long hours and shitty working conditions.

    I feel as if I’m shooting you down in flames here as I write this lying in my bunk waiting for my smelly cabin mate who snores to bounce in the door imminently 🙂 Working offshore people think that you’re loaded and that you get fed brilliantly and that its an exciting job and its cool. You get paid OK for what you have to deal with sometimes. Sometimes it can be proper shitty. You eat sleep work and sh1t. That’s it game over. As I’m sure you’ve seen on the news yet another chopper has gone down. Enough said there. You are working in a very dangerous environment where you have to rely on other people doing there jobs safely so that you don’t die. Now when I say that there are people that I wouldn’t employ to stack shelves in Asda and Tesco out here, I mean it. Dangerous Cowboys, that is all i need to say. And you could be sharing a cabin with these people. They smell, they snore, their personal hygiene might not be the best, they snore, they’re ****ts, they snore! You’re cabin is a small box. You might have to share a toilet and shower with 4 other people who could all be smelly and dirty which is more than likely on a drill rig. The food in some places is horrendous. I’ve been places where its been deep fried everything with chips.

    You could be working on bits of kit that are falling to bits. They don’t care about preventative maintenance offshore. They run it till destruction! And then worry about fixing it. I’ve been on this rig for 6 months now and in that time we’ve had 2 transformers going on fire, operators not setting up compressors right so that they have seized, they’ve not checked that pumps are lined up right and GRE pipework has exploded which if there was anyone nearby could have caused serious injury, operations technicians swearing blind that they flushed and drained that pump through yet when you break containment and your standing there with your mask on the Benzene meter rockets up to over 50ppm and that clown of a technician still thinks its OK to stand about there without a mask on despite you telling him he’s stupid and should move. >5ppm breathing apparatus should be used FYI and Benzene is easily absorbed through the skin and causes cancer.

    You have to be away from your family at times where things are going on that need your attention. You will miss birthdays and important social and family events, birthdays, funerals, kids learning to ride bikes, talk etc etc. You could end up being invited to a Xmas and new year party on an oil rig, that’s a barrel of laughs that is!

    And these are just a few things to consider. Having said all that though I couldn’t ever work onshore and a job in an office is my idea of hell and admittedly I get a certain degree of satisfaction from knowing that not everyone could do my job.

    Think very carefully though before you make any decisions.
    The chemist route might be your easiest option instead of waiting to complete another degree and from what I’ve seen its a pretty cushy number as well.

    Best of luck to you though bud whatever you decide and I hope I’ve not been to pessimistic for you as I have just tried to be honest 😀

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    There are a lot of office based O&G jobs out there if you are set on working in O&G but don’t want to work offshore. Contract work seems to be the norm and salaries are good – lots of people I work with do very well (I don’t 🙂 ). I’d imagine you will need a degree and maybe postgrad in the relevant area of engineering/geology/geophysics/vibration/noise etc etc though.

    Marine renewables is going to be big over the next few decades too if you’re focused on the energy sector, mostly wind in the near future. I have thought of retraining to work hands on in offshore wind instead of the development/planning side but I’m not really up for such a big change of career.

    Premier Icon catfishsalesco
    Subscriber

    While I don’t work in the Oil & gas production / drilling side of things, I work in the subsea / offshore construction industry whose biggest client is- you guess it.. Oil & gas.
    My experience of it has been mostly good, work is interesting, meet lots of pople etc. However- travel to remote parts of the world is a bit of a double edged sword, as you will see alot of departure lounges, heli bases, offshore supply bases in the middle of nowhere & not much else, its proably better when you are younger & can take time off at the end of a trip to travel, but if you are 41 & have a wife & kids I’m guessing that this wouldn’t be an option.

    The quality of the accomodation (my experience is from constuction vessels & barges, not been on too many rigs) is quite variable, from having a room to yourself to having to share a cabin with 3 other people on differant shifts, makes for interesting sleeping patterns. The same goes for the quality of the food as above- Sometimes its great, sometimes you are lucky to see anything green for a month at a time.
    Crewchanges can sometimes be a bit hit or miss too- I have done 7 week trips offshore with no end in sight a times, or crewchanges canceled due to weather / problems with the heli / your replacement got drunk & was refused boarding on a plane…

    If you have a background in chemistry then that will help, working as a mud engineer would be a possibility (although given that drill mud is a nasty stuff, maybe not!)

    What bigjim said about renewables is very true, most of my work over the past few years have been to do with building offshore windfarms.

    julesf7
    Member

    Yikes, I’m going to stick my head above the parapet here and admit that I work at H-Watt’s Institute of Petroleum Engineering. OP, happy to give you some direct advice/thoughts on the career options, differences between institutions and programmes, if that would be useful. For others with knowledge of the programme, e.g. Flying Ox, I’d welcome any feedback you might wish to give.

    Futureboy77
    Member

    I wouldnt go to drilling if you paid me OIMs wages! Drill rigs are dirty manky things with a safety attitude that leaves a lot to be desired. My bro who works drill crew (im on a production fpso) has encountered some crazy mental attitudes offshore. There are plenty of other engineering roles offshore to be considered.
    They say in our industry that its safety first. My arse it is! Only if it doesn’t get in the way of production and a drill rig is worse than any production platform

    Sounds like your production FPSO is really safe….

    You could be working on bits of kit that are falling to bits. They don’t care about preventative maintenance offshore. They run it till destruction! And then worry about fixing it. I’ve been on this rig for 6 months now and in that time we’ve had 2 transformers going on fire, operators not setting up compressors right so that they have seized, they’ve not checked that pumps are lined up right and GRE pipework has exploded which if there was anyone nearby could have caused serious injury, operations technicians swearing blind that they flushed and drained that pump through yet when you break containment and your standing there with your mask on the Benzene meter rockets up to over 50ppm and that clown of a technician still thinks its OK to stand about there without a mask on despite you telling him he’s stupid and should move. >5ppm breathing apparatus should be used FYI and Benzene is easily absorbed through the skin and causes cancer.

    I’ve worked on drilling rigs and production platforms and the drilling rigs are far better. That’s not just IMHO, but backed up by the safety stats and feedback from the regulators.

    mr plow
    Member

    Did 5 years on the rigs in my 20s. I enjoyed the first 4 and then wanted to settle more after meeting a good woman and having a few family health scares that made it obvious that we don’t get this time back. I was spending weeks/months away from home, wasting days in airports, planes and helicopters watching time leak away while missing important life events as I worked on a call out basis.

    I am now a desk jockey surveyor in Glasgow that gets out now and again with work. I love being able to call anyone at any time during the day, work flexible hours and know I am sleeping in my own bed at night. Everyone is different. The first 4 years were a mega adventure when I was up for it. Only you know what you want to do. I experienced the same as others regarding safety. It is an absolute joke and a very dangerous environment.

    I shared a flat in Aberdeen with Msc PE students. Some of them went on to great jobs with operators. The key was to be at the top of the class and pushing themselves to companies at every opportunity throughout the year they studied. The entered all company competitions for grants etc, attended all company events they could and got to know the people that counted. The operators were very responsive to this and my 2 friends had a number of job offers. If you think a qualification is all you need for success then you will struggle.

    skp555
    Member

    Any update on this OP? I’m in a fairly similar position to you – a slightly less useful degree, seemingly stuck in an office job with decades ahead of me, and a keen interest in looking at offshore work.

    My plan of action so far is to get my tickets and look for anything to get my foot in the door and then move towards either production or drilling as my aptitude and interest develops.

    Seems like a long shot but I’m keen enough to give it a shot and it would be great to hear a success story, and at least instructive to hear a cautionary tale!

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