Oil and gas engineer job

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Simon Turner is a chemical process engineer working for Chevron in London and Aberdeen. He is currently working on the Kashagan Project, which is one of the world's largest oil and gas exploration projects. The project is valued in excess of $30 billion.

What does your Oil and gas engineer job involve?

The job is incredibly varied. When I am in London it involves assessing the different ways in which the field in Kazakhstan can be developed. This includes evaluating the types of equipment required, technologies to be employed and whether the field should be processed onshore or offshore. In Aberdeen I have to make planned visits to the offshore platforms, and am sometimes required to go offshore on a more urgent ad-hoc basis if there are specific plant problems.

Can you describe a typical day?

Not really, as it all depends on the part of a project I am dealing with. Usually the day starts by checking email/telephone messages and responding to any urgent queries. These can range from providing technical solutions to problems that have occurred offshore or responding to questions from partners or government agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry or the Health and Safety Executive.

What equipment do you use?

I use highly specialised process engineering software to perform plant simulations, which enable me to size and optimise equipment or trouble-shoot plant performance. When working offshore I use safety equipment and clothing.

Why did you choose to work as an Oil and gas engineer?

The work is both interesting and challenging as it directly affects our everyday lives. In addition chemical engineers are among the best paid of the engineering disciplines.

What training have you received?

Chemical engineers tend to use a lot of what they learn in their degree in their jobs. During my industrial placement I was encouraged to attend many training courses, both short term and residential.

What hours do you work?

I usually work 37.5 hours a week, although this may be higher on occasions if required.

What do you like best about your Oil and gas engineer job?

I enjoy trouble-shooting and finding solutions to complex technical problems. I particularly enjoy working in an industry that makes such a significant contribution to our everyday lives, from the provision of energy to all the products that are manufactured from oil and gas.

What do you dislike?

Working between London and Aberdeen with occasional visits offshore means that I don't see my family and friends as much as I'd like to.

What skills and qualities do you need to be an Oil and gas engineer?

In additional to technical ability, you must be a team player, because successful projects require input from other disciplines. Good communication skills are also essential, as you have to liaise with people at all levels, from plant operators to managers.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to progress to a senior managerial position within the industry, so that I can get involved in decision making on a more strategic level.

Simon's route to his Oil and gas engineer job

  • A levels.
  • Degree in Chemical Engineering.
  • Masters Degree in Petroleum Engineering.
  • Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

Simon's Oil and gas engineer tips

  • Be persistent – it's not the easiest industry to get into but it's worth persevering.
  • Get some work experience to gain insight into the industry.
  • Show that you're committed, for example by joining the student branches of the relevant engineering bodies.

Oil and gas engineer job related jobs

  • Chemical engineer
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrologist
  • Oil and gas industry technician

Salary of an Oil and gas engineer

  • Graduates usually start on a salary of about £19,000 a year.
  • Experienced chemical engineers in their early thirties may earn about £35,000.
  • The average income for Chartered Chemical Engineers is approximately £50,000 a year.

Oil and gas engineer job

  • For a chemical engineering degree course, applicants usually need at least two A levels/three H grades and five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or the equivalent.
  • Candidates should check entry requirements with individual institutions.
  • Applicants without qualifications in maths and chemistry may be accepted onto a foundation year before the first year of a chemical engineering course.
  • Several universities offer sandwich courses in chemical engineering, which involve spending a year in industry during their degree.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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