BLOG: Diversity, Teamwork and Sharks - My First Job in Oil
Senyo Fialor, a Petroleum, Energy Economics and Finance MSc student at the University of Aberdeen, recalls his first job in the oil industry.
I worked for Baker Hughes, a GE Company, for four and a half years. Prior to commencing work, the interview process involved us moving from our various locations to be camped in Takoradi-Ghana for three days in a hotel. During this time, we discovered what the daily life of a field engineer in the oil and gas industry was like. We had a tour of the working facilities plus various questionnaires and mini-interviews.
My first day at work was an interesting one. I was kindly introduced to people from my home country and many foreign nationals. I was amazed by the diversity and international nature of the people and working environment. I wondered if I had taken up a job in a UN facility.
After introductions, I was taken straight to my work location where I was gradually taught what needed to be done on a daily basis and the preparations required for each job. I was informed I needed to go through full Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) training before I could start putting my hands on various downhole tools. I was introduced to the inventory and tool movement systems, SAP and other engineer related software owned by the company. Overall, the first day was an enlightening experience.
Working with experienced professionals was also an interesting aspect of the job. My first job was on an offshore jackup rig off the coast of Gabon with a 30+ years experienced Tools Specialist/Technician(TST) and a fellow engineer. The TST’s knowledge of the completion tools we worked with was profound but as an engineer I supported the job by conducting research on the various functions of the tools and modifications made on parts of the tools.
I was a trainee on that job and the fellow engineer was the lead hand. The TST and him engaged in most of the discussions we had with the customer. The depth of knowledge that came with the TST’s 30+ years of experience was immense. He had a lot of stories of big successes and some failures whilst working with many downhole tools. The TST related very well with the young engineers. He insisted we were a team and that teamwork was key to our success on the job. The job was a successful one; his experience came to play on many occasions and I learnt a lot in my first job in the oil and gas industry.
I had some intimidating moments during my first job in the sector too. One such moment, for example, was when I had to work on a semi-submersible rig off the coast of Ghana. I had never been that far out in the sea and I had never experienced daily life on a vessel that kept swinging back and forth. I felt I was living on a miniature city out in deep waters. Utilizing available space was of utmost importance and there was economical management of all the available space on the rig. I was quite intimidated by the height from the rig’s helipad to the sea and furthermore by sharks I saw in the sea. The crew I met on board spoke about their intimidating moments too and I felt a bit more relaxed after hearing their stories.
There were many positive aspects of the job. After every successful job, the look of satisfaction on the customer was the ultimate joy for my team members and me.
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