Offshore Completions Engineer
Sector: Engineering, Natural Resources
Type: Career Profile
Math, Physics, Technology & Engineering
My job allows me to work in the city and on the ocean. I like being able to see my planning work take shape offshore. When things go as planned, it's a great feeling. When something goes wrong, and my team and I can develop a solution to keep moving forward, it's even better!
As a student, I didn't enjoy pure math, but I was interested in physics. However, math is needed to tackle physics problems. When I recognized how math could be applied to a physical situation, it became useful and less difficult. When I graduated high school I decided to study engineering because it involves using physics and math to solve real-life problems.
While studying engineering at the University of Toronto, I was offered an internship position with Husky Energy in Calgary, Alberta. I worked hard during the internship and was offered a full-time position after graduating. Internships are a great way to kick-start your career because it allows you to showcase your skills early. This increases your chances of full-time employment once you enter the work force.
Ask lots of questions and work hard.
When I'm not in the office or offshore, I can be found reeling in cod-fish off the sunny shores of Conception Bay South, or playing guitar and drums at home.
After a new well is drilled offshore, a Completions Engineer designs and installs a "straw" that connects the reservoir to surface so that oil can be produced. This straw is called the "completion".
My job consists of two main activities - design and execution. First, I will spend a number of months at the drawing board designing a completion for a newly drilled well. This work involves equipment selection and stress analysis. In my design, I have to make sure the completion will be able to withstand high temperatures and high liquid flow rates. It also has to last for up to 20 years of production. I do most of this work alone. After my design is finished, my team leader reviews and approves it.
Next, I develop a written procedure used to install the completion into the well. Installing the completion is a complex process. I travel to the offshore drill rig to supervise the process. I make sure the installation is done correctly, efficiently and safely. The entire process takes about 20-30 days to finish. The full crew of about 140 people are involved. The process continues 24 hours a day until the installation is finished.
Problem solving skills are key during the installation stage. If something doesn't go as planned, it must be resolved as soon as possible without compromising the job. In our problem solving process we use risk assessments and management-of-change procedures to make sure the right decisions are made. Once the installation is complete, I start all over again and prepare for the next well.
When I was
- Physical Education/Health
- Played on a sports team
- Enjoyed working with my hands
- Was motivated by success
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Learned best "by doing"