What advice would you give to a university student who wants to gain more exposure to the industry to then become a valued contributor to the industry?
Just get involved. The oil and gas industry is successful off the back of not only the operators, but everyone from the welders in the fab yard, to the offshore medics, to the regulators. There are so many different ways to make a contribution, get creative and pick a place to start. It is a dynamic industry so as long as you maintain a steep learning curve, there will be plenty of opportunities to craft that ideal position for yourself. Be conscious that you are not entering the workforce merely for exposure, but as a Student Engineer looking to add value and make a tangible contribution.
What is the biggest factor that made you choose the oil and gas industry over other industries (e.g. the long term opportunities or expansive and/or scale of operations)?
The challenges we face each day are challenges that have often never been dealt with before. We are on the forefront of an industry that understands there is only a future if we can produce energy solutions that are more efficient, more innovative, safer, better for the environment and better for the community than the processes and practises we’re continually moving forward from. This breeds opportunity and change – excitement for people at all stages of their career.
How has your company empowered you to achieve a feat that you personally thought not possible, and that you know you would not have been able to achieve at another company? – (What makes your company unique?)
I am trusted to be the best engineer. I had been at the company three weeks as a Graduate Engineer before I found myself as the sole engineer running nightshift in Keppel Shipyard for an FPSO mobilisation in Singapore. I’d worked on the project in the office for some time as a Student Engineer in the lead up to this. Since then, I have managed two key fabrication scopes overseas and independently developed a number of core project procedures. It is empowering, and great for the learning curve, to be allowed to operate autonomously and entrusted with managing risk profiles potentially significant to overall project success.
Where/what role do you see yourself working in 5 years time? Is it in the same industry and/or role? Or would you like to diversify your career portfolio?
In five years’ time I will be working in a more commercial capacity heading toward a management position. Whether this capacity is in BD/BA or Project Management is yet to be determined. Where in the world – who knows. If there is interesting work with opportunity to learn something new, then that’s where I’ll be.
To what extent have you been able to direct and shape your career so far? How have you positioned yourself to make these decisions?
It is your career. If you aren’t in control of the direction you’re headed, you’re doing something wrong. Take ownership of your career, communicate your expectations and goals with the people that can help you achieve them and then build strong relationships with these people.
"You’ll keep learning up until the day it doesn’t interest you anymore. Per my earlier comment, if you want to get into the industry, just start somewhere and crack on with getting involved."
What has been your most interesting on-site experience?
There’s always unexpected little bits of excitement when you’re offshore, a recent one though. We were installing an FPSO mooring system and discovered a huge boulder about 4 m x 4 m x 2 m protruding right in the mooring design corridor. We engineered a solution on site and went in to relocate it. Turned out it was probably the top of a mountain as it wasn’t budging an inch. It still hasn’t been determined who gets naming rights.
Looking back, what skills or areas of study do you wish you had strengthened before entering the workforce?
You’ll keep learning up until the day it doesn’t interest you anymore. Per my earlier comment, if you want to get into the industry, just start somewhere and crack on with getting involved. You don’t know what you don’t know and it will be hard working out the body of knowledge that you could know until you you’ve been exposed to it. If you’re interested in project work, know what it takes to manage a project and through this develop an understanding of how you can best contribute to the project team. Other than that, pick a place and start adding value! You’ll learn the supporting skills along the way.
SPE UWA would like to thank DOF Subsea for giving permission to post Seamus' profile.
More information on DOF Subsea can be found here.