In celebration of our global QEPrize Engineering Ambassadors’ network, we met up with some of our ambassadors to find out a bit more about what they do, and why they decided to become the engineers they are today.
Stephen, what does a subsea engineer actually do?
Oil and gas is a very important commodity, used by everyone daily. Petroleum products are all around us, from synthetic fibres, cosmetics, to asphalt on our roads and life-saving medicine. They are much more than just the fuel we put into our cars!
Subsea production is important to help us meet global oil and gas demands. By placing production equipment on the seabed, we can recover oil in water deeper than 2000m, and in otherwise inaccessible locations.
When I started out with OneSubsea, I was a graduate engineer. Now, I am in a management role and am responsible for delivering a range of products for projects all over the world. For example, I am currently working on a riser monitoring project and providing a sensor that will be installed 150m below the surface of the sea. This sensor will monitor the integrity and safety of pipelines carrying production oil from the seabed to the surface.
What drew you to this area of engineering?
I graduated university with a degree in mechanical engineering and always knew that I wanted to work in the energy industry. I was given the opportunity to work for OneSubsea on their global rotational development programme, which was an amazing experience. During the programme, I worked in different areas of the business, gained new skills and undertook placements abroad.
When I first started out in engineering, I thought it was a risky career choice, but the more experience I gain, the more I realise I couldn’t have been further from the truth! The opportunities for a career in engineering are abundant and I am glad I made the right decision.
How would you describe a typical day at work for a subsea engineer?
Every day brings new challenges, but a lot of my time now is spent working with people. This could be ensuring the correct components are delivered, managing customer requirements or overseeing the build and testing of subsea structures.
The major challenges are what I enjoy most about the job, though! Every day is different, presenting a new problem that requires an initiative solution. I love problem solving and the challenges make the role enjoyable, continually pushing boundaries and giving me opportunities learn and develop.
Meeting new people and travelling to new projects is another perk of the job. I have been fortunate to work on a variety of projects all over the world, working as part of a global team and visiting many interesting countries.
Why is it important for engineers like yourself to talk about your roles to young people?
I was lucky in that I had very good guidance towards a career in engineering when I was at school, although I wish I had known how diverse the engineering spectrum is and the variety of opportunities.
Engineering encapsulates so many different sectors that it is often difficult to describe to young people what it is that engineers actually do. This is a real shame, because the variety of roles makes engineering a suitable career choice for so many.
When I get asked what an engineer does, my response is that engineers turn ideas into reality!
Is there any advice you would give to someone considering a career in subsea engineering?
Be prepared to work hard and just go for it, you won’t regret it!