As a drilling engineer Chris gets flown to work by helicopter. He works with people from all over the world – as well as travelling around it!
What’s your name?
And your age?
Who do you work for?
What’s your job title?
How long have you been doing that, then?
Three and a half years.
How did you get there?
I got a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Strathclyde and then during my final year I applied to various oil and gas companies and was offered a job by BP to join its graduate scheme.
What’s a typical day like?
Days can be extremely varied. In my first year I spent my time rotating to a rig, working for two weeks and then getting two weeks off, usually somewhere in the North Sea. Each day consists of helping to plan upcoming operations, problem solving when the unexpected happens and getting exposure to as many different operations as possible.
After a year you move into a planning and operational role in the office, where you get to start planning wells and then supporting operations when they actually get drilled. Days can be spent doing detailed casing designs, working out cement and mud programs, putting together cost forecasts and so many other tasks, while you still continue to support the current operations out on the rig.
What are the people you work with like?
Everyone gets on really well and is very friendly. Working in a team and being able to bounce ideas off each other is really important part of working for BP. Because it's such a big company and works in so many countries the workforce is extremely diverse, so you get the chance meet and work with people from all over the world.
What’s the best thing about the job?
You're never solving the same problem. Things are always changing and there's always different issues working in drilling; whether it's problems with the drilling the well, issues with rig equipment breaking down, coming up with new solutions to design a well, there's always something new to learn. No two wells are the same and no two days are ever alike.
Much travel involved?
Yes, you obviously travel to the rigs via helicopter every couple of weeks, which is quite a novelty the first few times you do it. I've also travelled out to Houston, Calgary and Aberdeen for training on a regular basis, plus I've also been out to the Faroe Islands and down to Luanda, Angola for work on multiple occasions. BP operates all over the world so there are loads of opportunities to work abroad at some point in your career.
What do you think you’ll do next?
I'll probably go back to work on the rig in a more senior role for a few years and then move into a senior drilling engineer role.
Was there anything you’d have done differently in your career so far?
No, it's all gone really well so far.
What are the top three things you like doing when not being an engineer?
Sport: going for a run, cycling, playing rugby or snowboarding. I play as much sport as possible. Socialising with friends and travelling. I get to do a fair bit with work, which is great cause I can always tag on a few days at the end of trip when I go to new places!