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field engineer job advice

field engineer job advice

(OP)
Hello,

I have two job offers both from top 3 service companies. One offer is in pressure pumping (covers frac, cementing, acidizing) and other is offshore cementing. For offshore cementing field engineer, I would spend 9 months training and after that they would transfer to in house office for handling cementing design and the pay is about $10,000 less than the pressure pumping.

My goal after 3-5 years is to work for a producer as a drilling or completion engineer. Which career path would help me to achieve my goal? Thanks in advance for answering my question.

RE: field engineer job advice

There isn't really much difference in those two job offers. You won't have any time to spend the money you make on either job.

You are describing the premium path to success in Oil & Gas these days. Spend 3-5 years with one of those three companies and unless you have hair on your teeth and body odors that match the Paris sewer system and the communication skills of a musk ox you have a great chance to get on with a producer and rapidly move up the ladder. The job with the producer won't be an entry level job either (entry level jobs with any of the big producers these days are internships where you spend 2-3 years in training and closely supervised Engineering roles). The downside is that about 2/3 of the people who enter the service company path can't take the 90 hour weeks, the notice that you have to be on a plane to Dubai in 45 minutes for a 9 month assignment that you had had no advanced notice of, and NEVER NEVER EVER being able to turn your cell phone off. Wives find that life intolerable, especially if they have career aspirations of their own. Few marriages last 5 years with a service company. I have two cousins that entered that world, now one of them is teaching elementary school and the other owns a lawn service. Both of them have MSPE degrees from Texas A&M.

For the 1/3 that can tolerate that life for half a decade (virtually 100% single or recently divorced), their chance of finding stable employment in Houston, Denver, London, Brisbane, Calgary, Aberdeen, Cairo, etc. is excellent. You'll learn a LOT, you'll have an amazing scope of responsibility far earlier than you'd ever have with a production company, and you won't have a personal life at all.

If any of what I've said makes you nervous, keep looking and you'll find an internship with a BP, Exxon/Mobil, Devon, etc. that can lead to a wonderful career and create a solid underpinning for a wonderful life. If you want a shortcut to slingshot yourself farther faster, then the service companies are a great way to go.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

RE: field engineer job advice

(OP)
David,

Thank you for the response. Do you think by having OCS (GOM) experience would help you stand out more than field engineers with onshore pressure pumping? And should I take into other considerations such as reputation of treating employees of top 1 service and the other top 3 service company?

I really appreciated and enjoyed your reply.

RE: field engineer job advice

GOM, Offshore Brazil, Saudi, North Sea, Iran, Columbia, North Dakota, it really doesn't matter. Schlumberger, Halliburton, or BJ are all pretty much the same pressure cookers, and I don't think that one would look noticeably better on a resume than the next. Several years ago I met a Haliburton guy at Amoco's Man Camp in Trinidad. Next time I saw him was in Evanston, WY. I saw him again a few years later at Ras Shukier in the Gulf of Suez, last time I ever saw him (I changed roles about that time) was in New Orleans. His passport looked like a small town phone book (but, come to think of it mine did too and I worked for a Production Company).

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.
The plural of anecdote is not "data"

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