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Advice for entering the industry

Advice for entering the industry

(OP)
Hi all.

I'm a chemical/materials engineering student going into my third year. I'm wondering how I can improve my chances of getting a job in the petroleum industry (preferably offshore).

I have a few extra classes in my timetable. What would be some good classes to take?
I was thinking of doing a graduate diploma in science in some field such as geophysics. (one year). Should I do this or would I be better off just starting work?
I was also thinking of doing a taught Master's in petroleum engineering by distance learning (since petroleum eng isn't offered in my country) which would take about four years.

Is this a sound plan? What can I do to improve it?
Will the skills I learn still be useful if petroleum doesn't work out and I have to enter a different industry, such as mining?

I'm also interested in whether or not any extracurricular activities (not expensive) would help my chances.

Cheers guys.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

Do you know a petroleum company that is hiring offshore engineers right now?

RE: Advice for entering the industry

(OP)

Quote (BigInch)

Do you know a petroleum company that is hiring offshore engineers right now?

No, but I still have a few years before I would actually finish any of these qualifications. That's also the reason why I'm concerned as to the job prospects outside of petroleum engineering such as mining/energy.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

My personal opinion is you have about 4yrs... maybe more?

RE: Advice for entering the industry

(OP)
Probably 4-6 years. Are you saying that I shouldn't do petroleum? What else would you recommend? I don't really want to finish chemE then start making fertiliser for the rest of my days...

RE: Advice for entering the industry

It has it's disadvantages. 5yrs ago many thought petroleum would be finished by 2030. Now it might last to 2035smile If it does last long enough to make another lifetime of work out of it, I think it will become a very cyclic business. It has exhibited that behavior in the past, however I think it will get more and more so, probably with even greater highs and lows. OK, not like mining isn't. Seems most industries have cycles anyway. So maybe the business will get to be even more exciting than it has been in the past. If you're determined, I might suggest specializing in EOR.

I'm struggling a bit trying to see how you're going to meld Chemistry/Materials with Petroleum(Offshore). How do you see that? Or will you move more directly towards petroleum engnieering? Doesn't chem go better with petroleum refining? That's mostly onshore, unless you just want to separate oil, water and gas. And why offshore? Do you see yourself working on or offshore (as on a platform). Platform life is not really all that great, by the way. Lots of rotation. Never really home, never really away.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

I agree with BigInch. This is the 2. cycle in my career (im a process engineer). During the first i left oil&gas and worked in pharma for 2-3 years. Then things improved and i worked my way back to the industry. I think its an open question when the oil is finished - but as the quote goes: The stone age didnt end because the world ran out of stones.... I think and hope that the need for oil & gas will drop within 15-20 years as a result of new energy source (renewable and others) and that we will free ourself of our dependency on HC then.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.- food for thought.
There is a large school believing that oil will eventually run out. Others think oil is being created all the time. I'm rather sure that it is not the second as, if it is being created all the time, I can tell you that it is only being created in places farther and farther away from home. (Shale oil production is not creationism, it's a form of EOR.)

Sooner or Later

Sooner:
Nobody knows how the oil industry will end and I'm not sure about the time frame, but this is how I think it'll play out. I think oil exploration will end long before the last barrel is pumped from the ground, simply because the risk of finding it will not outweigh the potential reward of producing and selling it. That might move the "effective end" of oil up quite a lot. If the price goes high enough to recover those costs, then the production/consumption volume will have to come down, since nobody will be able to afford to burn it. Onshore wells in remote locations are now costing over $20MM each. How long will it be before the anty cost goes so high that it prohibits sitting down and playing the game? I don't know.

Later:

How much shale oil is out there? USGS has just this very week doubled the estimated recoverable, but as of yet undiscovered reserves in the Barnett Field. Price will be low, probably way too low, until this is burned off. When the competition is finally knocked off and only the big majors are left, get ready for the biggest price spike you've ever seen, unless renewables have made significant inroads before then.

Conclusion
Dylanc, I guess you have thought about it and, if the above does happen, you must think it will be towards the farside of the next 40 years or so. Some, relatively recently, predicted the end of oil by 2025. Others well before then, so I suppose if there is a time scale, it is certainly very stretchy. Anyway all that uncertainty only serves to create instability, which translates into cycles of high and low spikes. That's why I say, it should be a good ride, wherever it goes.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

Biginch, I think you are right about new oil being formed all the time - but I dont think the rate of replacement is anywhere near our current consumption rate. So for all intents and purposes the oil might run out (and it surely will from a commercial point of view).

As a chemical engineer i think that even if we did rid ourselves of HC as an energy source we would still use NG and oil as a feed stock for chemical processing. This will, however be on a much smaller scale and would have to compete with some types of crops e.g.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

Back when I couldn't afford to take time off, I alternated working between pipelines, when the price of gas and crude was high, refinery pipe stress, when the crude price was low, and structural engineering (chemical & refinery structures, conveyor systems in paper making plants, and even designed a lot of the Texas A&M footbal stadium and sport center) when crude prices were in betweens.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

Indeed, a materials-process-offshore combo is a tad unusual. I think my company might find a spot for somebody like that, but two instead of three of those would be easier to fit. I know offshore materials engineers as well as offshore process types, but all three would probably be placed in an R&D slot. Your country has some oil and gas production as well as a refinery. Just because you want to eventually find yourself offshore doesn't mean that refining experience wouldn't add value. Get an internship with the refiner, or learn a craft. One of the better young engineers that I work with went through a union welding training program while he was still in school. Not a bad skill when one is dealing with steel, whether on or off shore or upstream, midstream or downstream. Whether oil and gas will last a career... Anybody's guess, I suppose I generally agree with BigInch. Certainly the business is cyclical - and that's when another skill like welding can come in handy!

RE: Advice for entering the industry

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Dec 15, 2015 Bahrain Petroleum Co. BSC (Bapco) has let a contract to WorleyParsons Ltd. to provide project management services for the planned expansion and modernization of its 267,000-b/d refinery at Sitra, on Bahrain’s eastern coast.
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Dec 14, 2015 New Zealand Refining Co. Ltd. (NZRC) has commissioned the long-awaited $365 million (NZ) Te Mahi Hou (TMH) expansion project at its 107,000-b/d Marsden Point refinery at Northland on the North Island’s east coast.
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RE: Advice for entering the industry

(OP)
So if I were to work upstream, would these additional qualifications be as useful or should I just stick with my bachelor's degree?

RE: Advice for entering the industry

Additional qualifications can always be useful. How much you will be able to make use of them in future isn't going to be easy to answer today.

RE: Advice for entering the industry

My own experience is, the further upstream you go, the less your qualifications, in and of themselves, will be valued. That does not mean you need fewer or lower qualifications, it just means that others around you on a day to day basis won't give a rat's butt about them. It's not because "upstream folks" are dumb people - most are definitely not - but they really don't have a lot of time or patience in -40 C weather at 2:00 a.m. waiting for science to get their separator working or their flow line unplugged. It's a bit less of an esoteric and more of a plug-and-chug skill set. Most of the science and creativity in "upstream" are centred around providing contingencies in the design that will address how performances will change throughout the project life cycle; things like picking compressors that are easy to re-stage, picking control valves with totally replaceable trim sizes, adjusting piping layout to make provisions for future expansion (or mothballing), and preparing for the problems that don't exist in year one but are certainly coming in year three. The boundaries that envelop the scenarios under which things always need to work are typically much broader and often contradictory than those in more downstream processes. It's more a game of "hedging your bets". It's not for everyone. Although it *is* science and requires that "engineering" skill set, it doesn't "feel like it".

RE: Advice for entering the industry

Good synopisis Snorgy. Experience counts more upstream. Exactly like Sorgy said, nobody's got time or patience for holding hands, doing calculations ... or calling the home office. Better you've seen something or two, once or twice before.

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