Oil and Gas: The hidden heroes
Published: 26 Sep 2016 By Grace Kimberley
The oil and gas industry has seen trying times in recent years, to say the very least. The energy industry as a whole can be an uncertain sector to be a part of, but the industry employs some of the most enthusiastic and determined professionals the world has to offer.
To an outsider, the ‘heroes’ of the oil and gas industry are often the finishers, the team or individual that achieves what the project was made to deliver. Here NES Global Talent considers who plays the roles of ‘The Hidden Heroes’ and who is, although sometimes less recognised, fundamentally important to the success of a project.
The Environmental Engineer
“Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change and environmental sustainability”
The environmental job sector is of huge interest currently, being that the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou, an international forum for the governments of 10 major economies was recently concluded. The environment and global warming were particularly hot topics this year and a clear focal point for the forum.
For an environmental engineer, overtime work is required frequently to ensure that deadlines are met and the project is built according to the specifications. The role also requires individuals that are highly skilled at problem-solving and people that have a clear understanding of topics outside of their scope of training. Environmental Engineers will have fantastic interpersonal skills, as they will be working with a wide range of different professionals across the energy sector.
“Geophysicists study the physical aspects of the earth using a range of methods, including gravity, magnetic, electrical and seismic. They play a vital role in the oil and gas industries by creating a picture of what lies below the earth’s surface. They do this by collecting data on seismic waves, which move through and around the earth.”
To some, the role of a Geophysicist may seem a straight-forward process. This is an incorrect assumption. Only those that live, breath and sleep their career can thrive in this profession. Such individuals must have the passion and enthusiasm to question every aspect of normality. “That didn’t work 40 years ago? What if it does now?”
The Technical Assistant
“The Technical Assistant is a key role in any project team or organisation. The job holder ensures that technical and administrative tasks are completed in a timely manner to support the technical personnel in the delivery of the specific piece of work or project. This can include producing technical reports and data analysis, preparing technical drawings and developing technical databases.”
The Technical Assistant plays a crucial part in the oil and gas mix, mainly because it is that individual or team’s data and statistics that the project will rely on to be successful. Any miscalculations or missed deadlines could put the whole project at risk.
Efficiency and continuity are key attributes of a technical assistant and will enable a technical team to achieve timely delivery of projects. They will also be responsible for sourcing historical documents, information and drawings, which can be a lengthy, but necessary process.
Exploration / Project Manager
“Leads and operates the organisation’s exploration function to discover significant oil or gas deposits. Evaluates exploration opportunities and their value. Ensures compliance with federal, state and local regulations. Relies on extensive experience and judgement to plan and accomplish goals.”
A managerial position is a seemingly unlikely choice for a ‘hidden hero’, being that all senior personnel will assumedly receive high recognition for being in a leadership position. However, the day-to-day tasks of an exploration manager can often be overlooked, especially if the manager is a contractor and moving from project to project.
The Exploration Manager must ensure his/her team is planning to the company’s strategic plan, whilst attracting and training junior staff. They will also provide in depth knowledge of the project’s scope of work. They will be the person to question the unquestionable and have the confidence to make decisions based on their own skills and knowledge.
Although this role usually involves little manual labour, this individual will not be short of responsibility. They’re also usually multi-disciplinary, a ‘Jack of all trades’.
“The Turnaround Planner will work closely with Maintenance, Operations, Marine, Safety, and Engineering to create, develop work plans for execution during facility shutdowns.”
The planner needs to have a complete understanding of scheduling and development of both long and short term work plans, but he or she also needs to have strong communication skills to effectively interface with Maintenance, Operations, Engineering, HSSE, Contractors and other departments as needed to insure safe, reliable, and cost effective operation. The planner needs to be a strong team worker, a problem-solver, and a “multi-tasker” in order to work effectively with multiple departments as well as various internal and external customers.
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