More than five years after a profile article was originally published on RigZone.com(original source) and cDiver.net - and after a recently released interview on Drillers.com(https://drillers.com/eric-roth-interview/), OilVoice.com, and OilPro.com - I still often receive emails from either young professionals or mid-career changers asking for advice on both getting into and succeeding in oil and gas. I am most humbly grateful for this consideration and respond to as many as possible, so in the interest of being able to share this information widely for the use of others, I will try to address it directly in more detail.
Take a moment to think of some of the rarest qualities that one would hope to find in professionals or prospective candidates, in any field or industry. Now take another moment to think of the rarest qualities one could hope to find in professionals within the Oil and Gas industry worldwide. Any ideas? Somewhere within your answers to both of these questions alike would most likely be an individual who is a combination of a sound operational advisor, and a knowledgeable technical engineer.
As most of us know, these two qualities are difficult to find in one individual serving in a supervisory post. As with most industries, unfortunately normally we find those who are either a good operational leader or a sound engineer, not both.
As an example, in my own chosen specialism, Rig Integrity/Operational Assurance and Operational Performance and QHSSE for Drilling & Wells, one has to constantly stretch and develop himself and his competencies, in order to stay relevant and valuable to his clients. For the aspiring professionals in training, or those who have recently began careers in O&G, this is a good opportunity to develop themselves in each area going forward, which enables them to market their services to a specific audience, as someone who understands the operations being conducted. After a certain level, one must be able to eventually provide a particular value which distinguishes yourself from amongst your peers.
Why is this important?
First, a little background…
All aspects of onshore and offshore oil and gas operations – what we broadly term petroleum engineering, and includes the full life cycle of the well, from reservoir and formation evaluation, to drilling and completions, to production operations, to workovers and well service work, to plugging and abandoning – are inherently very technical in nature, requiring analytical methods to be used throughout the well life. This requires continuous monitoring and management of the equipment, procedures, processes, and manpower (which is often comprised of people from many different cultures and nationalities). To compound this, these are without question some of the most hazardous environments in the world to be working in, when you take into account the hands-on nature, moving parts, heavy equipment, high temperatures, high pressures, fluids with chemicals, and many types of stored energies. We have built on our industry knowledge from all the way back to the 1800’s when the first onshore oil wells were drilled using rudimentary tools, to the capabilities we are developing and using today in ultra-deepwater and extreme environments. And yet, we are still exploring in ever deeper wells and water depth, more challenging geology, and more remote locations using, in parallel, both aging and newbuild rig fleets for the well construction – all of this demands a level of understanding and methods high above those which were once sufficient for these operations.
The bonus is that this also makes it one of the most interesting and exciting career fields in the world for young and mid–range professionals (of any specialty) to be a part of. It is high risk/high reward. The technologies we are implementing today to help solve downhole challenges are truly awe inspiring. Because of these, we need experts who are aware of the operating procedures, so that they can effectively assist the engineering teams with mitigating/minimizing the associated hazards created from these type of highly specialized operations. This does not always occur only on a piece of paper written from our desks miles and miles away from the site.
There has been quiet a number of articles written the last couple of years on the coming skill gap with the great crew change ('ahem, I know, not this yet again?!' ;), and in particular the urgent need for more university engineering graduates. However, not always mentioned is the fact that it is not required that one necessarily have an engineering degree to be successful in the oil and gas industry, as long as this individual can demonstrate a certain level of technical aptitude in field applications and has the desire to learn, and a willingness to start in literally any entry level job - regardless of education level or roles done before in other fields (as I had to initially swallow my pride to do, having previously served in elite military forces, as a Marine on special teams protecting dignitaries, presidents, and world leaders, having been on duty in the middle of, and leading teams during actual major international crisis situations, and thereafter in similar "glamorous" jobs in the private sector). "Hmmm", I wondered at the time, "what one of the billionaire CEO's or A-list movie stars I was working for in Hollywood just the previous year before I resigned [really], would think if they realized I was now a deckhand cleaning toilets on a liftboat in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico??!!" - No, I've never regretted that decision.
To complement the above qualities, we also need these same advisors to be emotionally intelligent, highly adaptive, and efficient in the field dealing with personnel from every type of department, and to be able to communicate effectively (through the use of adequate ‘**soft skills’ such as empathy, situational leadership, cultural awareness, and direct communication** among others) with contractors or subcontractors as well as their own teams and communities where the projects are conducted.
Moreover, this capacity for being able to work in a team is important to relay information and get engagement with basic guiding principles, such as international standards set forth by API, BS & HSE (UK), OSHA, NORSOK, IMO ISM, ISO, and any other relevant organizations which put forth approved best practice recommendations, depending on what region we work in and the registered origin of our company. He/she must have the ability to cascade lessons learned from the field, not only locally or regionally, but also from worldwide events, to all levels of the operating organization vertically and laterally, in order to prevent the re-cycling of incidents. Worldwide coverage of accidents such as those at Macondo and Montara, and many others less known, are only the final result in a series of escalating smaller events which ultimately caused the final well integrity failure. As is the question many times when we look at our goals, personal and professional, we now come to the point of asking ourselves:
That’s where we want to go… so how do we get there?
The candid answer is that there is no road map; you'll be required to blaze your own trail. There are, however, some gentle suggestions which may help you get started....
The first obvious step is to decide, firmly, that this is the chosen area we would like to dedicate our professional lives to, and stick to it. The reason is because becoming a fully competent professional, especially in an industry as demanding and technically challenging as ours, requires self-motivation and an ever present desire for knowledge. You will be learning the trade for the rest of your life; its not a part time side hobby, it has to be a passion. One way to shorten the learning cycle is to ask for advice from the previous more experienced generation who are nearing retirement age, who have been in the business for many, many years - pick their brain, listen to their stories, and their own lessons. And as other writers have previously mentioned… make no mistake, there are and will be hardships, such as extended time away from home, long hours, steep learning curves, failures, and yes, sometimes harsh, uncomfortable conditions.
The second, is to choose a specialization area for the focus of our interests. This may require new crew members to take any available entry role and work up through several areas, deciding eventually which specialty he/she prefers. For example, either upstream or downstream; onshore or offshore; drilling rigs or production platforms; domestic or international. This allows us to focus our energies (important in any area of life, we find as we get older); the technologies we use are changing and improving at a healthy pace, and we have to be willing to update our notions of what we believe to be best practices in safety and operations as novel ideas are being generated and put into use. And we have to continue to ask new difficult questions, regardless of, and sometimes in the face of what has always been done before.
The third, as alluded to above, continually develop yourself on matters that are applicable to your chosen area. If you are already employed in a position in your desired type of role, do not simply wait for and depend on your current employer to devote the time and resources to send you to development courses or seminars. Be willing and ready to bear your own costs on your own time (think longer term investment, not sunk costs!), as this might be the only way to build the knowledge base you want. Read white papers, technical publications, and books focused on your job family, seek membership in groups and international organizations such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers (spe.org) and/or the International Association of Drilling Contractors (iadc.org), which offer information and advice on issues critical to our industry. The information is out there and it is abundant - all we have to do is use the initiative to seek it out.
[In your eager pursuit of the above, it is important to remember this: there are two types of integrity... one having to do with industry (operational, asset, mechanical, etc), and the other which is PERSONAL INTEGRITY. At the very least, uphold and be an "expert" in this second one - DO the right thing by people, and treat others kindly, even if and when others do not; DO NOT sacrifice your personal integrity in the pursuit of the dollar or individual short term gain. This business is cyclical, and you have to be willing to weather the storms, the low times, to survive in it. Be willing to graciously give and assist without expecting something in return, and serve as a positive example others can aspire to follow. Your reputation and legacy is what will remain after the job and material benefit are long gone.]
This is the Ultimate Need
To summarize, the value of a cross functional operations advisor or specialist (whether in drilling, intervention, production, servicing, marine, or other) within our industry - who has the competence and emotional intelligence (and again, with personal integrity) to not only be an effective field leader capable of communicating across all demographic groups, but who also possesses the technical knowledge to assist senior management and key personnel with engineering challenges that present themselves during, and are unique to, oil and gas operational phases (rather than someone simply with regulatory knowledge for example), - will be invaluable to contractors and operators alike in the near term and future, as we continue to expand to these more challenging environments. As the skills gap grows more acute and the need greater, it is a good time to become an oil and gas professional. Truly, all the best - because your success is our success as an industry!
See you in the patch.
*Note, an alternate version of this blog was originally published as an article (under my name as author) in an ASSE O&G Technical Publication in 2013. I've updated and amended to address the subject more broadly.*
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Anthony Rizzo Players Can't Sit On Bench According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the world-famous Anthony Rizzo Phrase "Zombie Rizzo" has been told to never be used again. Of course, this is not the first time that the Zombified Chicago Cubs' first baseman has made headlines this year. A year ago, "Rosebud" was the catchphrase that he coined for himself. Also, there is Anthony Rizzo Shirts that come in his name. Now that the Cubs are World Series Champions, Anthony Rizzo is on his way to superstardom. He is leading the World Series in several categories, including hits, runs, home runs, RBI's, OBP, and SLG. Also, he's on track for a staggering year in hits, RBI's, and total bases, all while being second in home runs.
The Cubs Phenom
This season the Chicago Cubs are over 3.5 million in earnings from the local broadcasts alone. The Cubs could lose a good deal of local revenue if they fail to get back to the World Series. But the local revenue is not the biggest factor in the Cub's success. A large part of their success comes from two of their most popular players, third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. These two players are now the favorites to win the MVP awards this year, especially if the Cubs are able to stay on top of the wild card standings. A Look at Rizzo Anthony Rizzo is often compared to his college teammate Andrew McCutchen. Both players have performed well at the plate.
The wood pellet mill, that goes by the name of a wood pellet machine, or wood pellet press, is popular in lots of countries around the world. With all the expansion of "biomass energy", there are now various production technologies utilized to convert biomass into useable electricity and heat. The wood pellet machines are one of the typical machines that complete this task.
Wood pellet mills turn raw materials such as sawdust, straw, or wood into highly efficient biomass fuel. Concurrently, the entire process of converting these materials in a more dense energy form facilitates storage, transport, and make use of on the remainder of any value chain. Later on, you will find plans for biomass fuel to replace traditional fuels. Moreover, wood pellet machines supply the chances to start many different types of businesses.
What Is A Wood Pellet Mill?
Wood pellet machines are kinds of pellet machines to process raw materials including peanut shells, sawdust, leaves, straw, wood, plus more. Today the pellet mills can be purchased in different types. Both the main types include the ring die pellet mills as well as the flat die pellet mills. Wood pellet mills are designed for processing many different types of raw materials irrespective of size. The pellet size is very simple to customize with the use of a hammer mill.
The Benefits Of A Wood Pellet Mill
- The gearboxes are made of high-quality cast iron materials which provide excellent shock absorption and low noise. The wood pellet mills adopt a gear drive that makes a better efficiency in comparison with worm drive or belt drive. The gear drive setup really helps to prevent belt slippage while extending the lifespan in the belt drive.
- The equipment shell includes reinforced ribs and increased casting thickness, which significantly enhances the overall strength of those mills, preventing the breakage in the shell.
- The rollers and die are made of premium-quality alloy steel with 55-60HRC hardness.
- These mills adopt an appropriate wood-processing die-hole structure and die-hole compression ratio.
- The electric-control product is completely compliant with CE standard-os.
- The Emergency Stop button quickly shuts along the mill if you are up against an unexpected emergency.
How To Maintain A Wood Pellet Mill
- The belt tightness ought to be checked regularly. If it is now slack, it needs to be tightened immediately.
- The equipment should be situated in a nicely-ventilated area to ensure the temperature created by the motor can emit safely, to extend the lifespan of your machine.
- Before restarting the appliance, any remaining debris has to be cleared from the machine room to reduce starting resistance.
- Oil must be filled regularly to every bearing to market inter-lubricating.
- To ensure the cutter remains sharp, check this part regularly to prevent unnecessary damages for any other part.
- Regularly inspect the cutter screws, to make sure the bond involving the knife and blade remains strong.
- The machine should take a seat on an excellent foundation. Regular maintenance of your machine will prolong the complete lifespan of the machinery.
It was shaping up to yet another dull OPEC+ meeting. Cut and dry. Copy and paste. Rubber-stamping yet another monthly increase in production quotas by 432,000 b/d. Month after month of resisting pressure from the largest economies in the world to accelerate supply easing had inured markets to expectations of swift action by OPEC and its wider brethren in OPEC+.
And then, just two days before the meeting, chatter began that suggested something big was brewing. Whispers that Russia could be suspended made the rounds, an about-face for a group that has steadfastly avoided reference to the war in Ukraine, calling it a matter of politics not markets. If Russia was indeed removed from the production quotas, that would allow other OPEC+ producers to fill in the gap in volumes constrained internationally due to sanctions.
That didn’t happen. In fact, OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee commented that suspension of Russia’s quota was not discussed at all and not on the table. Instead, the JTC reduced its global oil demand forecast for 2022 by 200,000 b/d, expecting global oil demand to grow by 3.4 mmb/d this year instead with the downside being volatility linked to ‘geopolitical situations and Covid developments.’ Ordinarily, that would be a sign for OPEC+ to hold to its usual supply easing schedule. After all, the group has been claiming that oil markets have ‘been in balance’ for much of the first five months of 2022. Instead, the group surprised traders by announcing an increase in its monthly oil supply hike for July and August, adding 648,000 b/d each month for a 50% rise from the previous baseline.
The increase will be divided proportionally across OPEC+, as has been since the landmark supply deal in spring 2020. Crucially this includes Russia, where the new quota will be a paper one, since Western sanctions means that any additional Russian crude is unlikely to make it to the market. And that too goes for other members that haven’t even met their previous lower quotas, including Iraq, Angola and Nigeria. The oil ministers know this and the market knows this. Which is why the surprise announcement didn’t budge crude prices by very much at all.
In fact, there are only two countries within OPEC+ that have enough spare capacity to be ramped up quickly. The United Arab Emirates, which was responsible for recent turmoil within the group by arguing for higher quotas should be happy. But it will be a measure of backtracking for the only other country in that position, Saudi Arabia. After publicly stating that it had ‘done all it can for the oil market’ and blaming a lack of refining capacity for high fuel prices, the Kingdom’s change of heart seems to be linked to some external pressure. But it could seemingly resist no more. But that spotlight on the UAE and Saudi Arabia will allow both to wrench some market share, as both countries have been long preparing to increase their production. Abu Dhabi recently made three sizable onshore oil discoveries at Bu Hasa, Onshore Block 3 and the Al Dhafra Petroleum Concession, that adds some 650 million barrels to its reserves, which would help lift the ceiling for oil production from 4 to 5 mmb/d by 2030. Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco is expected to contract over 30 offshore rigs in 2022 alone, targeting the Marjan and Zuluf fields to increase production from 12 to 13 mmb/d by 2027.
The UAE wants to ramp up, certainly. But does Saudi Arabia too? As the dominant power of OPEC, what Saudi Arabia wants it usually gets. The signals all along were that the Kingdom wanted to remain prudent. It is not that it cannot, there is about a million barrels per day of extra production capacity that Saudi Arabia can open up immediately but that it does not want to. Bringing those extra volume on means that spare capacity drops down to critical levels, eliminating options if extra crises emerge. One is already starting up again in Libya, where internal political discord for years has led to an on-off, stop-start rhythm in Libyan crude. If Saudi Arabia uses up all its spare capacity, oil prices could jump even higher if new emergencies emerge with no avenue to tackle them. That the Saudis have given in (slightly) must mean that political pressure is heating up. That the announcement was made at the OPEC+ meeting and not a summit between US and Saudi leaders must mean that a façade of independence must be maintained around the crucial decisions to raise supply quotas.
But that increase is not going to be enough, especially with Russia’s absence. Markets largely shrugged off the announcement, keeping Brent crude at US$120/b levels. Consumption is booming, as the world rushes to enjoy its first summer with a high degree of freedom since Covid-19 hit. Which is why global leaders are looking at other ways to tackle high energy prices and mitigate soaring inflation. In Germany, low-priced monthly public transport are intended to wean drivers off cars. In the UK, a windfall tax on energy companies should yield US$6 billion to be used for insulating consumers. And in the US, Joe Biden has been busy.
With the Permian Basin focusing on fiscal prudence instead of wanton drilling, US shale output has not responded to lucrative oil prices that way it used to. American rig counts are only inching up, with some shale basins even losing rigs. So the White House is trying more creative ways. Though the suggestion of an ‘oil consumer cartel’ as an analogue to OPEC by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is likely dead on arrival, the US is looking to unlock supply and tame fuel prices through other ways. Regular releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve has so far done little to bring prices down, but easing sanctions on Venezuelan crude that could be exported to the US and Europe, as well as working with the refining industry to restart recently idled refineries could. Inflation levels above 8% and gasoline prices at all-time highs could lead to a bloody outcome in this year’s midterm elections, and Joe Biden knows that.
But oil (and natural gas) supply/demand dynamics cannot truly start returning to normal as long as the war in Ukraine rages on. And the far-ranging sanctions impacting Russian energy exports will take even longer to be lifted depending on how the war goes. Yes, some Russian crude is making it to the market. China, for example, has been quietly refilling its petroleum reserves with Russian crude (at a discount, of course). India continues to buy from Moscow, as are smaller nations like Sri Lanka where an economic crisis limits options. Selling the crude is one thing, transporting it is another. With most international insurers blacklisting Russian shippers, Russian oil producers can still turn to local insurance and tankers from the once-derided state tanker firm Sovcomflot PJSC to deliver crude to the few customers they still have.
A 50% hike in OPEC’s monthly supply easing targets might seem like a lot. But it isn’t enough. Especially since actual production will fall short of that quota. The entire OPEC system, and the illusion of control it provides has broken down. Russian oil is still trickling out to global buyers but even if it returned in full, there is still not enough refining capacity to absorb those volumes. Doctors speak of long Covid symptoms in patients, and the world energy complex is experiencing long Covid, now with a touch with geopolitical germs as well. It’ll take a long time to recover, so brace yourselves.
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