Thinking of Becoming a Petroleum Engineer?
Accounting, medical, law, banking, engineering, so on and so forth; those are just some of the field of work that most students will venture into after the last bell rings in your secondary school time. Well, those are all great choices that promise bright futures ahead. Most of you will be wearing suits and ties and heading to work in big fancy offices in the middle of the bustling city. This is where I will be trying to my humble abilities in sharing with you a field of work that is less well known (perhaps not to some of you).
“Oil and Gas” (O&G) should be a familiar term to most of you as news regarding our Malaysian O&G industry are all over the pages of our leading newspapers lately. With so much investments pouring into our country to make us an O&G hub, it is wise to join this industry as graduates related to this line of work are in demand. I will be sharing with you some of the courses that will serve you in good stead in the future in the world of “Black Gold”.
Offshore Oil Rig
What to study?
Of course, to get the ball rolling, you will need to go for an engineering degree. The 5 main courses you should go for are:
Geology / Geoscience / Petrophysics
Besides those two as mentioned, there are other relevant courses as well which you can go for and should still land you a career in the world of O&G such as:
In the real working world, employers from this field look for graduates who hold at least a Bachelor’s degree with Honors from a major university in any of the above disciplines.
During your adventure in the 5 main courses, you will gain valuable exposure to the industry with possibly first hand experiences of going offshore to a platform to witness how things are done during your industrial training.
Potential Pitfalls – Booksmart vs Streetsmart
While you may be good with numbers and figures, or as they say being booksmart, that quality alone is not enough to propel you into being hired by a potential Multinational O&G company. As we all know our education system emphasizes almost solely on academic excellence, unfortunately you will have to find a way to develop your social skills outside of school.
Have you ever wondered why the top figures in the world today can just walk up to the stage and deliver a masterclass speech? Look no further than the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. If you haven’t watched his product presentation before, you should! The way he captured the awe of his audience was just amazing.
In relevance to our discussion here, employers from this field (or any other line of work) will look for people who are confident, presentable, sociable as well as smart. Reality is that when you are working on a rig or a platform, you have to be able to mix around with the other crew onboard to get jobs done. A blend of brains as well as street smart will definitely serve you well.
Don’t Be Narrow Minded
Focusing on your course majoring is great, but being narrow minded and shutting off information about the latest brouhaha in the industry, is not. For example, student A only researches about the chemistry behind a certain petroleum formula while ignores news and updates regarding the industry.
At the end of the day, all he has to show is just his researches and when the interviewer asks him about drilling, production, etc, silence fills the room. Meanwhile, student B who is in the same course as A, is not as passionate about his studies as A, but reads up and keeps abreast with the latest on-goings by reading articles or magazines.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the potential employer will hire B due to his widespread of knowledge. That’s what this industry about. You may not have to know the details down to the molecular level, it’s all about balance and knowing a bit of everything will certainly mean no harm to your appeal in the market.
Perks of Working
Success is Just Ahead, Be Patience
Here comes the fun part! I know all of you have been yawning thus far but hey, as they say, save the best for last J. The first thing that comes to the minds of those who are about to begin their working life is none other than the pay. You all by now might have a rough idea of how much a fresh grad earns in a normal 8-5 job. Let’s just say inflation has so thus far outgrown our pay scale.
Should you choose the road less taken, which is to get out of the comforts of your home and take an adventure to experience a working life like no others, the reward on the table is reasonably fair. It is normal for our parents to be advising us all the time to make our fortune while we are still young so this is a rare opportunity for young adults to be affordable within a few years. Not many other jobs in the office offer such route unless you are a genius with the stock market or investment banks.
As a young adult, it certainly does your credentials no harm at all by taking up a challenge that requires you to travel all over and stay in places where you wouldn’t have dreamt of under normal circumstances. A couple of years down the road, not many can walk around saying they have been around the Middle East, Asia, and even Europe.
Another thing is, depending on your role, you could be a home based engineer where you have a fixed schedule of a month offshore and a month at home. Talking about saying goodbye to the infamous KL traffics every morning and going on a holiday with your loved ones when the rest are stuck in the office!
With Malaysia currently aiming to boost its credentials as an O&G hub and as well as the demand for more energy in the near future, talents from this line of work will be in great demand. Simple economics will tell us that when demand outstrips supply, the price (pay) will definitely go up as we (the workforce) will have plenty of bargaining chips.
Job Prospects : The Industry Needs You
As mentioned earlier, demands for engineers from the O&G world is always there. Try google-ing up “oilfied engineer vacancy”, you will be surprised with the amount of jobs available. Not too long ago, Roshan Thiran from The Star Jobs wrote an interesting article about this line.
From time to time, we read news about new oilfield discoveries on newspapers and words like “development”, “production”, and “exploration” are indicators of more jobs to be created. As companies look to produce the new found reservoirs, plenty of new jobs will be created. So, with Malaysia looking to increase its oil production to cater for its local demand, expect more projects to be executed in the next few years.
Here is a list of companies in Malaysia that you should pay attention to:
Petronas Shell Halliburton Schlumberger Baker Hughes Gyrodata
Now Listen Up!
With so much being said, by now you should have a rough idea of what this line of work is all about. What I have shared with you is just the very tip of the iceberg and should you be interested in getting down dirty with it, all the information that you need is available on the internet for free.
It is a well rewarding and satisfying job especially for fresh grads as you will have a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, the 2 key personalities required to succeed at this level. Last but not least, let our life mantra be as “Live, Work, Play”. Look to see you guys and girls offshore in the future! Last but not least, below are some sneak peek into what life is all about over there. Enjoy.
Cheers! Alfred, [email protected]—