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Topic Title: Career change advice needed - Oil & Gas, Drilling & Mining
Topic Summary: Career change advice needed - Oil & Gas, Drilling & Mining
Created On: 24 April 2013 01:44 PM
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 24 April 2013 01:44 PM
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Posts: 29
Joined: 03 June 2009

Hi all,

I am starting my final year of my Electrical/ Electronic Degree (top-up) i have completed a HND in the same subject as well as been working as a design engineer (using AutoCAD & E-Plan) a software engineer (programming Allen Bradley, Mitsubishi & some Siemens PLC's and relevant HMI's) and have also got experience in running a project from meetings and quotations all the way through to testing and commissioning stages. This was mainly with the food industry but now i looking at trying to make a break into the Oil & Gas industry or Drilling & Mining Industry.

This is purely for the larger finanical gains and greater opportunities that i may be able to see from such leading and larger companies involved in these areas. I would love to work internationally as opposed to just nationwide and would possibly even relocate.

I am a little niave to the types of jobs that would be available to someone like myself and i do not plan on making a move until i have my degree completed along with other courses such as my Comp'Ex, BOSIET & MIST.

Would it be of any advantage to me to take part in an NVQ level 3 electrical maintenance/ installation course just so i could take a more hands on job to find a way into these industries or would it be better advised i follow a different route? I have experience "on the tools" (aiding installations, fault findings and control panel wiring,etc)as part of my job over the past 4-5years however do not have the paperwork to provide back up to this.

If there is any advice available i would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you.



ipsa scientia potestas est
 24 April 2013 09:29 PM
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Joined: 18 January 2003


I can't offer any specific advice - you know your interests, abilities and inclinations better than anyone. But for what it's worth, I will offer some comments.

First off, I'd say there's not much call for 'deep-down' electronic engineering in the 'direct' O&G business. Designers of new plant usually specify control systems and their functions to the equipment suppliers (who are, in many cases, taking a progressively larger role) who take care of configuration and programming.

Basically your choices are pretty much in Control & Instrumentation or Electrical (power). Each of those areas offers Design, Construction or Maintenance. Which one you go for will depend on where your interests lie, although there is significant overlap in some areas. This will largely determine what kind of company you try to join.

Typically, plants are designed and built by contracting engineering companies (Amec, Bechtel, CB&I, F-W, KBR, etc) and their subcontractors and then operated and maintained by the operating companies (BP, Exxon, Shell, et al). Obviously there are exceptions - sometimes contractors operate plants for an owner and sometimes operators will engineer smaller projects in-house.

If you go for the Design end, expect to need to understand the application of the equipment (including the process that the plant is running) and specify its functions but rarely, if ever, actually work on it (witness testing is about as close as you'll usually get).

If you aim more at the Construction part, you can expect to be involved in installation, testing, commissioning and to some degree start-up.

If you want to work with the kit hands-on on a regular day-to-day basis you probably need to think about an operating company. Here, you're likely to spend longer periods at one site, making sure things work, carrying out testing and working to improve and optimise what the Contractor provided to start with. You won't often actually repair anything (downtime's too expensive) but you will have the opportunity to figure out what doesn't work and why.

Construction is probably the easiest place to get started, and probably offers the best migration opportunities to the either of the other areas. I'm not really sure what the current recruitment climate for construction is like, but I know that recruitment to Design Engineering contractors and Operators is fiercely competitive. In general, Operators probably offer the best starting money, followed by DEC contractors but there are fewer starting vacancies and, of course, they expect their pound of flesh.

Hope this is of some help

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 14 June 2013 08:22 AM
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Joined: 14 June 2013

As they say in situations like this, listen to what your heart says. And do what it says. Don't go for a course just because it's more advantageous but because you love it.

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