In the last of this week’s Sector Spotlight on the Energy Industry we hear from Stewart Esslemont, who is a Project Engineer with National Oilwell Varco (NOV) Wellstream Processing on Flotta.
After leaving school, Stewart originally started on the Clyde Marine Apprenticeship scheme to become a Mechanical Engineer. He ultimately decided that was not the career choice for him, so returned to Orkney where he undertook various roles before becoming a Project Technician for Opus Plus Ltd (now NOV Wellstream Processing) eight years ago. He was promoted into his current role four years ago.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as a Project Engineer?
There are no typical days in my job role and that is how I like it best fortunately.
My job role while traditionally considered to be someone directly responsible for project budgets, planning and personnel, for me also incorporates oilfield chemistry and a basic use of practical engineering disciplines (mechanical and electrical) at our test facility.
I also on occasion will go on field trips onshore and offshore worldwide for site-studies and to trial technologies which help fluids separate after they are discharged from an oil well.
How did you end up in this role?
I left school after sixth year and joined Clyde Marine’s Apprenticeship scheme to become a Mechanical Engineer at Glasgow Nautical College. After completing my second year and when due to return to sea, as a cadet, I came to the decision that the career was not going to be for me and dropped out of the course and resettled back in Orkney.
To begin with, I re-joined the company I worked for as a summer student Orkney Herring Ltd for a few months before unfortunately I was let go as the company ceased trading. I joined Stagecoach Orkney as an mechanical labourer out of necessity more than choice, however, once I was made aware of the job application for a Project Technician at Opus Plus Ltd (now NOV Wellstream Processing) I applied immediately, was given a job offer and joined the company in February 2012.
In early 2016 I was promoted to the role of Project Engineer by completing an in-house personal development plan, which featured a mix of training modules focusing on practical, academical and competency training.
What is the best thing about your job?
It is a constant challenge which is something that I enjoy. Working in the oil and gas sector for an industry supplier you are essentially a commodity in yourself in that your knowledge is there to be shared with the client you are working on behalf of and the personnel you work with. It means that you must be open to other ideas and quite often criticism as opinions can clash!
What is the worst thing about your job?
There are a few things but failing a test run because of something out of your control such as a piece of glassware breaking can really mess up your day. Spilled oil is also nightmare to clean up!
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Communication is key, you constantly work with others and rely on their input into your day to day activities, without good communication the system often fails. It helps to be humble and ask when you are unsure as it saves you time in the long run.
What qualifications do you have?
HNC – Mechanical Engineering
City & Guilds Level 3 – Petroleum Processing Technology
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I would always encourage someone to give anything a go that they are passionate about, if you are determined you will get to where you want to go!
Visit NOV on: