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Subsea Engineer Spotlight

On land, Petroleum Engineers evaluate how much a reservoir can produce and determine the best way to recover as much of that oil and gas as possible. At sea, Subsea Engineers do exactly the same thing, with one crucial difference: their oil and gas is trapped beneath an ocean. And then, just like their land-based counterparts, there’s still drilling to be done.

What a typical day looks like:

Though Subsea Engineers primarily spend their time in an office, their designs and research are always focused on the challenges of the offshore environment. That means coordinating data gathering, design-drafting and associated supporting information for the drawings they’ll ultimately produce for the offshore rig.

Gathering the right information involves analyzing reservoir rock and fluid data to optimize recovery methods and to predict reservoir performance and reserves. Once production has begun, a Subsea Engineer needs to keep monitoring and forecasting oil and gas reservoir performance, recommending oil recovery techniques to extend the economic life of wells.

With the right data, an engineer spends their time developing specifications for well modification and stimulation programs, ultimately supervising their implementation. That involves designing and coordinating the installation, maintenance and operation of subsea well-head and production equipment, all the way down to the artificial lift machinery.

The kinds of problems Subsea Engineers solve at work:

Many of an engineer’s biggest challenges occur on the page — solving complex engineering problems with designs that consider both requirements and budgets. But on a rig with tight deadlines that require quick thinking and stress management, Subsea Engineers also have their share of challenges in the field.

Skills used most on the job:

After graduating with an engineering degree, performing up to four years of supervised work experience and being licensed as a Professional Engineer, Subsea Engineers come to their positions with a host of invaluable engineering skills. But to do all this work, a Subsea Engineer also needs to supervise the technicians, technologists and other engineers. Technical know-how alone isn’t enough: a Petroleum Engineer also needs to be a skilled manager.

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