One of the biggest challenges to people looking to build a career in the oil and gas sector face is how they can get involved in the oil and gas industry. So I reached out to five oil and gas professionals and asked the following question:
How did you happen to get started in the oil and gas industry?
I am a former a wireline Engineer at Schlumberger. And currently assigned as Engineer in charge for ENI Project in Mozambique.
I studied Bsc. in Telecommunication Engineering from University of Dar es Salaam, during my final year in 2013 I got an opportunity to meet with recruiters from Schlumberger who came to visit College of Engineering and Technology (COET) looking for potential engineering candidate who could join them in their ongoing projects across East and Southern African region.
They invited everyone from engineering and mining background to participate in aptitude exam conducted at the University of Dar es Salaam.
The response was amazing, about 600 candidates participated and only few of us managed to pass this stage.
Thereafter went through series of interview session including oral, presentations and group session. I finally got successful and got assigned to Mtwara, Tanzania as Wireline Field Engineer trainee to work on the then ongoing BG Tanzania operation.
I didn’t actually plan to have a career in the oil and gas industry, but took the opportunity when it presented itself, because the field engineer job seemed interesting, unique, and challenging.
After taking up the role I started with training since I didn’t have oil and gas background, my first training was in Paris France, this was mostly covering introduction to Oilfield and where Schlumberger fit in the market.
My second training was in US, this was bit extensive and long one taking about 4 months covering Wireline operation, crew management, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and other specific courses related to Schlumberger operation.
After completing my training, I joined the crew working on BG Tanzania offshore operation. I remember the name of the rig was Deep Sea Metro1 and the first well I logged was Mzia-3 appraisal well.
Since then I have been working on several projects across Sub-Saharan African.
I have been working in emerging market environments in East and South Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania & Ethiopia) and in several west African countries from Cameroon, Ghana, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo managing wide variety of Wireline and basic Slickline services; working offshore/onshore for international as well as local demanding clients (BG, Total, ENI, Sasol, Ophir, Shell, Tullow Oil, New Age, Maurel & Prom & PanAfrican Energy).
As a wireline engineer, I am responsible for crew safety, providing the client with the excellent data and service quality while adhering to stringent health, safety and environment policies.
The most challenging part of my role as an Engineer in Charge is organizing and tackling an extremely large and varied amount of tasks, ranging from planning my crew to work safely and efficiently, to checking tools making sure all the tools and equipment are operational, to inputting HSE and service quality reports, to speaking with clients on a daily basis. There are so many tasks on my list that it was impossible to complete them all, so I had to learn to prioritize.
My advice for anyone who wants to start out career in oil and gas industry, as this industry is very demanding, fast-paced, and volatile, they need to be prepared to work very, very hard. And long hours. It’s not always fun. But it is rewarding, challenging, and you will learn a lot. Perseverance is key.
I encourage my fellow Tanzanians (especially those who wants to take advantage of business opportunities, graduates and students) to take the time to really learn about the oil and gas industry, especially now this is hot cake and it is fast growing market in East Africa.
Why To Follow: Alex Athanas worked with one of the largest oil service company in the world (Schlumberger), he now works as Engineer in charge for ENI Project in Mozambique.
“I first joined the industry back in 2013 as a planning analyst for Swala oil and gas (T) plc. This role was advertised by radar recruitment Tanzania. Since I worked as a Market Analyst before, radar decided to contact me and I was first interviewed by radar. I did well and I was referred to the Swala CEO for the second interview. I did well and I received a job offer. The company immediately sent me to Australia for a month training before I was fully given responsibilities.”
Why to Follow: Fikiri Ali is an experienced planning analyst with a demonstrated history of working with the oil and gas industry. Skilled in Analytical skills. Financial modeling, strategic planning, social science, and SPSS. Strong business development professionals with a masters degree in Applied Economics and Business from Mzumbe University in Tanzania
“My journey in the oil and gas industry started in early 2012 just after completing my final-year exams. I was given an offer to work with Schlumberger as Maintenance Engineer after passing series of interviews conducted during a career fair event organized by Schlumberger at College of Engineering and Technology, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam”
Describing the top challenge faced in his career Innocent says “The main challenge was during my first two years when you spend most of the time on the field, doing onshore and offshore drilling rigs. This is the time when you are supposed to acquire a lot of skills through on-job and in-class training and you are required to break out and become a standalone competent engineer. The condition for employment during this time was to pass all training, otherwise, you will be dismissed.
The most memorable event in my career occurred in 2015 when I was promoted to General Maintenance Engineer (GME) after passing all interviews and successfully delivering my project presentation in Congo Brazzaville, Pointe Noire. I delivered this presentation in front of Regional Management and it was a pass-or-fail event.”
Why to Follow:Innocent Urio worked with one of the largest oil service company in the world (Schlumberger), he now works downstream (oil marketing company) with Puma Energy Tanzania as an Engineering and Maintenance Manager.
“During my international studies at the Rouen Business School (France), I was part of the Junior Entreprise Alteo Conseil team as Sales Manager. In 2008, I met one of my future partners with whom we started our technical assistance and equipment procurement activities for oil drilling projects in North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, Libya). This entrepreneurial experience led us to the Arab Spring in 2011 forcing us to put our activities on hold. After a detour via Houston in 2012, I joined Veolia Water in Rep of Congo in 2013 and then a subcontractor for the oil industry, SERVTEC Congo, in 2015 where I will soon take up my position as Deputy General Manager.”
Why to Follow: Benoit Gallois is a commercial and operations manager of chez SERVTECH International group. He is in charge of the management of 10 business engineers incharge of 45 customers accounts with more than 70% of turn over in oil and gas industry(Total E&P, Total Distribution, Parenco, Halliburton, TechnipFMC. Subsea7, Baker/GE etc.)
I always compare the oil industry with the military sector. Why? Because it employs people from every profession. Oil and gas companies hire accountants, doctors, legal officers, engineers of all kinds, drivers, security guards, cooks, computer programmers, etc.. And there are different routes to get into this industry. So don’t be daunted of academic background
And the cool thing is that in the oil and gas industry, there are opportunities for people of all ages and shape.
Feel free to contact me if you have any question: