Skip navigation
All Places > News & Field Trips > Blog > 2017 > February
2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            

 

Houston, TX— U.S. Energy Association Executive Director, Barry Worthington, and USEA Chairman, Vicky Bailey, will speak to thousands of women about the new frontier in energy and the value of diversity at the 2nd Annual HERWorld Energy Forum on March 8 at Rice University in Houston.

 

This year’s HERWorld Energy Forum, “The Next Era of Energy: Lean In, All In, and Join In,” will explore the changing energy industry, where business, workforce, innovation and policy intersect.

 

“I have witnessed an increased number of women on boards as companies make the effort to ensure women have the opportunity to serve. Most businesses recognize that diversity is good for business. Different perspectives result in better decision making. If in business your consumers represent a wide spectrum in terms of diversity, than that should also be reflected on your board,” USEA Chairman Vicky Bailey said.

 

“My organization is looking to attract women and others that may have not come up through a traditional path geared to energy. If senior level officials in energy companies constantly ask for diversity within the organization, the CEO will pay attention.”

 

Worthington said he is thrilled to be part of such an important and timely discussion in the epicenter of energy.

“There is a new reality in the energy industry and in the country. More women are majoring in science and engineering, and many of them are joining the energy sector. That brings a fresh new perspective to one of our oldest industries. We need a blend of voices at the table as we develop policy in Washington as well,” Worthington said.

 

“At USEA we work with the U.S. Agency for International Development to highlight one woman each month from the international energy sector, someone who exhibits leadership and embodies the value of diversity, which is critical,” he said.

 

Katie Mehnert, Founder and CEO of Pink Petro, said, "The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it’s happening at exponential speed. The energy industry is entering the dawn of a new era and for the workforce, that's exciting."

 

ABC-TV Anchor, Gina Gaston and Editor in Chief of the Houston Business Journal, Giselle Greenwood will emcee.

The forum will be streamed globally with US local events in San Antonio, Denver, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Bakersfield, Wheeling, and Puget Sound.

 

Internationally, forums will be held in Kenya, the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe.

For a full agenda, speakers, and registration, visit the HERWorld website.

###

Mattis clarifies, “We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil”

 

In talks with Iraqi leaders last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reassured questioning Iraqi leaders that the US will not be attempting to seize their oil without payment.  Back in January, Trump was quoted as saying to the CIA, “We should have kept the oil. But okay. Maybe you'll have another chance."  Mattis seems to have publicly backed off from Trump’s position with his comments during these meetings.  He stated, "All of us in America have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and I'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future."

 

US shale oil output seems to be recovering faster than expected.

 

Societe Generale oil analyst Michael Wittner is one of many that believe US shale is on the rise.  He stated, “Rig counts are increasing at an accelerating pace, and given the technological advances of the past three years, this should translate into significant supply.  US shale is coming back, and it’s coming back strong.”

 

OPEC is also admitting that US shale is quickly becoming a viable threat to the cartel.  In its February report, they referred to the traction US shale is gaining.  They stated that their non-OPE supply forecasts were “made mainly based on US onshore drilling activities and more announced spending by operators on production for this year.”

 

Energy sector down as oil prices remain steady.

 

The S&P 500 Energy sector is currently down roughly 7% year-to-date.  This isn’t particularly alarming when you look at this data point alone.  However when compared to the broad S&P 500, which is currently up 5.5% year-to-date, this becomes more interesting.   Normally, the Energy sector tracks to the price of oil fairly closely, but recently they have diverged.  Oil prices continue to hold up as the overall Energy sector continues its downward trend. 

 

If we continue to see this downward trend, Market experts believe this means Energy stocks are set for further declines, or oil is set for a dramatic rally.   The next month or so should give us a better idea.

Effective communication. You know it’s necessary in both your personal and your professional life. But, for many people, successfully and concisely getting a point across doesn’t exactly come naturally.

 

There are filler words and fidgety movements. There are nonverbal cues and intonation mistakes. And, on top of all of that, you also need to worry about proper word choice to ensure you’re making yourself as clear as possible.

 

So, it’s really no wonder that even the most confident people among us can struggle with presenting themselves as poised, polished, and professional when communicating in the workplace. Yes, communication might be basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

 

This is where today’s “Dear Kat” question comes into play:

 

“Dear Kat, I’ve been working hard to foster a positive professional reputation for myself. But, I feel like my communication skills—whether in the office, at a meeting, during a networking event, or any other professional function—could use some improvement. Do you have any tips for how I could instantly make myself a better communicator?”

 

This is a great question! And, pat yourself on the back for wanting to grab the reins and make progress in this area.

 

First things first, it’s important to remember that—since communicating is something you’ve been doing essentially your whole life—it’s going to be difficult for you to drastically improve things overnight. As with any other skill, it’ll involve an investment in energy and plenty of conscious thought to start undoing those habits you’ve formed over years of speaking.

 

But, with that said, there are a few simple things you can implement right away that are sure to take your communication skills up a notch.

 

1. Make Eye Contact

Can you picture a recent conversation when you were talking with someone, yet they couldn’t manage to tear their eyeballs away from their phone and pay attention to you? It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

 

In today’s digital-obsessed society, we all seem to have forgotten how to actually look at one another when we’re talking. But, unfortunately, this half hearted approach to communicating makes your conversational partner feel as if you’re never completely engaged in the discussion.

 

So, put down your phone or step away from your computer and actually maintain some direct eye contact with whoever you’re speaking with. It’s a seemingly small change, but you’ll be surprised by how big of an impact it can have.

 

2. Actually Listen

In a similar vein, it’s important for you to remember that communication doesn’t just refer to what you’re saying—it also involves listening. In fact, great communicators know that they should plan to listen even more than they speak.

 

It’s all too easy to confuse hearing with listening. However, if you’re actively involved in the conversation, that entails much more than simply waiting for your turn to speak up again.

 

Don’t just hear people—actually listen to them. That alone will lead to much better relationships and more productive conversations.

 

3. Remember to Breathe

When you’re nervous, your pulse quickens. And, unfortunately, the speed of your voice tends to go right along with it. Before you even realize what’s happening, you’re speeding through your entire spiel like someone’s holding down a “fast forward” button on your back.

 

That not only makes you look anxious, but it also means you’re difficult to listen to. So, when preparing to speak—whether it’s a formal presentation or voicing your opinion in a meeting—make a concerted effort to be conscious of your breathing patterns.

 

Being aware of when you need to pause to take a breath (trust me, breathing is important!) will help you to slow down your speech pattern in a way that feels a little more natural and comfortable to you.

 

 

4. Pay Attention to the Ends of Your Sentences

Women in particular have the tendency to raise the pitch of their voice at the end of their sentences. This subconscious habit makes it sound like you’re asking a question—even if you’re making a firm statement.

 

Needless to say, this is something you need to pay attention to when communicating. It’ll feel a little strange at first—and, honestly, you’re bound to slip up every now and then. But, give it your best shot.

 

After all, sounding like you’re asking for approval and permission when you’re really just sharing a fact undermines that confidence you’ve worked so hard to achieve in the workplace.

 

5. Practice

Those quick tips are bound to help you start taking steps in the right direction with your communication. But, remember, dramatically improving your skills is a commitment—there really aren’t any quick fixes or magic pills (I’ll let you know if I find any!).

 

So, dedicate yourself to the process and choose one small thing you can improve each week. Before you know it, you’ll be a master of strong communication.


Do you have any tips you use to help step up your communication game? Let me know!

Pipelines have been in the news a lot lately.  Many people are concerned about the approval of oil pipelines and their locations, worried it will deteriorate their environment and water supply.  While this is possible, history and statistics show it to be very unlikely.  In fact, you’d be surprised at how many pipelines are already built and transporting oil and natural gas all around us. 

 

There is a vast network of pipelines supporting our everyday way of life through the movement of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas.  Sometimes they are tucked under our streets, other times they stretch across states, large bodies of water, forests, deserts and everything in between. 

 

Every day these pipes funnel gas and oil through neighborhoods and communities, providing fuel to generate electricity, cook our food, heat our homes, power our cars and much more.   Pipelines also transport crude oil from many rural areas to refineries and chemical plants to be used in products that come from petroleum and petrochemicals manufacturing.

 

  • The truth is, pipelines are the energy lifelines of almost everything we do every day.   
  • Jet fuel is moved by pipeline.  Have you ever taken a vacation?
  • Diesel fuel is moved by pipeline.  How do you think all the food gets to the grocery stores?
  • Natural gas is moved by pipeline.  Do you have natural gas appliances in your home?
  • Propane is moved by pipeline.  Have you had a BBQ lately?

 

With a network of more than 207,800 miles of liquids pipelines, over 300,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2.1 million miles of gas distribution pipelines, the US has the world’s largest network of pipelines to safely move gas, oil and other energy sources throughout our country. 

 

The bottom lines is this:  pipelines are the lifelines that take oil and gas from remote locations to where we can use it for our daily lives – and everyone appreciates that, whether they realize it or not.  Yes there are other forms of transportation such as rail, truck, and waterways.  But pipelines remain not only the most efficient, but also the safest form of energy transportation. 

1. China claims stake in Abu Dhabi oil venture.

 

CNPC (China National Petroleum Corp.) purchased its claim in Abu Dhabi’s largest oil concession.  CNPC acquired an 8% stake in the venture joining two other Chinese companies, a Japanese company, a South Korean company, Total SA, and BP Plc as investors. 

 

The UAE is increasingly looking to form relationships in Asia, seeing that future demand is likely to originate from Asian growth over the next two decades.   Asia is primed for the fastest growth in energy demand according to the International Energy Agency.  With this in mind the UAE is eagerly forming new relationships to supplement the US and European demand that has historically been their major consumers.

 

2. Trump Approves XL oil pipeline.

 

New President Donald Trump has given the green light for another pipeline to resume construction.  This time it’s the XL oil pipeline, set to carry oil from western Canada to the southern U.S.  Previously stalled the Obama administration, Trump as authorized the development as long as it’s built with US steel.  The idea is that the pipe will provide a significantly more affordable option to transport the oil compared to the current barge and railway alternatives.  Additionally, this project will help to create US employment opportunities. 

 

3. Oil prices stay flat.

 

Oil futures are standing steady as tugs from either side seem to be offsetting each other.  US crude stocks have shown larger-than-expected growth over the last couple weeks which would tend to bring the price down, but this has been offset by OPEC members stating they may exercise an option to extend supply cuts for an additional six months.

 

We continue to sit around the $53 mark, and it has been a fairly tight trading range all year.  However, with US inventory reaching record levels last week (259M barrels), OPEC seems to have the ball in their court as to what they will do in response if this trend continues. 

 

Barry WorthingtonAnd if you look at that being $50 per barrel, that's still a lot of money – I think $150 million a day – leaving the United States.”
— Barry Worthington, U.S. Energy Association

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, February 16, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ -- A quiet, green awakening has taken place in energy companies, according to Barry K. Worthington, executive director, U.S. Energy Association (USEA). The companies are much more sensitive to climate issues than they were a generation ago. This has been brought about by young engineers and managers inside the companies, rather than by outside pressure.

 

Worthington speaks to host Llewellyn King on “White House Chronicle,” the weekly news and public affairs program on PBS, scheduled to air on television and radio beginning this weekend.

 

The program devotes an entire episode to USEA's 13th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum. Speakers from major energy trade associations presented a picture of bouyant industries becoming even more so.

 

Worthington marvels that in the 28 years he has headed USEA, the nation has gone from a scarcity in energy supply to an abundance. In fact, he added, “even an overabundance.”

 

However, Worthington cautions, “We still import more oil than we should – 3 million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. And if you look at that being $50 per barrel, that's still a lot of money – I think $150 million a day – leaving the United States.”

 

To stem this outflow of dollars, Worthington says there should be “increased domestic production all across the board -- every fuel, every technology.”

 

The program features remarks from top energy trade association executives. They are: Thomas R. Kuhn, president, Edison Electric Institute; Jack N. Gerard, president and CEO, American Petroleum Institute; Dave McCurdy, president and CEO, American Gas Association; and Hal Quinn, president and CEO, National Mining Association.

 

Come see and hear from Barry Worthington at HERWorld17 on March 8 where we'll talk about the energy transition.

 

When a major oil spill occurs, headlines are plastered across every newspaper in print and on the web.  Pictures of oil covered wildlife tug at our heartstrings and we’re often left thinking, “How can we continue to let this happen?  We need to do something about it.”

 

The truth is: we are doing something about it. 

 

According to data from The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), a not-for-profit organization devoted to marine environment and ship-source oil spill response, oil spills greater than 700 tons have decreased significantly over the last 50 years.  And even when we take a closer snapshot at the last ten years, we’re down nearly 50% with the average large oil spills per year going from 3.2 to 1.7.


 

ITOPF has been tracking data since 1970 and statistically shows that the notion of reckless oil transportation and spills is simply not true, and the majority of oil lost to the environment is attributed to a few large oils spills compared to multiple and rampant oil spills.  In fact, the dramatic decline of oils spills is even more impressive when you consider the overall increase in oil trading since the mid-80’s.

 

oil spills 2016

 

While we always hate to see oil lost to the environment, it’s encouraging to see this occur less and less, and know that statistics confirm we as a global community are doing much better in this regard.

When navigating your career, there are very few things that are more helpful than a solid mentor. As someone you admire, respect, and trust, this person exists to provide sound advice and guidance to help you advance in your profession.

 

Yes, a mentor can be a great benefit to you. But, that doesn’t mean you just need to find the perfect person and then kick up your feet and watch the magic happen. There’s an investment of time, energy, and effort that needs to happen on your end too—which is exactly what today’s “Dear Kat” question covers:

 

Dear Kat, I’ve recently found someone amazing who’s willing to be a mentor to me. I’ve never had a mentor before, and I want to make sure I really leverage this person’s level of experience and knowledge as best as I can. Do you have any tips for making the most of a mentor relationship—without taking advantage?

 

First of all, kudos to you for recognizing that you’ve been granted an awesome opportunity here and that it deserves some thought and effort. It’s great that you’re willing to put the elbow grease in and get all that you can out of the relationship.

 

When it comes to squeezing every last drop of goodness out of this situation, here are a few things I recommend.


 

1. Find Someone You Mesh With

Considering you’ve already found someone to take you under their wing, this piece will be less of a concern to you. But, I included it for any people who are just getting started and haven’t yet found a mentor for themselves.

 

Remember, your mentor is someone you’re going to be sharing your thoughts, your successes, and your challenges with. They need to be someone you trust—but, ideally, they should also be someone you click with. If you genuinely enjoy your conversations and spending time together, it’ll make things that much better (not to mention easier) for you. So, don’t base a mentor selection off of experience or accolades alone—you also want to find someone you gel with personally.

 

Speaking of experience, far too many people fall into the trap of seeking a mentor that’s an obvious fit. If they work in marketing, they should find an experienced marketer as a mentor, for example.

 

However, things don’t always need to be so black and white. A better place to start is by analyzing your weaknesses. In what areas do you really struggle? Perhaps you’re aiming to become a better communicator. That means you’d want to center your mentor search on finding someone with excellent communication skills—and not be so concerned with title or industry. Believe me, that’s not the be-all and end-all.

 

2. Prepare to Meet Regularly

Here’s something that’s important for you to realize: Simply having a mentor won’t result in payoff for you. You’re going to need to put in some work—including meeting with your mentor (whether by phone, video conference, or in-person) on a regular basis.

 

In order to really benefit you, your mentor needs to be in the loop on your existing goals and challenges. And, while in today’s busy world you might think a quick email here and there will suffice, it’s simply not the same thing.

 

So, if you’re serious about making the most of your relationship with your mentor, make sure you carve out the necessary time for regular conversations.

 

3. Come Armed With Goals

Your mentor exists to help you better yourself and your career, right? But, ask yourself this: How can they help you do that if they’re totally in the dark about what you’re aiming to achieve?

 

In your first meeting with your mentor, the two of you should sit down to map out some big things you’re hoping to accomplish in the next year or so. Whether it’s securing a promotion, speaking at a large industry event, or making a major career change, make sure that you’re both on the same page about what you’re working toward.

 

That way, your mentor will be prepared to give you appropriate and relevant guidance that can actually push you in the right direction.

 

 

4. Remember It’s a Two-Way Street

In a mentor relationship, it’s easy to assume that one person should be doing all of the giving while the other does all of the taking. After all, it’s the mentor’s responsibility to make sure you’re getting everything you deserve out of the deal, right?

 

Definitely not. Even if you’re the mentee, this relationship is a two-way street, and you need to treat it as such.

 

In addition to treating the commitment seriously and putting in any work your mentor requests of you, you should also keep your eyes peeled for any ways you can help your mentor in return. Whether it’s providing some help or advice in an area where you’re an expert or offering to introduce your mentor to one of your contacts, do what you can to send the message that you’re willing to return the favor.

 

5. Be Gracious

Perhaps you don’t have anything of value to offer your mentor at the moment. But, there’s always one thing you can be sure to do: Show your appreciation for his or her help.

 

Send a handwritten thank you note when your mentor guides you through something challenging. Buy his or her coffee the next time the two of you meet up. And, always end each sit-down by genuinely thanking your mentor for spending that time with you.

 

Believe me, a little display of gratitude can go a long way.

 

Yes, a mentor can be a great benefit to you both professionally and personally, as long as you’re willing to put some work into the relationship. Put these five key tips to work for you, and you’re sure to make the most of your mentor—without ever taking advantage, of course.

1. OPEC releases monthly report with optimistic forecast.

 

In OPEC's latest monthly report released today, the oil cartel said it expects demand to grow at 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d), "well above" the 1.0 mb/d averages seen in the past decade.  This report comes on the heels of the recent commitment by OPEC and 11 other oil producing countries to limit their production, in an attempt to drive oil prices back up.  Also in the report, it stated that in January, OPEC production decreased by 890,000 barrels per day, according to secondary sources.  Keep in mind this is all coming from “their” report, and you wouldn’t expect them to forecast otherwise at this point.

 

2. Oil and gas discoveries are down.

 

According to the latest findings from research group IHS Markit, oil and gas discoveries are down at least 50%.  They reported that only 174 discoveries were recorded last year, compared to the 400-500 per year average that we’ve experienced for the previous 4 years.   This slowdown could mean a couple things.  One, it could very well be a normal cycle in the oil and gas exploration sector – especially due to the fact that multiple exploration companies have struggled to make ends meet over the last few years.  Two, it could mean large oil companies are turning their focus to more unconventional resources such as US Shale oil to meet future demand.  Whatever the reason, it’s worthwhile to note because generally a decrease in discoveries means tighter supply 5-10 years down the road. 

 

3. Ludin discovers promising deposit in the Southern Barents Sea.

 

Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum ( LNDNY) announced the discovery of a large oil and gas reserve in the Filicudi prospect in the main well 7219/12-1 along the southern Barents Sea.  The new discovery is estimated gross somewhere in the range of 35-100 million barrels of oil equivalents.  The news sent Ludin’s stock price up nearly 2% on Monday.   

Part 10

 

With this being the final article in the Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE series, I thought it a good idea to list all the roles that will have been covered in the 10-part series. This is by no means an exhaustive list of everyone you are likely to find working on an offshore drilling rig but they are the key roles that you will always find on every rig. There are many more specialists that work in offshore drilling operations but they are too numerous to mention in the scope of these articles.

 

 

table

 

This article will cover the key personnel who are the operating oil and gas company’s representatives on the rig during drilling operations. Some may be salaried employees of the energy company while others will be contracted specialists who report directly to the operating company. We’ll start with the head honcho of the offshore operations, the Company Man (Wellsite Manager), and work our way down the pay scale – which is not an indication of level of responsibility or workload but rather the higher degree of specialization required to perform the role. Please don’t quote me on this order though, because pay scales differ considerably from one contract to another and depending on boom or bust times in the industry. Some of these people (if they are lucky enough to still have a job) would possibly be on 50% less now (February 2017) than what they were getting paid in February 2015.

 

COMPANY MAN/WELLSITE MANAGER

 

The company man, or more commonly used these days is the title wellsite manager (WSM), is the point of contact on the rig for the operating company. He has absolute responsibility over all personnel, financial, technical and performance aspects of the drilling program and the rig being contracted to carry it out. Nothing is supposed to get done on the rig without the company man knowing about it. If any well control barriers are compromised in any way, he needs to know about it immediately. It’s pretty fair to assume that whenever you hear the company man being paged over the rigs PA system by a supervisor, shit has probably just hit the fan somewhere on the rig!

 

All major drilling decisions moving forward of any point in the program will generally be made in consultation with the drilling superintendent in the head office onshore and any specialists required, but ultimately any immediate action responses are the responsibility of the company man.

 

There will always be a dayshift company man and nightshift company man with the day company man being the most senior of the two. If there are any major changes to the plan, or emergency situations arise overnight then the night company man will wake the day company man to brief him on what has happened and get advice on how he wants the situation to be handled. While the day WSM will spend most of his shift sitting in front of a computer or on conference calls in the office, the night WSM will spend more time on the drillfloor or in the doghouse overseeing the drilling operations. One of the two will always be present on the drillfloor during critical well control operations and also during cementing operations because of the process safety implications of the procedure.

 

Wellsite managers come from a variety of backgrounds but one thing is for sure – they have usually all lived and breathed offshore oilfield all their lives and have done the hard yards to get where they are. The two most common career paths are via the roughneck-driller-toolpusher route or the drilling engineer route. Occasionally you’ll come across a WSM that started out as a geologist or some other profession but it’s more likely they used to be a driller or a drilling engineer. The longer and harder their career progression then the more respect they generally earn from the crew under their command. A “young” ex-drilling engineer who has never worked outside an air-conditioned office will never earn quite the same level of respect as that given to an old driller who has spent 30-40 years of his life “on the tools” and sweating it out over decades of hard yakka on a rig.

 

The “day” WSM will nearly always have had to earn his stripes by first working as a “night” WSM. They are two very distinct positions. With nearly every other role on a rig the dayshift and nightshift crew interchange with each other but this is generally not the case with the company man, except in unusual circumstances.

 

The day WSM will quite often be a salaried employee of the operating company and be heavily involved in the planning and preparation stages of the drilling campaign back in the office, long before a rig is ever mobilised to the drilling location. He needs to know every stage of the drilling plan and know what all the other workers on the rig are meant to be doing at all stages of the operation. Many company men would have worked a wide variety of offshore drilling roles throughout their career and be very familiar with many of the specialist operations. The night guy will commonly be a contracted worker.

 

The day WSM is one of the few people who generally get their own cabin. The night WSM sometimes has his own room also but more often would share with the logistics guy, or someone else who only works dayshift. With space being a premium on any rig, all 2-man cabins generally house a dayshift person and a nightshift person so they are always likely to have a room to themselves while off-tour.

 

DRILLING ENGINEER

 

The drilling engineer is the company man’s eyes and ears on the rig. He will generally spend a lot of time in the doghouse with the driller and toolpusher and physically oversee all aspects of the well operations so he can report back to the WSM. There is generally only one drilling engineer on the rig at any one time, working on dayshift (0600-1800hrs) unless operations otherwise dictate.

 

Other duties the Drilling Engineer is responsible for include (but definitely not limited to): 

  • Closely monitoring day-to-day operations and reporting back all findings and observations to the WSM.
  • Collecting and analyzing data relating to all stages of the drilling operations.
  • Performing, recording and disseminating results of “after action reviews” after all key stages of the operation.
  • Keeping track of all costs accrued through the drilling of the well.
  • Working closely with all on-site specialists in order to keep up-to-date on all developments that may have an impact on drilling activities.
  • Making sure that drilling operations comply with statutory and regulatory requirements, with respect to health and safety, emergency procedures and disaster recovery.
  • Continually revising and updating the forward plan and projected timings of the well operations so the logistics coordinator and third-party service providers can accurately prepare equipment in a timely manner.

 

Drilling engineers will generally have completed some sort of engineering degree prior to being employed by an oil and gas company. Initial training and development is primarily facilitated through graduate development schemes, which involve gaining hands-on work experience through multiple rotations offshore and in-house training sessions. Career progression is mainly driven by individual performance, professional expertise and attainment of professional qualifications.

 

WELLSITE GEOLOGIST (WSG)

 

The wellsite geologist is the source of all operational geological information on the rig and is responsible for all geology related administrative wellsite activity. They are the exploration department’s eyes and ears on the rig and as such, have to make sure that all possible geological and drilling information is gathered in a concise and timely manner. While the WSG works in close cooperation with the company man on the rig he is not actually under his authority. Instead, the WSG reports directly to the “Operations Geologist” who is the “shore based” intermediary between the geologist on the rig and the geology team in town who will be analyzing all the data. The unusual chain of command for disseminating key official geological data from the wellsite geologist follows this line of reporting:

 

WSG (rig) => Operations Geologist (town) => Drilling Superintendent (town) => Company Man (rig)

 

While the wellsite geologist is required to immediately notify the company man of any pertinent drilling and geological information, the company man generally cannot act on the information until the town-based drilling superintendent has officially confirmed it. The WSG will report all key geological and drilling data to the operations geologist immediately as it comes to hand. It is then the responsibility of the “ops geo” to disseminate this information to all members of the onshore geology and drilling teams who need to know the information for decision-making. All key drilling decisions are made in collaboration with every department involved in the drilling of the well to ensure that well control barrier criteria are met and any decisions made will not compromise the integrity of the well or process safety systems.

 

At commencement of drilling, when the well will be drilled “riserless” with no cuttings coming to surface, there will often only be one WSG on the rig. There may be two or even three casing strings run before the riser is finally run and drilled cuttings are brought to the surface. The WSG will be needed during these stages of drilling to confirm that suitable geological formations have been intersected in order to successfully set casing. This task is commonly referred to as “calling casing point”. It is critical that the casing shoe for the conductor and surface casing is set deep enough to withstand pressure from a “kicking” formation further down. Surface casing is run to prevent caving of weak formations that are encountered at shallow depths. The WSG needs to identify when a competent formation is intersected to ensure that the formation at the casing shoe will not fracture at high hydrostatic pressure, which may be encountered later in the drilling of the well. Because there are no drilled cuttings coming to surface all geological data is interpreted from one, or a combination of both, of the following sources:

  • Drilling parameters such as ROP and torque when there are no LWD (Logging While Drilling) tools in the BHA (Bottom Hole Assembly).
  • Real time Gamma Ray and/or Resistivity data from downhole LWD tools.

 

Once the surface casing has been set and the BOP and riser are run to the seabed, all drilled cuttings will then be circulated to the surface, which means the days get a whole lot busier for the WSG. From this stage on there will generally be two WSG’s operating back-to-back 12-hour shifts.

 

Responsibilities

As the acting representative for the operating company’s geology team, the wellsite geologist will have the following responsibilities:

  • Evaluating offset data before the start of drilling
  • Analyzing, evaluating and describing formations while drilling, using cuttings, gas, formation evaluation measurement while drilling (FEMWD) and wireline data
  • Comparing data gathered during drilling with predictions made at the exploration stage;
  • Advising on drilling hazards and drilling bit optimisation
  • Making decisions about suspending or continuing drilling. Ultimately, it’s the wellsite geologist’s responsibility to decide when drilling should be suspended or stopped.
  • Advising operations personnel both on the rig and in the onshore operations office about any pertinent geological or drilling information as it arises.
  • Supervising mudlogging, MWD/LWD and wireline services personnel and monitoring quality control in relation to these services.
  • Keeping detailed records, writing reports, completing daily, weekly and post-well reporting logs and sending these to appropriate departments.
  • Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of LWD and MWD tools and status of all equipment onboard and in transit to make sure the equipment is available and in working order when it is needed.

 

In expected HPHT (high pressure high temperature) wells it is critical the WSG can identify (and immediately communicate) any identifying signs of increases in pore pressure. These can include the following telltale signs:

  • Changes in flow rate and active mud system volumes. If the formation pressure becomes higher than the hydrostatic pressure being exerted by the circulating drilling fluid then the mud will become “underbalanced” and the well will “kick”. If this kick isn’t detected early enough then a catastrophic blowout could occur.
  • Presence of “cavings” coming over the shakers. When drilling over-pressured shales, it is common for the formation to undergo stress relief causing chips of rocks to cave from the borehole wall. These overpressure “cavings” tend to be larger than normal cuttings and may be concave or propeller shaped.
  • Increase in ROP (rate of penetration) and volume of cuttings. A pressure transition zone will make drilling easier because of the trapped water reducing compaction and the increase in pore pressure reducing differential pressure, allowing cuttings to be released more easily into the mud stream.
  • Changes in LWD data, in particular resistivity and sonic, density and neutron.
  • Changes in drilling parameters, especially torque, drag and overpull. This can be due to deterioration of borehole integrity causing an increase in volume of cuttings and cavings in the circulating mud.
  • Rise in background gas level, changes in the composition of the gas, or presence of “connection” gas, which is a result of swabbing downhole hole when the pumps are turned off to make a connection (add another stand of drillpipe).
  • Changes in pump pressure. An influx of gas into a well may reduce the density of the drilling fluid and therefore it will require less pressure to circulate the drilling fluid.
  • Change in properties of mud.
  • Changes in downhole temperature. Generally there will be slight decrease in temperature immediately above the over-pressured zone and then a steady increase with depth at a higher rate than in the normally pressured zone above.

 

If the wellsite geologist identifies any potentially hazardous changes in the drilling, the driller and company man must be notified immediately, and then the operations geologist will be notified. If a potentially dangerous situation is recognized then the drilling will be stopped immediately while the company man either makes a decision on what to do next or waits for official instructions from the drilling superintendent in town on how to proceed.

 

The wellsite geologists spend most of their time working in the mudlogging unit (like the hardworking one in the photo below!), which is where all the monitoring equipment for the rig is located and also where the mudloggers/sample catchers will deliver the cuttings samples for them to inspect and describe. All rock cuttings are inspected under a microscope and a detailed description written for every sample that is generally collected in composite 5, 10 or 20 m intervals.

 

WSG

 

Cuttings Descriptions

The cuttings descriptions need to be very detailed and follow an industry standard format that includes (but is not restricted to) the following observations:

  •  Rock types and percentage of each found in the sample
  • Color
  • Texture
  • Grain or crystal size
  • Sphericity, roundness and sorting of sandstone grains
  • Type of cement and/or matrix
  • Any fossils or accessory minerals
  • Presence of hydrocarbon indications, such as fluorescence or “show”
  • Estimate of porosity

 

cuttings

 

A detailed well log is created combining all the cuttings information, LWD and MWD data and drilling parameter data, and submitted along with a daily report every 24 hours. When the WSG finishes the shift and hands over to the next shift they have to have all of the reporting and samples descriptions up-to-date at the time of them handing over.

  

To become a wellsite geologist, you’ll need a degree in geology or possibly even chemistry, geochemistry or geophysics. There is no formal wellsite geologist qualification, but you would need to obtain knowledge in areas such as wellsite and offshore safety management, wellsite operations, formation evaluation of wireline, FEWD logs, and risk assessment before starting as a WSG. Most WSG’s start their offshore career working as a mudlogger, MWD engineer or mud engineer and gain knowledge in the fields that a WSG is responsible for. They also need to possess supervisory skills, the ability to work well under pressure and the ability to quickly make decisions.

 

As most wellsite geologists work as independent consultants and are employed on a contracting basis, it’s up to them to handle their own career progression. Any wellsite geologists who progress beyond this position will generally move into an operations geologist role, with a few even moving up into company man positions.

 

While a wellsite geologist might earn a lot per day there is little job security, and quite often no permanent rotation. They may only get flown onto the rig the day before drilling operations begin and flown off again immediately after the well is completed or wireline logging is completed. The date of your arrival and departure is quite often only known within days of it occurring so long term social commitments are impossible to plan. You can either expect to have to fly out to the rig at very short notice or have unplanned months without any work…or even years, as the case is for many now!

 

DRILLING FLUIDS (MUD) ENGINEER

 

The drilling fluids engineer, who is most commonly referred to as the mud engineer, or just the mud man, is the person responsible for ensuring the drilling fluid properties are within designed specifications.

 

The drilling fluid (mud) is a vital part of drilling operations and has the following functions:

  • Provides hydrostatic pressure on the borehole wall to prevent uncontrolled production of reservoir fluids.
  • Lubricates and cools the drill bit
  • Carries the drill cuttings up to the surface
  • Forms a "filter-cake" on the borehole wall to prevent drilling fluid invasion into the formation
  • Provides an information medium for well logging
  • Helps the drilling by fracturing the rock from the jets in the bit.

 

One of the most important mud properties is the mud weight (density). If the mud weight exceeds the fracture pressure of the formation, the formation may fracture and large quantities of mud can be lost to it, in a situation referred to as lost circulation. If the mud weight is too low it will have a hydrostatic pressure that is less than the formation pressure. This will cause pressurized fluid in the formation to flow into the wellbore and make its way to the surface. This is referred to as a formation "kick" and can lead to a potentially deadly blowout if the invading fluid reaches the surface uncontrolled.

 

To maximize the effectiveness of these tasks, the mud contains carefully chosen additives to control its chemical and rheological properties. For the technically minded, the drilling mud is usually a shear thinning non-Newtonian fluid of variable viscosity. When it is under more shear, such as in the pipe to the bit and through the bit nozzles, viscosity is lower which reduces pumping-power requirements. When returning to the surface through the annulus it is under less shear stress and becomes more viscous, and hence better able to carry the rock cuttings. Bentonite is commonly used as an additive to control and maintain viscosity, and also has the additional benefit of forming a mud-cake (also known as a filter cake) on the borehole wall, preventing fluid invasion into the formation.

Barite is commonly used to increase the mud weight to maintain adequate hydrostatic pressure downhole in order to avoid a kick and ultimately a blowout from uncontrolled production of formation fluids. The mud pits at the surface have their levels carefully monitored, since an increase in the mud level indicates a kick is taking place, and may require shutting in the well and circulating heavier weighted drilling mud to prevent further formation fluid or gas production. The drilling mud must be chemically compatible with the formations being drilled; in particular the salinity must be chosen so as not to cause clay swelling or other problems. Offshore rigs typically use synthetic oil-based mud although water-based mud is also sometimes used.

 

Prior to drilling a well, a mud program will be worked out according to the expected geology, in which products to be used, concentrations of those products, and fluid specifications at different depths are all predetermined. As the hole is drilled and gets deeper, more mud is required, and the mud engineer is responsible for making sure that the new mud to be added is made up to the required specifications. The chemical composition of the mud will be designed so as to stabilize the hole.

 

As drilling proceeds, the mud engineer will get information from other service providers such as the mudlogger about progress through the geological zones, and will make regular physical and chemical checks on the drilling mud. The viscosity and density are frequently checked. As drilling proceeds, the mud tends to accumulate small particles of the rocks that are being drilled through, and its properties change. It is the job of the mud engineer to specify additives to correct these changes, or to partially or wholly replace the mud when necessary.

 

Mud engineers come from a varied background, with many having no formal tertiary qualification but rather have had offshore drilling experience within one of the many other roles found on an offshore drilling rig. It’s common to find mudloggers with a geology background transferring into the higher-paid role of the mud engineer.

 

Prior to working on his own, the junior mud engineer will have attended a special training course and will spend time working with a senior mud engineer to gain experience. The least experienced mud engineer will commonly work permanently on nightshift with the experienced mud man working days so he can communicate with the company man and onshore drilling support team. The derrickman and roughnecks are assigned to help the mud man whenever he needs assistance with altering the mud properties or any other pit-related work. With the mud being one of the key process safety barriers in the drilling process the mud engineers are always kept busy monitoring it.

 

Drilling fluids operations are often contracted to service companies, with the largest four companies for mud services being M-I SWACO (A Schlumberger Company), Baroid Drilling Fluids (Halliburton Oilfield Services), Baker Hughes Drilling Fluids, and Weatherford International Drilling Fluids.

 

HEALTH, SAFETY & ENVIRONMENTAL COORDINATOR (HSEC)

 

Many offshore drilling operations will have a HSE representative within the drilling contractor crew (commonly referred to as the Rig Safety and Training Coordinator or RSTC) and also the operating company will have their own health and safety representatives. There may be a nightshift and dayshift or just the one person who works mostly dayshift, except when needed if there is a safety incident overnight. They can be either an employee of the operating oil and gas company or a contract worker.

 

The responsibility of the HSE coordinators is to ensure that all tasks on the rig are completed in accordance with company and regulatory requirements by using approved procedures and permits.

Safety reps normally come from quite varied backgrounds, with many having worked other roles within the drilling industry or sometimes even come from a military background. A background as a rig worker is most advantageous because they would then have a competent knowledge of the tasks performed on the rig as well as all the equipment being used. This knowledge would make investigations and report writing of incidents a lot easier.

 

As well as the unofficial duties as the rig psychologist, auditor, mentor, deckhand, and personal problem advisor, the HSE coordinator also has to fulfill the following official tasks:

  • Monitor the safe operation of all workers on the rig
  • Participate in key project management activities e.g. HAZIDs and HAZOPs
  • Provide management system documentation development and implementation
  • Incident investigation
  • OHS auditing
  • Conduct weekly safety meetings and disseminate incident investigation findings from other areas within the industry

 

With the industry becoming increasingly heavily regulated the safety rep will be kept busy filling in paperwork and completing safety audits in between investigating incidents and report writing. He will also quite often work out of an office that is close to the company man’s office and has a coffee machine, so it’s the obvious place to kill time while waiting for the morning meetings to start.

 

DRILLING LOGISTICS COORDINATOR (DLC)

 

The last role to be covered in this series of articles is the drilling (and materials) logistics coordinator. The DLC is responsible for coordination of all materials, personnel movements and logistics support for the rigs operations. Key responsibilities are:

  • Liaise with key personnel for timely provision of personnel, services, equipment and materials
  • Liaise with key onshore supply operations personnel for the load-out and back-load of equipment and materials
  • Coordinate storage, maintenance, record keeping and reporting of all the company's and contractor equipment on the rig.

 

The DLC will commonly work out of the same office as the company man, or close to it, so he can communicate all material and people movements and current state of operations in order to provide timely logistics advice to service providers and rig crew. There is generally only one onboard at any one time, working dayshift hours unless otherwise needed.

 

A background in rig operations through either working as a member of the drilling or deck crew, or as a service provider is advantageous, as they will need to know the name of, and be able to identify every part needed on the rig. Their backgrounds are generally quite varied, as it is not a position that requires a formal certification.

 

final photo

 

**********

 

That concludes this series of articles, and while it was by no means an exhaustive list of roles performed in offshore drilling operations it covered the main ones. I hope you have a better understanding now of the main roles performed in offshore drilling operations and the people who carry them out.

 

You can find the rest of the series of articles in Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9. A compilation of all parts of the series will soon be available in a paperback and eBook format. Watch this space for further details!

 

book cover 

 

Amanda Barlow is a wellsite geologist in the offshore oil and gas industry with a field-based geology career spanning over three decades. As well as being a recreational marathoner who has run over 40 marathons in 16 different countries she is also a published author of two books: “Call of the Jungle – How a Camping-Hating City-Slicker Mum Survived an Ultra Endurance Marathon through the Amazon Jungle” and also “An Inconvenient Life – My Unconventional Career as a Wellsite Geologist”. You can connect with her through the Pink Petro community, LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/amanda-barlow-21a08b22 or through her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnInconvenientLife

 

It’s true that there are a lot of really smart people out there.  They’ve created very complex and fairly reliable models to predict the oil markets.  I don't disagree with that.  But the reality is this: People who say they can predict the future, probably can’t.

 

The oil and energy industry is full of prophesying pundits that will be happy to tell you what to expect  in the next ten, twenty and 30 years, but the energy markets -- particularly the oil markets -- are extremely complex, and to be perfectly honest, are nearly impossible to predict.

 

There are many reasons the oil markets are difficult to predict.  A few decades ago, people worrying about peak oil never would have imagined the advancements we’ve seen in unconventional oil and gas like we have today.  And those predicting slow progress in renewables certainly have been surprised with how dramatically wind and solar have surpassed expectations.

 

These are just two examples I quickly thought of that serve as good lessons for anyone making dramatic predictions about what's going to happen in the future.

 

It’s almost ironic.  When someone says they don’t know what’s going to happen, people think they don’t know what’s going on, or are uninformed.  However, it’s usually the people that say they know EXACTLY what’s going to happen who understand the least.

 

This applies equally to people who make grandiose claims.  You’ll hear things like:

 

  • The US will easily be energy independent in XX years!
  • We’ll reach peak oil in XX years!
  • Renewables will overtake fossil fuels in XX years!
  •  Etc... Etc.. 

It’s tempting to always believe “energy experts”, and usually we believe the ones that align with our political leanings, but the first step to approaching energy issues in a rational way is admitting that most of the time, we just don’t know.

The office hierarchy. Whether you work for a big company or a small company, an organization with a friendly, familial feel or one with a more corporate approach, every single office has one—a particular pecking order that should be respected.

 

And, most of the time, obeying the rules of those rankings doesn’t present a problem. That is, unless you’re the newbie in the office—much like the submitter of this week’s “Dear Kat” question.

 

Dear Kat, I’ve been around the block enough to know that every single office has a distinct hierarchy. But, I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s more obvious and other times, well, you’re left wondering.

 

Trying to sort out these office politics when you’re new can be tricky. So, do you have any tips for how to familiarize yourself with the company’s hierarchy in a way that’s both professional and collaborative?

 

This is a great question! First things first, you only know what you know. Nobody can expect you to waltz into your new position on day one knowing exactly who’s who—particularly if titles and rankings are somewhat vague or ambiguous. So, there’s no shame in being a little confused or lost when you’re just getting started.

 

With that being said, understanding the hierarchy and the different politics that come into play in your office is important—no matter how challenging. It’s something you’re going to need to do in order to successfully navigate the relationships and dynamics at work.

 

So, how can you figure it all out? Here are four tips that should help you get familiar with your office hierarchy—no matter how confusing or ambiguous it might seem.

1. Pay Attention

This first tip is, without a doubt, the most crucial. Why? Well, because you can learn a lot from just observing people—which will save you from having to flat out ask, “Uhhh… who’s the boss here?”

 

Pay close attention to the different dynamics and relationships that come to play in the office. Does one person appear to lead the meetings or do the majority of the presenting? Is there a certain colleague who gets asked for input and insights the majority of the time? What’s the communication like in the emails you’re copied on?

 

While it’s not always a fool-proof method, observing can reveal a lot about the pecking order in your office.

 

2. Recognize Influencers vs. Leaders

If you’re a keen observer of the dynamics in your office, you might realize something interesting: The people who appear to have a lot of influence might not necessarily be in a designated leadership position.

 

That’s because there’s oftentimes a difference between influencers and managers or leaders in office environments—they don’t always end up being the same people. So, don’t pigeonhole yourself into thinking you can’t ask a particular colleague for input or advice, simply because she doesn’t have an executive-level title.

 

As we all know, there’s the formal hierarchy of the office (AKA the one you’ll find in your company’s organizational chart). But, there’s also an informal order of things—based on the way people behave and interact—that’s often abided by even more than the printed chart.

 

3. Peruse Your Resources

Speaking of a formal organizational chart, many offices have resources on hand that you can use to try to navigate the rankings and politics within the office.

 

Poke through your company’s shared files to see if there’s an organizational chart you can reference (or, just ask for one!). You can also look at your employer’s website—which can be particularly helpful if you have absolutely no idea who’s in the leadership tier of your company.

 

It might all seem painfully obvious—and, ideally, you’d have those basic questions answered before you ever tackled your first day on the job. But, if you’re looking for a quick rundown of people’s positions and titles, those can be great places to check.

 

4. When in Doubt, Just Ask

Sometimes, no matter how much clever detective work you do, you’ll still need a little help navigating the dynamics and the hierarchy of your office. So, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to just ask and get the answers you desperately need.

 

Of course, this doesn’t need to be as blatant or forward as, “Hey, who’s in charge here?” There are more gentle ways to go about it.

 

For example, instead of asking, “Who’s the boss?” try something like, “Who should have final approval on this?” Or, instead of, “Who’s supposed to answer this question?” ask, “Who should be involved in this meeting or discussion?”

 

Those questions will help you clear things up—without making you feel (or seem!) totally out of the loop.

 

Learning the hierarchy of your office when you’re the newbie can be trickier than you might initially think. But, these four tips should help you get a decent feel for who’s who and who’s responsible for what.

 

Once you manage to get your bearings? The important thing to remember is to respect the order of things. It can be tempting to go over your boss’ head (particularly when he or she is slow to respond) or to neglect to involve someone who’s notoriously difficult to work with.

 

However, it’s important that you resist the urge and respect the hierarchy. Remember, your office is structured that way for a reason.

Tensions between Iran and US leading to uncertainty in oil prices.

 

Oil prices edged up today with news of U.S. sanctions against Iran.  The Trump Administration “put them on notice” and many think these new sanctions could be extended to crude oil if relations continue to spiral downward.  Tensions between Tehran and Washington have increased since a recent Iranian ballistic missile test.   Iranian oil exports were only allowed to return to normal last year, so these recent events raise concern for traders and investors that U.S. sanctions could tighten once again.

 

Senate repeals transparency rule for oil companies.

 

The Senate voted Friday morning to repeal a regulation requiring disclosures for the payments that energy companies make to foreign governments.  The SEC foreign payments rule was originally meant to reduce corruption in resource-rich countries by detailing the royalties and other payments that oil, natural gas, coal and mineral companies make to governments, but ultimately imposed unreasonable compliance costs on American energy companies that were not justified by quantifiable benefits.  This ended up putting US companies at a disadvantage compared to their foreign competitors.

 

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) stated that the SEC’s own research did not show a strong connection between transparency and improving the lives of citizens in countries where mineral extraction revenues fuel government corruption.   He said, “Unlike the potential benefits, though, the costs of this rule are reasonably certain… The SEC estimated up to $700 million in initial costs, and up to $590 million on ongoing annual costs.”

 

Crapo cautioned that many small companies would be hurt in addition to major oil companies.

“We cannot view these costs as only affecting the largest companies, but must consider the plight of the smaller ones,” Crapo said.

 

China takes the lead on solar energy.

 

China isn’t the first country you think of when it comes to clean energy.  Often associated with smog and a dependence on coal power, China is not typically in the renewables discussion.  However, China’s National Energy Administration revealed that its solar energy production more than doubled in 2016, hitting 77.42 gigawatts by the end of the year.  That means China is now the world's biggest producer of solar energy in terms of capacity (relative to population, it’s still behind – but strictly looking at capacity, they are now the top dog.)  As of now, solar represents just 1 percent of China’s total energy output. However, their NEA plans to add over 110 gigawatts by 2020, giving the technology a much greater role within a few years.

 

 

launching ROV

 

Offshore oil and gas drilling rigs are a melting pot of races, cultures, professions and 21st century technology. While the general perception is that of grease-covered workers throwing tongs around the drillfloor, the reality is much different. With every minute of the day having to be accounted for in daily reports and converted into monetary costs, it’s no wonder only highly trained specialists are employed to undertake the myriad of roles performed in offshore drilling operations. Everyone on board the vessel works as a team to support the drilling operations and to make sure the well is drilled safely, and on time. Rig operations can cost up to (or even more than) $1 million dollars a day, which breaks down to up to $1,000 per minute for every minute of the 24-hour operations. This means that every minute of the day has to be accounted for and non-productive time (NPT) is not an option – well, it can be an option but you’ll have a lot of explaining and arse-covering to do!

 

Routine testing and preventative maintenance are a huge component of the tasks performed by all offshore drilling contractors because when the time comes for their equipment to be used in the drilling operation they can’t be causing delays by not having fully operational equipment. Before any equipment goes “down the hole” it has to be fully tested, strapped (external dimensions measured) and drifted (internal measurements measured) to ensure compliance with very strict operational tolerances. Errors in calculations or faulty equipment can cost millions of dollars in lost productive time. Getting something wrong can see you with a one-way ticket on the next chopper!

 

I want to highlight a major difference between the salaried rig crew (although in the downturn this is now also true of the rig crew) and the third-party service providers (contractors). The contractors are regarded as dispensable – if you stuff up, you’re generally out on your first strike. There’s no soft-touch HR department on the rig that holds your hand and says: “Ohhh, we’ll give you another chance”…if you want that treatment then you’re in the wrong place! Go back to a cruisy 9 to 5 job in the city where managers aren’t allowed to hurt your feelings…you’re not going to get that out here. And if you can’t work 12-hour shifts for 28 days straight then you’re also in big trouble. Twelve hours are a MINIMUM shift; during critical times of the drilling operations it’s common to be “on-tour” for up to 15 hours or longer (with written approval) and if things are busy/bad enough that you have to do overtime then you can bet you won’t have time for meal breaks during that shift either.

 

And if the work schedule isn’t enough to put you off, then be aware that the contractors are also given the shittiest rooms on the rig, which may even mean sharing a 4-man room with people who all work different shifts so your sleep gets disturbed every time someone enters the room. It pays to learn to sleep with ear plugs in your ears because the shittiest rooms are always on the lowest level in the accommodation block and generally positioned over the pump room, the engine room or the anchor chain winches…or a combination of all three because on a small rig there’s no escaping all of these! I’m not going to sugarcoat the jobs out there – the work and lifestyle can be tough and new-starters need to know this before they embark on a career offshore.

 

I’ll go through the most common contractor jobs that are performed on the rig but there are many others that I won’t have time to mention in this series of articles. These are the main ones that are pretty well always a part of the standard operations.

 

 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Operators

 

ROVs are tethered, unoccupied, highly maneuverable remotely operated underwater vehicles, which are operated by a crew aboard the rig. They are linked to the rig by a load-carrying umbilical cable, which is used along with a tether management system (TMS). The TMS is either a garage-like device, which contains the ROV during lowering through the splash zone or, on larger work-class ROVs, a separate assembly that sits on top of the ROV. The purpose of the TMS is to lengthen and shorten the tether so the effect of cable drag where there are underwater currents is minimized. The umbilical cable is an armored cable that contains a group of electrical conductors and fiber optics that carry electric power, video, and data signals between the operator and the TMS. The TMS then relays the signals and power for the ROV down the tether cable. Once at the ROV, the electric power is distributed between the components of the ROV. However, in high-power applications, most of the electric power drives a high-power electric motor, which drives a hydraulic pump. The pump is then used for propulsion and to power equipment such as torque tools and manipulator arms where electric motors would be too difficult to implement subsea. Most ROVs are equipped with at least a video camera and lights. Additional equipment is commonly added to expand the vehicle’s capabilities. These may include sonars, magnetometers, a manipulator or cutting arm, water samplers, and instruments that measure water clarity, water temperature, water density, sound velocity, light penetration, and temperature.

 

The ROV has a wide range of capabilities that include:

Pre-spud surveying of the seabed and underwater acoustic positioning systems

Overseeing conductor cementing and wellhead installation operations

Assisting with landing of the BOP on the wellhead

BOP intervention by acting as an additional safeguard for operating emergency well shut-in procedures via the Blowout Preventer Actuating Tool (BOP-AT)

Daily surveys to establish the integrity of all subsea components of the drilling operations, namely the riser, LMRP, BOP and wellhead.

Daily checks of “bullseyes” on the wellhead and BOP to ensure there is no displacement from vertical of the seabed structures.

 

ROV at BOP

 

ROVs are commonplace on all rigs these days, especially in deepwater drilling. With exploration moving into water depths beyond that which can be usefully achieved by divers, the ROV becomes an increasingly important tool. Almost all ROV personnel are employed directly by ROV operators or contractors. There are a number of large internationally based ROV survey companies as well as many smaller operations.

 

A team comprising ROV pilots and technicians operates the ROV units. While both positions require certification in Hyperbaric Operations specific to operating ROV’s offshore, flying an ROV competently is not the only skill required of a pilot. ROVs are highly complex mechatronic (robotic) devices and working offshore in remote locations means assistance by qualified factory trained technicians is unavailable. It is advantageous for the ROV pilot to hold appropriate technical and practical skills because they will have to be responsible for onsite repair and maintenance of the ROV unit under their care. A qualification in one (or more) of the following nationally recognized trade skills (with post training employment) are considered to be essential pre-requisite qualifications for entry into an ROV training course: Electronics, Hydraulics, Electrical and Mechanical. Tertiary qualifications in an appropriate discipline, and significant relevant industrial experience may also help your chances of securing a spot in an offshore ROV team once your certification course has been completed.

 

The ROV team consists of at least two, but quite commonly three, personnel on each dayshift and nightshift. They will work out of a unit on the deck close to where the ROV docking station is located. The atmosphere inside the ROV unit is quite unlike any other office on the rig, with serene underwater vistas showing on all the computer screens. In shallow waters there can be quite an aquarium affect showing on their monitors, especially in tropical waters. Added to this, there’s usually a coffee-making machine, stereo and mood lighting – all essential elements of the ROV experience!

  

Casing and Cementing Operators

 

While the drill crew is in charge of drilling the actual well, specialist casing and cementing crews perform the running and cementing of the casing strings after each section has been drilled.

 

The well is drilled in stages whereby it is drilled to a certain depth, cased and cemented, and then the well is drilled to a deeper depth, cased and cemented again, and so on. Each time the well is cased, a smaller diameter casing is used. The widest type of casing is called conductor pipe, and it is usually about 30 to 42 inches in diameter. The next size in casing string is the surface casing, which can run several thousand feet in length. Intermediate casing is then run to separate challenging areas or problem zones, including areas of high pressure or lost circulation. The last type of casing string that is run into the well, and therefore the smallest in diameter, is the production casing, which is run directly into the expected reservoir zone. In an effort to save money, sometimes a liner string is run into the well instead of a casing string. While a liner string is very similar to casing string in that it is made up of separate joints of tubing, the liner string is not run the complete length of the well. A liner string is hung in the well by a liner hanger, and then cemented into place.

 

casing diagram

 

Casing is run from the rig floor, connected one joint at a time by casing elevators on the traveling block and stabbed into the previous casing string that has been inserted into the well. Hanging above the drill floor, casing tongs screw each casing joint to the casing string.

Casing is run into the well and officially landed when the weight of the casing string is transferred to the casing hangers, which are located at the top of the well and use slips or threads to suspend the casing in the well.

 

casing RIH

 

A rounded section of pipe with an open hole on the end, a guide shoe is connected to the first casing string to guide the casing crew in running the casing into the well. Additionally, the outside of the casing has spring-like centralizers attached to them to help position the casing string in the center of the well.

A cement slurry is then pumped into the well and allowed to harden to permanently fix the casing in place. After the cement has hardened, the bottom of the well is drilled out, and the completion process continues.

 

c using and drilling sequence

 

While the casing hands and cementers receive assistance from the drill crew when needed, these specialists will oversee all the technical aspects of the job. As you may have seen in the “Deepwater Horizon” movie, the cementing jobs are a critical part of the process safety systems of the well and the integrity of the cement bond is crucial to the safe operation of all the procedures that follow. This step in the drilling program is so critical that the company man will personally oversee the operation every step of the way to ensure total compliance with procedures and expected outcomes. The lessons learnt from the Deepwater Horizon incident show the importance of overlooking psychological bias when interpreting cement integrity well tests. The investigation into this disaster highlighted how easy it is to skew the evidence in favour of what you want the outcome to be, despite evidence indicating otherwise.

 

The cementing and casing programs on all offshore wells are highly technical and very detailed. They are created through a collaboration of onshore teams in the drilling department and the specialist companies that are contracted to provide the service. Every step of the process is captured in computer monitoring systems on the rig and this data is interrogated by both offshore and onshore personnel to ensure the strict procedures set out in the well plan are being followed.

 

Detailed well plans are drawn up in advance of the drilling of wells being commenced and they have to be signed off and approved by many departments and regulatory departments. By law, these plans have to be followed exactly as detailed, as they will be based on “best practice” and strict safety requirements. If for any reason these plans need to be changed, based on changes encountered during the drilling process that were not considered when preparing the well plan, then there needs to be a “Management of Change” document prepared. This “MoC” then needs to get approval from the highest levels in both the oil and gas companies and the third-party service providers so everyone agrees that the changes can be made without compromising the safety of the well. The cost in delays while waiting for approval can quickly add up to the millions of dollars so any deviation from “the plan” places a lot of stress on the people involved in the operation.

 

One last point that should be made about the casing hands and cementers is that they are advised to take out a good supply of books or movies to the rig with them. As both jobs are only performed at certain times during the drilling process, both crews are on stand-by on the rig waiting for their turn to shine. If the drilling process suffers no setbacks or delays then the casing and cementing operations will be quite fast-paced. However, quite often there are setbacks or delays that can take days, or even weeks, to resolve so the casing and cementing personnel have nothing more to do but check, and recheck, their equipment for all of this time.

 

 Well Testing Engineers

 

If hydrocarbon zones are intersected while drilling an offshore well there is likely to be a series of well tests carried out to evaluate the reservoir potential. The overall objective is to identify the reservoir's capacity to produce hydrocarbons. Test objectives will change throughout the different phases of a reservoir or oil field, from the exploration phase of wildcat and appraisal wells, through the field development phase and finally through the production phase, which may also have variations from the initial period of production to improved recovery by the end of the field lifecycle time.

 

The main objective in the exploration phase is to assess the size of a reservoir and state with a given certainty whether it has the properties for commercial exploitation and shall contribute to accounting for available reserves. Well testing taking place before permanent well completion is referred to as drill stem testing (DST). A DST is a procedure for isolating and testing the pressure, permeability and productive capacity of a geological formation during the drilling of a well. The test is an important measurement of pressure behavior at the drill stem and is a valuable way of obtaining information on the formation fluid and establishing whether a well has found a commercial hydrocarbon reservoir.

 

In a drill stem test, the drill bit is removed and replaced with the DST tool and devices are inflated above and below the section to be tested. These devices are known as packers and are used to make a seal between the borehole wall and the drill pipe, isolating the region of interest. A valve is opened, reducing the pressure in the drill stem to surface pressure, causing fluid to flow out of the packed-off formation and up to the surface.

 

There are two distinct phases of the DST’s and that is the “flowing” phase and the “shut in” phase.

During the flowing phase in exploration and appraisal wells the following information is gathered:

  •  Confirmation of discovery and productivity
  • Volumetric flow behavior and rate
  • Clean-up and rate measurement
  • Hydrocarbon properties and characteristics of the reservoir
  • Pressure
  • Gas oil ratio
  • Collection of large volume fluid samples both down hole and at the surface
  • Testing of sand production

 

During the “shut-in” phase, which will commonly contain at least two “pressure build up” tests, the following data can be established:

  •  Well and reservoir performance (skin, permeability, initial pressure, heterogeneity and boundaries)
  • Reservoir connectivity and proven volume
  • Flow behavior around the well bore

 

The following YouTube videos demonstrate the DST procedure both in open holes and cased holes. I am in no way endorsing Expro here but they had a very good video explaining the process, for which they deserve some credit.

 

DST open hole testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpuiyXDYUkY

DST cased hole testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saWFV26UmcQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saWFV26UmcQ

 

well testing

 

Due to the hydrocarbons being brought to the surface there will always be a flare burning during testing operations. The flare boom will either be off to the side or the back of the rig with water deluge systems suppressing the enormous amount of heat this flare generates.

 

Well testing engineers and technicians come from a varied background of experience in mechanical, electrical, petroleum or reservoir engineering or trade skills. Like many of the third party service providers, well testing technicians often start off in the offshore industry as roustabouts and then train in specialty fields. Well testing crews don’t generally have a permanent rotation on a rig because they are only needed at the end of the drilling of the wells so they are flown in only as they are needed. They will be scheduled to arrive on the rig several days prior to the expected completion of drilling so they can set up and test their gear before starting the DST operations.

 

Flaring always presents a great photo opportunity for rig workers who are starved of allowable larrikin antics.

 

flaring butt

 

While there are many other third-party service providers that work in offshore drilling operations it’s impossible to cover them all within the scope of these articles. The ones I’ve mentioned are the most common and generally always present in all drilling operations.

 

There’s just one more key group of contractors that work on the rig that’s of vital importance and that is the accommodation and catering crew. While they are third-party contractors they are actually employed by the drilling contractor and as such, they report directly to the OIM.

 

Catering Contractors

 

For people working offshore, a hot meal, a clean bed and freshly laundered work wear are essential comforts. With everyone working a minimum of 12-hour shifts every day it takes a very well structured support system to make sure everyone is adequately fed and has a clean room to sleep in at the end of the working day.

 

Some drilling contractors employ their own catering crew while many outsource the tasks to third-party catering companies. The standard that is expected is to have all cabins and bathrooms serviced daily, which nearly always includes having your bed made for you, and clean towels provided. Because of the lack of living space, and strict baggage restrictions for all personnel flying to a rig, everybody’s clothes are laundered daily to minimize the amount of clothing required. During the boom times there were usually added extras like lifestyle coaches and personal trainers making regular visits to the rig but that service disappeared once the price of oil started to drop.

 

The quality of meals is extremely variable, depending on the rig and location around the world. You can expect to have the cuisine of whatever country you are drilling in so this can vary from American food if you’re in the Gulf of Mexico, British food if you’re in the North Sea, Indian food if you are in many SE Asian regions, or any number of other variations. Being unskilled laborers, the catering and cleaning crew will be sourced from the closest port to where the rig is drilling.

 

With crew changes occurring on a daily basis, and bed space usually filled to capacity, it is necessary to have dayshift and nightshift cleaners, as well as cooks. These are generally entry-level jobs that require no experience although many of the people have experience in similar roles at onshore mining camps or similarly serviced remote work sites. While the large international contracting service providers tend to have a gender-balanced workforce these days, it’s still rare (in my experience) to see any women working these roles on rigs that use their own catering and cleaning crews. Some habits are hard to break!

 

While on the gender issue, it’s probably worth noting that there are generally very few women working on offshore drilling rigs. The roles that are most likely to have females represented are catering, mudloggers and MWD. I have, on many occasions, been the only female on the rig out of a POB of up to 180. While it’s rare to be the ONLY woman on board, it does occur from time to time, but generally there will be a few scattered around the facility in different roles. You generally won’t see more than half a dozen women working on a rig out of 120 to 180 workers on board. More than likely it will only be two or three.

 

**********

 

With all the drilling contractor crews and third-party service providers now covered, it just leaves the oil and gas company’s representatives to cover in the final part of Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE. Part 10 will explore the main roles carried out by these oil and gas professionals and what it takes to be part of the team. Stay tuned!

 

If you have only just tuned into “Offshore Oil and Gas PEOPLE” then you can find the rest of the series of articles here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

 

 

 

Amanda Barlow is a wellsite geologist in the offshore oil and gas industry with a field-based geology career spanning over three decades. As well as being a recreational marathoner who has run over 40 marathons in 16 different countries she is also a published author of two books: “Call of the Jungle – How a Camping-Hating City-Slicker Mum Survived an Ultra Endurance Marathon through the Amazon Jungle” and also “An Inconvenient Life – My Unconventional Career as a Wellsite Geologist”. You can connect with her through the Pink Petro community, LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/amanda-barlow-21a08b22 or through her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnInconvenientLife

The recently released Union Budget tried hard to successfully incentivize the growth of renewable energy in the Indian energy sector. This article is a summarized report on the impact of this Budget on the renewable energy sector. 

Assessing obvious fiscal priorities, compared to last year (Rs 5,036 crore), this year the allocation to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy stands at Rs 5,473 crore. As much as 74% of the outlay is directed to grid-interactive renewables, specifically mentioning the second phase of solar park development for 20 GW of capacity. The total budget is further split between Rs 3,361 crore for solar and only Rs 408 crore for wind, a clear indication that the government will continue to prioritize solar. Additionally, the budget extends support to power 2,000 railway stations through solar, under the Indian Railways 1 GW solar mission. Smaller sums of Rs 135 crore and Rs 76 crore have been earmarked for small hydro and bio-power, respectively. Despite recent suggestions, large hydro remains outside the purview of renewable energy.

 

On the manufacturing front, the key takeaway from the 2017-18 budget is the reduction of basic customs duty to nil for tempered glass used in the manufacture of solar cells, panels and modules and the reduction of countervailing duty from 12.5 percent to 6 percent for parts used in the manufacture of tempered glass which is used in solar photo-voltaic cells, modules, etc. This, together with the incentive of reduction of income tax payable by companies with an annual turnover of up to Rs 50 crores to 25 percent, could provide a minor impetus to the small domestic solar manufacturing sector. However, it is important to note that a manufacturing unit with an annual turnover of up to Rs 50 crores, translates to a panel manufacturing capacity of only 20 MW, which may not create the required impact in the sector.

 

In a bid to incentivize domestic value addition under Make in India initiative of the Government, the Finance Minister has proposed to reduce Customs and Excise duties on several items related to the Renewable Energy Sector. This includes all items of machinery required for – fuel based power generating system to be set up in the country for demonstration purposes; systems operating on bio-gas/ bio-methane/ byproduct Hydrogen; LED lights or fixtures etc. The Finance Minister has proposed zero Customs and Excise duties on certain items related to cashless transaction devices to promote domestic manufacturing of these products. Foreign investment in the sector may also see a spurt of growth due to the extension of the applicability of the concessional withholding tax rate of 5% being charged on interest earned by foreign entities in external commercial borrowings or in bonds and Government securities to 2020 from 2017.

 

This might be something, but it is clearly not enough. Another aspect unexplored in the Budget is how the goods and services tax (GST) will impact renewables. Researchers at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) find that if solar components were categorized based on current levied tax rates (including exemptions and subsidies), GST would impact solar tariffs minimally. However, if preferential tax benefits to renewable energy were not accounted, then GST could raise utility scale solar tariffs by as much as 9.5%, hampering progress.

 

Interestingly, the Union government has made an endeavor in the 2017-18 Budget to stimulate the development of new clean energy technology, particularly fuel cell based power generating system, systems operating on bio-gas, bio-methane and by-product hydrogen by way of indirect tax incentives. However, the minuscule nature of the incentive, with no additional allocation for testing, R&D, or financing support, will be inadequate in driving the different kind of green revolution necessary in India for the growth and betterment of the nation as a whole.

 

Source: The data in this article is obtained from multiple sources, including www.firstpost.com, www.india.com, www.livemint.com and www.economictimes.indiatimes.com.

With the increase in U.S. natural-gas production over the last few years, many people have come to the conclusion that renewable energies will be forced to take a back seat and suffer set-backs in advancement due to this new relatively clean, cheap fuel source.  While it is true that natural gas has been transforming the electricity sector, clean natural gas and renewables are actually friends, not enemies.

 

It’s not impossible (in fact if you look at recent trends, it’s probable) for two energy sources to grow together.  Natural-gas electricity generation jumped 34% from 2009 to 2012, while at the same time wind generation nearly doubled. (92% increase) Additionally, solar generation increased nearly 400% in the same time frame.  (We should keep in mind that renewables grew from a much smaller base compared to Natural-gas.)

 

There is truth to the argument that cheap natural gas makes it difficult for renewables to compete without federal subsidies, but most investors and researchers are finding that gas and renewables actually end up complimenting each other as part of a balanced electricity-generation portfolio.

 

Let’s take a look at it from the perspective of a utility company.  On the surface, natural-gas plants seem to be the better option because they have low upfront costs, they don't rely on unpredictable federal subsidies, and their output can meet swings in power demand.  It would be safe to say gas provides reliable power NOW, without having to worry about federal policies in the short term.

 

But…

 

Over the longer term, volatile gas prices could prove deadly.  And looking long term, environmental rules from Washington may have an impact as well. (Although this is looking less likely with the recent election of Donald Trump.)  Enter wind farms and other renewable energy sources.  These are appealing alternatives to diversify and hedge your power portfolio.  They differ from gas because almost all of their costs are up front, but after that, there's no fuel to buy.  This eliminates the worry about volatile prices.  And because renewable energy doesn't produce any harmful emissions, it doesn’t run the risk of future federal rules and regulations.  It may even benefit more in the future from government involvement. 

 

As we look at all types of energy sources, yes… they are competing.  But it’s not necessarily a zero sum game.  There’s room at the table for everyone. 

GE has a history of attracting and retaining brilliant women – and looking ahead toward the future, the company is continuing to find ways to cultivate a female-friendly culture.

 

As GE’s SVP of HR Susan Peters puts it, “A 125+ year old company can only survive if it is constantly re-engineering not just its product portfolio, but its culture as well. It allows employees to bring their best selves to work when we offer a positive experience in work life integration.”

 

What, specifically, is the company doing to make its female employees happy?

 

Promoting Flexibility

GE encourages flexible working arrangements that enable employees to individualize their schedules to maximize productivity. Among the options GE offers are flex time, part-time opportunities, job sharing, reduced hours, telecommuting, and remote work.

One GE employee, who has a 4-year-old daughter and a son in fourth grade, was moved by her manager’s response when she addressed her need to spend more time at home with her family. While she suspected she might need to resign, management responded by asking, “What can we do to help you get what you need without losing you?”

“We had an open and honest conversation, followed by some brainstorming, and an informal arrangement was agreed on,” she recalls. “I cannot describe what this meant to me in terms of feeling valued as an employee. My flexible role means working flexible hours, with a mix of office, home and customer sites. This arrangement allows me to drop the kids off at school and pick them up again in the afternoon.”

 

Providing Great Benefits

GE is continuing to adapt its benefits programs based on employee feedback. For example, it implemented a “Moms on the Move” program that enables moms who are nursing and traveling to arrange for GE to ship their breast milk to their baby. 

After giving birth to or adopting a child, GE salaried employees can take up to 10 weeks of paid parental leave, and the company’s child/infant care benefits include tuition/registration savings and an expert who will research child care options that fit personal needs and location.

 

One woman, whose husband works at GE, penned a thank you note in response to the company’s parental benefits program: “As the wife of a GE engineer, and a first-time mother, I wanted to write to say thank you, thank you, thank you for the incredible opportunity of being able to have my husband at home with me for 6 weeks on paternity leave.

 

“Not only was he able to help care for me and our daughter Annie, but we had the ability to really bond and grow as a family,” she continued. “Annie got a chance to really know who her Daddy is and it was a wonderful time for my husband and I to reconnect in a new way. All of the benefits you provide your employees and their families truly are special and unique.”

 

GE also offers HealthAhead, a global wellbeing program that aims to inspire employees to achieve their best health possible through a culture that empowers and supports living a healthy, well-balanced life. The program includes fitness rebate opportunities and GE-sponsored on-site fitness facilities.  

 

Presenting Great Career Opportunities

Jennifer B., who has worked at GE for 17 years, can attest to the fact that the company continues to provide its employees with a diverse array of opportunities. “The company continues to evolve to meet business and market needs; several of the jobs I have had did not even exist when I first joined,” she explains.

 

“I have used GE’s career navigation approach to define what success means to me, and I take advantage of the support and various tools and resources GE offers to find that ‘sweet spot’ where my interests and talents match with what GE needs at that time,” she says. “Almost every employee I talk to has a unique career story - the common theme is

the incredible range of possibilities.”

 

Creating Development/Mentorship Opportunities

GE recognizes that investing in employees ultimately benefits everyone in the workplace – that’s why it invests $1.1BB annually in learning and development.

Performance Development (PD@GE), the company’s personalized approach to performance and development, includes coaching opportunities between employees and their managers, and in addition, GE offers a Leadership Practices course designed for women, by women. Furthermore, every promotion at GE comes with training, personal leadership assessment and a customized leadership development plan.

 

Offering Unlimited PTO

GE recognizes that in order to remain productive, employees need time off to relax and recharge with friends and family. That’s why the Company offers the permissive approach to paid time off. Rather than dictating a defined number of vacation, sick and personal days, GE allows employees to coordinate with their managers to take the time they need.

“The approach is a great method for keeping employees motivated, which means allowing them to maintain their personal matters,” says one employee. “I am pursuing a CPA certification and this will allow me to take time off as needed to study for exams.”

Another employee explains that GE’s permissive policy is “a simple and easy way for employees to feel empowered to manage their much-needed time to de-stress and reconnect physically, mentally and spiritually.”

 

“I can say that not only do I love my job, but I love what the company stands for, and one of those things is FAMILY, which has always been most important to me,” another employee adds.

 

If you’re looking for a new opportunity, you’re in luck -- GE is hiring

 

Looking to connect with great Pink Petro members that are with GE?  Connect on Pink Petro with Heather Gillbanks Angela Knight Kara Byrne to name a few.  GE is a proud supporter of Pink Petro and corporate global member and http://www.herworldenergyforum.com

We're kinda tickled pink here at Pink Petro.  But we have a lot of this joy to share simply because of you... our awesome community of members and supporters.  This week, we were named by Forbes and Fairygodboss as a 1 of 7 Places You Can Connect with Women Who are Company Insiders.  

 

Aside from being name called a Disruptor (a few times we might add)....this distinction just warms the heart.  We thank Georgene Huang and our friends at Fairygodboss for the honor.

 

The original story from Forbes is below and here:

One of the toughest challenges a job-seeker faces is how to connect with insiders at a company where she wants to work. While most people know that LinkedIn is a treasure trove of information and contacts, getting someone to respond to you about a job opening at their firm is probably going to be an uphill battle.

 

So how do you reach someone inside a company who’s willing to help your job application and resume get to the right person? From what I've seen at Fairygodboss, I believe specialized groups and closed communities are where people may be more inclined to help a stranger out.

 

While there are thousands of women’s organizations, the key is to find a community or group where there’s a practice of paying it forward. If the DNA of the community allows (and even encourages) asking and giving help, that’s incredibly valuable.

 

  1. The Li.st describes itself as a visibility platform for professional women, and this group has an enviable membership base of executives, celebrities and other hard-working and high-achieving women working in a wide range of industries. Members must be invited to join and enjoy discussion, networking introductions, information and advice.
  2. Ellevate Network is a global women's professional network. As a membership based organization (previously known as 85 Broads), Ellevate Network encourages career growth through information and events. Members network and share job opportunities and advice at live events or through online discussion boards.
  3. Tech Ladies started as a Facebook group but has grown into a vibrant online community that welcomes and supports all women working in technology. It’s free to join, and women in the community ask and give each other advice and support. Best of all, job postings come with real email contacts so you know a human being will be receiving your application. 
  4. Fairygodboss (which I run) is probably best known for its anonymous employee reviews. Lesser known is the fact that women in our community anonymously send messages to each other with questions they have. Members initiate conversations about how to best apply for open positions, and other questions around company culture and policies that may be difficult to ask directly to HR.
  5. Ada’s List. Named for computer scientist Ada Lovelace and originally based in London, Ada’s List has recently expanded to the U.S. It’s free to join this community of women in tech, which is wide-ranging in its interests. The supportive vibe in this community is deliberate as the group is based on principles of inclusion, empowerment and diversity.
  6. PinkPetro is a social media and learning community for women working in (or interested in) the energy industry. Members can meet each other online and offline for networking, support and conversation about career development and jobs.
  7. 100 Women in Finance (formerly 100 Women in Hedge Funds) is a global community of women in the financial services industry. Members meet in person and online for networking events, to stay on top of industry developments as well as to share job opportunities.

These communities are just a few examples of the ones in which women are banding together to help each other in a professional context. And help is something every job-seeker benefits from. An introduction to a current employee can make a world of difference if you're trying to stand out as a job candidate!

Georgene Huang is CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss, a career and job community for women, by women.