Research Engineer

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom
Degree: Ph.D, Fluid Dynamics
Institute: University College London
Start Date: 2013
"I wasn’t looking for work in the oil & gas industry, but this job looked like it gave me what I wanted."

Career Profile: Peter

Can you briefly describe your career to date?

“From 2013 I worked for Schlumberger as a Field Engineer, training in Abu Dhabi, but primarily based in Western Siberia, Russia, where I installed and maintained submersible pumps into oil wells. Since July 2014 I have been a Research Scientist at the Schlumberger Gould Research (SGR) centre in Cambridge, UK. I work in the Fluid Mechanics department focusing on the pumps I worked with in the field.”

Why did you decide to join Schlumberger?

“I made a list of all the things I wanted from a job, and the Tech and Field program as a Fluid Mechanics research scientist, seemed to meet all my requirements. I wasn’t looking for work in the oil & gas industry, but this job looked like it gave me what I wanted; from travel and practical experience to borderless career opportunities and a clear path for self-development.”

Can you describe a typical day for you?

“There is not much in the way of externally imposed structure on my day, so I manage my own time according to priorities. I spend most of my day in the office reading technical information, calculating, designing, liaising with colleagues and suppliers, and writing code. Having said that, at some points in a research project’s lifecycle, I will spend all day in the lab; building, developing, and using experimental equipment.”

What do you enjoy most about working for Schlumberger?

“The technologies we work on are exciting, and the experimental equipment we have is fun to use. I enjoy being in a company that pushes technical boundaries and uses technology to differentiate itself. I also like knowing that as a company we are able to take technologies to market, so that our work in research might actually have an impact.”

What types of challenges do you face in your job?

“Almost everything we do is underground in harsh environments where measurements are scarce. We always have big uncertainties in what is actually happening and that makes scientific work very challenging. It requires a good appreciation for the realities of oil & gas technology and operations.”

What is the working environment like at SGR?

“In my centre, the working environment is ideal. Lots of motivated, experienced, knowledgeable people; facilities that allow us to get our job done; a beautiful local setting; a building that is architecturally inspiring and has lots of natural light; and good food.”

What is the training like at Schlumberger?

“On the whole training at Schlumberger is very good, i.e. they recognise its importance and pay for it. Many young people are on fixed-step training programmes, which avoids managers being able to prioritise the job at hand over the long term development of employees.”

What’s next for your career at Schlumberger?

“I’m engaged in my job for the near future, and am happy where I am. However, I would like to increase the level of responsibility that I have and to have a chance to coach or manage other people; I would also like to increase my exposure to how Schlumberger and the industry in general operates; so that is what I will look for in future roles.”