Field Geophysicist

Degree: Field Geophysicist
Institute: Texas A&M University - College Station
Start Date: 2013
"New technologies come with new problems which require a new way of thinking, which helps you grow as an employee and as a person."

Career Profile: Zachary

Why did you decide to join Schlumberger?

"I wanted an adventure! For me, a standard office job was unappealing, and I wanted a career where I could grow both professionally and personally. My job as a Field Geophysicist allows me to work in rotations of five weeks on work and five weeks off. When I’m working, I travel all over the globe seeing unique places and experiencing new cultures. In my time off I am free to do whatever I like, be that more travelling, visiting friends and family, or just chilling out! This is a unique kind of flexibility that I do not think you can get with most office jobs."

What has been your career to date?

"My career with Schlumberger has taken me to seven new countries just in my first year with the company. After the initial training I was deployed to a vessel out on the open seas, off the coast of Nigeria. My next assignment took me to Norway and the one after that to Scotland, and I am currently working on a land survey on the North Slope, Alaska. On top of all the travelling, my knowledge base of Geophysics has grown exponentially."

What is a typical day for you?

"Describing a typical day is quite difficult when working out in the field. My main job when working on a vessel is to make sure the navigation and acquisition teams are acquiring the data correctly. With that said, some days I could be out on the back deck, working up a sweat with our acquisition department, and other days I might be out on a work boat fixing the spread or running instrument tests with our navigation department. Our clients hire us to acquire data for them and it is my job to make sure they are getting the best quality data we can provide, and doing the work right the first time; it’s a big responsibility for a relatively new employee! As Field Geophysicists we must be very knowledgeable and are held responsible for, in all respects, seismic acquisition, navigation, and processing."

What do you like most about working for Schlumberger?

"What I enjoy most about Schlumberger is the people, because no matter how interesting or fun your job might be, it is having a great team around you that makes all the difference. You will have the opportunity to work with extremely intelligent and helpful people from so many different nationalities and backgrounds, from your initial training companions to the team you will be working with every day."

What types of challenges do you face in your job?

"There are numerous challenges to being a Geophysicist. The job is all about problem solving: drawing on your past experiences and your team’s knowledge to create the best processing flow for a given survey. Each seismic survey is unique because there is not one place on this planet that is completely identical to another. The processing flow that was so successful in the Gulf of Mexico, may not work at all in offshore Angola. A marine environment processing flow is very different to that of a land environment. Each survey will have its own challenges based on how and where the data was acquired. Are you doing a 2D, 3D, or 4D survey? Was the data acquired with a wide azimuth or a coil technique? What technologies were used in acquisition? There are so many factors that go into acquiring a seismic survey and each factor introduces its own challenges. This is what makes my job so dynamic and engaging every day."

What is the working environment like?

"I work twelve hour shifts, seven days a week, for five weeks straight, which is followed by five weeks off. I work mostly in marine environments, but I have also worked on land projects. Each field assignment has its own environmental challenges. Off the coast of Nigeria the weather is hot and humid but the seas are calm. However, off the coast of Norway, in the North Sea, the weather is cold and the seas are rough. In Alaska, on a land survey, the temperatures drop to -40degF (-40DegC), not including wind chill. Whatever the weather, Schlumberger has a great safety record and HSE training to prepare you for any kind of working environment and to keep you safe."

How would you describe the training at Schlumberger?

"I believe the training at Schlumberger is the best in the industry, bar none. Schlumberger invests in each employee so that they have the potential to grow and be among the next leaders of the company. My training curriculum consists of a three-year program that will prepare me to run my own projects. The first eighteen weeks I spent with Schlumberger’s Petrotechnical Services was all about training. I went to a purpose-built training facility in Abu Dhabi for seven weeks. Following that I was my own project leader for a ten-week course in Houston, TX where we processed seismic data from beginning to end for both a land and a marine survey. Schlumberger training is not only meant to bring you up to speed with Schlumberger’s technologies and practices but also to provide you with the knowledge and ability to succeed in difficult jobs."

How do you find a balance between your professional life and your personal life?

"My initial work-life balance was challenging because I was coming from an Applied Mathematics background so I had a lot of catching up to do. Once I had worked my first rotation, I managed to find a much better structure. When I am on assignment it is obviously difficult to have a social life beyond your relationships with your work colleagues, but when I am off my time is my own to spend however and wherever I please!"

What do you like about the technology that you work with?

"I have had the opportunity to work with the latest and greatest technology in my field. Schlumberger leads the industry in innovation and development; the new IsoMetrix marine seismic technology streamers are a great example of this (learn more here). New technologies come with new challenges which require a new way of thinking, which helps you grow as an employee and as a person."

What opportunities are there to progress in your career?

"After completing your fixed step training, the doors of Schlumberger open up. Schlumberger is a huge company that offers every imaginable type of position. Being a Geophysicist, I can move into a more technical role, if I desire, and work on developing new techniques and technologies, or I can move into a more managerial position and lead teams on projects. However, I do not necessarily have to stay within Geophysics. I have the opportunity to move into sales, marketing, finance, recruiting, instructing, or any of the other numerous positions Schlumberger has to offer."

What advice would you give to someone considering a career at Schlumberger?

"Whether you want to work in an office or out in the field, I believe Schlumberger has opportunities to progress your career like few other companies. Schlumberger’s investment in each one of its employees is extraordinary. They show with this investment that they truly believe in you and your ability to contribute to making Schlumberger a better company. Additionally, Schlumberger’s investment in technology shows that we are reinventing the wheel and driving the industry forward. My advice is, if you want to grow your career and increase your expertise in your field check out what Schlumberger can do for you; I am sure you will not regret it."