I am employed by BP as a reservoir engineer for the Clair asset in the North Sea. My role as a reservoir engineer generally involves monitoring real time data gathered from the reservoir and using this information to make informed decisions as to what actions must be taken to maintain the assets performance.
I always knew I wanted to go down the engineering route at university. Chemical, civil and biomedical engineering were all considered as possible options. The general engineering course offered at Oxford offered an opportunity to study all these aspects with a view to specialise in a chosen area during the final two years of study. This sense of freedom of study was certainly very appealing to me.
The final two years of my degree saw me specialising in the chemical engineering discipline. The course also helped me focus on particular strengths and interests from the topics studied. It was for this reason that I specialised in the chemical engineering area.
During my final year of my degree I worked on a project focusing on carbon capture and sequestration. This project involved working closely with Professor Richard Darton. It was during this project that I saw the importance that pertrochemical companies have in the future for helping develop the efficient use of current fuel stocks. In addition professor Darton had a wealth of knowledge in the petrochemical industry having worked for Shell as a chemical engineer and was very supportive when I mentioned I might pursue a career in the oil industry.
During the final year of my degree the department awarded me with the Lonza biologics chemical engineering prize and Ichem-e chemical engineering prize for my project work and performance in the chemical engineering disciplin. I was also awarded the Salters Graduate Prize for chemical engineering of which 10 prizes are given to final year undergraduate students studying chemical engineering in UK universities.
The overall knowledge of the engineering discipline has been particularly useful so far in my job at BP where my role as a Reservoir Engineer frequently involves communication across disciplines particularly with employees with a mechanical engineering background. The advantage of studying general engineering was that I was able to sample all aspects of engineering and see where they overlap. I always felt that this aspect of the general engineering course was extremely valuable.