Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Year joined in: 2014
Position joined as: Drilling Team Lead
Can you tell us about your job?
I’m the Drilling and Completions Manager responsible for the construction and installation of wells for Petrofac Malaysia.
I have a dedicated team onshore and offshore, utilising state-of-the-art drilling rigs. We drill wells as deep as 4,500m, pressures up to 8000psi and temperatures as hot as 160 degrees!
What inspired you to become an engineer?
For as long as I can remember, I actually always wanted to be a doctor. Even in high school, when ExxonMobil approached me in my second year, I declined a scholarship with the hopes of pursuing a career in medicine.
However, ExxonMobil did not give up and after my exams they invited me to the East Coast of Malaysia to visit their offices, as well as an offshore rig and a processing plant. When I saw the complexity of the machinery and the people on site hard at work, that was when I realised I could achieve so much as an engineer. So I took the engineering scholarship, studied in New York and came back to Malaysia as a drilling engineer.
What excites you about the work you are doing now?
As a drilling engineer through and through, I continue to be excited by the new technology applications and the trouble-shooting we have to perform when we have downhole or equipment issues – which is very typical in drilling.
As a manager, I’m always proud to watch the development of my team and their individual growth; their continued progress in their career is a great reflection of the encouraging environment that we have here.
Tell us about your journey through Petrofac.
When I initially joined the company, I was warned that the job would not be easy as the challenge was to improve drilling performance. I decided to bring about some changes to the function, re-coaching the team at every level to return to the fundamentals of drilling science and risk management. It was a tough journey, especially with the oil price environment, but the team and I persevered and we are glad to be at where we are today in terms of performance.
What has been the highlight of your time at Petrofac?
There have been many highlights but the ones that come to mind are when I was promoted twice from my initial position as team lead, to the Head of Well Engineering and subsequently Drilling and Completions Manager, even though I am relatively young for the position. This exemplifies the amount of trust and recognition Petrofac gives to their employees, which I appreciate.
Another highlight is being appointed as the Vice Chairman of the Well Design Standardisation Technical Committee. It is a great honour. Under WeDStec, Petrofac now has the ability to sit down with industry experts and steer the national drilling performance.
How has Petrofac supported your ongoing development?
Petrofac has always been very cognisant of my development. In addition to the normal soft skills training, I’ve been given various opportunities to take on monumental business tasks with guidance and support from senior management.
One example was the opportunity to lead a multi-functional group tasked with delivering infill wells. It was initially a challenge to receive approval on the project from internal and external parties due to several business challenges in the current low oil price climate, however, approval was achieved and all objectives delivered on schedule, under budget and with a production high.
What has been your key learning at Petrofac?
I learned quickly that the secret to the business was multi-functional teamwork and embracing the company values. None of the business objectives could be achieved in isolation and the Petrofac values ensure the business remains competitive and that we maintain our licence to operate.
What advice would you give something thinking about a career in drilling at Petrofac?
My advice for anybody interested in drilling would be to make sure you have the stomach for difficult immediate decision making. Performance is measured down to the minute which is what makes it so exciting!