While internships are often office based, Ahmad’s included a three-day visit to the Al Shaheen field, where he gained hands-on experience and practical knowledge of the offshore environment.
It certainly wasn’t your average internship, says Ahmed, as he reminisces about his trip offshore and the valuable experience and insights that it provided...
familiarising myself with the drilling rig
My offshore visit was arranged to help me and two fellow-TAMUQ interns (Anam and Elsiddig) better understand how the theories we’re studying at university are applied in real life situations, says Ahmad.
We spent the first day familiarising ourselves with the drilling rig and getting to know all the tools that we’ve learnt about at university. I got the chance to see some of the operations that I usually only hear or read about. I saw how the theoretical models can sometimes go wrong, and how the specialists deal with this. And I got the chance to do some real work on the rig, helping the well services team.
I watched as the driller and the tool pushers spent four hours putting the pipes and collars in the rotary table and then down the hole. While some people may have found this boring, there were always challenges to overcome – which for someone studying Petroleum Engineering was fascinating and exciting to see.
After two and a half hours sleep, the Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) alarm sounded on the rig and a message followed: this is not a drill, please proceed to the muster point immediately. I rushed to put my Self-Controlled Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) on and tried to walk calmly to the muster point. The guys we’d been with on the drill floor came over and helped me connect my SCBA to the air supply and adjust my mask; it really felt like we were one family.
The all clear was soon given and we returned to our beds. I couldn’t sleep much after that, so 3-hours later I got up and went down to see what the well services team were doing. I watched them check the down-hole gauge by connecting it to a device that can see if it’s reading the correct pressure and temperature. Then they took me on another tour and showed me all the completion tools that are used, from packers, to gas lift valves, control lines and spoolers.
I really wanted to stay offshore longer and see the well completions being installed!
Every minute I’m on the rig floor or on the main deck helping the well services team I’m learning something new and relating what I’ve learnt at university or in the Maersk Oil office, to what’s happening offshore. It’s an incredible learning experience!
time to get our hands dirty!
During our third and final day we got some more hands-on experience by working with the well services team to test some downhole completion equipment. We started with a risk assessment and a toolbox talk which gave us some great insights about the importance of safety – and the intense focus on safety that’s always applied.
Then we checked the control line spoolers. Control lines are thin steel lines which are connected to downhole completion equipment, such as subsurface safety valves or downhole control valves. We took plastic hoses, connected them to a compressed air source and then we made connections between the hoses to each spooler. We checked four control line spoolers to ensure that they were working properly (under supervision), which was a great and very practical learning experience.
Back to Doha
and ready for the future
Our internship has been a truly fantastic experience, and one that we will remember and cherish for a long time.
The most incredible part of the trip was meeting so many great people - from the company man to the floor men and the cooks. I got the chance to experience the friendship and the family bonds that make everyone offshore feel as if they are at home. We met some amazing people who are experts at what they are doing, and who were happy to help us with the many questions we had.
As my internship draws to a close, I’ve concluded that Maersk Oil Qatar is like the two wings of a bird: onshore and offshore. This bird flies successfully when its two wings are safely working in harmony, communication and cooperation.
I’ve learnt that Maersk is a great company for the simple reason that its number one concern is safety and its people. It truly values the safety of its employees and contractors and that contributes greatly to its success.
I’m now absolutely sure that I chose the right major and I am pursing the right track in life. My goal is to graduate, get into the Maersk International Technology and Science programme (MITAS), and enjoy the amazing life that is waiting for me in the energy industry.
Thank you Maersk Oil for this amazing opportunity!