1. One of the biggest positives of working in oil and gas industry is that you have a lot of scope for financial growth i.e., you are very well paid for your efforts.
  2. A major challenge in this industry is the depleting oil reserves of the world are negatively affecting the job opportunities.
  3. Working on an offshore oil rig and frequent traveling necessitates keeping oneself in peak health.
  4. Any individual going in this line of work should have good problem solving and analytical skills. He/she should be comfortable with the isolated nature of the workplace. He/she should be capable of handling time-based challenges like fulfilling daily quotas set by clients.
  5. There is a very clear-cut trade-off involved between money and family because working on an offshore rig pays well but the rotational schedule will take you away from family for several months.
  6. OPITO is a renowned company that offers courses in underground gas storage, helicopter ditching, fire-fighting, diving, senior first aid, safety procedures etc.
  7. A person who loves to travel is ok to be cut-off from family and friends for few weeks/months and has very strong problem-solving skills will be happy in this career.

Profile Details

Name – Ratish Kumar

Profession – Offshore Construction Supervisor and Coordinator in Oil and Gas Industry

Age – 42

Gender – Male

City – Brunei

Industry – Oil and gas

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. My parents used to work at Tata Motors in Telco, Jamshedpur. I have a sister who’s married and lives in Mumbai.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

There wasn’t anyone specific who inspired me or drove me towards my current profession. I’d have to say, it was a societal influence in general because, in my days, Jamshedpur was very competitive. There were really only two avenues which were considered appropriate for students which were science and engineering. I cleared my engineering examination and got an opportunity at the University of Calicut and the rest is history.

Please give us a summary of your career.

After finishing my B.Tech., from the University of Calicut, I started off at Bombay Powerlift, where I worked as commissioning engineer. After that, I shifted to Petron Engineering, where I worked as a supervisor. Following this, I went to Oman where I became a coordinator and later on moved to Brunei. In Brunei, I’m currently working as an offshore construction supervisor and coordinator.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?

There are no specific colleges that can train you for this profession. You can opt for engineering colleges in general and then if you so choose, you can come into oil and gas.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

The costs of engineering from top-ranking institutes can range from 5–10 lakhs.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in oil and gas industry?

They are certain mandatory courses, that make you qualified enough to work on an Oil Rig. OPITO is a renowned company that offers courses in underground gas storage, helicopter ditching, fire-fighting, diving, senior first aid, safety procedures etc.

It is only after completing these courses, that novices are usually given the post of supervisor wherein they take their orders from the main coordinators for the day to day activities, which they then relay to the workforce.

At the basic level, we have a workforce of around 80+ people that operate the actual rig along with 10–12 supervisors heading them. Also, generally speaking, people don’t employ freshers for offshore jobs, you are required to have at least 2–3 years of experience.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in oil and gas industry?

Till 5 years – 40,000–60,000

10 years – 1,00,000–2,50,000

15 years – 2,50,000–3,50,000

20+ years – 4,00,000–5,00,000

A lot of this depends upon your type of work and the company you’re working in, for example, people who work offshore are obviously bound to get paid more than those with on-shore jobs. Similarly, a domestic or an Indian company will not have as high pay scale as an MNC.

Please describe your work.

Our workday starts at 6 AM and lasts up to 6 PM. In the morning, we have a meeting where everyone is present including the 12 supervisors under me as well as the client’s team. Once the supervisors have received their orders, we have a separate meeting between the coordinators and client.

Then I go through all my emails. I get around 100–150 emails per day that I need to respond to. Following this, I go for a site visit. I check all the safety aspects and see if everyone is following as per the instructions.

All of the aforementioned things make up my daily workload.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

The most obvious positive is the financial aspect. There’s a lot of room for performance-based financial growth in this line of work; albeit that does make it competitive.

We get additional perks too like company pays all traveling expenses. We get a bonus every 6 months. The bonus depends on company’s profit and our individual performance, which are based on KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

Another one would be that even though working on an oil rig comes with its own sets of risks and challenges, our 12-hour workday is very optimized. We have breakfast before starting work at 6 AM, then at 9 am, we get a small break. At 12 noon and 3 PM, we get half an hour break and then we get off at 6 PM. That is to say, we are not overworked or overstressed as we get plenty of breaks to recharge and refresh.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

One of the biggest challenges in this industry today is that reservoirs are dwindling at an alarming rate. We still have gas, but oil is getting harder and harder to find. The alternative sources of energy are already starting to replace it. Accordingly, the job opportunities in this field are not what they used to be.

Another practical challenge is the rotational schedule. I used to have a 4-week rotation earlier, which was highly inconvenient. Now that I have a 2-week rotation, it is much more manageable. Still, it takes me one and a half day to travel from Brunei to India and vice-versa. So, this is something that might give a challenge to most people with families.

Another one is that since you’re in the middle of the sea, you cannot see your family or other people; you are isolated from the rest of the world. This can be positive or negative depending on your personality.

Another thing is you have to be in good health, because we have a yearly medical test and if you fail to pass that test, then you cannot work on an offshore rig.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

When we interview someone, then apart from their qualification, the thing that we look for is their attitude i.e., the way they approach a certain problem, are they capable of quick and out of the box thinking should anything major happen, can they tackle problems with ease. So, they should have strong analytical skills.

Also, this job is perfect for someone who loves to travel and explore but at the same time doesn’t mind the isolation that comes with working on an offshore rig.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

I think perhaps, I would have liked to do something in marine engineering.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

My only advice would be that they should have the positive outlook since this job requires solving a lot of challenges on a day to day basis like optimizing the daily oil target, the pressure from clients etc.

So, having a proactive, positive mindset is a prerequisite for handling such things.

Contributing Writer — Shtakshi Gupta

Check out our conversation with Piyush Kumar (Consultant, Services at AVEVA) to know more about Oil & Gas Industry Jobs.