A Subsea Engineer is primarily responsible for the design and installation of equipment and structures below the surface of the sea to extract crude oil and natural gas from the wells.
Subsea engineering is a crucial and challenging field of engineering which deals with the technical aspects of the offshore petroleum industry. A subsea engineer’s main aim is to use the latest technologies to excavate oils and gases without posing a threat to the marine environment and in the most cost-efficient manner.
Subsea engineering aim is to increase hydrocarbon production for new field developments, tie-backs (a connection between a new oil and gas discovery and an existing production facility), and for existing facilities.
Subsea engineers are also deployed to enable production in marginal fields. They support subsea projects and activities offshore and are generally employed by Operators (who own or manage production facilities), subsea contractors, service companies, and consultancy firms.
What are the roles played by a subsea engineer?
The submerged sea environment poses unique and tough challenges as the operations conducted take place in deep-water. The prime responsibilities of a subsea engineer include extracting crude oil and gases from enormous marine reserves, implementing, designing, and maintaining the structures, tools, and equipment used in the underwater component of offshore gas and oil production.
Apart from these other responsibilities of a subsea engineer are:
- Finding and dispatching gas and oil reserves safely.
- Help support activities at contractor sites for new and refurbished equipment.
- Implement safe work plans for subsea equipment handling and installation.
- Looking after contractors/suppliers for the work scope.
- Help ramp up hydrocarbon production in a cost-optimized way
- Support testing, installation of subsea hardware.
How to become a subsea engineer?
You can opt for a bachelor’s degree in engineering. To be more precise, a degree in mechanical or petroleum engineering or ocean engineering will give you an added advantage. After pursuing a bachelor’s degree go can go for a Master’s degree in ocean engineering or any such branch of engineering.
Reputed universities/colleges offering courses in this field-
- Imperial College London, UK
- Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
- Newcastle University, UK
- University of Houston, Texas
After you complete your qualification, you must apply for an internship so as to get a subsea engineering license and practical training in a reputed company. After a number of years of gained experience, you can become a senior engineer, principal engineer, or consultant. You could also move on to be the manager of a section or a department.
Additional aspects to be taken into consideration when pursuing subsea engineering
Apart from the qualification, you must have an aptitude for physics, chemistry, and maths along with great computer handling skills i.e. IT sector. These three subjects go hand in hand in this field as a subsea engineer has to perform a plethora number of calculations and spend most of his time observing and analyzing the marine environment. If you are to work offshore, then you must pass a medical examination every 2 years.
Other imperative aspects are:
- Good communication skills- So that you can deliver your instructions clearly to the staff working under your guidance.
- Leadership qualities- So that you can guide and coordinate well your team members.
- Time-management- Since you may be required to work to deadlines, you need to make the most of the time provided.
- Problem-solving skills- You have may utmost attention to the minute details so as to analyze the problem carefully and opt for the best solutions or alternatives possible.
Salary of a subsea engineer
The career of a subsea engineer is one of the promising careers and provides a handsome amount of salary. Since you are going to spend ample time in the sea, you must be willing to take the job from within.
Subsea engineers are highly paid in the oil and gas industries. The percentage of people who remain unemployed is very low, up to 0.12%. If you are new to this field, then you can expect a salary package of up to $100,000 a year. If you have an experience of about 7-10 years then you can expect a salary package up to $200,000 a year.