Recently I had the pleasure of giving a lecture to Petroleum Engineering MSc students at the Technical University of Denmark DTU, together with Heavy Lift and Facilities Removal Lead Jim Plug. We discussed a fully integrated approach to plug and abandonment, flushing and cleaning, facilities removal, and recycling and waste management. An important message I wanted to get across to these future energy industry professionals, and for any students entering decommissioning, is to challenge what you know.
The decommissioning market is going through a small revolution. New companies are sprouting, business models focusing on campaigning are being matured, dedicated decom technologies are being developed. Decommissioning is by nature focusing on ageing assets, but the work going into making it happen truly efficiently is in its infancy.
The students of today are receiving valuable education to prepare them for entering into the O&G market. However, with rapid changes in the market, they need to adapt quickly and to be ready to challenge the status quo continuously. Becoming an engineer in the decommissioning space will mean having broad horizons and understanding the complexities laying on the border between technical and commercial aspects.
To be able to challenge and voice their opinions, young engineers will have to be empowered from day one. “With great power comes great responsibility” as the Spiderman comic book has taught us. And also, great satisfaction, from being able to influence the developing market with bright ideas. Ideas that students are full of.
“Challenging what you know” applies even more to us as more mature energy industry professionals. We should rely on students and younger colleagues to press our internal ‘reset’ button once in a while. That is why engaging with students via lectures can become a very valuable experience for everyone involved.