Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer

    Posted 12-18-2020 09:33 AM

    Greetings to everyone have you ever thought to wonder about different industries in your fields that can be best suitable for you because of your passions, perspective, and have personal reasons and goals?

    In my case my personal reason to include the Oil and Gas Industry is that I see opportunity in the Philippines natural resources that are awaiting to be nurtured in the future, and I think a lot of my fellow Filipinos reconsider a little about the great opportunities that my country is missing like petroleum industries (although we also have that but it was little industry compared to other countries). Like I see myself to used and share my future experience about Oil and Gas Industry someday. And also I see the opportunities and benefits of working in the Oil and Gas Industry as a Civil Engineer in the future, here's the following link below: 

    Overview perspectives of the structural engineering and oil/gas industry career would involve: http://www.oilandgasjobsadvice.com/the-field-of-structural-engineering-in-the-oil-and-gas-industry/

    Helps to point out that oil/gas as a targeted profession may not always come under Structural Engineering, but rather it may be classified as a separate category:  


    Five reasons you should be working in the oil & gas industry: https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/five-reasons-you-should-be-working-in-the-oil-gas-industry/

    But also it is concerning when it comes to gender like being a female while working in a hard core industry. I think it's a great thing to tackle about what is your feedback/advise about it? Thank you a lot and happy holiday everyone.


    Llala Chrishaye S. Ocampo, S.M.ASCE

    Philippines, General Trias, Cavite, 4107

    Brgy. Pasong Kawayan II, Blk 20 L 5 South Square Village


    Philippine No:+639063147796


  • 2.  RE: Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer

    Posted 12-19-2020 10:12 AM

    Hi Llala,

    Some thoughts follow on your interest in the oil and gas industry..

    I think civil engineers can find rewarding job opportunities in today's oil and natural gas industry but you really need to look hard at the state of the industry, how your roles will develop and grow your skills, and your future career aspirations and opportunities to set realistic expectations. While offshore oil and natural gas projects can offer great opportunities to apply your engineering knowledge and gain valuable experience you will be working in a highly specialized area. This specialization may prove problematic when you decide on your own or via circumstances to move into a more traditional civil engineering role, e.g., public infrastructure. You also have to look at the experience you will be getting and have confidence that it will lead to licensure, if this is something that you want and value. This risk of over specialization will also be exacerbated if you take a broadening role as is not uncommon, into another discipline area.

    The oil and natural gas industry has always been driven by commodity prices. This has led to a cycle of booms and busts and one entering the industry needs to realize the good times will only last so long and downsizing and layoffs are standard practice for managing the bad times. On top of this historic boom-bust cycle is the rising share of renewables into the energy mix, putting  an unrelenting downward pressure on oil and natural gas prices. Furthermore, the oil and natural gas industry is under huge societal and shareholder pressure to decarbonize. These factors speak to an exciting but very uncertain future for the oil and natural gas industry  - and its employees - as it transitions away from its historical business lines. I share these remarks a civil engineer and retiree from the oil and natural gas industry where I had a 36 year career. While I thoroughly enjoyed the work and people it's hard to give a glowing endorsement for others to follow in my footsteps.



    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX

  • 3.  RE: Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer

    Posted 12-26-2020 08:08 AM

    Merry Christmas and happy holiday!

    Thank you for replying in the discussion "Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer", I am currently third year college and I am really interested in the oil and natural gas industry to work on the future, and given you said it will be overspecialization if one day I decide to move out to traditional Civil Engineering field it will be problematic. I wanted to asked the follows questions:
    What are the steps I will consider to get in that career in that industry? or what will be your advice to step forward in that kind of career in the future?
    While telling you my personal reason for getting interested in it is because of promising salary and benefits for its employees although it's going to be hard. Can I also ask about what are the things you get benefitted in the industry and what you do, and what are the least expectations I should expect either good and bad?
    Thank you for your concern and understanding. I was glad to reach you. Advanced happy new year!

    Llala Chrishaye Ocampo S.M.ASCE
    City of General Trias Cavite

  • 4.  RE: Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer

    Posted 12-29-2020 12:11 PM

    Hi Llala, I hope you had a nice Christmas.  You've asked some good follow up questions. 

    It would be great to hear from someone who's made a mid-career move from industry to consulting, their experience and how they accomplished the transition. I can only answer this in the abstraction therefore my use the word 'may'  

    The major Independent Oil Companies have websites on career opportunities that I would encourage you to investigate, if you have not done so already. These sites will offer more pertinent and relevant information than I can share. Search on [company name] careers. 

    Best wishes for 2021  


    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX

  • 5.  RE: Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer
    Best Answer

    Posted 01-04-2021 12:55 PM

    I started out in consulting at a structural engineering firm, where I worked for about 4 years, then worked in the oil and gas industry for 5 years, and just switched back about a year ago.  I agree with Mitch about boom and bust cycles in the industry and a lot of the top companies will staff up during the good times and layoff staff in the bad.

    As a structural engineer, working mostly on refineries and natural gas facilities, I didn't see myself becoming too specialized in any specific area because the materials (steel and concrete mostly) are the same whether you are supporting piping or buildings.  It was interesting to work with the mechanical engineers to strategically locate pipe supports and restraints to minimize loads while also having to deal with vibrational, temperature, and pressure loading, which are not always a major factor in other structural fields.

    The work did get a little repetitive at times but it was interesting to develop my knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems.  With this knowledge, I was  able to grow into a project management role as well as engineer.  This sort of growth and opportunity is a positive for many industry firms.  Another big industry positive is the compensation.  Salaries and benefits in the oil and gas industry were better when I was making the change into the field.  However, there are some negatives like the boom/bust cycles and working with government in a highly regulated industry has a lot of red tape that can get tedious and annoying.

    There was a heavy male presence when I was working in the industry, but the engineering side was a little more mixed.  There are some salty old-timers you might have to put up with at times but everyone was generally respectful and we had many female engineers, drafters, and project managers.

    To briefly touch on my transition back into consulting, it took some adjusting but like I mentioned earlier, steel is steel, concrete is concrete.  The materials don't care where the loads come from, just what they are (and yes, sometimes also short term vs long term loading).  As a structural engineer, you shouldn't find the transition too difficult.  If you're talking general civil (site layout, grading, drainage, etc.) there were many opportunities on the new facilities side and I imagine it would be similar across different fields.

    Hope some of this helps and it's not too long-winded.  If you have any follow-up questions, please let me know!  Best of luck in your career search,


    Kirk Wagner S.E., M.ASCE
    Newport Beach CA

  • 6.  RE: Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer

    Posted 01-05-2021 05:24 PM

    Hi there Llaya,

    I am coaching a number of women in the oil and gas industry in the US on career transitions currently out of oil and gas currently, most with petroleum engineering degrees who have been laid off numerous times and are tired of the cycles of boom and bust that oil and gas experiences more frequently than the civil engineering community as a whole has experienced in the same length of time.

    I can't speak to what is going on in your own country, but the next step for you should be to seek out a few people locally who have a career path that is similar to the one you wish to follow and ask for advice, what they like about their job, if they would advise their daughters/sons to enter the industry right now, etc. If you can find at least one woman to ask those questions to that would be best. Those I am coaching did NOT do that before picking their field, and although they realized it would be challenging in advance, there is a huge difference between a challenge that can be overcome with work ethic and routinely dealing with harassment. 

    I don't say this to discourage you at all, only to encourage you to see both the opportunities AND the challenges so you are picking a path without blinders. Spending some time interviewing those locally in your industry now could save you years of worrying about if it was the right decision down the road. The internet can only take you so far on that research, and there is no substitute for talking to someone in your field locally so that you can better understand both the work and the lifestyle and figure out if that's what you really want. I mention lifestyle.....because at least in the US you'd generally be required to live in certain areas of the country in this field; as compared to general civil where there are civil engineers in virtually every town, structural oil and gas people are much more limited as to location options.  

    One other resource that may be helpful: Pink Petro (now Ally Energy) was originally founded as an organization of women in energy. https://allyenergy.com/about/

    Stephanie Slocum P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 7.  RE: Looking ahead about Oil and Gas Industry as an Engineer or a Civil Engineer

    Posted 01-06-2021 08:48 AM
    Hi Stephanie, I think this is great advice. In talking to others about their experience I think it's important to understand the time period covered. It's a question of relevancy. The upstream sector is undergoing massive changes driven by demand and external forces. This impacts roles, needed skill sets, and experiential opportunities. The past is no longer a reliable indictor of the future. This is an area I would drill down in talking with folks currently employed in the industry.

    On a lighter note I chuckled when I read your comment about location. How true. Little did I know in 1981 that accepting a job in the oil and gas industry would confine me to the Gulf Coast. It's not an ideal location if you like cycling and hiking as I do, but I've made the most of it and Houston has become home.


    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX