Chris Cooley - Subsea Production Engineer

Name: Chris Cooley
Position: Subsea Production Engineer
Expertise: Subsea Engineer, Production Engineering
Employer: Total Upstream Nigeria Limited
Location: France

I graduated from Rice University in 1996 with a degree in mechanical engineering. I chose to pursue subsea engineering in my career because everything just seemed more interesting. When I graduated in the mid-1990s, deepwater projects were just starting to take-off, and subsea engineering was an emerging discipline within oil and gas. Other areas of oil and gas were limited in new ideas and innovations, but in subsea, virtually every project was trying something new.

I started out in subsea tooling and design, moved into topsides facilities and, then, worked on project management teams that managed design, construction and start-up of deepwater projects. When I was offered a position as an operations engineer, I saw it as the opportunity to combine everything I had learned about the industry and really see first-hand how everything worked.

The most exciting thing about operations is troubleshooting problems when the pressure is on. On paper, something can seem so simple; but when you are in real situations that have some information missing and a solution much be decided upon quickly or production can be lost, the challenge can be exciting.

A Bit of Advice

I think a good mechanical sense and a good fluid dynamic understanding are important tools to have. However, one must also be able to think and react quickly to the unique problems that are sure to arise.

The subsea oil patch still needs innovations that will allow us to produce oil and gas at depths that seem to increase daily. Flow assurance and material science breakthroughs are needed to allow us to produce cheaper and more efficiently, making certain prospects more economical and larger projects more profitable. With subsea processing equipment and modules starting to be necessary to make certain projects viable, a whole new area of subsea is poised to open up. There are still many new and exciting uncharted roads to travel.

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