Michiel joined the Shell Graduate Programme and works as a Well Engineer. He started in Assen and soon after that he went to Gabon for a work placement followed by a short-term international assignment (STIA). Michiel studied at Delft and holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Offshore Engineering.
Life at Shell Gabon is in the middle of the last true African wilderness: the untouched humid jungle from which elephants find their way past our houses every evening. Colleagues will quickly become friends as you work together on exciting projects in a surreal environment. Shell is a company full of passionate people who love their jobs as well as the environment.
My job is planning and delivering wells in a multidisciplinary development team consisting of a geologist, reservoir engineer, well engineer, production technologist and petrophysicist. Together we frame opportunities in terms of cost, risk, value and environmental impact and select the most promising ones to define the project scope for.
My job: a perfect mix of action and business
My job is a perfect mix of action – drilling operations – and business skills when shaping new projects. What does a day in my life look like?
09:00: I work with the Geologist on possible well trajectories and targets, while learning all geological features of this area to plan the optimum well trajectory.
10:00: I’m chairing the Drilling Operations team meeting in which we discuss ongoing issues in the field. I need to ensure that we involve the appropriate experts and that things get resolved quickly.
11:30: Coffee with my technical coach, who signs off on my work and shares his knowledge and points me in the right direction.
13:00: Well Challenge Session – during this meeting we present our next project to a decision review board. They decide whether Shell will invest in the project or not. It is an important meeting for our team so we are well prepared!
15:00: In the air flying over the cloudy rainforest. I’m on my way to the nearby village of Port Gentil to meet with some of our contractors who we visit regularly to discuss our plans.
Choosing a career
I also considered a career in the banking industry and a non-technical role in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. But I chose Shell because it offers the best experience in managing complex technical projects. As a technical graduate you can always progress to a non-technical role later in your career – the other way around is much more difficult.
A unique development environment
Social life in Gabon is absolutely amazing. I’m sharing a house with two other grads and we have a gym, a swimming pool and we go on safaris. I share my time between Gabon and Europe 50-50 to see my girlfriend, friends and family. I’m in a unique development environment with excellent working conditions that allow for a personal life, doing what others consider impossible!