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The Golden Age of Oil and Gas

last modified Nov 24, 2016 10:04 AM

Chemical Engineering alumnus Piran Mazaheri returned to the Department on 18 November 2016 to tell students about his work experience to date in the oil and gas industry sectors, his international travelling and his career break to spend time with the family, all facilitated by his own career choice.

After graduating from the Department with an MEng in 1993, Piran first joined FLUOR as a Process Engineer. His last job was at Sasol, where he was Head of Capital Projects (Exploration and Production division).

Piran, with over 23 years work experience in the oil and gas industry, has specialised in exploration and production (offshore and onshore) and LNG projects. He shared his true passion for the industry; 'Oil and gas touch our lives, defines politics and wars and how humans behave’. He also commented on how the industry has become really conscious of safety and its impact.

He gave an overview of the different roles he has worked on throughout the years and told students about the whole range of jobs available to a chemical engineer: 'You can choose one role and slip from one into the other, you could go into strategy management, banking, construction, software etc…you could even work as an engineering insurance adviser. The opportunities are endless and there are also technical career options. As a design engineer or project manager, chemical engineers can do design engineering, similar to the design project students get involved in.'

He advised students getting chartership with the IChemE. 'As a fellow of the IChemE I have had a chance to do something for the chemical engineering industry and profession’. He noted the importance of knowing the acronyms in the oil and gas industry too, giving chemical engineers the edge.

Piran also pointed out the advantages of 'riding the wave' during an economic dip, either planning for the cycle in advance, accepting it or taking the time out when it happens. He noted that he has had a superb career, has been able to take breaks, pick and choose between full time and part-time jobs, even allowed to work remotely from home. 'The main benefits of a job in the oil and gas industry are that one can take time off easily during downturn to raise a family, study further or travel the world. The working hours are really sensible. It's a "borderless" job and you can become a specialist, generalist or go into management'; he highlighted.  

Piran finally reassured all students that 'the oil industry is far from becoming extinct, with new technology always available to find and extract more oil and gas. There are immediate jobs in the environment and petroleum engineering sectors with fantastic careers in engineering and management roles.'

 He added; 'Oil and gas are a necessity, it's an industry where you can make a positive difference'. Piran did also work on cleaning up contaminated soil and witnessed the huge impact it had on real lives. 

He concluded with a valuable piece of advice to all students: 'Networking and maintaining links is critical in this industry. Remote connections may always help you get your next job so never burn any bridges and always smile!