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Drilling Engineer

Drilling Engineer

Name: Victoria Wilkins
Company: ExxonMobil Canada
Education: Bachelor of Engineering in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering, Memorial University
Location: Onshore – Office Building
Hometown: St. John’s, NL
Currently Living In: St. John’s, NL

Education and Personal Background

Victoria is a graduate of Memorial University’s Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering program.

As part of her university program, Victoria participated in five co-op internships, both within and outside the oil and gas industry and within and outside Canada. She says each of these experiences benefited her career development, and helped direct her toward the career she eventually chose in oil and gas.

Victoria says her degree does not relate directly to her current job, but it did give her the general knowledge and skills needed to qualify for the position. The most specific training she’s received for her position has come directly through her employer, ExxonMobil Canada.

“ExxonMobil has a structured training program for new hires targeting specific courses that help you in your day to day work assignments. Most class- based training courses are done in Houston, Texas, alongside other new hires and employees from other ExxonMobil locations around the world.”

Victoria’s high school involvement in extracurricular activities and maintaining a part-time job helped her to develop time management skills essential to her post-secondary education and certainly her career.


Duties and Work Environment

Victoria has been with ExxonMobil for less than two years. Her job initially took her offshore much of the time, but she now works onshore.

In her earlier role, she worked on a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit, compiling data obtained from drilling in specific locations. She also worked with vendors and service personnel on discussions surrounding equipment used in the drilling process.

Now that Victoria is working onshore full-time, she uses the skills she learned offshore to help her in designing and planning well drilling projects. She writes procedures for well drilling, prepares cost estimates for projects, and makes decisions on which tools to use. She also assesses potential project risks, and has to understand government regulations and requirements.

“All of these duties require problem solving. You also need good communications skills, and certainly time management skills.  This is a fast-paced challenging work environment, so it’s important to prioritize your work, and understand the task at hand.”

Victoria says her job is very team-oriented, working with people across different departments and with outside organizations.

“We’re all working together to achieve one goal,” she says.

Questions and Answers

What is the best career advice you were ever given? 

I’m not sure if it was career advice per se, but my parents have always taught me to work hard in everything that you do, whether in school, sports, or a job. I can say that hard work certainly pays off, as I now have a job that I love and am excited to go to work every day.

What do you enjoy about your job? 

It’s a challenging fast-paced environment that’s always changing. You’re constantly learning and gaining new skills, as the work is very diverse. I enjoy going to work every day because I love the type of work I do and I love the people I work with.

What surprised you most about the oil and gas industry? 

How much constantly evolving, cutting edge technology there is in this industry. There is a lot of research, innovation and creativity that goes on in the oil and gas industry. There is always a new tool or piece of equipment out there that you can evaluate and trial in the field to better improve the recovery of oil and gas.