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Subsea Completions Engineer

Subsea Completions Engineer

Lisa Wishart
Hometown: Mount Pearl
Company: Husky Energy

“I have chosen a career that is always challenging me and continues to push me further; it gives me a great sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. I would definitely recommend a job in the offshore oil and gas industry to anyone who is looking for a challenging, diverse and rewarding career.”


Lisa has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Memorial University and a Masters of Science in Drilling & Well Engineering from Robert Gordon University (Distance Education). Lisa says her high school courses in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Language Arts, Computers, Design and Technology were most applicable to her post-secondary studies. She adds that her participation in a variety of athletic programs, music, and Girl Guides taught her the importance of teamwork, a very valuable skill for her current position where she works within a multi-disciplinary project team.

Lisa says she always had an inquiring mind and fascination for understanding how things work and an interest in math and sciences, which helped draw her towards her chosen career. She also points out that petroleum engineers need the following characteristics: an aptitude for mathematics and science, the ability to think logically and solve problems, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to work in teams and interact with colleagues and the public in an ethical, professional and safe manner, and an appreciation of and an ability to continue to engage in lifelong learning.


Lisa usually works 40 hours per week, five days a week, in an office environment. Overtime is sometimes necessary to complete a project. Every few weeks she travels to an offshore drilling rig where she works 12 hour shifts for up to 3 weeks at a time. Lisa says working in the field provides practical hands-on experience that is valuable for career development and she always looks forward to it. Lisa lives 15 minutes from her downtown office. When she travels offshore, her commute is a 1_ hour helicopter ride to the rig (or a 14-hour journey aboard a supply vessel if it is too foggy for helicopters to land on the rig). Lisa is sometimes required to travel when working on special projects, at well sites, for business meetings and training courses. She has been to western Canada and the United Kingdom on several occasions.

As a Completions Engineer, Lisa is responsible for getting the fluids from the reservoir to the production facility, which involves planning and installation of sub-sea well completion equipment in order to flow hydrocarbons from the new wells to the production facility. Typical responsibilities include: designing and supervising initial well completion, well intervention, and appraisal well testing; modeling completion performance; making recommendations to solve operational problems; cost estimating and budgeting; and interfacing with reservoir and production teams, service companies, and regulatory agencies.

While offshore, Lisa faces many of the challenges typical of other industrial workplaces. She says Husky Energy is very proactive in the health and safety of its personnel and its responsibility to the environment. Safety training is provided for all offshore personnel (including Basic Survival Training and Basic First Aid) to familiarize personnel with emergency procedures and equipment for travel to work, as well as aboard the FPSO or drilling unit. Safety drills and exercises are also conducted on a regular basis.

Lisa’s career began with six Engineering Co-op Work-terms in the Newfoundland & Labrador offshore oil and gas industry with a variety of exploration and development projects. Her first job following graduation was with Petro-Canada as a Subsea Completions Engineer working on the Terra Nova Project. In 2007, she joined Husky Energy to work on the White Rose project as Senior Subsea Completion Engineer. Lisa says Petroleum Engineers typically spend their first 5 -10 years in a variety of Production, Reservoir, Subsea, or Drilling Engineering positions. Opportunities to transfer to Overseas and International Projects are also available and in time can include managerial or technical positions.

Compensation and Benefits

Salaries of Petroleum Engineers vary depending on their education, experience, type of work and location. A 2006 Society of Petroleum Engineers global salary survey put the starting salary for a Petroleum Engineer at about $65,000. In addition to her salary, Lisa receives paid vacations and holidays, life, health and pension benefits and support for education training. There is also the opportunity for individual or group performance bonuses. Petroleum Engineering is among the highest paid engineering professions.