Offshore engineering can cover a wide variety of areas. As an offshore engineer you could find yourself responsible for finding ways in which to extract oil and gas from natural reservoirs, in both an economic and an environmentally sound way, as well as designing offshore installations and offshore drilling equipment, or devising methods to maximise productivity. More recently this work has also embraced offshore wind turbines with wind farms of a capacity of 3,300 mw saving up to 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year!
In today's context of increasing demand and decreasing stocks of natural utilities, the oil and gas industries are constantly looking for ways to improve methods of locating and utilising oil and gas reserves. Offshore engineering is absolutely fundamental in this research. Drilling and extraction needs to become ever quicker and more accurate as well as developing more efficient ways of locating new oil and gas reserves, which can only be achieved by developing offshore specialists. In line with this is the development of offshore wind farms (the fastest-growing energy source globally) and research into other renewable energies.
Because of the complexity of offshore mining and development, courses cover a huge variety of related areas. For example, students wanting to progress into the design side of offshore engineering will be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of the forces that will affect the equipment or station such as waves, strong currents and severe weather systems. These engineers will also need the practical skills to build and test scale models for safety and durability as well as the technical skills to use computer-aided design.
Courses tend to have a primary focus on the research side of offshore engineering, but can also incorporate a good amount of practical and laboratory work depending on the subject areas you choose to focus on. Assessment tends to be by coursework, presentations, individual research projects and examination. There are also limited opportunities for overseas or industry placements so it is worth exploring the availability of these, if this is what is most interesting to you, before sending your application.
Example Areas of Study
You will need to check with your preferred institution directly to find out the exact subjects you will be studying for offshore engineering as courses can vary. Common subjects covered include:
- Marine engineering
- Platform design
- Down-hole instrumentation
- Dynamics and production technology
- Design and manufacture
- Offshore mechanics
- Marine structures
- Powering of marine vehicles
- Soil mechanics
- Oil and gas engineering
- Offshore vehicle design
- Health and safety
- Engineering analysis
- Offshore design
Some Career Possibilities
Skilled offshore engineers are in short supply worldwide and graduates can expect to be highly sought after by employers. The majority of graduates will find themselves working in the oil and gas industries focusing on power generations, engineering or technology. However others may move into related areas such as transport, aerospace engineering, bio-engineering and renewable energy industries; there are also a number of opportunities in the ships building and other maritime industries. Alongside this are possibilities within consultancy, government departments and regulatory agencies. Some students opt instead to continue their research and select one of a number of opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level.
What do I need to get on a Course?
Entry requirements vary from course to course so you will need to check with your preferred institution to get up-to-date information on the requirements they have for entry. For a general idea of what is expected, see below:
- UCAS Tariff: 200-320 points
- A-Levels: CDD-ABB
- SQA Highers: BBCC-AABB
- SQA Advanced Highers: BC-AB
- International Baccalaureate: 26-34 points
- BTEC: DDD in a relevant subject
- Irish Leaving Certificates, foundation courses, access course and HNDs/HNCs: considered on an individual basis
For Your Application or Interview, the following may be useful:
- An interest in mechanics and the effects of extreme environments on mechanical structures
- A desire to pursue a career within the utilities and offshore industries
- Further information can be found at the Offshore Engineering Society
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
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