Drilling Engineer

Aged only 25, Mike Tony already has over four years of experience at Perenco. Eager to learn, dynamic and committed, he works as an expatriate based in Congo. He is passionate about his job and is currently preparing for a major exploration and development drilling campaign, which is expected to last for approximately 18 months.

Can you describe your career pathway ?

I am a graduate of ICAM Africa and of the IFP School (French Institute of Petroleum). I left Cameroon in 2012 to follow the first two-year cycle of ICAM engineering training at the Pointe-Noire site in Congo. As part of my studies, I completed an internship at Air Liquide, then at Schlumberger Cameroon as an operator in the tank evaluation department. I was working on the maintenance of logging tools. That's really when I discovered the oil industry. I was then able to obtain a second internship, this time at Schlumberger in Congo, on a solution to automate and standardise the maintenance of measurement tools upon their return from site.

Following this, I returned to Douala for the second cycle at the ICAM, which I completed over three years on a professional scheme that alternated classes with practice. This is how I came back to Perenco, where I had the chance to follow an integration course that allowed me to meet all the support functions, the HSE and IT services and then to work within the Projects team.

I worked on a piping installation operation and finally within Drilling. It was while I was working with the Drilling engineers and the Geoscience team that I decided to apply to the IFP School, where I studied for a Masters in development and exploitation. I was sponsored by Perenco, which allowed me to alternate between my studies and work in the field. I much appreciated those two years of training and education, as well as travelling and soaking up the multicultural atmosphere and getting a good grounding in the whole upstream oil business.

Can you tell us about your professional journey with Perenco ?

At the end of my Master's Degree I was hired by Perenco as a Drilling Engineer in the Cameroon subsidiary, to take on a drill rig purchase project. In September 2017, I was transferred to Congo. I worked on the preparation of "pilot" wells. During this project I had the opportunity to stand in as the drilling supervisor, which was a very formative experience. I then joined the drilling team in Pointe Noire, the position I hold today.

What do you think of life as an expatriate ?

For me, being an expatriate forces an employee out of their comfort zone. When you love challenges, it is a great adventure. Moving around is beneficial for both the employee and for the company. We discover different ways of working across a diverse set of challenges.

What does your role entail?

As a Drilling Engineer in Congo, I report to the Drilling Manager of the subsidiary. I also work with a Drilling Superintendent and a Fluid Superintendent. I am in charge of all the engineering, namely the preparation of the wells from a technical point of view. This consists of designing projects, placing and tracking equipment orders, checking costs.

I am very happy to have been assigned to the Congo because there are so many projects in progress. It is very exciting. We are currently relaunching a drilling campaign that should last over 18 months. That means I will be working on an extremely innovative and challenging project. I feel lucky to be in the right place.

Which project has made you particularly proud?

In Cameroon, when alternating between my studies and the field, I had the opportunity to work on the first gravel pack operations in "one trip" with a cylinder unit built 100% by Perenco. This was a sand pumping operation. This operation had been done previously, of course, but with a special unit. However, this time, we demonstrated that we could also perform this operation with a more standard tool, after we had completely re-thought the approach.

This example is representative of how we operate at Perenco and also of the level of responsibility that you can expect. Nothing is limited to how it has been done before. We spent time studying the project. Then we tried something different, and it worked! We had to adapt our way of thinking. It was a very satisfying experience that I will always remember!

What do you think your best contribution to Perenco is?

My adaptability. It started with my studies at ICAM, but especially when I was at the IFP-School. I knew how to go from Projects to Completion, then to Drilling. No matter the environment, or the project, within Perenco, I know that I will be able to adapt.

Which one of your qualities is most appreciated at Perenco?

I would say my passion, my openness and my sense of perspective.

How would you describe the company?

It is a company who knows how to entrust people with responsibilities and that works on a collaborative basis. We are all working towards the same goals: production and efficiency.  

Which corporate value(s) do you most admire at Perenco?

Trust and Passion. The responsibilities that Perenco gives its employees are a true mark of confidence. Responsibilities are given to employees who get involved, and who are passionate about their job.  

What would you say to convince someone to join Perenco?

If you are passionate about your job and you want to have the opportunity to explore and develop yourself professionally, join Perenco!