Sponsored feature: A day in the life at Shell

4 min read

What is it like to work for Shell? Two recent graduates from the University of Warwick give some insight into what it’s like to work for one of the largest companies in the world.

Chris Hume

  • Graduated - 2013
  • Degree - Systems Engineering BSc
  • Current role & Department - Process Automation Control and Optimisation Engineer in Projects and Technology
Chris Hume graduated in 2013 and currently works in Shell's Projects & Technology department
Chris Hume graduated in 2013 and currently works in Shell's Projects & Technology department

Chris works for Projects and Technology and, like many Shell Upstream Engineers in the UK, is based in Aberdeen. Projects and Technology is a critical part of Shell that develops and manages solutions that keep Shell at the cutting edge of technology in everything it does, from exploration and production of oil and gas all the way to refining and marketing products to customers.

“My official job title is Principal Control and Automation (PACO) Engineer. Our offshore oil rigs have a whole range of instruments that measure every kind of variable from temperature to flow speeds. There are also sophisticated intelligent computer systems that can make decisions based on measurements to keep processes running efficiently and safely.  It is my role to make sure the instrumentation is running correctly. Part of my role includes gathering information, so I will analyze lots of engineering drawings and also have meetings with operators to keep up to speed with activities on the ground. We get to use some advanced software to process the data. My average day is hard to describe as it is highly variable. I’m mainly desk based but also will visit sites to check on the instrumentation and carry our safety reviews.

One of the best parts of this role is interacting with experienced engineers across a range of disciplines

One of the best parts of this role is interacting with experienced engineers across a range of disciplines. From process engineers to layout and piping engineers to operators – it’s a two way conversation, as I need to ensure that everyone knows how to use the instrumentation.”

“Shell has already invested in my development with technical and leadership courses. As part of the Technical Graduate Programme you get to go on residential training, great to onboard and build your network. I have a technical coach who is there to support me with specific challenges. There are also ample opportunities to learn on the job. After only four months I was seconded to a gas terminal to get hands-on experience. My next rotation will be supporting the Brent platforms in the North Sea”

So what about outside of work? What is it like working for Shell in Aberdeen?

“The social side of working for Shell is also really great. Shell has a social network for graduates and they have organized some breathtaking hiking trips in the Scottish Countryside and there have even been a few lively Ceilidhs”

“Looking back at my time studying systems engineering at Warwick, there were a few modules that really helped me in this role – Measurement and instrumentation in particular. Surprisingly, unified modelling language has proven useful as it helps me draw intuitive pictures of my ideas”

“I joined Shell as I wanted to work on large scale projects and help develop cutting edge technologies. I didn’t want to be sat at a desk all the time and wanted a role where I could solve problems. When I saw the job description I knew this role was for me. Looking to the future, there are many opportunities in Shell to progress my career. I’m particularly excited about the pioneering Liquefied Natural Gas technology that Shell has developed and the possibility of working in overseas locations.”

Shreetik Bhandari

  • Graduated: 2014
  • Degree: Masters in Mechanical Engineering
  • Current role & Department: Maintenance, Reliability and Turnaround Engineer.

Shree started at Shell in Sept 2014 as a Maintenance Reliability and Turnaround Engineer and is also based in Aberdeen.

“Maintenance of facilities is essential to keep them running safely and efficiently. My main role is to optimize maintenance schedules to minimize costly downtime. It can cost the company large sums in delays while we are not producing, so the slightest improvements can make a really difference. I have to assess short term vs long term risks and take decisions.

In between meetings I’m really busy working on some of my own projects

My average day might begin in the office, but I have meetings with a range of teams to stay closely connected with what is going on. I work with operations, Production Technologist and  discipline engineers to get an overview of how the asset is running and where we can make improvements.

In between meetings I’m really busy working on some of my own projects, from a multimillion pound sea water pump system for fire response to getting in vendors to clean  seven crude oil tanks that have a total capacity to hold 81million liters of oil in a Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel.

Next year I will go on rotation on an offshore oil rig and see what life is like on the frontline

Next year I will go on rotation on an offshore oil rig and see what life is like on the frontline, but not before I complete the BOSIET and MIST Helicopter safety training. Shell has been a great support in my first year, providing lots of intensive training both in the UK and in the Netherlands  and also I have a mentor who is helping me plan my future career in Shell.

And outside of work?

“I’m on the social team of our graduate network, Energie, and therefore organize lots of events for new-joiners to participate in and meet new friends and colleagues. From BBQs to sports events and Burns Night suppers – there is something for everyone. Energie also runs networking events and regularly invites VPs to host lunch and learns for us. It is great to get advice from senior leaders. There is a free gym on site which is really convenient to work out at during my lunchtime. Nearby Shell has tennis courts and squash courts and there is ample opportunity for hiking.

How about the move to Aberdeen?

“Being a Southerner, I was initially apprehensive about moving to Aberdeen, but it has been a great experience. It is extremely multicultural – there are people from all over the world – Qatar, USA, India, China the list goes on. Due to the high number of people that are new to the area, there is a very friendly culture and I was made to feel really welcomed by the team”

Why Shell?

“I love to travel. I always wanted to work for a large energy company that would allow me to see the world whilst applying my skillset. My father worked in oil and gas so you could say I was following in his footsteps.”

What about the future?

After completing the Shell Graduate Programme I will aim to be a supervisor managing a team of consultants and in the long run oversee a large shutdown project and make a real difference”

Top tips for others from Shree and Chris?

  • Read up on roles and find one that you really want to do – some roles are not well known, but are still great opportunities.
  • Be confident
  • Show capacity to learn from others and continually develop your skills

Interested in finding out more? Below are some useful links:

Shell Assessed Internship program


Shell Graduate Programme http://www.shell.com/global/aboutshell/careers/students-and-graduates/shell-graduate-programme.html

Projects & Technology http://www.shell.com/global/aboutshell/careers/professionals/hot-jobs/pte.html

Shell Upstream http://www.shell.co.uk/business-customers/upstream-oil-and-gas-infrastructure.html

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