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Challenging the status quo as a lead subsea wells engineer: Ahmed’s story

Published:
24 February 2020
Ahmed has been instrumental in helping to reshape the way BP approaches operations from a safety perspective

Ahmed has always been passionate about making sure everyone has access to energy. “I’m originally from Egypt”, he says, “and so, I understand that if you don’t have energy then there’s a lot you’re missing out on”. 

 

While studying mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ahmed came across representatives from BP at a careers fair. Not only were they inspiring, they seemed passionate about their jobs. “They actually came in with Georgia Tech football jerseys on, which made me realise BP was different. They had the coolest team, and so that’s why I decided to join them”, he says. 

 

Ahmed went on to complete two internships at BP, working with the Global Operations Organisation, where he was in charge of developing a maintenance plan for all of the flame arresters on BP production facilities. As part of this, he spent five days offshore at a production facility – “as an intern, I really loved that experience”, he says, “that’s what made me want to come back”.

 

From commuting in a helicopter 150 miles off the coast of Louisiana…

 

After his internships, Ahmed joined BP’s Global Wells Organisation full time in 2014. His role involved rotating offshore to a drilling rig where he got to see first-hand the operations his team were managing. 

I used to fly in a helicopter 150 miles off the coast of Louisiana, so my commute to work was pretty unique.

Now Ahmed is the lead subsea wells engineer for BP’s light-well intervention in the Gulf of Mexico and is involved in the planning and execution of numerous projects. This incorporates everything from due diligence to procedure, and Ahmed is a key part of the transition from planning to execution. He supports BP vessels for all operations, should they require specialist expertise or need help with technical troubleshooting. 

 

Being a leader is something that Ahmed enjoys. “Now I’m a lead engineer I have more influence on the direction that we take and have a big responsibility to help BP improve”, he says. “Having that accountability and mind-set, when you’re the one moving things forwards, is very rewarding”. 

 

… to improving safety and operational efficiency in the Gulf of Mexico 

 

Any time BP carries out an intervention on its existing wells, the Global Wells Organisation carries out barrier testing to ensure that the right barriers are in place before the rig has access to the well. This process goes above and beyond government regulations and so Ahmed devised a plan to simplify things, which was recognised by the wider BP business. 

 

“I thought it was weird that BP was spending time and effort testing wells while they weren’t actually producing. We were going above and beyond regulations but not seeing any extra benefit”, Ahmed says. His plan to simplify the barrier testing process for BP saw him nominated for ‘A Good Day in GWO’, a quarterly recognition initiative within the Global Wells Organisation. Ahmed’s work was selected and shared internally. 

 

Ahmed has also been instrumental in helping to reshape the way BP approaches operations from a safety perspective. While working to fix issues with a piece of equipment that operates 6000 feet below the waterline in the Gulf of Mexico, the main proposal brought to the table was to modify the system while it was subsea, but Ahmed believed that this could comprise safety. 

 

“I was the youngest person in the room and in speaking out I was going against a lot of people who were older and who had more experience than me. It took courage”, he says. Although the path Ahmed suggested was more costly and time consuming, the BP leadership team supported this decision.  As Ahmed says, 

My goal is to keep everyone offshore safe, and support them to keep operations running.