The VIE, for International Voluntary Work, is a contract allowing young European graduates to work for a French company but in a subsidiary established abroad for a period of 6 to 24 months. The terms are set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and this is a good opportunity for the company to test before recruiting. For the volunteers, this represents a first real work experience abroad. After my graduation I was sent to Abu Dhabi for a period of 18 months, later extended to 24 months.
However being hired at the end of the VIE is not automatic. I passed interviews for a statutory position in the summer of 2014. Actually I continue in local contract since September 2014. We are working on the development of a very mature field (already 41 years of production!) on which Total is an operator. The geoscience team is relatively small (2 geologists, 7 reservoir engineers), so I am now dealing with most geology subjects, and possibly some geophysics. During my VIE, my work was mainly focused on operations: the preparation, monitoring and reporting of development well drilling. I even had the chance to spend the equivalent of almost 3 months on a rig as probe geologist and it is very rewarding. Another important part is the synthesis work, working with reservoir engineers, where we must try to understand the impact of geology (distribution of facies, faults etc) on the behavior of the field during production, with the aim to better identify the areas that still need to be developed. Finally, a big job of databases to keep them clean and up to date. Since the beginning of year 2015, I am very involved in the creation of a reservoir model where the geologist must create a structure of the reservoir and then « fill » it with properties (facies, petrophysics, saturation of hydrocarbons) The reservoir engineer can then do simulations. It is a very complete work which implies having to integrate all the characteristics of the field and to make the link between observations at a thin section scale and dynamics seen between wells being distant by several hundred meters.
There is an important part of the relationship with the other actors, and you have to be reactive if everything does not go as planned. On the contrary, the « synthesis » and « reservoir model » require a broad and integrated view of all aspects of geology: sedimentology, structures, petrophysics, fluid behavior in the reservoir. The Master GER brings precisely the global vision of the geology.
Unfortunately the context of Oil & Gas is very difficult at this time due to a drop in barrel prices for a year. The opportunities are rather rare, and reserved for experienced people (10 years and more), and often to specialists. This is also true in the Middle East, although production costs are much lower compared to the rest of the world. For my part, I continue to Total Abu Dhabi for another year. These 4 years of experience will allow me, I hope, to find interesting missions here in the Middle East, or elsewhere. We must remain optimistic and above all take advantage of the experiences that are available to us.