Mechanical Engineering, May 2008
Albemarle Corporation operates globally as a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of complex chemicals and services. The Magnolia, AR manufacturing operations make Albemarle one of the world's largest suppliers of bromine and bromine products. Over 500 employees and two plant sites in the Magnolia area produce more than 30 different chemical ingredients used in the manufacturing of a range of chemicals. The products Magnolia is most known for are brominated flame retardants used in household plastics, including those used in televisions and computers, fabric fibers and insulation material. The bromine used in the manufacturing of these products is extracted from brine water found in the Smackover formation 8,000 feet beneath the ground. Production wells much like those in the oil and gas industry are used as a channel to pump the brine from the Smackover to processing equipment at the surface. Along with the bromine-rich brine, varying concentrations of natural gas, hydrogen sulfide, and crude oil are produced.
After a short first year in Corporate Engineering, I desired more responsibility and was assertive in voicing this along with my strengths to our plant manager. I was offered a promotion from Engineering to Operations as the Field Technical Engineer in the Brinefield. In this position, I have designed and supervised the rig and oilfield services used in the execution of brine production and injection well workovers, downhole submersible equipment wellpulls, completions of newly drilled wells, and new and replacement brine and gas pipelines. In addition, I act as the Albemarle liaison to the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC) and supervise our annual well integrity tests, as required by the AOGC, in order to continue operating our wells.
In the summer of 2010, Albemarle Magnolia kicked off a drilling program to add several production wells to the brinefield to increase bromine production. I was awarded the opportunity to act as Drilling Manager during the extent of the drilling program, which spanned from the summer of 2010 to the fall of 2011. In this position, I was involved in the reservoir study for well placement, construction design of the well locations, development of the directional drilling plans, drilling permitting and H2S compliance, and well casing design. I managed the 24-hour drilling operations and communicated with drilling consultants, drilling superintendents, geologists, reservoir engineers, and AOGC representatives. These operations resulted in Albemarle drilling some of the largest directional wells ever drilled by U.S. land-based rigs. Upon completion of the drilling program, my team and I were awarded with a 2012 Albemarle Technology Award for the drilling of highly deviated brine wells in 2010 and 2011. The responsibility of Drilling Manager has been the greatest highlight of my 5-year career, by far.
I attribute my initial success to knowing my desires, being confident in my abilities, and being assertive enough to voice them to upper management. My continued success consisted of always asking questions, listening to those more experienced, devoting time to the job, and learning from my own and other's mistakes. A base knowledge is necessary, but devotion and a willingness to learn are essential to excel.