• Friday, April 19, 2024
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How energy transition in emerging economies offers several benefits – Awolope

How energy transition in emerging economies offers several benefits – Awolope

Winifred Awolope is an experienced Subsea Inspection Engineer with rich experience in the use of model-based, predictive analytics for pipeline integrity management for the major flowlines. She has deep understanding of materials corrosion inspection engineering in oil field design and operations and has worked in major international oil and gas companies. In this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO, editor, she speaks about how to establish materials integrity using various inspection tools and techniques and many more. Excerpts:

Can we meet you? Tell us a little about yourself?

Winifred Awolope is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the oil and gas industry. I have a deep understanding of materials corrosion and inspection engineering in oil field design and operations and I am skilled in the use of advanced models and inspection methods to assure asset integrity.

My ability to think critically and solve problems quickly has earned me a reputation as a valuable asset to any team. In my last role as a Subsea Inspection Engineer, I managed a team of inspection engineers and ensured the smooth and efficient inspection of TotalEnergies’ Egina and Akpo subsea production systems.

As a Subsea Inspection Engineer at Total Energies and Materials, Corrosion, and Inspection Engineer at Shell Petroleum Development Company both in Nigeria in between 2014 and 2021, what did your work entail?

As a materials and corrosion engineer, I was responsible for identifying and preventing corrosion in Shell’s billion-dollar asset of structures and equipment in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. My responsibilities included conducting inspections, collecting and analysing data, developing and implementing corrosion control strategies, and monitoring the effectiveness of these strategies.

I was also involved in designing and testing new materials and coatings that are resistant to corrosion, as well as providing technical support to other engineering teams. Overall, my job as a corrosion engineer requires a strong understanding of materials science, corrosion mechanisms, and engineering principles.

As a subsea inspection engineer, I was responsible for conducting inspections and assessments of TotalEnergies’ Akpo and Egina subsea structures, equipment, and pipelines to ensure their integrity and safe operation. This may involve using a variety of inspection tools and techniques, such as remote operated vehicles (ROVs), ultrasonic testing, and visual inspections. I was also involved in developing and implementing inspection plans, analysing inspection data, and providing technical support to other engineering teams.

What is the biggest project you have delivered and what was the feeling after delivering such project?

One experience that had a significant impact on the last organisation I worked for was the implementation of a new mini ROV technology for the inspection of offshore equipment in the splash zone. The company had been struggling with the high costs, safety and operational risks associated with the use of divers.

By implementing the mini ROV technology, we were able to use improved visibility and control over the inspection process, eliminate the risks associated with the use of divers, and reduce waste and inefficiencies. Overall, deploying this new technology had a positive impact on the global organisation, helped us improve our bottom line and served as a pilot for deployment in other regions.

What would you remember as the biggest challenge you have ever faced in your career? How did you resolve them? Have you ever thought of quitting? Any particular incident that made you want to quit?

One of the biggest challenges that an oil and gas engineer may face in their career is the complex and dynamic nature of the industry. The oil and gas industry is subject to a wide range of factors that can impact operations and project delivery timelines, such as changes in market demand, fluctuating oil and gas prices, and the need to operate in challenging environments.

Additionally, the industry is highly regulated, and engineers must navigate a complex web of rules and regulations to ensure compliance. We must also constantly innovate and adapt to new technologies and techniques, in order to stay competitive and maintain the integrity of operations.

You are studying MBA Finance at the moment; how do you intend to bring the learning to bear in the oil and gas sector? How would an MBA Finance impact your career in the oil and gas sector or are you thinking of working in the main stream finance organisation?

I plan to continue to advance my career as an expert in the Materials, Corrosion and Inspection engineer in the oil and gas industry. An MBA in finance will have a significant impact on my career in the oil and gas industry because the sector is a complex and dynamic field that requires professionals with a strong understanding of finance and financial management.

An MBA will provide me the knowledge and skills needed to manage the financial aspects of their operations, such as budgeting, forecasting, and risk management. Additionally, an MBA will provide a broader perspective on the industry, including global economic trends and the latest developments in financial technology. This will help me make more informed decisions and help the company stay ahead of the competition

The energy transition debate: African leaders want more time to enable Africa industrialise with resources available to her before joining the clean energy transition proposition. What is your take on this? Give us your thought on the energy transition as a whole?

The transition is driven by several factors, including the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, as well as the increasing availability and affordability of renewable energy technologies. In many emerging economies such as Africa’s, the transition is also driven by the need to improve energy access and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.

The energy transition in emerging economies presents both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, it requires significant investments in new technologies and infrastructure, as well as the development of new policies and regulations. On the other hand, it offers the potential for economic growth and job creation, as well as improved health and environmental outcomes.

The energy transition in emerging economies offers several benefits. First and foremost, it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. This is particularly important for emerging economies, which are often major contributors to global emissions and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Second, the transition to clean energy can improve energy access and security, by reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and increasing the availability of affordable, reliable energy. T

his can help drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for millions of people. Third, the transition to clean energy can create new economic opportunities, such as the development of new technologies and industries, as well as the creation of new jobs. Overall, the energy transition in emerging economies offers the potential for significant social, economic, and environmental benefits.

The energy transition in Africa is not without its challenges and drawbacks. One major disadvantage is the cost of transitioning to clean energy. This can require significant investments in new technologies and infrastructure, which may be difficult for some for the continent to afford. Additionally, the transition may disrupt existing energy markets and industries, which could lead to job losses and economic disruptions.

Another potential disadvantage is the potential for technological and regulatory challenges, as emerging economies may need to develop new policies and regulations to support the transition to clean energy. Finally, the transition to clean energy may not always be feasible or desirable in certain contexts, such as in remote or isolated communities that rely on fossil fuels for their energy needs. Hence, the government must adopt a balanced approach to solve this problem.

Like in many other science professions, there is a dearth of skilled manpower for the oil and gas sector globally. How do think this can be mitigated?

One way to mitigate the shortage of skilled manpower in the oil and gas sector is to invest in education and training programs. This can include providing funding for students to pursue degrees and certifications in relevant fields, such as engineering and geoscience. It can also involve partnering with educational institutions to develop and offer specialised training programmes that are tailored to the needs of the oil and gas industry.

Read also: Africa needs $190bn annual investments to achieve energy goals

Additionally, the industry can work with governments and other stakeholders to develop policies and initiatives that support the recruitment and retention of skilled workers. This may include offering incentives and support for workers who want to pursue careers in the oil and gas sector, as well as promoting the industry as a rewarding and fulfilling career option.

Are you involved in any form of mentorship of young people, whether in Africa or abroad as a way of giving back to society? What is the focus of this mentoring programme? How structured is it?

One way I mentor young people is to serve as a role model and provide guidance and support. This has largely been unstructured and has involved sharing my experiences and knowledge, offering constructive feedback, and providing opportunities for the mentees to learn and grow.

I have also focused on building a positive and supportive relationship with the mentees by being a good listener, being open and honest, and providing encouragement and support. Additionally, I encourage young professionals to set goals and develop plans to achieve them, as well as provide resources and support to help mentees reach their goals.

What’s your family life like? We know it could be quite a bit of a challenge for people in your profession, especially when you have to be on a project for a long time?

I have a 3-year-old daughter and a husband who understands the challenges of the profession and supports me to pursue my dreams. My mother has also been immensely helpful in helping me care for my child when I have to be offshore.

How do you relax when you are not thinking of your job and projects?

I go running and spend time with family and friends.

How rewarding is your job given the risk involved?

My job as an engineer in the oil and gas industry comes with unique challenges and risks but I absolutely enjoy it because I know that every task properly executed contributes to the Nigerian economy and meets the country’s domestic energy needs and trade obligations. This is quite fulfilling and gives me a reason to give my best to every activity I am involved in.