We may be biased, but the team at Aubin is made up of some pretty talented people. And it’s because of them that we’re able to keep creating innovative, unique products for our clients.
To let you know a little more about what we do, we caught up with our Project Manager for Well Technology, Lindsay Wylie.
Lindsay has been a valuable member of the Aubin team at our Aberdeenshire headquarters for almost four years now, becoming a Product Development Chemist after she graduated four years ago, before moving into her Project Management role in February.
Here’s what Lindsay had to say about her career at Aubin…
1. Tell us about your role - what does an average week look like for you?
“Two key products that I’ve helped to develop in the lab are our Xclude plugging and abandonment technology, and our Xmax water shut-off technology. These have been really exciting projects to be involved with.
“I regularly visit clients to discuss problems they’re facing with their wells, and introduce technology that could help them overcome these challenges.
“We run through programmes and discuss how our team would go about treating the well effectively, and then once I have the details we need, I can write up a programme for them and get it put into action.
“Today I’m actually preparing for a conference that I’m attending in Abu Dhabi. I’ll be presenting a lunch and learn on our Xmax water shut-off technology, so I need to write my presentation and get everything prepared for that.”
2. What do you enjoy most about your job?
“My job is very varied, which I love. Because Aubin is a fairly small company, you do get to try lots of different things. For example, I have roles in both the lab and project management, so I’m getting to be part of projects across the board and my day-to-day work is very varied. I love that I can still work in the lab on products, but also get out and about to see clients.
“I also enjoy being involved in a variety of products and product ranges. I could be working on anything from pipelines to corrosion inhibitors and the new technologies that we’re developing, which is very exciting.”
3. What are some of the biggest challenges you face day-to-day and how do you overcome them?
“I think because Aubin is a smaller company it can sometimes be hard to get yourself out there and become known in the industry. Going to conferences and speaking to people is obviously challenging, especially as a new chemist - you’re not necessarily good at it to start off with, so you have to work your way up to that and get as much exposure to it as you can.
“Now that I’ve been to more client meetings and attended more conferences, my industry knowledge is expanding and I am beginning to recognise people which makes it easier. Sharing updates and articles on LinkedIn has also been useful for me, but mostly it’s about making the most of opportunities to get out and meet people in the industry.
“Another day-to-day challenge can be the pace required to resolve certain issues. You might have issues come up which you have to resolve quickly because the client wants to deploy the product as soon as possible. However, I do think that because we are a smaller, tighter knit team, we’re much more agile than bigger companies, so we can act quickly on request of our clients.
“In these situations, we have to communicate well with the clients, and make sure that we ask all the right questions before they make a purchase.
4. What's your favourite product or project that you have worked on, and why?
“I think my favourite project has been the Xclude plug and abandonment technology, because I saw it through right from initial lab development until now, where we’re ready to trial it in the field. It’s quite exciting getting to make something so different from what anyone else is making.
“Usually for plugging and abandonment, cement plugs are placed into the well itself. Our product is a liquid that we pump into the reservoir, which then forms scale in the pore throats of the rock, forming a barrier in the reservoir. This has the potential to reduce the risks that can come up later on where the barrier is only inside the wellbore.
“We worked on this project with Heriot-Watt University, who have a team specialised in oilfield scale. Using their knowledge and specialist laboratory, we were able to develop and test the technology.”
5. What led you into the role you’re in today?
“I studied Forensic and Analytical Science at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen before starting out as a Product Development Chemist here at Aubin. I have been involved in the development and modification of many different products depending on client requirements.
"As we began introducing our Xclude plugging and abandonment technology to the industry, I started having more client exposure and was able to move on to my new role as Project Manager for Well Technology.”
6. Why did you decide to pursue this as a career?
“I studied chemistry all the way through school, but at the time I didn’t necessarily see myself becoming a chemist and I was more interested in physics and maths. However, in this role I think a mixture of the sciences is useful, to understand both the chemical and physical factors when deploying a product as part of a project.
“Part of my university studies focused on oil and gas, which is where my interest in this industry began. At that time I was still returning to my home in Orkney during summer, and I secured three summer placement roles at the oil and gas terminal there, which gave me real, hands-on experience.
“I then heard about the Product Development Chemist vacancy at Aubin, and thought it would be an exciting challenge. I began working here in 2015, and earlier this year I was promoted to Project Manager for Well Technology.
“I still think that oil and gas has a lot to offer as an industry. I know that the profile isn’t great right now, especially as we move to greener energy sources, but there is still a lot of potential for the industry to continue improving both environmentally and economically. Additionally, we can use the experience and technologies gained over decades in the oil industry and apply that to other industries within the energy sector and beyond. There’s going to be a lot more opportunities for young people just getting started in the industry.”
7. What are the most important skills or traits someone must have to pursue a role like this?
“Problem solving capabilities is definitely an important one. You need to be able to identify the issue and identify a solution, which sometimes means having to think outside the box.
“You also need to be a strong communicator and listener. This is key to make sure you understand the problems you are trying to solve for clients, and you must also be willing to ask questions if you are not clear on the issue so that you can understand it and work towards a solution.
“Being able to work as part of a team and alongside the sales and product development teams is also crucial. You need to use your colleagues’ experience to develop ideas as well as your own.
“Finally, I think it’s really important to be adaptable in a role like this. Projects can frequently change or vary in product type and what area of oil and gas stream you are focussing on, from subsea to wells to pipelines. So you have to be ready to change course and learn new things all the time.”
8. What is it like working at Aubin?
“The team is great - everyone is so friendly and we all get along really well. We’re working on very innovative products which is really interesting and the work is often fast-paced, so you never feel like you’re stuck doing one thing day in, day out. Each individual might have a few projects at one time and have different responsibilities for each, which I don’t think you would necessarily get to do in a bigger company.
"As a relatively new entrant into the industry, Aubin has also provided a lot of learning opportunities and has put me through a number of training courses which I think is extremely valuable."
9. What do you think makes Aubin successful, or stand out in the marketplace?
“I think our ability to innovate really sets us apart and it’s something that is valued by other people. The culture of the company is great for this - we are all very open and management actively encourage us to think outside of the box, talk to one another and test our ideas in the lab.
“As well as being innovative, the fact that we can react quicker than the bigger companies is a big plus for Aubin. We can create products that are bespoke for our client’s particular issues, rather than just having an off-the-shelf option for them.
“There is still a barrier in the industry; sometimes it can be difficult to introduce new technology as it can be seen as a risk. But there is definitely a push now for new ideas, especially from the OGA (Oil and Gas Authority), who are emphasising the need to maximise economic recovery. They’re really looking for new products to come along and extend the life of the industry, which is where I think we come in.”