So, tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Martine Willumsen and I work as a Project Engineer at IK-Group. I am based in Stavanger and I live very close to the city centre in an apartment. Outside of work, I have a lot of interests. I am a very social person, I like to go out and meet friends and go to cafes, I really enjoy that. I also love to be outside. Stavanger has great places to do that; beaches, mountains, hiking trails etc. However, I recently got a puppy, so he has become my new hobby. His name is Hans and he is a miniature schnauzer. He will be a great hiking buddy!
What’s your background? What did you study?
After high school I took some time off to work and travel before I started studying at university in 2014 at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. I studied Marine Technology and then I took a master’s degree in Marine Structures. My studies took 5 years and a part of that I had half a year abroad in Newcastle, UK, which was very nice. Straight after university, I started working here at IK-Group. I actually handed in my masters thesis and 4 days later I started here! My first role was a trainee position which meant I did a rotation through different departments; I would spend a couple months in one place and then move around. I couldn’t pick a favourite department. Every department at IK has unique things that they are great at, and I enjoy being part of that. I learned so much. That was really good experience for me and built my confidence up. After a year and a half, I passed my traineeship and now work in the Subsea Department as a Project Engineer. There are so many great people at IK who are happy to help with your learning. That was really helpful and encouraging for me. IK is a great place to work to get hands on experience.
Have you always wanted to go into this industry?
Yes, I have always wanted to get into this industry. Growing up, I heard a lot about the oil and gas industry and how it is a good business area - I always had an interest in it. I enjoy science, mathematics and problem solving and so it was natural for me to do some kind of engineering, and then I fell into the marine business. What’s nice about the marine business is that it is not strictly associated with our industry, it’s so vast.
Tell me more about your new role as a Project Engineer?
I work in the main office in Stavanger where I mostly prepare designs, calculations, and of course the documentation. I work with other engineers collaboratively. When we get a task we discuss the possible solutions and then somebody draws it up – it’s pretty fun! At IK we get to do quite a lot of things, following a project from start to finish. This includes designing a solution, ordering parts, looking after the testing in the workshops and seeing it all come together. During all of this we have client contact which is great and helps to create good relationships with different people. It’s very busy but it’s fun, there is always something to do! You are always part of a team, you are never alone. It’s a great team spirit in Subsea.
You were talking about finding solutions with your team. What are the most occurring issues you and have faced?
That’s the thing about IK, we do so much. For instance, when I was a trainee in the AOGV department which, as you know, has this brilliant solution where you can perform maintenance without shutting down the whole system, and that’s their unique thing. When we were faced with a problem we would just build the correct size of tool and perform the operation without shutting down, saving the client a lot of money. That is a really up and coming invention, which is fantastic for us at IK. For now, I am working in the Subsea department and everything is, well, under the sea. The most common issues that arise are leakages which need sealed. Clamps are a very common requirement for the subsea department. However, every single project feels like something completely new.
Right now I am working on something which is called a ‘cold tap.’ This is where you have a pipe with a clamp around it and then we use a drilling tool so that we can have a tie-in on that pipeline. This way you can add another branch to the pipeline. Another project I am working on is where we need to just secure a riser from falling or falling out of position, for instance. There are, of course, the other departments at IK who do different kinds of repairs. It is repair and maintenance that is our speciality at IK. When companies have difficult problems, or they need a good solution which is hard to find, then they come to us here at IK. That’s what makes all the fun here; there is always a challenge and I get to be part of so much, even with only working here 2 years. There is never a dull day!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I think it is important to have a vision for your future and know what you want to achieve. In 10 years I hope to in a managerial position, I do want to climb the ladder. What kind of manager? I haven’t quite figured that out yet. As I said earlier, I like to do calculations and designs and so maybe my path will lead to something more technical, or perhaps something more administration based. I want to do a lot with my life later, but for the moment I am very happy where I am. I still have so much to learn. Once I am more established and in control, I definitely want have a higher position. That is my goal and what I am aiming for, and when the time is right, I will do so. I’ve only worked 2 years, I’m still a newbie!
In your opinion, what would you say are the main challenges facing our industry right now?
I would definitely say it is greener energy, that’s the main issue. As the world becomes more aware of climate change, changes have to be done which is a big challenge for the oil and gas industry. I think it is a good thing to get more involved with greener energy. In subsea for instance, there is kinetic energy from the waves which can create power. In Norway we have come pretty far in general for going greener, people are very aware here. However, I know it will take a lot for the rest of the world to put big changes in place. It will be super exciting to be part of this big shift throughout my career within this industry as the oil and gas industry has so many skills that will help with the transition to green energy.