Tmomas Monge Øia - SINTEF, Photo: Geir Mogen

Interview with a DrillWell Researcher

Name: Thomas Monge Øia
Age: 28 years
Nationality: Norwegian
Education: M.Sc. in Petroleum Technology, specialized in plug and abandonment (P&A), from the University of Stavanger.

Department: SINTEF Industry – Dept. of Petroleum, Drilling & Well
Hi Thomas, what are you working on right now? 
-Now I'm working on a DrillWell project that studies the sealing ability (i.e. integrity) of cement sheath throughout the life-cycle of the well, including after well abandonment. We are currently in phase two of the project where the focus is to investigate the cement sheath integrity between the formation and cement after pressure cycling. I do the experimental work and evaluate cement sheath integrity by using a computerized tomography (CT) scanner to scan the samples prior to analyzing it in a software where cement failures can be visualized in 3D.      

What do you find inspiring about the projects in which you are involved?
-I really find it encouraging that our findings can potentially change the way we and others thought the cement would fail. By increasing our knowledge of the mechanical, chemical and physical properties of cements with our unique set-up and analysis we can contribute with recommendations of how to increase short - and long-term integrity of cement sheath.     

In your opinion, what are the main benefits by working as a scientist in a center with both academic and industry partners?
-I would say that working so close to industry partners makes it easier to get feedback and proposals on how to make our experiments as realistic as possible. It is always important to understand the risks and challenges they face daily both onshore and offshore. Since I graduated last year and my experience level is low, I find it very interesting talking to industry partners with operational experience and profound knowledge within different disciplines.       

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
-Perhaps I'm a drilling supervisor of a drilling operation on Mars, but I guess that's a one-way trip. Nevertheless, in a long-term perspective I see myself working in the oil and gas industry contributing as a knowledgeable D&W engineer. Regardless of doing research or not, my career in 10 years' time is decided by the opportunities and challenges I get along the way.

What do you do in your spare time?
-I have too many hobbies, but what I like the most is surfing on the waves of the Jæren-coastline, climbing indoors and outdoors, and skiing. At the moment I primarily work to be able to travel back to my home in Stavanger during the weekends.