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PESA High Performer Spotlight: Charlie Weakly, Field Development Manager, Subsea Projects North America, TechnipFMC

Charlie Weakly, Field Development Manager, Subsea Projects North America, TechnipFMC

Charlie Weakly, Field Development Manager, Subsea Projects North America, TechnipFMC

What influenced your decision to enter the oil and gas industry?

I come from a family steeped in oil and gas tradition, and they were the first to tell me, “don’t go there!” based on their experience living through the 80’s downturn.  Despite their initial objections, it was hard for me to resist the opportunity to intern in the subsea part of our industry.  I haven’t looked back since.

 

What was your impression of the industry beforehand and how has it evolved?

My initial impression of the industry came from my limited exposure to onshore as a kid.  “Quick and dirty” is how I might have described it then.  I have been in subsea my entire career, and there is nothing quick about what we do.  Projects are immense, complex and take years to execute.  The amount of engineering, manufacturing, planning, and execution that goes into a subsea project is incredible and is what makes subsea so interesting and exciting to be a part of.

 

What have you found to be the most surprising about the industry? 

The technology.  I (and others) liken our work to that of the space program: extremely remote resources in extreme conditions that require tremendous amounts of technology to make safe extraction possible.

 

What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about the industry or your work?

Today, I would say the most challenging aspect of our industry is the current oil market.  No surprise there, but what may be surprising is that it has also been what is most rewarding about my work.  I am on a team that is tasked with creating subsea solutions that dramatically reduce the CAPEX investment required by operators to move projects forward.  Making subsea projects viable has been a rewarding challenge over the last few years.

 

Where do you hope to see the industry develop over the next 5 years?

I hope to see an oil industry that takes the lessons from this downturn and applies them to projects regardless of market conditions.  If we can maintain the smarter, more efficient approach we have adopted for today’s market, then I think we will be less susceptible to fluctuating oil prices and can build sustainable growth for the long term.

 

What role do you believe you will play in the industry’s future? 

I see myself continuing to focus on the application of new technology to subsea fields, specifically finding ways to reduce the total installed cost of subsea developments.

 

How has your involvement in PESA supported your career goals? 

PESA has been a great organization for networking and expanding my understanding of the industry.  Working with a diverse group of emerging leaders has helped me in my pursuit of personal growth, especially in the areas of leadership and communication.

 

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working in the industry and how they’ve impacted your thinking.

As an engineer who focuses on technology and hardware, it is easy to underestimate the impact your decisions will have on supply chain, transportation, installation, and operations.  Working offshore for a few years opened my eyes to what our services group must deal with in the live environment of offshore construction.  I also have a greater appreciation that the impact design decisions have on the operability of a subsea system.  Client feedback is critical to the success of a product or service.

 

What are you most excited about for your career, your company and your industry? 

I am excited about TechnipFMC and the integrated subsea technology/solutions we can now offer as one company.  As one who is working on new subsea system concepts, I see real potential in the integrated solutions we are developing for our clients.

 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the oil and gas industry?

Oil and gas is a great place to work, full of interesting, challenging problems that must be solved by a diverse, collaborative group of people.  New challenges create great opportunities for growth and development in an oil and gas career.

 

What do you wish other people knew about oil and gas?

That it is a high-tech industry full of interesting challenges and opportunities.  I think most new graduates don’t realize the career satisfaction that can be achieved in our industry.