Tristan Ashford Santos Graduate
A day in the life of…

Fairview Operations Engineer at Santos

Tristan Ashford studied Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (1st Hons) and Bachelor of Economics at University of Western Australia and is now Fairview Operations Engineer at Santos

Hi! I’m Tristan and I joined Santos in 2016 after completing a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering & a Bachelor of Economics at UWA. After uni I made the move over to Brisbane to join the GLNG (Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas) project.

My current role is Operations Engineer for the Fairview field.

Fairview is a coal seam gas field in rural QLD in the Surat Basin. At any given time we have 30 operators and 15 maintenance personnel in the field who work a 2-on-2-off roster. The operators look after five compressor stations and approximately 500 operating wells ranging in lifecycle from 0-15years old. From the wells we collate, compress & dehydrate the gas and send it further on its journey up to Gladstone for further treatment and conversion into LNG.

Working from the purpose-built Brisbane Operations Centre, it is the job of the Ops Engineer to oversee the operation of the equipment and to be the primary point-of-call for the Operators & site Team Leaders.

Structurally, the role is central within the business workflows - like doing traffic management for an 8 way intersection – and every day we would have interactions with many business functions including the Operators, Engineering, Maintenance, Planning & Scheduling, Management & Projects.

This is an account of my day – by no means typical, as no two days are the same in Operations!

05:30

Wake up and get ready for work. Ride bike from home to the Brisbane CBD office. 

View of the Brisbane river is part of the daily commute.

06:30

Arrive at work. Read the shift log from overnight operators from the 24-hour remote Primary Control Centre. Comments include well trips & restarts, alarms, and general commentary. Review a few process trends and automated daily reports.

07:00

Quick coffee at the local favourite

07:30

Daily morning schedule meeting.  We video conference (VC) the Maintenance Team Leader and Works Coordinator to discuss the day’s scheduled work.

07:45

Daily morning Operations meeting. Four-way VC to each of the site Team Leaders and Maintenance Team Leader. Review safety items, open actions from the previous day and any operating issues with the wells and plants.

Daily Operations Meeting. In the Fairview room or ‘pod’ we also have the Area Manager, Production Engineers and an embedded Work Scheduler from the Planning team. The 8 centrally mounted screens normally show different operating data for monitoring and swift response.

08:00

Daily workshop meeting with other Ops Engineer (Fairview has two) and a planning representative to review ‘work requests’ that have been raised in the past 24hours. We quickly interrogate the work scope, assign an execution priority, then pass the ‘work request’ onto the planning team.

09:00

Weekly meeting with the Process Engineering team to discuss open issues, improvements or optimisation projects. We have three engineering streams that support the Assets – Reliability, Integrity & Process.

10:00

Fairview well trip review. Weekly meeting with Reliability engineering identify any recurring problems or bad actors. Discuss ongoing reliability campaigns.

11:00

Quarterly one-on-one catch-up with the GLNG Operations manager. Feedback on performance, and discussions around personal development, leadership and anything else that is current.

12:00

Gym time! Santos has a private gym in the building. Today is a boxing class.

13:00

Desk time. Working through emails, returning missed calls from morning and making a dent in the to-do list! It’s a never-ending battle.

15:00

Weekly VC to the Compressor Plant operators. Give update on behalf of engineering teams, review any ongoing operational problems and have a good chit chat.

Aerial view of Fairview Compressor Hub 4. 10 oil flooded screw compressors, 3 gas turbine compressors, 4 gas turbine alternators, 3 dehydration units, a Reverse Osmosis plant and ancillary equipment (Instrument air, plant air, nitrogen)

16:00

Home time! Have a touch rugby game tonight with work friends in the local competition and have missed a few games recently due to field travel.

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