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Kieran Smith

Senior Site Superintendent, Kentz Engineering

Degree BSc Construction Management & Engineering (Waterford Institute of Technology)

Job title Senior Site Superintendent
Employer Kentz Engineering

My role is Senior Site Superintendent with Kentz Engineering. Our scope of work is to provide a new Scada System for Saudi Aramco on 652 of their Oil Wells. This is a two year contract and we are at the preconstruction stage. At the moment we are carrying out a topographical survey of all these well sites. This is a job I find very appealing, because of the responsibilities that I am given and the possibilities of promotion within the company. Also, working on billion dollar contracts such as this is a very positive and rewarding experience.

The environment

I am currently working in Saudi Arabia in the desert, the terrain is challenging and the temperature is 45 degrees centigrade. We use satellite navigation to find our way to and from the wells. Due to the nature of the terrain in which we are working in we need to track our routes daily and record them for future reference.
We meet at a designated point each morning at 6 am and lead the GPS Surveying team to the selected well sites. Throughout the day we monitor their progress and analyse the recorded data before sending it to head office for storage. Primarily our role here is support based. We have little hands-on experience of the topographical process and generally are here for support and supervision only.

Challenges and benefits

Before considering a job in a location such as the Saudi desert, it is worth bearing in mind that it is not the type of environment that will suit everyone. The work is intensive and apart from the work there is not much to do in the evenings or weekends other than the gym.
Working here means being completely away from friends and family. We only get home every three months, for two weeks. But there are benefits, particularly financially.
I suppose on the plus side of it you could have your house bought with no mortgage within 3–5 years depending on your experience. On the down side you have to put your life on hold while working here.
Also there will be a culture shock in store for those that are entering a strict Islamic culture for the first time so it’s important that you prepare yourself as best as possible for that and what it involves. Generally though, I am greatly enjoying the experience. Working on a large scale project in a unique environment with a multi-national team is very rewarding.

Kieran Smith was interviewed for the gradireland Engineering sector guide 2015