Friday Five: Mike Ward

Mike Ward - VP Well Delivery

Arrow Energy Pty Ltd


1. What do you do in a nutshell? I run a department of 240 staff and am accountable to deliver land access agreements with the landholders for our CSG to LNG project in Queensland and for the safe delivery of site prep, drilling and completion and workover of hundreds of wells per year.


2. What inspired you to become an engineer? As a kid I was always playing with Meccano, Technical Lego, building models, balsa wood planes and making my own electric circuits and electric motors. Later it was working with my hands building my own land yacht, landsurfer, solar water heater that followed the sun and working with wood and metal working lathes, welding, casting etc. I was naturally stronger at sciences and maths than arts so engineering of some sort seemed a natural choice after university. I chose to do a degree in Physics as that gave me the fundamentals of most engineering, I chose to become a drilling engineer as there were great training opportunities and travel opportunities and it seemed really interesting. I have never regretted that decision.


3. How do engineers change the world? I am looking out from my 36th floor office window and I can see a fantastic suspension bridge, lots of cars, trucks, a fire engine, CityCats doing about 40knots, a 50+ level tower block next to ours, planes flying in and out of Brisbane airport to destinations across the world, refineries and other industrial plant out towards Pinkenba, huge dockside cranes loading big ships at Brisbane port, tower cranes lifting huge loads on impossibly skinny unstable looking towers, a big crane on a barge on the Brisbane river, a fancy desk phone, my laptop and HiRes screen with ability to use webcam and share my desktop instantly to my guys in the field, my iPad with incredible functionality, my mobile phone, a USB key that holds GB of data and smaller than my little finger, my chair with an instantly adjustable height using a gas strut, etc. etc. All needed the skills and knowledge of engineers..


4. What do you wish you would have known as a graduate? That my first few years in industry were my one chance to be a trainee and ask lots of dumb questions. I actually had great mentorship so ended up doing that but too often I see Grads looking for promotion away from that worksite way too early.


5. What is your favourite engineering innovation? I started being involved with drilling horizontal wells in the early 90’s when I was an Assistant Driller and it was pretty new technology. As a young Wellsite Drilling Engineer I was very fortunate to be on the rig when we drilled and intersected a well under a fish using a company called Vector Magnetics and an amazing physicist called Dr. Arthur Kuckes. (Look him up on the web). I am still amazed at our ability to steer a well with precise MWD measurement and intersect a small hole 1000’s of metres away. Until I came to Queensland we did this for relief well drilling which I have been involved with and planned a few times in career. Here we have done hundreds and it is routine. Most people outside the industry find it incredible.

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