Oswald Well Engineering

Independent well engineering advice and bespoke well management systems

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Iain Oswald profile

Iain Oswald

Well Engineering Management and Assurance.

First and foremost I am an engineer who is passionate about problem solving and thinking conceptually. I have 24 years of international expertise within the sphere of designing and constructing all types of wells. For the last five years I have focused on the support mechanisms that can be put in place to help drilling and completion engineers make the right decisions.

I chose the oil industry in 1992 after graduating in Mechanical Engineering from University of Strathclyde. I started as a design engineer for a wellhead manufacturer. After four years I returned to university and completed an MSc in Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University. From that point, my career has been focused on a blend of well engineering, operations and supervisory experience, including 18 month in production engineering. Starting my career in the North Sea with semi-submersibles in the mid-nineties, I went on to spend a significant period of my career running jack-up rigs in the Middle East, before taking on global roles that covered all well types from Mexico to Malaysia.

I then moved in to Well Engineering Management and Assurance. The importance of well engineering decisions was publicly aired during the BP Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Governments, regulators and operators took a closer look at engineering decision making and the role of well management systems. I have spent the last five years focusing on the framework of processes and procedures that ensure a drilling organisation can fulfil all its tasks and achieve its objectives safely and efficiently.

With 24 years of well engineering experience in offshore and onshore well design and operations in various roles, from night drilling supervisor to well engineering manager, I can offer advice on all aspects of well design and operations.

My passion is engineering and problem solving. However in the last five years I have enjoyed the guidance and mentoring aspect that comes with well assurance and management. Designing and constructing a well requires people from different departments, ready to communicate and cooperate to get the job done. I have worked with several drilling and subsurface teams, to ensure an integrated multi-discipline approach during well delivery.

For more detail on my career, please visit the Experience section.

The vision of Oswald Well Engineering is to offer client support and advice, to help ensure the correct well engineering decisions are made. This support can be through advice on well management systems in order to bring the best out of their organisation. Whether there is a blank sheet or a partial system in place, Oswald Well Engineering can offer bespoke well management system support, starting from individual documents to a complete system. It is very important that the well management system is ultimately owned and managed by the engineers using it.

Alternatively, Oswald Well Engineering can offer direct support in projects to find the best possible technical and commercial solution.


Well Management Systems

A management system is a framework of processes and procedures used to ensure an organisation can fulfil all tasks required to achieve its objectives. The well operator must ensure the integrity of its wells, barriers and the pressure containment boundary throughout the well life cycle from design to final abandonment. A Well Management System can help well operators achieve this through best practice procedures, processes, risk management, well examination, competence and training schemes, continuous improvement process, and incident management.

To help simplify the entire process, the Oswald Well Engineering Management System has been split into the following key eight elements. There are multiple options for the elements to interface with each specific project. Oswald Well Engineering can help with any of these elements.

8 Elements

Element 1 - Well Delivery Process

A process is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that serve a goal. Designing and constructing a well is a complex process which requires an integrated multi-discipline approach and the well delivery process can provide a road map for that multi-discipline team and management. Most companies are accountable for the design and construction follow some form of well delivery process but many companies find their process is either incomplete or inadequate.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Review, improve and/or implement a new or existing Well Delivery Process
  • Audit projects against a well delivery process
  • Conduct a gap analysis of a well delivery process

Well Delivery Process

Element 2 - Well Design and Operations Documentation

Well integrity is directly related to the decisions made by well engineers during the design and construction of a well. Poor decisions can lead to loss of well control or inefficiencies. A high quality set of well design and operations standards and manuals can help guide engineers to make the right decisions.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Assistance in delivering or upgrading key well management system documents such as Well Design and Operations Standards, Well Design Guideline, Casing Design Guideline, Well Control Guideline and Well Servicing Guideline

Hierarchal Document Pyramid

Element 3 - Well Integrity

Well integrity is the application of technical, operational and organisational solutions, to reduce risk of uncontrolled release of formation fluids throughout the life cycle of a well. The well operator is responsible for the well integrity throughout its life.

Oswald Well Engineering offer clients:

  • Advice and documentation to address Well Integrity Standards, Production Well Integrity System, Well Handover Procedure and Well Abandonment Guideline

Well Barrier Schematic

Element 4 - Risk Management

Managing risks is a daily activity within drilling teams and is a must throughout the life of the well. Drilling departments should have a consistent methodology for risk management. Most drilling departments use the risk assessment as the primary tool. The Bowtie risk evaluation method is becoming more frequently used for high consequence events. In addition, an effective change management process must be implemented and maintained. This is significant during the well construction and production phases. The failure of the risk management process can lead to a major incident and high consequence risks should always be subject to wider scrutiny and challenge.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Documentation to manage well risks such as a Well Risk Management Standard
  • Review and update the existing Risk Management documentation
  • Facilitate a risk assessment of each well project
  • Scrutiny of the existing risk assessments

Risk Management

Element 5 - Independent Review Scheme (Well Examination)

Well Examination is an independent review process, based primarily on written documentation submitted to the Independent Well Examiner, covering all the safety-critical aspects of the well designs and operations that are planned and executed. The object of Well Examination is to provide assurance for the well operator, that each well is designed and constructed properly, and is maintained adequately. Well examination is a requirement in the UK as per the Design and Construction Regulations. Review of well designs and operations by an independent and competent person is a best practice and utilised globally.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Documentation and implementation of a new well examination scheme
  • Audit and upgrade of an existing well examination scheme
  • Well examination of well designs, well intervention or abandonment programmes
  • Well examination of well construction operations
  • Well examination of production operations and maintaining well integrity

Well Examination Process

Element 6 - Competency and Training

It is a legal requirement in the UK for well operators to ensure staff involved in well design and construction activities are competent. This is a best practice being used globally. It is recognised that a formal competency management system (CMS) can ensure well operators meet this requirement and coupled with a training matrix, can ensure any competency gaps are addressed. Many operators have moved to online competency systems, however simpler spreadsheet versions can be used if managed properly.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Documentation and implementation of a spreadsheet based competency management system
  • Audit and upgrade of an existing competency management system
  • Verification of staff who have completed an online self-assessment competency system
  • Training matrix for graduate and younger engineers
  • Mentoring for younger engineers

Competence Matrix

Element 7 - Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is an ongoing process to primarily reduce well construction time and ultimately reduce the well cost. These efforts can seek "incremental" improvement over time or "breakthrough" improvement all at once. This philosophy can be applied throughout the well delivery process, from team structure set up during project initiation, to after action reviews during project close out. There are many tools and methods available and capturing these in a formal Continuous Improvement Standard or Well Construction Performance Delivery Plan, can assist drilling teams meet the objective.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Documentation and implementation of a continuous improvement standard
  • Documentation and implementation of a performance delivery plan
  • Bespoke study into the well design and construction team performance
  • Facilitate drill the well on paper events

Continuous Improvement

Element 8 - HSEQ

Drilling departments must work to a common HSEQ culture and deliver this at the wellsite. Areas of importance are emergency reporting, incident reporting and management, safety leadership and organisation, HSE compliance and contractor management. Typically, these are captured within an HSEQ Management System and can be common across several departments. The drilling department will have significant interface with the HSEQ department to ensure the HSEQ management system fits with drilling activities.

Oswald Well Engineering can offer clients:

  • Advice on emergency response planning
  • Advice on incident reporting and management
  • Contractor management guidelines
  • Advice on safety leadership and organisation
  • Advice on compliance management
  • Well related emergency response exercise
  • Well related incident investigation

HSEQ Management

Well Engineering Advice

Oswald Well Engineering can offer support and advice on all aspects of engineering tasks for well design, construction and testing using knowledge gained from global working experience. Delivery and technically focused, able to work flexible hours to meet client requirements.

Regional Experience

Regional Experience

Examples of Well Engineering Tasks

Well Engineering Tasks


An engineer who prides himself in technical excellence and problem solving, with a blend of operations, well engineering and leadership experience, covering multiple well types in various regions across the globe.

Dec 2013 to Apr 2016

E.ON Exploration and Production (London)

Well Engineering and Assurance Manager

Delivered a comprehensive Well Delivery Process, Well Management System and Wells SharePoint page. Introduced a production well integrity system and raised profile of wells not meeting standards. Assisted with temporary cover as Group Drilling Manager for 6 months and helped with restructure of department to cope with release of consultants. Later as Group Drilling Manager negotiated rig contractors claim of $2.8mm down to $0.5mm.

Jul 2011 to Nov 2013

Petrofac Integrated Energy Services (London and Woking)

Chief Well Engineer

As Chief Well Engineer I advised Drilling Managers across the globe from Mexico to Malaysia on well engineering management and well delivery process. Responsible for assurance and governance of all well engineering activities in all assets and in the assessment of new business opportunities. I was responsible for setting standards, assuring peer review and promoting technical excellence and safe practice in all field development planning, well design and construction activities to support and progress the IES business.

Feb 2010 to Jun 2011

SPD LLC Well Management (Dubai)

Well Engineering Manager

Responsible for well engineering studies in the Dubai office. One major project involved delivering a basis of design for production wells for the second largest gas field in the world which is in Turkmenistan. This required significant well construction challenges including sour gas, mobile salt and high pressure.

July 2004 to Jan 2010

Dubai Petroleum

Senior Drilling Engineer / Drilling Superintendent

Managed jack-up rigs offshore Dubai for a 5-year period delivering 50+ sidetracks, new drills and work overs in 30 to 40 year-old fields. Significant contribution for the transition and growth of the drilling department from a one unit (one Jack-up rig) operation to a four-unit operation (3 Jack-ups and one barge vessel).

Dec 2003 to Jun 2004

Premier Oil plc (London and West Africa)

Senior Drilling Engineer

Planning and operations support of a remote exploration well offshore Guinea Bissau.

Oct 1997 to Nov 2003

Enterprise Oil plc then Shell U.K. Exploration and Production (UK, Europe and US)

Various positions

Night Drilling Supervisor on semi-submersibles, drilling wells in the UK and Irish waters. One well off the Irish coast was in 5,000ft water depth.
Night Drilling Supervisor on a land well in Greece.
Drilling Engineer on a +18,000ft TVD sub salt diapir well in Gulf of Mexico.
Drilling Engineer for a Central North Sea subsea appraisal well.
Production Engineer delivering well intervention on a major North Sea platform.
Night Drilling Supervisor on a deep water well control incident in the Adriatic Sea which was safely brought under control.

Aug 1992 to Oct 1996

ABB Vetco Gray

Design Engineer

Finite element analysis studies within R&D. Principal engineer for jack-up surface wellheads. Two US patents for surface wellhead equipment.



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South East England


(+44) 7814 131245



Working hours

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