Coding their way to more efficient exploration:
To better understand the Norwegian seabed, these IT experts travelled to the Spanish Pyrenees.
Torgeir Haaland and Margaux Ledieu wanted to work where they could contribute to developing solutions to the climate challenge. That’s exactly what they are doing in Equinor—and their quest took them to the Spanish Pyrenees.
“It’s a big company, and the whole energy scenario is undergoing significant change when it comes to climate issues,” says Torgeir Haaland. He’s an IT masters graduate, educated at NTNU in Trondheim, now working for Equinor.
“The world has to reduce carbon emissions. Working here is a great opportunity to help influence those changes. For Equinor, there’s a lot to deal with, in terms of moving over to renewable energy, carbon capture, reducing emissions on platforms and the like,” he says.
Margaux nods in agreement when she hears Torgeir talking about his work. “With such a large company as Equinor, even small changes will have a major impact on emissions,” she says.
“With such a large company as Equinor, even small changes will have a major impact on emissions”
Margaux Ledieu, Analyst IT System Dev in Equinor
Margaux is originally French, but ended up in Norway via studies in Sweden. Photo: Arne Reidar Mortensen.
The two of them started working for Equinor about 18 months ago. Margaux came to Norway via a master’s degree in her home country France, before completing a second master’s degree in Sweden. She liked Scandinavia so much that she was eager to seize the opportunity when someone suggested that she apply for a job in Equinor.
“During my studies I hadn’t really given much thought to where I would work. My education offers a lot of opportunities, and I had actually never heard of Equinor. A friend who had a summer trainee assignment here told me it was a good place to work,” says Margaux, who holds master’s degrees in computer science and machine learning.
Getting to know each other
Torgeir has a master’s in computer science from NTNU in Trondheim. With their respective backgrounds, the pair were perfect candidates for Equinor’s graduate programme. Since securing places in the programme last year, Margaux and Torgeir have had a chance to get to know the company in a unique way.
They’re just two of a total of 182 graduates from around 30 countries. Nearly half of the participants come from Norway, while the rest come from countries such as the US, the UK and Brazil. There were about 6600 applicants to last year’s graduate intake, so there is tough competition to secure a spot.
“Over the course of the two-year programme, there are three gatherings carried out in Stavanger, Oslo and Bergen. These help participants to really get to know other new colleagues. Also, you’re a regular employee from day one, so it’s not a question of a temporary apprenticeship or internship,” says Torgeir.
Margaux says the programme has been very exciting, and that the participants are allowed to take part in many different projects, and that there is ample room for innovation.
“Everyone is very helpful, and there’s a very open culture for presenting ideas. You also meet a lot of other people around your own age,” she adds.
Field trip to a mountain village
Torgeir and Margaux were part of a group of graduates invited to travel to the Pyrenees in Spain. The trip was an incentive for those programme participants who were working hardest to make a difference in Equinor.
For everyone working to make Norwegian oil exploration in the North Sea more efficient, knowledge of geology on the seabed is very important. So where does one go to learn more about it? Well, to a Spanish mountain village, of course!
Would you like to become part of Equinor’s graduate programme?
Back home in Norway, the two are hard at work again; Torgeir at Equinor’s research centre in Rotvoll outside Trondheim, Margaux at headquarters in Stavanger. They’re allowed to use parts of their working hours for skills development, a perk for employees in the software development section who want to learn about new technologies or programming languages. They can spend up to 20 per cent of their working hours on their own projects.
“That was one of the most important reasons why I wanted to apply for a job in Equinor. It’s a huge incentive to be allowed to spend one day every week on skills development on the job,” Torgeir explains.
He’s chosen to spend his time on an attempt to build autonomous drones; in other words, that they fly and make decisions all on their own.
“A guy working in the research department thought this sounded exciting and he’s working with us now. He has a budget available, and now there are as many as three developers working together with him. All of this is still somewhat in a future scenario. Drones that make independent decisions is a vision; we’re not quite there yet,” laughs Torgeir.
Margaux, on the other hand, spends her time on deep learning, a form of machine learning.
“One of the fields is about image recognition, for example that a machine is able to see the difference and identify whether it’s a dog or a cat in a picture. There is enormous activity in this field now, so I’m trying to read as much as possible and stay up-to-date.”
Their trip to the Pyrenees gave Margaux and Torgeir valuable knowledge and inspiration to continue their development. Photos: Margaux Ledieu
Photo: Gemma Miranda
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