Mohammed Al Athaba, Mechanical Integrity Engineer
Mechanical Integrity engineer Mohammed Al Athaba joined the Shell Graduate Programme in 2012. Today he works in Qatar on Pearl GTL, the world’s largest Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plant, but it’s only the beginning, he says.
"I first developed an interest in science and maths in about the eighth grade. When I got to high school I started to focus on physics and learning about forces and how everything interacts with each other, it was fascinating. It was then that I realised I really wanted to get into engineering.
In 2012 I graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in Qatar. I knew that the Shell Graduate Programme was world-renowned, systematic and effective, so I was set on joining. And I did! I started as an Integrity Engineer in September 2012. I’m still in this role today."
Detectives of the plant
“Pearl GTL is the world’s largest plant to turn natural gas into cleaner-burning fuels”?
I’m working in Qatar on Pearl GTL. It's divided into five areas and in two I have a technical coach helping me fulfil the necessary competencies. One of them is in the air separation unit. It’s basically where we suck air from the atmosphere and produce oxygen and nitrogen.
We have to be the plant’s detectives. If something goes wrong we have to think: what went wrong? How did it go wrong? Then we take off our detective hat and put on our surgeon or doctor’s hat. That’s when we start fixing real problems.
Contributing and learning together
I have a friend in my department who is also on the Shell Graduate Programme. Some of our courses are similar, so we keep each other in check when it comes to getting involved in new tasks and new projects. We’re always making sure that we contribute and learn together. That’s one of the things I really like about Shell.
If two people are having a conversation about work they don’t mind if I just stick my nose in and see if there’s anything I can do. They’re normally happy to help me by giving me a task because it will lift a little bit of weight off their backs, and give me the chance to learn something.
Right now I’m learning about non-destructive testing (NDT); testing for equipment without leaving any impact on it or shutting it down. Luckily, whenever a team is doing any NDT they call me and let me come down to watch them doing it. It really helps me learn. They’re very open and always explain every step.
"I’m learning about new technology and how to deal with new problems almost every day."Mohammed Al Athaba
Making an impact for Qatar
I work with many diverse teams, who all bring different views and approaches to problems. For me, what’s really good is that Shell’s vision and Qatar’s vision align very well. The relationship between the two will not only benefit Qataris and Shell Qatar, but also the expats coming from all over the world.
"I think that’s one of the best parts of working at Shell: how the culture and the people mix in such an international environment. Personally, I want to make an impact for Qatar and for the Qataris of the future and for my colleagues from around the world."Mohammed Al Athaba
I know I want to settle in Qatar, but I also want to have the opportunity to travel around. In the short term I want to complete the Shell Graduate Programme and become a full integrity engineer. In the long term, I would like to be in a leadership position where I can help Shell and Qatar’s future leaders."