Photo: IRIS/Elisabeth Tønnessen

Interview with an IRIS researcher

Name: Jan Einar Gravdal
Age: 40
Position: Senior Research Scientist
IRIS Energy - Department: Drilling and Well Modeling

B.Sc. in Naval Engineering
MSc in Applied Mathematics
PhD in Petroleum Engineering
What inspired you to become a scientist?
Already from first grade at primary school, I was interested in scientific subjects, in particular solving tasks that gave either the right or the wrong answer. I guess it suited me to get the feedback on a binary format. I initially planned to study astrophysics. However, after a short meeting at the University in Bergen, with a professor that was not a very good salesperson, I went across the road to the University College in Bergen and applied for Naval Engineering. During the three years there, I realized that I wanted to dig deeper into the more theoretical aspects around fluid dynamics, and therefore I continued with a MSc at the University of Bergen. After graduation, I started working at IRIS (Rogaland Research at that time) and have never regretted.

What do you like/dislike about your job?
We have many extremely skilled people at IRIS, and a good environment for increasing competence and sharing information within the Energy department. I like the close connections between researchers across the disciplines in IRIS. As an example, researchers from Energy and Social Science in Bergen work together in writing project proposals and carrying out several projects. I believe this is unique for IRIS and gives us an advantage compared to other institutes and academic institutions. I experience a strong commitment in my group to achieve good results and contribute to keep IRIS in the research front within automated drilling. Drilling is gradually changing from mechanization to automation, and we are in a very strong position to become an active contributor to this step-change. Personally, I like the variation in work tasks, being involved in several projects and with many people both in Norway and abroad. There is nothing I dislike about my job, but I am concerned about the ongoing readjustment process in IRIS. Collaboration across disciplines, competence building and team spirit is hard to build and requires patience and long-term priorities to establish. But, when established, this is the best condition to grow and achieve good results.
What are you working on right now?
This week I have been involved in kick-off meetings with the new SFI Offshore Mechatronics in Agder, in which IRIS is a partner. This SFI has many partners from the oil service industry and it is important that IRIS is actively involved and secures good synergies with our own SFI within drilling; DrillWell. I have also been busy with NTNU and Statoil on a project within Managed Pressure Drilling and a possible continuation of the project after the finalization this year. Marketing of the Virtual Arena ahead of the decision meeting at the Research Council on June 25 has also been important. In addition, I serve as Program Manager at DrillWell, which also occupies a lot of my time.
What has been your best IRIS-moment so far?
I cannot recall a single moment, but I am proud to be a part of a research group which is now world leading within automated drilling. We have achieved this position through excellent research in many different projects at the Drilling and Well Modeling group, all made possible by extremely competent researchers. I am grateful to be a part of this.