Subsea engineering across the globe

The many-faceted role of Subsea Superintendent sends Stena Drilling’s Stuart Wyse on installation and commissioning projects all over the world.

Stuart Wyse was born in 1987 in Kirkcaldy, a town situated on Scotland’s east coast some 19 km north of Edinburgh across the estuary of the Firth of Forth. When he was four his family moved up to the village of Mintlaw in Aberdeenshire. Here he grew up and attended secondary school before moving onto studying a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

”When I was young I wanted to work with machinery. My father was an engineer as well, in electrical. Despite wanting to follow in his footsteps, I didn’t entirely, opting for mechanical engineering instead. Also, since I love scuba diving I thought that a profession involving the subsea environment would be rewarding and interesting,” he says.

Part of the Masters Degree was an internship where he was employed within the Integrated Projects Department of MI-Swaco. A manufacturer of drill-in fluids and cleanup tools for the oil industry that’s now part of the Schlumberger Group.

”During the internship, I assisted with project management of high specification custom built integrated packages, project planning and documentation. And I produced mechanical calculations and prepared specifications for equipment, among other things.”

So, he got a head start in the industry where he’s been working more or less since he graduated in 2009.

”Yes, it’s true actually. I was employed as Subsea Support Engineer by Stena Drilling in September 2009 and have been based in the Aberdeen headquarters since then.”


Advancing to Subsea Superintendent took only a little more than four years for this motivated, reliable and dynamic man. First he was promoted to Subsea Technical Support Engineer and then Assistant Subsea Superintendent before gaining his current role in January 2014.

As Subsea Superintendent Stuart Wyse provides technical support for well control and associated equipment across Stena Drilling’s fleet of four ultra-deepwater drillships and three semi-submersible rigs. He’s also responsible for project managing of Blowout Preventer (BOP) stack upgrade projects, and an integral part of the Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) projects, both in design review and certification as well as in commissioning and operational support.

”Although the MPD systems utilise new technology, there are several aspects from an equipment standpoint that are similar to that used in conventional well control systems. Given this overlap with my current role, my responsibility within the MPD project team is to review the technical aspects of the system design and to participate in the third party approval process, covering hazard identification and operability studies (HAZID and HAZOP), as well as failure mode, effects and criticality analyses (FMECA). I also assist with rig integration and facilitate commissioning on-board,” he explains.

Stena Drilling’s MPD systems are manufactured by Schlumberger. The first system was installed on the Stena Carron in August last year. And when this interview is conducted, on April 3rd, Stuart Wyse is just back from witnessing some final integration testing of the second system at the suppliers in Berwick, Louisiana. It will be installed and commissioned on Stena IceMAX in Q3 2018.


The job takes him to project locations all around the world. It could be in the USA, Australia, Holland or the Canary Islands, to name a few places.

”It’s a very varied job. From working behind a desk providing technical support, to presenting in a client’s office on the other side of the world, or even spending time on board one of Stena’s harsh environment drillships performing commissioning of a BOP or MPD system. It’s one of the things that makes it so interesting and rewarding, as is the contact with all the colleagues and clients I get to meet and work with on a day to day basis.”

Time is always a critical issue and poses one of the greatest challenges faced by Stena Drilling’s team of subsea engineers.

”For example, on the Stena Carron MPD project we had a very specific window in operations to complete the system commissioning and DNV acceptance. Bearing in mind that Stena Carron was an operating drilling unit at the time, our project team and the vessel crew faced numerous technical and logistical challenges to complete the installation prior to reaching the planned commissioning window. I’m happy to say though, the installation and commissioning of the MPD system were completed safely, and within the allocated operational window.”


As much as it’s a major part of his work, the sea also grants him relaxation and relief from stress and pressure.

”The north east coast of Scotland is very rocky, which gives us very clear water, perfect for scuba diving. As I mentioned earlier, it’s one of my favourite pastimes. I also like swimming. But just walking along the amazing beaches we have on the east coast is actually a great way to unwind and gather energy.”

Music is another big interest of Stuart’s and he used to play electric guitar in a band. ”That’s some years ago now, but I’m actually trying to gather some friends and start playing again,” he concludes.

Name: Stuart Wyse
Title: Subsea Superintendent – Technical
Age: 30
Lives in: Aberdeen
Family: Wife and a two-year old daughter
Pastimes: When I’m not chasing after my daughter I enjoy scuba diving, swimming and playing electric guitar.
Number of Years at Stena: 9


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