Where going to preparatory school for engineering was once the most common way of becoming an engineer, nowadays most technical professionals go to university. In recent years, an increasing number of young men and women have been specialising in geophysics – many of them with the aim of discovering seabed secrets deep underground. Alexis Deloge is one of them. Aged 26, he is already a promising field geophysicist who lives life offshore or, as he describes it, he lives “the true adventure”.
In 2008, the field of geophysics unexpectedly appeared at Alexis’ doorstep and he was immediately enthusiastic. “Before I had heard about this study, I would never have thought about it. But I remember that as soon as I started researching, I discovered that earth studies were very intriguing. Learning about earth’s features, about structures thousands of feet underground and about the technology employed to identify and find out more about geology – it just completely fascinated me. In France, there is only one university that specifically focuses on the field of geophysics. So as I became more and more enthusiastic, I decided to register at L’École et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre (EOST) at the University of Strasbourg, a decision that I’m still very happy with today.”
No office mouse
Alexis’ first work experience only reinforced his enthusiasm for geophysics. “Although I enjoyed studying a lot, I realised that I liked the contrast between the theories I had learned at university and the “real life” practical elements I encountered on the job even more. My first internship was with an oil and gas company, which was far more exciting than I had expected, and it gave me a big thirst for challenge. I noticed that I no longer only had a desire to go abroad; I had developed a hunger to discover. This led to my decision to do my reservoir geophysics internship in Indonesia. It’s too much to explain, but let’s say that while travelling throughout Asia during this second internship, I realised with certainty that office work just wasn’t for me.”
In recent years, Alexis has gained a remarkable amount of experience in the seismic and hydrographic industry, and he is still strongly devoted to what he does. To him, one of the most important aspects of working offshore is the challenge of going beyond ordinary work. “Although it’s mainly caused by monetary pressure, I like the hectic activity that comes with the geophysicist position. I can’t help but think that working onshore would be monotonous and boring to me. The offshore world is run by billion dollar enterprises, and time means big money. Therefore the stress level gets quite high at times, but what helps is that everyone offshore is 100% committed to his job. This makes you want to work just as hard as the others, as teamwork is just as indispensable here. The offshore setting is an ongoing series of unexpected situations that depend to a large extent on external factors. Shallow water, for example, significantly shorten operation times as it enables you to receive data very quickly. But very bad weather can easily lead to issues with equipment, which results in operations taking more time than expected. Yet problems are what they are, and there is always a solution. In general, I love what I do; I love the variety of being in Mexico one day and in Malaysia the other. All-in-all, my life in one word is ‘adventure’.”
While Alexis is enjoying his exciting career journey, he also realises that the industry is moving forward at breakneck speed and that he has to keep up. “It is of vital importance to see your career as a business. I like to think that you never know what the future will hold, and that you only have a small window, this moment in life, to progress. The time for me is now, and I’ll continue to develop new skills and obtain new knowledge every day. In the future, I want to become a senior geophysicist and the simplest way to get there, I think, is by gaining more and more experience – but also by maintaining my positive attitude.”