Wood News recently sat down with Larry Willson from Asset Solutions Americas, operations services group to learn about his career story. Larry is a plug and abandonment supervisor working in the Powder River Basin in northern Wyoming, U.S.
WN: Can you tell us about your role?
LW: I am responsible for the plug and abandonment of coal bed methane wells that are no longer in production, thus ensuring the land is returned to its original state.
When we determine a well needs to be plugged, we ensure there is no electricity, gas, or water flowing. We then have a crew cement (plug) the production casing of the well. After the cementing is completed, we cut the casing and weld a steal plate on top to seal it. This is done a minimum of three feet below in the ground. We then re-seed the area for future grass growth and monitor this for a couple of years following.
It typically takes about two days to plug, cut and cap a well, and we average about 20 wells a month.
WN: What’s your career background?
LW: After I graduated from high school, I joined the United States Army Reserves, and started attending university with a focus on criminal justice. I had a change of heart about a career in law enforcement and started driving water trucks in the coal bed methane fields before being called to Iraq as a reservist. When I returned from Iraq, I did various jobs including cementer, equipment operator, tool pusher, and then lease operator. The lease operator position led me to the plug and abandonment role. I started hands on, then worked my way up to supervisor.
WN: What attracted you to Wood?
LW: I saw a lot of opportunity at Wood, opportunities to learn, grow and advance. In my four years with Wood my career has grown from lease operator to lease supervisor and now plug and abandonment supervisor. I’m excited to be part of Wood and the project and asset management (PAM) team. There is a lot of support here and I feel like Wood is programmed for success.
WN: What advice would you have for someone just starting out?
LW: Some of the best advice I received was to stay motivated and never settle, always better myself. I would add to that by saying, always have an open mind and don’t shut out roles just because they are not the path you originally envisioned for yourself, you always want to keep growing.
WN: How has this advice served you well and how has Wood helped you to keep on growing?
LW: I consistently asked for more or different tasks and responsibilities. Similarly, I would simply take the initiative to do things I knew needed to be done which led to many open doors at Wood. My supervisor noticed my work ethic and positive attitude and brought various career opportunities to my attention. Wood has opportunities for advancement and if you show the drive and the willingness to learn, these opportunities are within grasp.
WN: How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
LW: I love the outdoors and enjoy all things outdoors including camping, archery hunting, and skiing. I have two teenagers that share my love for the great outdoors too!