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June 2014

Colin Dick

Flow Assurance Engineer and ex-Formula 1 aerodynamicist, learn more about Colin and his Xodus career highlights.

How long have you been at Xodus and what does your job involve?
I’m new to Xodus having only been here for two months, and my role focuses on flow assurance. I previously worked as an aerodynamicist for the Lotus Formula 1 team. 

What are the highlights of working at Xodus? 
Our lunchtime football sessions on a Wednesday and Friday. It’s a great way to keep fit and meet other members of the team. Xodus also runs a very successful Lunch n’ Learn series where colleagues present case studies. It’s an excellent way for newcomers to explore the capabilities we have here.

What exciting projects are you working on?
As I’m new to oil and gas, I’m starting on smaller components of large scale projects and it’s great exposure to the jobs Xodus works on.

What was it like being in the fast lane of F1 engineering?
The race teams all push each other to go faster, which meant developing the car 24 hours a day. Working as an aerodynamicist gave me freedom to come up with fresh ideas, which were often developed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). There is generally a race every fortnight and the aim is to step forward in performance each time, engineering very fast responsive changes to the aerodynamics according to driver requirements. The reward was seeing the result on track within a few days.

Are you finding a lot of common ground between F1 and oil and gas?
From a flow perspective, oil and gas is more complicated than F1 aerodynamics – in theory, anyway. In F1 we were modelling air in its most simple state and there are lots of experiments to back up our predictions. In oil and gas, however, we are interested in a mixture of gases and liquids at extreme conditions with relatively little experimental data to support the results. This makes the task of flow assurance more complex. The basic physics is similar, however, and this means there are some tools that find applications in both motor racing and oil and gas. For example, Xodus uses the same CFD software as many F1 teams.

What are your hobbies and interest outside work?
Since 2008, my partner Fay and I have been supporting an orphanage in Tanzania. Our friends have helped us raise more than £15,000 in that time and Fay has visited a few times to ensure the funds are invested on critical things for the kids, and some fun things too.

Where can people find out more about the orphanage?
Light in Africa is a Tanzanian registered charity which takes in kids from especially tough backgrounds and runs this orphanage among others.

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Colin Dick
Colin Dick, Flow Assurance Engineer