Urban Legend in North Tapanuli

North Tapanuli is a regency in North Sumatera, Indonesia. It is where I reside for almost two years, working at the Sarulla drilling project. North Tapanuli is inhabited by Bataknese, one of major ethnic in Indonesia. I want to share a few urban legends that believed there. There is even one ghost sighting caught on camera on one of the list. Here are the list:

  1. Onan Begu (ghost market or pasar hantu in Bahasa Indonesia) is located on WJP drilling area. WJP drilling area supply the steam for NAMORA I LANGIT power plant. The WJP that accounts for several production wells actually have a story among the locals. WJP is the most remote area amongst the other drilling area, which is also remote by the way. But the WJP is even remote because no mobile phone signal exist there. Added that the location is far away into the dark woods. It is called Onan Begu because it was actually a flat field in the middle of the woods before becoming a drilling pad. Ghost and spirits are believed to gather there. Right now after it became a drilling area, mysterious howling and sounds often heard in the dark trees, sometimes the crew says that they see a white woman fly around the area. One time I obliged to install the electrical grounding for our unit in the location. While sitting in the fron row seat, I glanced to one of the fence nearby that area. You know in a drilling site, they put a police line to restrict people entering the area. One segment of the police line suddenly moving up and down in a slightly slow motion. Maybe it’s the wind or something was sitting there. Yeah, anything can happens right?
  2. The deadly turn. Between NAMORA I LANGIT and SILANGKITANG power plant area (around twelve kilometres) there is one turn that believed to be haunted. The road is a main road for Sumatera land transportation so the legend is widely known among truck driver. From NAMORA I LANGIT, the turn is located after the steep descent with rather blind-sided turn to the left. There is a sign that reads “CAUTION! ACCIDENT PRONE” or “AWAS RAWAN KECELAKAAN.” Accidents happen there mostly involve heavy truck and other heavy vehicle with low control. Right beneath the turn is a 20 metres deep cliff, where the vehicle often ends up in. The legend says a bad woman inhabited in the bottom of the cliff, demanding death people every year for retribution. Around 30 metres after the turn, you can find a cave on the left side with a skull sign in front of it. It was said to be the woman’s place that no one is permitted to enter. Actually I ever saw a truck crashed into the cliff, making three of the passengers dead in the place. Luckily I saw only the truck and the dead victims were already evacuated.
  3. NAMORA I LANGIT and SIMATANIARI. Name of place near the NIL Power Plant. NAMORA I LANGIT means very near from the sky and SIMATANIARI means near from the sun. They are the highest place in the region so the naming sounds very acceptable.
  4. Begu Ganjang is name of traditional ghost legend in Tapanuli region. People believe Begu Ganjang is a ghost that treated and kept by human (black magic), in order to gain wealth and honor.Begu Ganjang fed by human blood and flesh. Begu Ganjang also could be sent to kill a rival or an enemy. However, in my opinion Begu Ganjang is just a myth from the past. It was often that people accused of using Begu Ganjang killed and burned alive. People in the past could easily be manipulated and misleaded by ghost info in a motive of social jealously.
  5. The Fourth Roustabout. Is a story about mysterious roustabout. Roustabout is a crew that works in drilling
    Examine the red circle
    Examine the red circle

    rig, mostly doing task like lifting, hoisting, cleaning, and mixing chemical.However, one time a night drilling supervisor in NIL area caught a unusual sight of roustabout working near the shale shaker. Through the security camera, he saw three man cleaning the shale shaker area. The three man were wearing blue coveralls and yellow hats. However, the three man seemed not noticing another man/woman standing in the middle wearing all white clothes. They were really sure that only three of them working there. The identity of the mysterious guest is still unknown. The drilling rig actually had a sad story, happened around 10 months ago. One of the night drilling supervisor had a heart attack on rig site after having an argument with his boss. Unfortunately he cannot survived and died on the ambulance. It was the exact rig where the fourth roustabout sighting.

That is all I got for the urban legend. Do you have any other urband legend in your region? Please comment!



Internship Experience – Chevron Pacific Indonesia 2013

I am a participant of Chevron Pacific Indonesia University Partnership Program 2013. Chevron Pacific Indonesia or CPI are one of the biggest Oil Production Sharing Contract in Indonesia. They manage big oil and gas blocks in Indonesia, such as Riau and East Kalimantan. Chevron also manage geothermal plant in West Java, the Salak and Daradjat field. Chevron University Partnership Program is one of their CSR program to foster university student participation on internship program in oil and gas company. On 2013, it was exclusive only for ITB and UGM students. Hope the program continue to give equal opportunity for all university in Indonesia.

In short, I applied for Facility Engineer Intern and got accepted as one of participant. First is administration selection, followed by psychology and aptitude test. If you passed, you will invited to panel interview section. Medical check up invitation will arrive if you pass the interview section. Induction day was held for all participants before assigned to specified operations. As for me, I was assigned to Sumatera Operation where the Duri and Minas oil field are existed.

Power Generation and Transmission Department

As a Facility Engineer Intern in Power Generation and Transmission Department, I was supervised by a lead mechanical engineer and a reliability mechanical engineer. Bang Albert Marihot was a lead mechanical engineer at that time, he had more than ten years experience in facility engineering field as he worked in Freeport (copper and gold mining company) and Indonesia Power (power plant) before. Pak Hendra Oktawira was a new reliability engineer, had experienced many years as reliability engineer at a petrochemical company.

The responsibility of PGT department is to supply and sustain electricity power for all Sumatera operation. That is including drilling and residence facility. If the power goes out, that means a reduced PGT’s key performance index. The department mostly habitated by electricity power engineers, project engineers, and mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineers mainly acted as reliability engineer of all equipments involved in power generation, transimssion and distribution process. I was assigned on the implementaion of Risk Based Inspection method on the transmission and distribution equipment. The equipment is steam turbine, gas turbine, heat exchanger power pole.

Power Pole

Electric Power Pole

Do not mind the electric things appear above, even at that time I did not really understand about the how electricity in power pole works. As a mechanical reliability engineer, our task is to maintain the mechanical integrity of the pole that sustain all electrical equipments. The pole sustain all mechanical loads from the weight of equipment and external load from wind forces. One pole falling down could cause disruption of the transmission of electric power for the operation, that means NPT that cause loss of money. Loss of money = blamed employee.

The unusual things done here are the Risk Based Inspection applied for the power pole equipment. RBI is usually applied for pressurized oil and gas equipment with high risk consequences. However, we applied the RBI methodology to the maintenance process of power pole. As you know before that RBI is documented in American Petroleum Institute (API) 580 and 581. They are standard which widely used for oil and gas equipment throughtout the industry. In RBI, we assigned each equipment a risk value and then group them based on their risk level. Each risk level might need different mitigation and maintenance effort. Risk defined as probability of failure (PoF) times the consequence of failure (CoF). In a more simple way, we sometimes use risk matrix to define the risk value. There is 3×3 matrix, 4×4 matrix, or 5×5 matrix which more complex. There may be an equipment that has very low probability of failure but might cause disastrous consequence when failure happen. RBI tried to accomodate the effects of both probability and consequence to make a proper preventive maintenance process. As for example: power pole in several Chevron areas were more susceptible to corrosion due to high H2S gas in the enviroment will raise the PoF. If we compare the poles to other in lower corrosion level area, those poles should be assigned a higher risk level so the maintenance treatment will be different. They might need extra thermal, NDT, or thickness inpsection more frequently than the lower risk one. That sums up my works in the internship period. Mostly I learned how maintenance engineer works. I sometimes attended meeting with the inspection vendor, weekly meeting with director, presenting my assessment and giving recommendation. I also gain knowledge of electricity generation process with their transmission and generations equipments.

Such a wonderful experience for a summer internship as an Facility Engineer! *Of course the money was also very good for a college student.

UPP 2013 Alumni – Facility Engineer Intern – SMO Area



Sarulla Geothermal Operation – Powering North Sumatera

Hi there, right now I am writing this post while laying on my bed during my off day. During on duty day, I commute to North Tapanuli area, North Sumatera, Indonesia. I have worked on the drilling project of Sarulla Operation Ltd. geothermal power plant for 1 year since April 2015. The project actually commenced at the end of 2014, had objection to drill sufficient production and re-injection well to supply the phase 1 geothermal power plant. Sarulla Operation Ltd. or SOL (which I will be saying for it from now) would supply a total of 330 MW power, which project divided into 3 phases with 110 MW each. Sarulla Operation Ltd. is a consortium of three companies from USA, Japan, and South Korea. Japan, represented by Kyushu Power mostly participated on the later project for power generating technology. South Korea, represented by Hyundai Construction started early as the main contractor for infrasructure for power plant and drilling pad infrastructure. USA with Ormat Technologies contributed mainly on drilling and exploration project, and also contributed to power plant technology.

There will be two power plants, Silangkitang (SIL) power plant and Namora I Langit (NIL) power plant. Right when I write this post, SIL power plant is in the middle of construction. Whereas the steam production well had been drilled and tested. During early 2015 until early 2016 I served as MWD Engineer of Sperry Directional Drilling Services to drill 3 production wells and 2 re-injection wells. Last time I visited the site was on January 2016, last time I took a peek on the site on April 2016 the drilling rig had been gone. The central heat exchanger (probably condenser) has been in place, with piping has been installed on the well head. Just for information, UNOCAL (now: Chevron) drilled 3 wells back on early 1990s which well will also be utilized for the SIL power plant. From the news I heard from the wind, one of SIL production well gave around 30 MW capacity when tested. For a single well, it is kind of enormous. I hope the test result turn to be true to make Sarulla as the first biggest geothermal power plant in the world. Hopefully this power plant could overcome the electricity supply deficit in the North Sumatera province.

The rising of geothermal project in Indonesia

Before SOL, there were some company participated in geothermal project in Indonesia such as Supreme Energy on South Sumatera Province, Star Energy on West Java Province, Chevron Geothermal on West Java Province, Pertamina Geothermal Energy on several provinces across Indonesia. However, SOL has proved the rising trend of Indonesia geothermal project investment from foreign investor. In Sabang, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam it is rumored that Turkey company invested for geothermal drilling project there. Also on West Java, Sukabumi it is also stated that PT Jabar Rekind Geothermal (a province owned company) will started drilling for geothermal. Those project has became one of way to fulfill the target of 35000 MW electricity supply target, set by Joko Widodo the 7th President of Indonesia. President Jokowi indicating commitment about sustianable energy in Indonesia, asking several percent of 35000 MW coming from non-fossil and non-coal source. I predicted the trend of geothermal drilling project will be bullish in upcoming year.

I hope SOL project become a huge success, which then initiate other private and public investor to invest in geothermal and other renewable energy sector in Indonesia. In demand of electricity on rural area across Indonesia, renewable and sustainable energy project also boost the economic wheel. In the end, equal development would be achieved. Sumatera, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua also have the rights to develop. Starting from electricity and infrastructure and in the end the human resource. Let’s see North Tapanuli in several years ahead the SOL project. I am curious to see the transformation that a geothermal project could make to a rural area.

Jakarta, 14 April 2016

Sekolah Pasar Modal Bursa Efek Indonesia 2016

Hari ini tanggal 16 Maret 2016, saya berkesempatan untuk mengikuti sekolah pasar modal yang diadakan oleh BEI yang bertempat di gedung IDX SCBD Jakarta. Pendaftaran sekolah pasar modal cukup mudah, semua dilakukan online di Investar dengan sistem kuota per hari. Saya mengambil SPM tingkat 1 dan 2 dalam satu hari sekaligus dengan tujuan hemat waktu. Syarat mengikuti SPM tingkat 2 adalah sudah memegang SID (nomor tunggal investor pasar modal) yang sebenarnya pasti dibuat saat kita mengikuti SPM tingkat 1.

Pada batch saya, Danareksa adalah agen perusahaan efek yang ditunjuk oleh BEI untuk mendaftarkan para peserta SPM. Agen perusahaan efek adalah badan yang mengurus transaksi jual beli saham dimana kita sebagai investor saham adalah klien mereka, jadi setiap transaksi yang kita lakukan akan masuk beberapa persen sebagai komisi ke kantong agen. Ada puluhan agen perusahaan efek yang terdaftar di OJK, namun kebetulan saya mendaftar di Danareksa karena “paksaan” BEI. Kita juga perlu membuka rekening sumber dana investor, yaitu rekening tempat dana transaksi saham disimpan untuk keperluan transaksi jual dan beli saham. Rekening ini berbeda dengan rekening tahapan bank-bank biasanya. Beberapa bank yang memiliki layanan rekening sumber dana investor adalah BNI, BCA, Mandiri, dan Permata. Pada kesempatan ini kita “dipaksa” memilih Mandiri atau BCA karena hanya mereka yang bekerja sama dengan SPM.

Tingkat 1 secara umum membahas tata cara dan pengenalan berinvestasi di pasar modal. Keluaran dari tingkat ini adalah kita secara resmi terdaftar sebagai investor saham di BEI. Sedangkan SPM tingkat 2 lebih cocok untuk yang berminat menjadi trader saham yang mencari capital gain dari penjualan saham saat harga tinggi dan pembelian saat harga rendah. Tingkat 2 membahas analisis teknikal yang cenderung prediktif untuk melihat tanda-tanda kenaikan atau penurunan berdasarkan ilmu-ilmu statistika. Studi kasus di tingkat 2 cukup menarik, dimana kita diperlihatkan keandalan sejumlah metode statistik dalam memprediksi sinyal kenaikan atau penurunan harga saham IDX. Kasus batch kami adalah PT Jasamarga Tbk (IDX:JSMR) yang termasuk likuid karena harga sahamnya naik turun dalam waktu yang relatif singkat. Seperti yang saya bilang sebelumnya, analisis ini tidak cocok untuk investor jangka panjang yang mengendapkan sahamnya untuk jangka waktu yang panjang. Analisis yang cocok untuk investor jenis ini adalah analisis fundamental yang sayangnya tidak dibahas di tingkat 2 karena keterbatasan waktu.

Selain mengenai analisis saham dan pasar modal, ada juga pengenalan tentang KSEI dan KPEI. Intinya KSEI berperan sebagai penyimpan dan penyelesaian semua transaksi di pasar modal. Jual beli yang kita lakukan via broker harus divalidasi oleh KSEI agar settle, resmi secara hukum. Orang-orang KSEI bekerja sebagai bagian administrasi lah intinya.

Acara ini gratis tanpa biaya, namun untuk tingkat 1 kita diwajibkan menyetor 100 ribu rupiah yang akan digunakan sebagai modal awal kita di rekening dana untuk transaksi saham. Selama SPM, makan siang dan snack pagi dijamin ketersediaannya. Tempat seminar juga cukup nyaman, di dalam auditorium BEI yang lengkap dengan fasilitas audio dan video mutakhir. Jadi kesempatan ini sangat sayang untuk dilewatkan. Bagi siapapun yang memiliki waktu luang, ayo daftar SPM di IDX Jakarta untuk belajar berinvestasi!

Lahendong – Tomohon City , Future of Indonesia Geothermal Energy and North Sulawesi Tourism

Perks of being a Field Engineer : good compensation benefit  travel around the world.

My “green hat” job or people usually say as probation period as a field engineer was on a geothermal drilling well at North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is exactly at Tomohon , the city of flower in Minahasa region. Tomohon is notoriously known for their traditional market that trade bats, cats, dogs, and rats meat. Seems like they hate rodents so much, they almost eat everything. Most of North Minahasa people are non-moslem so they also eat pork a lot. There is a annual flower festival in Tomohon which attracts many foreign tourists. Tomohon also famous of their native girls with their bright skin, slim, and westernized looks which are the favourable characteristics in Indonesia. Aside from girls, flower, cats and bats meat, and liquor (cap tikus), Tomohon is rich of geothermal potential.

Lahendong Geothermal Power Plant

Lahendong Power Plant, located in South Tomohon is one of the biggest electricity supply in North Sulawesi. The capacity of each phase is around 20 MW. Now the project has almost completed the third to achieve 60 MW. Lahendong area is suspected to have 200 MW of potential reserve. Yet the well development still run right now, only with steady effort. They only contracted one rig to did the well drilling for reserve development. I suspected the commitment of Pertamina Geothermal Energy (State owned) is still halted due to high cost of geothermal drilling costs. However on 2014 – early 2015, there were one drilling rig doing activites on Tompasso area for exploration. The Tompasso area still has not utilized right now for their steam.

Works at Kasuratan and Tondangow Districts

I had the opportunity to drill two wells each in Kasuratan district (Area 3) and Tondangow district (Area 13). Apexindo Rig #4 was contracted to drill there, they are the best crew I’ve known for drilling geothermal well. To complete one well, they only needed around 2 months. Compared to Sarulla geothermal well drilling rig, they could took up to 3-4 months to complete one well.

Geothermal well usually drilled in four hole size, 26″ – 17 1/2″ – 12 1/4″ – 9 7/8″ subsequently. That is for big hole production well, for re-injection well it usually use 12 /4″ and 8 1/2″. However the size should differs depend on drilling engineering calculation. MWD Engineers usually works from early size until second last size. On early size when the well direction is still vertical, our tools make sure the collision issue to nearby well is avoided. On kick-off section, we work full-time while building and turning the motor to desired path. On tangent section we still work to give correction for missing path. On last section we do not usually take MWD on BHA due to very high temperature. MWD tool has temperature limit around 150 degrees of Celcius. On last section, the temperature with mud circulation mode could reach 170 degrees of Celcius.

A list of popular tourists destination in Tomohon area:

  1. Bukit Kasih – religion tourist place for Christians.
  2. Tomohon Traditional Market – the place that sold bats and cats meat, and other traditional groceries. Only appears on early morning if you want to see the exotic meat.
  3. Tondano Lake – one of the biggest lake in Indonesia, not far from Tomohon city.
  4. Ragey Restaurant – pork satay restaurant, also serve Paniki (made from bats meat).
  5. Flower gardent – looks very good on festival time around August every year.
  6. Tomohon Night Market – flea market that sold traditional and hawker food.
  7. Tompasso – famous for its peanuts.

It should be more place that is interesting to visit, I’ve only known about the seven of them for two times visiting Tomohon. Plus, I only had time to wander when drilling is not commenced which means only on casing point break I can go around Tomohon.

It’s all wrap about my review for Tomohon City after three months total of living there. Hope you find it interesting!


ex-MWD crew of Lahendong Well Drilling


Spicy Ramen Battle – Korea’s Samyang vs Singapore’s Nissin

Hello, on this post I want to compare these two fried noodle brand from different regions. On the west side we have samyang’s spicy chicken fried noodle from South Korea. On the other side is Nissin’s tom yum fried noodle. The similarities of these two brands are their spicy and hot flavor and  they are dry based. I got the recommendation for Nissin’s instant noodle from my older cousin who lived in Singapore. I visited her apartment and she gave me 5 packs of it as a gift. She said that it was one of the tastiest fried instant noodle in Singapore.

When I lived in South Korea for 2 months, I tasted Buldalkbokkeummyeon for several times. My Korean friend, Kang Kyung-taek bought me 5 packs of it and cooked it at our dorm for lunch. I fell in love with the flavor of it on the first time. Let’s see the head to head battle:

Food portion

The packaging does not impersonate the spicyness of it, yet it had basic color in black. The portion is mild, just proper for snack food which not too much. The texture has Korea’s ramen trademark which big and chewy. Nissin has the opposites, it’s thin and delicate. This does affect your sense of full after eating Nissin, you would demand for second portion because one is just not enough. For Samyang the sense feels just right for your stomach.

Winner: Samyang

The taste

Actually it is not fair enough to compare the taste because they are completely different in cuisine style. One is tom yum and the other is korean chicken sauce. But if I have to choose, I agree that Samyang has better taste than the rather mild Nissin. I heard Singapore limits the usage of MSG, and may be applied to the instand noodle too. Maybe the MSG factor included there but for taste I enjoy Samyang more than Nissin.

Winner: Samyang again


If you cannot withstand high level of spicyness, I would not recommend to taste the Samyang. They say Buldalkbukeum has 3210 SHU level that could make burn sensation on your tongue. The after burn sensation will come after several seconds you stop eating. Otherwise, Nissin has very delicate level of spicyness that made it more edible that Samyang.

Winner: Nissin

Truthfully, it is very hard to choose the winner because they two have each plus point. But I choose Samyang if there were two of them served and I got tho choose one. Samyang noodle is very tempting when served, even though you might feel little regret when the after burn reacts on your tongue.



What Would a MWD Engineers Do at Works?

Have you ever wonder about what is a MWD engineer and what do they do? I have never thought of that until I became an MWD engineer trainee last year. It has been 3 months I worked in the field as a MWD engineer in a drilling service company, moreover I already know what a MWD engineers do at works. I will try to fill your gap about what really MWD engineers do on the duty.

I wear coveralls and fancy Red Wings shoes to work everyday. What I wear inside the coveralls are basically a worn t-shirt and a short, so we do not wear fancy shirt and slack pants to work as MWD engineer. You would not even need that a bit as you work as MWD Engineer, even in the interview I wore dark jeans and oxford shirt. That is one advantage though that we do not need expensive clothes to work. But because you work in oil field, you have to wear hard hat everytime. The hard hat is not fancy, for me it’s kind of wussy. In fashion’s point of view, there is no way to look stylish if you work in the field. There’s a pro and cons about the working outfits though.

Basic job desc: providing real time measurement data of directional drilling activities. We obtain the measurement data using our downhole tool via telemetry system. There are two common telemetry systems: positive pulse (mechanical) and electro magnetic system (electrical). The measurement data is very important for directional drilling because it tells our trajectory well’s position relative to our target. Sometimes there are nearbies well and surely we do not want to collide with them. That is one of the importance of directional data, to avoid well colliding. To guide our bit drilled the right trajectory surely needs a compass or navigator to make a right move, and the measurement data are the hints. MWD engineer install the measurement sensor inside the Bottom Hole Assembly. During the BHA goes along the drilled hole, MWD acquire real time data for temperature, pressure (sometimes), toolface (motor bent sub direction), and survey. Survey conducted every 30 metres or 100 feets of drill pipe enter the hole. That 30 metres summed to the drill pipe tally known as measured depth (MD). Others depth known as True Vertical Depth, defined as vertical depth from surface to the bit. The more inclination of the well, the TVDs are getting smaller compared to the MD.

Work shift: 12 hours working hour everyday as long as the drilling process runs. As long the drilling has not reached its target, we work 7 days a week. Your ON time in the drilling site may reach 1 months or more, and you can get OFF time for maximum 1-2 weeks. You will be payed a “rig day bonus” counted from the day you arrived at the site until you leave the site. The more days you work, the more the pay check at the end of next month. The hardest part while working on the rig site is withstand the pressure of outcast working. Almost all drilling rig located on rural and secluded from civilization. Your day filled only with working and working all days. I read a lot while standby (we have much stand by time) or playing games on laptop. MWD engineers has free time when the drilling has no problem, we just have to stand by for the survey until next Stand Down pipe. During that time we could change into Movie While Drilling crews, killing free time by watching movie. There always positive matters to be seek among the mundane activities as MWD engineers.

Career path: working with specialized and distinctive tools make MWD engineer could be categorized as specialist career. After working several times with the tools, you will mastering the tools. Just mastering does not mean you understand the inside of the tool. You are more of a operator than engineer though. You can become Directional Drillers (DD) or working in the office as MWD coordinator.



BP Challenger Program 2014 Selection Process

BP or commonly mistaken as British Petroleum (they changed the name several years ago) is one of the oil company that has operation facility in Indonesia. They are commonly known for their gas facility in Tangguh, West Papua. From the information I got at the recruitment day at Institute of Technology Bandung back in March 2014, they were looking for many new graduate engineer to compensate their plan of Tangguh train expansion near in the future. Challenger Program for what they named it, is a more like management trainee program where fresh graduate engineer will have exposure of on the job working and numerous training to make them a globally competitive engineer in the future. On 2014 they opened almost for all position in engineering including drilling, completion, mechanical, electrical, process, petrophysic, and petroleum. On this post I will give a glimpse of BP’s selection process for Mechanical Engineer Challenger.

I attended BP’s campus recruitment day around March in 2014. Interested student could apply by drop their CV and the interview with HR will conducted directly afterwards in the afternoon. The campus recruitment day was very advantageous aside from the conventional process from BP’s brassring website.


Online apply – online aptitude test (Saville) – HR Interview – User Interview – Assessment Day

Campus day:

CV – HR Interview – online aptitude test – user interview- assessment day

Well, there is no difference on the process but the swapped online test – HR interview. But that was really matter. FYI, BP hired Saville Consulting for the aptitude test. But the Saville aptitude test was hard and very competitive. The time available was very-very lacking. Sure they want to get the engineer who can think fast under pressure using this test. Shortly, it was very hard to be outstanding in the online test. But if you attend the campus day, you will be getting a HR interview first. If you had a good interview session, you will considered even you just got average mark in the aptitude test. True story. Been there before, and I got lucky to passed the aptitude even with my moderate mark. Be sure to participate in the campus recruitment day!

The process

  1. HR Interview

On this interview I faced two assessor, one HR team and one Mechanical Engineer which just graduated from the Challenger program. Interview. We talked about my activities and achievements in college and none of technical related question.

  1. Saville Online Test

There were three assessment; diagrammatic, verbal reasoning, and numerical. Time was very restricted so fast and steady internet connection really needed. Google saville online test about the image of question will be asked.

  1. User Interview

Because I applied for Mechanical Static Engineer, the question asked are none other about heat exchanger. They do need a lot of heat exchanger on gas facility. My tips, study about Air Cooled Heat Exchanger because we will talked about that specifically in the interview. You can easily study it in Hewitt’s book about Process Heat Transfer. Air cooled heat exchanger are used for cooling the gas after compression, or so said as intercooler. When I missed with some answer I did not know, Mr. Wisnu (the user) gave a little lecture about heat exchanger. How to accommodate the tube expansion, increasing heat transfer coefficient without cost, and many practical information about engineering works in the real world. I got so much new knowledge and just knew about the spiral heat exchanger type used in LNG industry. What a great interview!

  1. Assessment Day

In the evening after user interview I got a call from HR that I passed to the assessment day section. User interview on Wednesday and assessment day held on next Friday. Such a fast recruitment process due to urgent needs for new engineer for upcoming expansion project. On Thursday evening we met with other assessment day participates and given accommodation by BP. Lodging place provided in Mercure Hotel, TB Simatupang, Jakarta. We also given information about what will we faced on the assessment day and how to prepare it. There was also a presentation for user about the benefits and what will you get when work at BP. There were total of 9 persons competing in assessment day, 3 mechanical, 3 electrical, and 3 chemical engineer for process. That was for Global Project Operation and still a lot from other division (Global Operation and others).

What is assessment day?

It was my first time attend an assessment day for job recruitment purpose. Assessment day is a day or more day where employee candidate will be assessed thoroughly about their likeability to perform well on work. Many test provided on the assessment day(s) ranging from interpersonal skills, communication skills, arguing a opinion, critical thinking under pressure and many others. (Source: googling). But for BP’s I got only 3 activities: FGD, Case Interview, and Personality Interview.

1. FGD

Topics discussed on the FGD was technology to be used on offshore drilling facility. We are given many alternatives within in the case paper and some times to read and think. Then we have to discuss within our group which one will we choose. At the end of the discussion, one voice is expected from the result of team’s discussion. Clue: you have to choose between flare or gas pipeline, conventional drilling or hi-tech drilling, water injection or treatment facility, and others I do not remember. You are in the point of oil company and you have to choose the alternatives which most probably benefitting for the operation. There were no right or wrong answer, as long you have reasonable reason with your choice. At the end of the discussion, we were expected to present our conclusion to assessors.

2. Case Interview

In this interview you had to choose between to alternatives. There were two choices of prospective well location, one is a conflict area in Africa and the other is a relatively safe location somewhere in East Europe. Each of them had their own pros and cons. There were should not be a absolute true answer on this. I chose the conflict area back then whereas other participates had the safe location as their answer. Just ready to prepare your argument on defending whatever your choice of alternative.

3. Personality Interview

This sounded like a normal HR interview but more meticulous. Some questions like how to solve a problem, facing conflict, communication style were asked.

Even I did not pass the assessment day, I still got much valuable experience from it. The assessment day gave a brief description about the working atmosphere of real world. For those who has not heard about assessment day before, I expect this post kind of helpful to you.

Good luck.

Internship at Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology, POSTECH

Even this is late post, I hope you can benefitted from this post whether you are interested to join the internship or the graduate program at Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology at Postech.

GIFT mates
GIFT mates

I finished my internship exactly one year ago, at the early day of February 2014. I departed to Korea at several days after New Year, the internship itself took almost two months. Two months felt very short, time flew so fast back there. Common relativity law applies here, time felt so fast when you enjoy something and vice versa. In short, I really enjoyed my internship in GIFT matter two months just passed without notice.


How to apply?

GIFT opens internship program semi annually every summer and winter. You can access their page viahttp://gift.postech.ac.kr to find out actual information about the program. Documents required are english proficient certificate (TOEIC, IELTS, or TOEFL IBT), academic transcripts, letter of motivation and research plan, and internship form. I used TOEFL ITP year ago but later I found out that ITP TOEFL is not recognized anymore. GIFT only accept documents sent via air mail, online document submission will not be processed. The announcement of successful applicant will appeared at website and successful candidate received personal email.

In the internship form and research plan, you must submit which laboratory you would attend during the internship.  You can choose 3 alternatives of laboratory with your respective priority. I entered Surface Engineering Laboratory, Material Mechanic Laboratory, and Material Reliability Laboratory as my priority subsequently. Later I was accepted at MML because SEL was no longer available for new student. People said the lab would be shut down soon. MML’s activities were the most mutual to my field, Mechanical Engineering. They did research upon mechanical properties of material during stamping and forming process. Some PhD students even studied microstructure effects to material properties via Finite Element Method. The head professor on MML is a famous person in his field. I did not that he was famous but later I founded out he was celebrity in his field. Unfortunately I only met him for 1 days because one day after my arrival, he went to Switzerland for his sabbatical period.

Material Mechanics Laboratory
Material Mechanics Laboratory

Learning opportunities

Pohang University of Science and Technology is one of leading research institute in South Korea. In engineering field, they main rival is KAIST.  They provide advance technology for research activity besides good benefit to students. Master students on GIFT will received 1 million KRW per month for monthly stipend. It was more than enough to life in Korea with student lifestyle. The motive of their generosity is no other than pushing their research activities to produce more published paper and patent. As you can see in THE, POSTECH has good industry outcome and citation score which make them as rank 66 in the world. For you who seek for good academic and research experience, POSTECH is excellent for you.

My research

It was not a true research anyway, I just helped my senior there for little regression work. I did a comparative study on predicting high temperature flow stress in 22MnB5 alloy steel using Johnson-Cook and Arrhenius constitutive equation models. The 22MnB5 material commonly used as body pillar material of automobile. Its characteristic of strong yet low in weight made this material used. Because the manufacturing conducted at high temperature to form the material easily and quench is applied (cooling of high temperature material with fast cooling rate) we need to know its behaviour for accurate forming process. I also witnessed and participated while obtained the data through experiment. We were using Gleeble quenching machine, and it was my first time experiencing research works. Kinda frustrating when your speciment fail due to small mistake.

Live in Pohang

Pohang is number 9th most populated city in South Korea. Albeit it does not have high modernity compared to Seoul, it was really a nice city to live. Postech located on sub-urban area apart from downtown and crowded city part. Still the downtown and famous city part are easy to reach via bus transportation. Postech has complete facilites for student including football field, gymnasium, swimming pool, library (really cool library though), and student cafetaria. You can buy your daily needs at convenience store inside campus area but big convenience store like HomePlus is also easy to reach, only one bus ride to reach. Final say, location of POSTECH is convenient for students.

The internship offers valuable experience on steel related research which you can really benefit of, specially for you who intend to apply for GIFT graduate program. Internship alumni has better chance of acceptance for the graduate program.

Backpacking to Seoul, the City of Love

Seoul or what I say as the city of love is my second city that I visited while I reside in Korea. City of love is my methapor of my impression on the capital city of South Korea. Not only because Seoul was full of in love couple or there was numerous romantic spot there, but the atmosphere there was saying that. Places like Namsan tower, Insadong neighborhood, and Cheonggyeochon were perfect for dating or even sightseeing together. Namsan tower has remarkable place for “couple love padlock” where couples write their name on the padlock expecting their love will prolong forever.

Love lock of Namsan
Love lock of Namsan

I spent 3 days and 2 nights there. Because I was by myself back there, I chose backpacker inn for my staying place. Lots of help from my Korean friends to arrange the inn reservation and also itinerary about famous and must visit spot in Seoul. Thank you Kim Hak-Rae! I stayed in Yellowbrick backpacker inn located near Insa-dong area. And for transportation I used only bus and subway because they are far cheaper than taxi. Avoid taxi unless your wallet is thick. My suggestion when you first arrived at seoul is to buy a T-money card at nearby convenience store. This works as electronic money you can use almost everywhere from buying subway ticket until buy cigarettes at convenience store. For commuting activities, it is very practice for bus and subway. Actually you can buy ticket manually with paper money but that will bother you because as a backpacker you will travel by them a lot. Also you can get discounted price compared if you buy manual ticket. It is convenience and benefitting though. I met a friend from china whom had a T-money card he bought 5 years ago and it still worked. So make sure to buy one T-Money card because T-money also valid for supermarket and convenience store shopping. You can top up your balance at nearby convenience store like CU or cigarette store.

The Yellow Brick – Convenient place yet reasonable in price!

Price 4/5 – Affordable for backpacker traveler who seeks for sleeping place only.

Facilities 5/5 – Breakfast included (toast, milk, juices, coffee), laundry machine, internet and WiFi are working with fast connection, locker in each room for your belongings deposit.

Appereance 5/5 – Good interior design and really clean room.

Location 4/5 – Near to store, restaurant, and bar. But at late night nearby location very desolate! Located near Insadong neighbourhood and Cheonggyeochon. Takes 10 minutes on foot to reach closest subway.

FYI. TYB offers room type from dormitory mix until single room for woman. Of course the price depends on the number of people in the room. The more you get the cheaper it gets. I took the cheapest rate room which is the 8 people share room for male. Please consider if you cannot stand snoring sound because of 7 people there might be one person snore while they sleep. True story, happened to me. Statistically, one of 8 people snore while they sleep. It is okay if that one is you but if not, prepare for a hard time sleeping.

What to visit?

  1. Namdaemun + Namsan + N Tower

seoul night view Courtesy :http://seoulisforlover.blogspot.com

Namdaemun is a market selling everything. Unfortunately when I visit Namdaemun it was on Seolal day so literally everybody was celebrating with their family, all store were closed. To pay my dissapointment, I ate on the food stall (that fortunately still opened) along the Namdaemun alley. They sell various kind of Korean food snack like kimbab, tteokbokki, soju, twigim (fried), sundae, and many others. After eating, I asked to the ahjumma where is the nearest tourist place from Namdaemun. I did not expect to travel to other place than Namdaemun market that night because I think shopping there would take whole night. Ahjumma said to go go Namsan tower, not very far from here. Not very sure of her suggestion, I asked nearby police station and so they said so. “Just go up the hill” they said. I was kinda surprised that they had good english because most of people in Seoul avoiding me when I talk in English.

In the chilly night, I was walking by myself climbing the hill to Namsan tower. The sight of Namsan tower slightly getting bigger along the steepness of hill. The sight of couples walking hand in hand slowly getting massive. I was climbing the stairs to the top among tenth of couples varying of teenage couple to elder couple. At that time I started thinking maybe it is a bad choice to visit Namsan by myself. But show must goes on, finally I reached the top so I can clearly saw the tower. Drenched in sweat because I tried to save some thousand won not to take the gondola so I climbed until the top on foot. Nothing special about the tower actually but that was not what couples thinked. Suddenly I remembered what my Korean friend told me about Namsan, “do not go there because it is dating place for couple”. And yeaah, I finally regretted to go there. But it is such a waste to not going up to the top of the tower which requires several thousand won (it is VERY EXPENSIVE) and have to wait around 1 hour on the queque because LOTS of people want to go to the top. I was just curious and thinked that at least I can show off to my friend that I have ever been to top of Namsan tower. Waiting in loneliness among the crowd of people is sad, it is one of the worst feeling on earth I think. I sought for solo traveler like me whom I can make friend and chat with but there was not any. In the end I went to the top by myself and deeply regretted to go the top of the tower because again it was dating site for couple. Enjoying Seoul romantic night view while drinking coffee and eating cake could not be better unless you are by yourself. Nothing to do so I decided to go back.

Tips: Sorry for my informative personal story but I strongly recommend you only visit Namsan if you are with somebody to accompany you, best if you visit with your couple. The atmosphere is so good for dating. If you want to lock padlock of love there, do not forget to bring your padlock and the key. Do not take the gondola, along the stairs to Namsan tower you can enjoy Seoul’s beautiful night view.

  1. Myeongdong

Myeongdong was very crowded at that time, noted that I visit Seoul at Seollal (one of biggest national holiday). This complex is a shopping district with numerous of most prominent fashion brand outlet located here. Several names like uniqlo, forever21, nike, until cosmetics brands like faceshop and etude could be found there. Nothing really special there but the atmosphere there was very nice. Crowded yet lovely are best to describe myeongdong area. I visit myeongdong with my newly met acquaintance. He is a chinese who lived in the USA. He told me that the goods’ price in myeongdong did not any differ from USA goods, which is pricey. I agreed about that because the price was considerably high, compared to the approximate price in my home country, Indonesia. Food stalls alson pricey there, but in the alley we founded relatively cheap beef soup restaurant so we ate there.

  1. Insadong

I visited insadong on a rainy night when I craved for dinner. So I decided to walk along the insadong, try my luck if I can found any cheap souvenirs. Insadong differs from Namdaemun or Dongdaemun whereas they sell antiques and artworks which reasonably more expensive than ordinary souvenirs. Just walk around the street even you are not gonna buy any goods there. The atmosphere there is such a waste to miss.

  1. Chongyeochon

The river was built upon Lee Myeong-Bak president era. President Lee was so eager at that time to reconstruct the old and dirty river into beautiful one which can become Seoul’s landmark. Now Mr. Lee’s dream has came true since Chonggyeochon has became tourist’s favourite spot in Seoul. You can walk either side the river from the beginning to the end of river, there is no charge for entering this place because it is public place where everyone can enter. But there is time restriction at night, I forgot what time is the maximum visit time. First time I visited the river, it was after heavy rain weather and so the river is kind of overflow. For the sake of safety, people are not allowed to enter the sideway. But the day after, I entered the river from Dongdaemun area just to walk along the sideway. The immense light would be very beautiful at night and at noon and day time is also nice to walk around enjoying the breeze.

  1. Gyeongbukgung + Sejong centre

Gyeongbuk palace is one of compulsory place to visit in Seoul. IMO, there was no attractive things to see at the

King sejong
King sejong

palace. Just an ordinary Korean old time palace but tons of tourists always seen there. For first time visit, it is okay to roaming around the palace to get some photo of the scenery. Do not forget to take picture at the mandatory place which is the King Sejong and his admiral statue at the road in front of Gyeongbuk palace. I was more interested when visiting the Sejong centre where the display there tells the majesty of King Sejong. FYI King Sejong is the one who invented Hangul (Korean alphabet) and master in astronomy study back in his era. I took a free hangul writing session where I could write my name in Korean using brush and ink (traditional style) and bring it home as a souvenir.

Ice rink
Ice rink


The scenery at Gyeongbuk area is surrounded by mega and tall building of corporate and governmental company. It is a scenery in the middle of busy corporate activities! President Lee Myung Bak also had his work leftover at this area, which is the ice rink in the town hall.


What to eat and where?

Gwangjang Market for varied korean street food

Gwangjang market is traditional market selling korean all kind of street food. Name from mini kimbab, japchae, sundae, odeng, tteokbokki, twigim (fried), bibimbab, and many others are available here. I only tasted jeon (fried flour), kimbab, japchae, and twigim because that was my limit on digest food. My recommendation if you visit here is to try mini-kimbab, japchae, twigim, and hotteok. Kimbab made from rice rolled like sushi and wrapped by seaweed. Japchae is mixed fried vermicelli with seasoned vegetables. Twigim is fried food. Hotteok is sweet pancake. All of the foods stated above is considered halal. If you are curious about tteokbokki, try to search JAWS store. JAWS serves the most delicious tteokbokki among others, try to google JAWS location closest to your location! It is a kind of franchise chain store which serves korean snack food including the famous tteok.

For dinner, supper, or lunch you can eat anywhere because there is no difficulty to find restaurant in Seoul. I always go to humble looking restaurant for cheap price, considerable price to eat is around 5000 – 8000 won per portion.

Where to shop?

Fashion items: Dongdaemun shopping district (not recommended because of high price), Hongdae area (I have never been there but lots of people says they sell unique and cheap fashion items)

Cheap souvenirs: Namdaemun market for cheap and varied kind of items.

Well that is my summary of my time back there. There is still a lot of place in Seoul I’ve not visited yet, famous place like Gangnam, COEX Aquarium, Hongdae area, and 63 tower. My post is about places that recommended as cheap and nice place to visit because there is not much distance between each other. Transportation and roaming time can be saved so I could enjoy Seoul more. Enjoy Seoul!