Tullow Oil marked International Women in Engineering Day by asking some of our female engineers to share their experiences in what is still today a male dominated industry.
Tullow wants to achieve better inclusion and diversity and one of the ways in which we do this is through leadership, developing leaders and visible role models from our business who demonstrate inclusive diversity.
On 23 June, Tullow Oil marked International Women in Engineering Day, by asking some of our female engineers to share their experiences in what is still today a male dominated industry.
Sandy Stash is Tullow’s Executive Vice President, Safety, Operations and Engineering and External Affairs. Sandy has spent the last four years as VP of Safety, Sustainability and External Affairs at Tullow. One of two females in the Tullow Executive team, Sandy is also a long-standing Director and Member of the Executive Committee of the International Women’s Forum in Washington DC.
I am a petroleum engineer by degree and attended the Colorado School of Mines. I am a director of the Board of Governors of the school with a Distinguished Alumni Medallist.
To women considering a career in Engineering I would say, embrace the confidence you get by knowing how things work – the essence of engineering – and wear that confidence proudly in every piece of work you do and in every business interaction.
Alexandra Thomas is Tullow’s Business Unit Manager of our Non Operated Assets and Decommissioning. She was the first Tullow employee in the Dutch Exploration and Production office and rose to the rank of Country Manager for Tullow Netherlands.
I started my career in the oil industry as a Reservoir Engineer, after graduating in Physics at the University of Edinburgh.
I moved to the UK in 2015 and became Business Unit Manager, with responsibility for all non-operated production for Tullow and all decommissioning activities both operated and non-operated.
The most enjoyable aspect of any of the roles I have done is the combination of the technical know-how and working with people - the oil industry is fundamentally both a technical and extremely diverse business. I have also found that my engineering background is beneficial to me in my daily work even now that I am in general management, as it helps me to understand the full breadth of the challenges the business faces.
Elizabeth Loudon was told at age 14 that she couldn’t be an Engineer because women don’t do engineering but she rose above it and now the Subsurface Manager at Tullow Ghana Limited with 25 years’ experience, the majority of which has been working in Africa.
I am the Subsurface Manager of Tullow Ghana Limited with 25 years working experience. I work with a team of 35 fantastically hard working professionals who thrive on the challenge of delivering the undeliverable.
I love the pace of the oil industry and the fact it provides opportunities to travel and work with various different cultures. I am frequently asked what it feels like to be a women in the industry and interestingly, it is a difficult question to answer for the simple fact that I do not see myself as a minority in a male dominated environment. I see myself as a professional amongst professionals.
I would encourage women to focus on the job, be the best, and most of the stereotypes will fall away. Women will have to work harder in the beginning of a career, but persistence will surely lead to success.
Michelle Boit is a Well Services Engineer at Tullow Kenya. She is the first Kenyan woman in Petroleum Engineering and a member of the team starting up oil production in Kenya.
I have risen through the ranks at Tullow to become a Senior Production Engineer responsible for all production aspects of Kenya’s Early Oil Pilot Scheme.
Apart from making my kids proud and being able to provide for them, my passion lies in encouraging young girls to take up STEM education and challenging them to defy expectations. I have created a Mentorship Programme designed to empower students, graduates and young professionals in Kenya as well as give them opportunity to participate in the burgeoning oil and gas industry starting with Kenyatta University Petroleum Engineering students.
Pamela Kyomugisha is a Petroleum Engineer in the Developments & Operations team at our corporate headquarters.
My daily duties are within the interface between the reservoir and the well. This includes sand risk assessment and subsequent control options, downhole temperature modelling for wax management and data acquisition. Operationally, I do well testing planning, monitor daily production, troubleshooting well performance problems. I then advice on possible solutions in terms of programme revisions, development implications and future work.
To anyone considering becoming an oil and gas engineer, I would say Engineering gives you a chance to transform your ideas to tangible results quickly and has a wide space for you to exercise your creativity.
Swati Gupta is a Group Senior Reservoir Engineer responsible for our EG/CDI Non- Operated team
My role involves analysing operator’s cost and production estimates, future drilling plans and where necessary challenge them and provide alternatives. In addition, I assist the Asset Manager with any Reservoir/ Production related issues, Reserves and Resource assessment and also provide guidance to other Engineers in the team. I also work on finding remaining potential of the field by integrating seismic, production data and evaluating the new infill target locations.
I would encourage every woman to trust and believe that your voice matters, and know that your words are good enough.
On work-life balance advice for professional mums, I would say that you cannot have it all. You have to make sacrifices and depend on the help of a lot of people. In my case I depend on my family and friends network for support!
Julia Shute is a Senior Reservoir Engineer at our corporate headquarters. With a degree in Mathematics, Julia chose to blaze the trail to the oil and gas industry where she found abundant and varied opportunities.
I have been working for Tullow as a reservoir engineer for the last six years initially on the Uganda and now on the Kenya team. During this time, I have had two daughters now aged three and one.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in mathematics I realised that I didn’t want to follow many of my contemporaries into jobs in the city. Instead, I secured a place to study for a masters in aeronautical engineering and was subsequently recruited into the oil and gas industry.
Work has allowed me to work in London, Aberdeen and The Netherlands and travel to the North Sea offshore platforms and well sites in Uganda. I have been lucky enough to have great mentors, both men and women, throughout my career and I look forward to the next chapter of learning to balance being a mother with a demanding job. I am glad I made the decision to pursue a technical career as now have more options as to where my career goes next.
Lisa Kara is a Completions Engineer at Tullow Kenya. She got into the oil and gas industry through entry-level training. With continuous competency development, Lisa has developed a greater understanding of the operations and the industry as a whole.
I joined Tullow in October 2014 as a graduate wellsite completions engineer after completing my BSc Civil and Structural Engineering degree from the University of Nairobi. I went through the two-year Well Engineering Development Program (WEDP); an intensive, structured program which entails 34 online module submissions coupled with hands-on job training and mentoring.
I would encourage all budding female professionals to appreciate and enjoy the process of building a career. Growth is a timely affair so put in the work, be bold and make mistakes while you can still afford to and learn from them. Be proactive and make the most of the resources around you.
Esi Tunde-Anjous is the Reliability & Improvement Lead in the Project Management & Engineering team at Tullow Ghana Limited. She is one of the first young females to have risen to a technical leadership role in Ghana.
My position coordinates the identification of reliability improvement opportunities for the FPSO topsides facilities, identified to be critical to continuous operation and manages the concept development phase of the resulting projects.
For women joining the profession, be confident with who you are and your capabilities. Be bold and contribute as much as possible – your perspective may be unique and may just be the element required for success.