The downturn has been challenging for petroleum graduates. It is more difficult to find a job now than it was a couple of years ago. In an effort to encourage graduates and to send a positive signal to young professionals who work for the oil and gas industry, Statoil is offering around 30 paid 1-year internships under the guidance of mentors. The Statoil website states: "Through this program Statoil wants to give graduates work experience and kick-start their career. The graduates will have specific tasks and projects for learning purposes under the guidance of a mentor. They will be paid during their 12-month internship period, but they will not contribute directly to the day-to-day operation of the company."
Himchand Persad is a second year petroleum engineering honors student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is an international student from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and is actively involved in a number of energy and community outreach ventures. Persad is the president of Opportunity Foundation, an international non-profit focused on assisting impoverished children in Trinidad and Tobago through a tutoring curriculum that develops entrepreneurial skills. The initiative recognizes the social ills that often plague developing nations, and promotes education and entrepreneurship as instruments to uplift communities. Tutors and mentors (both national and international) are primarily university students, industry professionals, religious leaders, politicians, and business owners who are passionate about creating a positive impact in communities across Trinidad and Tobago.
One of the most memorable programs of the MSc petroleum engineering degree course work at Imperial College, London, has been the Intra-Mentoring Group Project. This interesting and challenging exercise involved an integrated study, evaluation, and development of a real reservoir using actual field data provided by the field operator. The truly unique aspect of this project was the way in which the students were organized into self-mentoring teams. This year, the field under study was the Wytch Farm project operated by BP. This was one of the capstone projects of the MSc program, because it involved integrating the different disciplines in teams to face a real-life petroleum engineering work situation.
Three young professionals shared advice for career and personal advancement as well as information about their involvement in and growth through SPE and other activities in a special panel session at the 2006 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. Attendees at the "Young Professionals: Tips, Advice, and Networking" event also learned about the importance of mentoring and were given the opportunity to meet with other professionals and company management. Moderated by Josh Etkind, Reservoir Engineer–Surveillance for Shell E&P, the panel also included Gillian King, Product Line Champion, Sand Control Systems for Weatherford Intl. Discussing the help of mentors in his career, Daniels said he "jumped into the deep end" early in his career and he was glad there was a lifeguard on duty. "Young professionals have a responsibility to seek out people to learn as much as they can," he said.
The SPE Student Development Committee (SDC) was born 40 years ago, although under a different name. While its name has changed, its mission has remained the same: to encourage students to develop and enjoy the advantages of SPE membership. The SDC, which is composed of SPE volunteers, recommends student programs to be initiated at the global society level and works with staff members to implement approved programs. The SDC encourages SPE sections to develop active student-relations programs with student chapters in their areas. Additionally, the SDC implements and monitors the Regional and International Student Paper Contests and the SPE Outstanding Student Chapter Program.
This article features some of the SPE mentors who are currently accepting mentees, and they share their reasons for participating in the program. SPE eMentoring program provides young members an opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of experienced professionals from around the world. Young professionals can both get a mentor and serve as a mentor to a student considering an oil and gas career. Swift Energy uses a training-cum-mentorship model to get new engineers up to speed, reduce nonproductive time and increase technical knowledge. Videos featuring industry leaders across all SPE disciplines are being collected.
SPE eMentoring Stories Fábio Terzini Soares, PHD Student, Mentee I joined the SPE eMentoring program as a mentee because I was looking for advice and guidance on how to make the transition from the academia back to the oil and gas industry. Coincidentally, my mentor Kai Eberspaecher and I live in the same city. I did not know this when I chose him as my mentor. Because of this, we were able to catch up over coffee many times during my time with the program. Most of our communication was done in person, but we also connected via email.
My main motivation as a mentor is to give back to others joining this great and fascinating industry. I have had some very good mentors in my time, and I would like to share career and development advice with others as well. My mentee, Fábio, and I got in touch once or twice a month through email, or we would meet in person for a coffee. Fábio and I were a good connection and fit. I always find that there is something that the mentor and mentee can learn from each other.
I joined the eMentoring program to share my experiences with fellow young professionals. I wanted to guide them on the kind of attitude required to work outside of their comfort zones and to get work done safely and efficiently. Since we're from the same generation, we will all have faced similar issues and problems and can learn from each other along the way. After building an initial rapport, my mentees and I agreed to communicate via email once a week. I believe that good mentoring requires two-way communication.