SSchlumberger Fellows: Chanh’s Open Door Policy

Chanh Cao Minh—Schlumberger Fellow and Director of Measurements, Drilling and Reservoir Characterization Groups

Characterization Groups

What attracted me to Schlumberger early in my career was the possibility to live and work around the world. Now, after more than 40 years with the company, what makes me stay is the unique culture that bonds all of us at Schlumberger. Once during a training trip to France, Andrew Gould, former CEO, called me into his office as I was passing by hurriedly, and during our conversation, he told me that his door was always open to young field engineers. (1978 picture of me sitting on the Formation Density Compensated (FDC) logging tool at the British Training Center (BTC) in Livingston, Scotland, UK).

Schlumberger Fellows

This example of accessibility to management is something that I have always liked about Schlumberger, but what really mattered that day was the sense of a culture that I shared with everyone, from the CEO to field personnel. Throughout my career, I value the discussions that I have had with many distinguished people in the company and in the industry. One never knows enough in a discipline as large and complex as Reservoir Characterization while drilling and wireline logging.

Friendly, open-door policy

One of my goals is to instill that culture and forge that bond in future generations. So, my door is always open, and no appointment is needed when someone passes by and wants to talk. Another goal of mine is to contribute to making Schlumberger the undisputed technical leader in the industry. The ways I try to make a difference are by providing solutions for our customers, mentoring young engineers, and guiding the technology roadmap. Making a difference means thinking outside the box and beyond what is current and available today.

A global career

Originally from Vietnam, I joined Schlumberger in 1978 as a wireline field engineer in Orleans, France, immediately after obtaining a civil degree in mechanical and electrical engineering. After a couple of years, I moved to Stavanger, Norway, to work as a general field engineer and then to Aberdeen, Scotland, to work as petrophysicist for the UK region. Over the years, I have lived in France, the UK, Norway, Indonesia, China, Saudi Arabia, Angola, and the US, working as petrophysicist in Europe, managing the computing centers and interpretation development for Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and for China, Japan, and Korea, serving as a research scientist at the Schlumberger-Doll Research Center (SDR) in Connecticut, USA, and working as the Combinable Magnetic Resonance (CMR) tool project manager at the Houston Formation Evaluation Center (HFE) in Sugar Land, Texas, USA.

Prior to my current position, I was the director of measurements for D&M from November 2008 to June 2014. Shortly after, I was nominated a Fellow. I learned the good news while I was working in Luanda, Angola. This shows the company recognizes your contributions wherever you are. You just need to excel in what you do. In 2014, I was named a Fellow for the Drilling and Reservoir Characterization groups. This is uncommon because I work across two groups to develop measurement synergies between them and because of my background, which gives me a unique perspective. I really know what it is like to be the scientist who conceives, the engineer who builds, the field engineer who delivers and the client who applies that technology at every step of the service delivery line. In my new role, I focus on the measurements aspects, including cutting-edge technology, skilled workforce, modern software platform, and synergy, for now and in the future.

Excellent training and support to succeed

I have always received excellent training at Schlumberger, from classroom lectures to on-the-job training and mentoring. Of particular importance to me was learning to think creatively as a research scientist at SDR and to develop practical solutions at HFE. What keeps me motivated is technology and its applications.

Schlumberger has always provided comfortable shelter for my family when we lived abroad. I do not expect the company to manage my work/life balance but to provide support to help me succeed. Instead, it is my responsibility to manage my work/life balance. After more than 40 years of marriage, raising two successful adult children while living across the globe, I think I probably did alright.

Chanh earned a Bachelor’s degree in civil and mechanical engineering and a Master’s degree in electronic and electrical engineering with honors from the University of Liege, Belgium. He holds 20 patents and has authored papers and articles for more than 100 publications. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (SPWLA), and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and served on the SPWLA Technical Committee from 2008 to 2010. Chanh received the Performed by Schlumberger (PBS) Silver award in 2007 for “Scanner Family Deepwater Exploration Grand Slam” and the PBS Bronze award in 2005 for “MR Scanner and Diffusion-Relaxation Maps.” The PBS award recognizes employees and projects that have a strong business impact for Schlumberger and its customers. He also serves as an Advisor to the Japan Center for Deep Earth Exploration (CEDEX-JAMSTEC).

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