Borderless Careers

Date: 12/08/2011

Meet Marina, Reservoir Engineer

Location: Almaty, Kazakhstan
Degree: Masters, Reservoir Engineering
Institute: Heriot-Watt University, United Kingdom
Start Date: 2009

Marina joined Schlumberger in 2009 as a Reservoir Engineer (RE) working for the company’s Data & Consulting Services (DCS) division. DCS provides services and expert consultants who work in teams alongside oil and gas company staff to model the geology of reservoirs and help develop plans to produce hydrocarbons economically.

What do you do at Schlumberger?

I am based at the Schlumberger offices in Almaty, and occasionally travel to places such as Abu Dhabi for training. I work on projects for oil and gas companies based here in Kazakhstan and also for clients in neighboring Azerbaijan. I use specialist software—particularly Petrel


seismic-to-simulation software—to build computer models of oil and gas reservoirs based on seismic and other data. I then use packages such as ECLIPSE simulation software to predict how oil, gas and water will behave when it is produced from wells. When I started as a trainee I worked with more experienced reservoir engineers, but I am now able to perform projects by myself. I am sharing some of the knowledge I have gained by mentoring a trainee reservoir engineer who is studying at the Polytechnic University here in Almaty.

Why did you decide to be a Reservoir Engineer?

The oil and gas business is very big in Kazakhstan. Some members of my family are already involved in the industry and I could see that they had interesting and rewarding jobs. They encouraged, and helped train me, to build the skills and get the qualifications required to be an RE.

Marina What are the best things about your job?

Working as a consultant with DCS is very interesting and gives me a high level of personal responsibility. The work is never routine—each project involves different types of data and technical challenges. Recent projects have included planning infill drilling programs, evaluating and predicting well performance, and helping to decide how to improve well production using technologies such as fracturing and acidizing. Our customers are putting their trust in me and I am increasingly responsible for whole projects—from initial preparation through to writing the report—liaising closely with the client all the time. The job enables me to enjoy my interests out of work, which include skiing, hiking, cycling, swimming, salsa music and dance.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

The work involves many technical and intellectual challenges, and these are very interesting and stimulating. My biggest challenge has been balancing work and home life, particularly since my baby was born. He is now at kindergarten so looking after him is getting easier. Schlumberger has been willing to be a bit flexible in my working hours, which helps me to manage my time.

What advice would you give to a young person considering becoming a Reservoir Engineer?

There is a lot more to being an RE than just being good at using the software. We are the brains of the system, not just button pushers. Practice your skills using data from different companies and situations to build your confidence.

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