A Young Professional Making Her Move in the Industry (Page 1 of 2) 28 Jan 2011

Having just returned from Antarctica, Sarah Loh is now back to reality and ready to pursue her dream of becoming a petroleum engineer. From a young age she was drawn to science and grew up fascinated with the technical aspects of the engineering industry.

"I also enjoy travelling and find producing a tangible product incredibly satisfying," Loh said. "Petroleum engineering ticked all these boxes and gave me the best shot at having a global career that influences the lives of those around me and provides a lasting contribution to the world."

Loh followed her dream and studied a degree in petroleum engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) which she completed in 2010, after finishing the year on the Dean's Honour List. Even though the course was tough, Loh said it was the most rewarding at its most challenging, which was most of the time.

"I've met some of the most amazing, inspiring and brilliant people during the last four years, and I've learnt so much," she said. "It's exciting to realise that there's still so much to learn."

While Loh was learning in the classroom, she was also lucky enough, as a UNSW Co-op scholar, to gain some practical experience.

She spent three summers as a reservoir engineering and production technology intern on established, and pre-FID, fields.

"These experiences have made me hungry for more and I'm really looking forward to graduate work," Loh said.

All of Loh's hard work has paid off and she's secured herself a graduate position with Woodside Energy in Western Australia which she'll begin in 2011.

"Before all that, though, there's some adventurous globe-trotting to be done," she said.

Loh has already had her fair share of travel adventures, exploring places as diverse as Cambodia, Texas, and of course Antarctica.

"Antarctica was beautiful beyond measure," she said.

"I joined an ice-strengthened expedition ship for my trip and was amazed at what I experienced every hour of every day. It was truly the trip of a lifetime and possibly the best graduation gift I could have given myself.

"The Antarctic cruise took about 10 days but this varies with weather conditions. We had great weather the whole way through except this tiny spot towards the end when the sea went a bit nuts. There's also an 18 day one that takes in South Georgia and the Falklands as well, I'm planning on doing that one summer 2015/2016.

"I am incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel while in school and at university," she said.

"There are still so many places to visit and cultures to experience. Every time I go somewhere, I get even more ideas, often from the amazing people I meet along the way. I'm really excited for all the experiences I have planned for the next few years.

But for now the keen traveller has her sights set on working in the resource-rich state of Australia.

"I see WA as the hub for oil and gas exploration and production in Australia," she said.

"Internships in Perth have shown me what a great city it is, there's so much natural beauty, countless things to do and a great set of people to do them with. I'm hoping to gain priceless field experience with Woodside to improve my engineering judgement and enhance any technical work that I do."

In the next five to 10 years Loh hopes to gain extensive field exposure and a solid understanding of the technical aspects of O&G engineering.

"After that I would like to transition into a management role while still being involved in some technical aspects of the industry," she said.

The roles Loh has filled in various student societies, such as SPE's Student Chapter, while at university, have exposed her to managerial positions which she's really enjoyed. She was the vice president for the NSW SPE Student Chapter and her main responsibilities were to be the point of contact for students, keep track of chapter activities and make sure plans were actualised.

"I also played a major role in organising the Annual Dinner and Awards Night, which is our major event that promotes student contact with industry professionals and potential employers while promoting technical discussion," she said.