SPE WA Scholarships, 2016 28 Dec 2016

The Western Australia Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE WA) provides scholarships annually to support Western Australian university students specialising in fields of study that will lead to a professional career in petroleum engineering.

In 2016, the WA Section of SPE offered four scholarships with a value of $2,500 aimed at engineering students in Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry. These scholarships are aimed at recognising, encouraging and assisting talented and passionate individuals who are the industry’s up-and-coming energy professionals.

The recipients of the 2016 awards were selected based on academic performance, extra-curricular and volunteer involvements, and demonstrated interest in the oil and gas industry.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 scholarships:

  • Andrew Pelc, Chemical Engineering, University of Western Australia
  • Christopher Evans, Petroleum Engineering, Curtin University
  • Lauren Malaxos, Chemical Engineering, University of Western Australia
  • Rory Machell, Petroleum Engineering, Curtin University

The scholarships were presented by SPE WA 2015-2016 Chairperson, Stephanie Lim, at the Technical Lunch and Annual General Meeting on 14 July 2016.

SPEWA 2016 Scholarships Recipient – Profile No2, Andrew Pelc

I am a 4th year Chemical Engineering student at the University of Western Australia. My interest in the oil and gas industry began after participating in a high school program where I was given the opportunity to learn about the industry and its many roles and professions. This interest in the oil and gas industry lead to me to studying engineering at UWA. Where, as a member of SPE student chapter, I have had the opportunity to further expose myself to the industry. It is the level of scale and technology used in the oil and gas industry to overcome the challenges presented that I find most exciting, I look forward to having the opportunity to contribute to these solutions among a team of professionals in my future. As a student I remain unexperienced and my career goals first include joining a leading oil and gas producer, allowing me to gain valuable knowledge and experience in the oil and gas industry. I hope to further my education and become an experienced engineer within the field and aim to enter a leadership position. An aspiration of mine is to work within a highly knowledgeable team to contribute towards innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the oil and gas industry. I believe that by utilising my knowledge to work towards solutions that encompass all aspects of business I can add value to the petroleum engineering community.

The SPE WA scholarship will give me the opportunity to continue and increase my involvement in volunteer and extracurricular activities alongside my education. Allowing me to continuously strive to improve not only my own personal and technical skills but to continue to provide a positive impact to our community.

SPE WA 2016 Scholarships Recipient – Profile No3, Lauren Malaxos

I am a first year Master of Professional Engineering student at the University of Western Australia (UWA) specialising in Chemical Engineering. I completed my Bachelor of Science from UWA at the end of 2015, majoring in both Engineering Science and Management, and the anticipated graduation date for the completion of my Masters degree is mid-2018.

I am interested in a career in oil and gas because it is a dynamic and complex industry that is has huge potential for further developments and innovations within its many processes and technologies. I believe working in this industry would provide a constant challenge, yet be fulfilling in the impact it has worldwide in terms of global energy supply, which I find extremely exciting. My passion for the oil and gas industry began at my time working with IBM, where I assisted in the Operations Application Delivery of INPEX’s Ichthy's LNG plant in January and December 2015. During this time, I was involved in many projects such as Corrosion and Erosion, Hydrocarbon Accounting and Production Planning, and learned a lot about the production and processing of natural gas. Listening in on the discussions about each project inspired me to do my own research into the LNG industry and learn more about the complexities in the technology required in designing and developing an operating LNG plant. I have carried this interest with me, where I studied oil and gas related topics whilst on student exchange in Trondheim, Norway, and was introduced to the basics of oil refining plants, feedstocks, fluid flows in pipelines, and issues and challenges associated with the exploration and transport of crude oil and gas.

My career goals involve aiming to work as part of a graduate program that exposes me to many sectors of oil and gas and broadens my overall knowledge and understanding of the industry, leading me into working onsite in either the exploration or development sectors of oil and gas. I aspire to becoming a knowledgeable and reputable person in the field of oil and gas, so that I can contribute new knowledge to the industry. This could involve developing new technologies or designing new types of production plants or processes that optimise parts of upstream exploration and development, which will improve efficiency of the industry in terms of either cost, health impact, or both. Cleaner, more efficient processes will reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas companies, and technologies that maximise the recovery of hydrocarbons in an economic way will greatly improve the profitability of the industry.

Being awarded the SPE Scholarship will assist me greatly in achieving these career goals via both financial and reputational means. The money associated with the scholarship will reduce the financial pressure of earning money during the upcoming semester, allowing me more time to focus on my studies and have a better chance at achieving competitive marks in order to successfully obtain vacation work at a reputable global oil and gas company. A vacation position at one of these companies will jumpstart my exposure and experience in the workforce and hopefully assist being accepted into a graduate program that will further develop my knowledge and skills, helping me work my way to becoming an influential person who can have a positive impact on the industry. The merit and prestige associated with being a recipient of the scholarship will also add a competitive edge to my resume which is crucial in this time period due to both the downturn in the industry and the high number of other talented and eligible students. Many companies are taking less vacation students or not running their vacation programs at all, and the competition in applying for these positions is fierce. Finally, the SPE Scholarship has helped confirm to myself that all the hard work I have put into my degree over the past three and a half years is paying off. It has given me the confidence boost to continue in the direction I am heading and motivate me to continue to learn more about the oil and gas industry and work to bring others into it. I cannot be more grateful at being chosen to be one of the recipients of this prestigious scholarship, and look forward to being involved with SPE in the future.

SPE WA 2016 Scholarships Recipient – Profile No4, Rory Machell

My name is Rory Machell and I am currently in the penultimate year of my Bachelor of Engineering (Petroleum) at Curtin University, where I will graduate at the end of 2017.

I see hydrocarbons as the lifeblood of our civilisation – they have been both directly and indirectly critical to almost every aspect of human development over the past century. At a broad level, when I think about the impact I want to have on the world, I want to contribute to increasing globally affordable access to something that is so central to human development, and everything we have and do.

By its nature, I think the oil and gas industry presents some of the most technically challenging engineering problems. I feel this has led to an innovative and tenacious culture, which is characterised by diverse teams pushing the boundaries of what is currently possible – this is the type of industry that excites me and that I want to work in.

However, what excites me the most about Petroleum Engineering, is that no two problems are ever the same, and the natural heterogeneities of geology add another level of complexity and ambiguity to problem solving – the feeling that I can work an entire career and continue to learn and be challenged by new problems every day is one of the most exciting things about the industry.

My future career goals are to complete my Petroleum Engineering degree with First Class Honours and gain employment as a Graduate Petroleum Engineer with a world-class oil and gas Exploration and Production company.

From there, my goal is to integrate into the company as a junior Petroleum Engineer, develop my technical, commercial and leadership capabilities, and increase both the value I deliver to the company, the industry and the community. I want to find others on the same career path as me, and I hope to work with them to build each other professionally.

Defining long-term career goals while still completing an undergraduate degree is something that I find more difficult and abstract. But I aspire to develop my capabilities to a point where I am able to lead others – either in a business unit, asset, or company.

Receiving the SPE WA 2016 Scholarship will ease the financial burden of studying fulltime, and allow me to focus on studying, contributing to the leadership of SPE Curtin Student Chapter and undertaking work experience.

I also feel that receiving the SPE WA 2016 scholarship is a symbol of SPE WA’s recognition and confidence in me, and will help make me a more attractive employment candidate in the future.