What Are We Doing to Prepare Our Students for the Real World?

The third day of the EOG Upstream Convention, held on December 10, was dedicated for the youth under the name of Young Professionals Day.

Kelly Bone, the CEO of Wolfpack Holdings and the organizer of the day, started the welcome and kick off session with success stories of young attendees, as she said that developing the youth is her passion.

“One thing that I absolutely love to do is to ensure that whenever I am in front of people speaking, I give you an experience to remember,” she said

The session was full of entertainment, participation, and motivational speeches from role models seeking to encourage the youth to learn how to succeed and follow their dreams and goals.

“My commitment to you is that you will leave today having an experience, you will leave having an idea on your purposes,” Kelly said.

During the session, Kelly shared a glimpse of last year’s Young Professionals Day and its success, saying that 2019 witnessed an increase in registration. Through last year’s Young Professionals Day, the effective habits that anyone should have to be successful was a theme explored, where Kelly had elaborated on the power of time in addition to the importance of mindset.

According to Bone, when you think big, your aim will be high and then you can do what you once thought was impossible.

Kelly praised the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, for receiving the letters sent to him from young professionals in last year’s Young Professionals Day, adding that he responded saying that in order to develop young people and move forward, Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE), digitalization, modernization, and innovation should lead the way.

Then Kelly Bone invited Creig Robertson, Country Manager of TransGlobe, to talk about his experience in 2018 who said that “the young professionals energized me with their optimism.”

According to Robertson, the one thing that changed his career is a personal development plan, adding that “once you achieve your goal, you will update it again and you will keep moving forward.”

He ended his speech advising the young professional to “drive on enthusiasm to achieve your targets, because you will enjoy it.”

After that, Bone called Moustafa Oraby, Professor of Petroleum Engineering, to share his experiences with the youth. He started his speech saying, “never stop learning because when you learn, you will get opportunities,” emphasizing that there is always a link between higher education and the industry.

“Go for the best, learn as much as you can especially at this time of the industry. We are looking for new technology, new ideas, new hopes and that actually comes with learning,” Oraby added. According to the professor, this will help the youth to know more about the industry and its challenges.

Oraby ended his speech advising the youth to “change your mindset, look at the bigger picture, look out of the box and make sure that you are actually up to the challenge,” he concluded.

EGYPS Women in Energy

The second session of the third day provided a space for young professional entrepreneurs to share their success stories, in addition to announcing EGYPS Women in Energy nominees. The session unfolded the success stories of three different women working in the petroleum career.

Adding Value to Your Workplace

Heba Aboelnasr, an Automotive Lubes Territory Manager at ExxonMobil Egypt, started the stream of success stories, saying that she wanted to highlight in her presentation how much anyone can add value to wherever he/she is. “You do not have to be like a typical in-the-box definition to add value to where you are,” she added.

Aboelnasr said that her life motto is derived from her favorite quote from the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. “Grit is passion and sustained persistence applied towards long-term achievement, with no concern for rewards or recognition along the way. Grit is when you commit your goals that can take months, years or even decades,” she quoted. Accordingly, she said that she thinks “if you have grit or passion in whatever you are doing, you can reach there.”

According to Aboelnasr, she started her career as a fuel’s delivery planner, where she faced challenges at that time because she was working all the time without any vacations, in addition to that, she was the only woman working with eight men.

Subsequently, Aboelnasr was assigned to be a Process Improvement Advisor, then Business Continuity Advisor, then Zone Process Advisor, and Europe Pricing Advisor in Brussels, reaching to be Egypt’s Automotive Lubes Territory Manager at ExxonMobil.

Aboelnasr talked about the importance of the people around her and how her mangers and family supported her in every step of the way. She emphasized her husband’s role, who was very appreciative of her career. “You should act as a team even in your home, to cooperate in making everyone successful”, Aboelnasr said.

She gave some tips to the youth at the end of her presentation saying, “you just need to always build the right network where you work,” adding that “you need to be in a good relationship with everyone.”

Advancing in the Petroleum Sector

Radwa Mourad Taman, the second nominee presented her success journey. She is a senior chemical engineer at Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (GUPCO).

Taman said that her dream was to be a chemical engineer and she worked hard to achieve this, alongside studying for her master’s degree. She started to develop her skills, and advancing as an Integrity Engineer at GUPCO, where she also got to be a part of many international conferences. She obtained two certificates for basic corrosion and internal corrosion for pipelines.

“I was nominated to be a board member in the Egyptian Engineers Syndicate after the 2016 elections,” she said. “I did not forget my career progress in GUPCO and I participated in the Modernization Program,” she added. Also, Taman was a part of Zohr’s employees career achievement by giving them sessions about analytical chemistry.

According to the chemical engineer, she began to search for how to connect renewable energy resources and how to save oil and gas consumption in Egypt.

Taman thanked her supportive family and her supportive peers saying that “they helped me really very much to achieve my career, to improve myself until now.”

Taman concluded her speech by advising the youth saying, “Please do not forget your academic career” and “do not put a ceiling to you dreams, just plan it well and you will achieve what you want.”

Breaking the Stereotype

The last nominee shared her success story with the young professionals was Rim Magdi, who works as a Wirleline Evaluation and Perforations Field Professional at Halliburton.

Magdi said that it was hard to start her career because her family refused her to be a field engineer.  She convinced them by claiming it was only a trial. Little did they know she would succeed.

She joined Halliburton where she worked at Bakr 122 well in Bakr Concession, which she loved so much, and felt it is her place.

According to Magdi, she faced some challenges throughout her career journey, where she worked and studied abroad as a single, young Egyptian female. She worked in harsh job conditions and supervised technicians and rig crews at a young age, saying that she “was supposed to lead crews whose oil field experiences exceeds my age,” hoping that she would be earning customer’s trust.

She also declared that she returned to work as a technical engineer as it is her passion and then joined Society of Petroleum Engineer (SPE) in 2018. She was a Public Relations (PR) representative and in 2019, she was selected to be the Deputy Technical Manager of Egypt Young Professional’s Chapter.

The field professional said that these events allowed her to grow and collaborate with other leaders in the industry. “I think we are building very good calibers as leaders for the industry,” she commented.

Magdi ended her presentation by advising the youth that “the responsibility of youth is to look for the new technology and to chase what is next.” She added, “because when you broaden your aspect, you are widening the pillar of your pyramid, and the wider the pyramid is, the higher it will go.”

Career Startup

As the third day offered a myriad of future potentials in the oil and gas industry, a few presented their success stories and inspired other fellow engineers during Career Start-up challenges and Milestones – Practical Stories to Share presentations.

First, Hosny Diab, Exploration Geologist at Schlumberger, shared his progress and achievements in the workforce, detailing how he always tries to develop himself by always learning. “I spent 981 days looking for a job after I left Shell,” said Diab, while elaborating on the struggles he faced through that tough time and the toll it has taken onto his personal life. One of the key ideas to take from his presentation is to always be hopeful, patient and to believe in yourself and your skills. He clarified that it is also important not to lose one’s track while job hunting. He concluded with a very clear message that even through dark times, one should never lose hope and one should never stop giving back.

The second speaker was Kareem Moussa, Account Coordinator at Baker Hughes, who presented his own five key elements to success which are, taking initiative, be ready to learn, be your own evaluator, show do not tell, and to be passionate. “Regardless of where you are coming from, or the years of experience, be always ready to learn. If you want to excel in your career, you have to be willing to learn,” Moussa advised. He concluded his presentation by asserting on the idea of following one’s passion as it is what keeps one going.

The third and final speaker was Sara Fakhry, Geologist at Trident Petroleum Egypt, who spoke about the struggles she faced as a woman in the energy field, and how she was told that she “cannot fit in the department” as it is a heavily male-dominated industry. Furthermore, she elaborated on how she transformed into ‘Ms. Geologist’; someone who knows her way around the field and managed to earn the respect of those who once belittled her. She also credited Al Amal Program, Egyptian Geophysical Society (EGS), for fostering her passion for Geology. “The greatest challenge I faced was to find me a fitting pair of shoes in the field” noted Fakhry, while shedding light on the rooted prejudice that extends to the lack of appropriate equipment for women in the field. She concluded her presentation by echoing Moussa’s ideas that one should always strive to develop oneself and to always find and follow one’s passion.

Young Professionals Technical Presentations

The Young Professionals Day continued to provide the youth attendees with not only successful young professional examples who managed to start their careers despite challenges, but also featured remarkable models of fresh young professionals who accomplished breakthroughs early on in their promising careers. In a session entitled Young Professionals Technical Presentations, two young professionals brought up their innovative ideas and researches, giving a glimpse of how they envision reshaping and promoting the future of the oil and gas sector.

Mohamed Elshawaf, Non-Technical Deputy Manager at Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Young Professionals Committee, delivered the first presentation on Consequence of Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles on Heavy Oil Recovery.

Elshawaf graduated from Faculty of Petroleum and Mining Engineering, Petroleum Engineering Department, Suez University. He stated that his paper was presented in six different conferences. Accordingly, he won the first place in the Middle East and North Africa paper contest at the Annual Technical symposium and Exhibition (ATS&E) in April 2018 in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the US’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) awarded Elshawaf in the SPE international paper contest in September 2018.

In his presentation, Elshawaf pointed out the challenges that engineers might face while producing heavy oil, which forms 70% of the world’s reserves. He noted that the main challenge of heavy oil production is its viscosity and heavy components, which can be reduced through the high temperature effect and the aqua-thermolysis reaction. Furthermore, Elshawaf specified the main difference between his research and the previous ones made on this topic, clarifying that previous researches used the nanometals to improve the recovery of heavy oil but none of them addressed the usage of Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles. Elshawaf indicated that implementing the Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles, in his experimental workpaper, resulted in achieving a grave change in the viscosity, dropping its original values to 40-60%. Not only that, but his research proved that improving heavy oil recovery through Graphene Oxide will create a new era in the thermal recovery of heavy oil.

The second presentation was about Enhanced Reservoir Characterized by Use of Thin Section Analysis by Chahenaze Ellamey, Petroleum Engineering and Gas Technology Teaching Assistant at the British University in Egypt (BUE). Ellamey won the best paper award in SPE Student Chapters at the Mediterranean Offshore Conference (MOC 2019). Her paper was prepared under the supervision of Attia Mahmoud, Dean of Energy and Environmental Engineering and Supervisor of Petroleum Engineering and Gas Technology Department at the BUE.

During her presentation, Ellamey clarified that her research mainly aims to perform petrophysical reservoir characterization and mineralogical reservoir characterization by using Petrographic Image Analysis (PIA) and 2D thin sections.

Afterwards, Ellamey explained how she combined both petroleum engineering and geology to gather quantitative data from the former and qualitative data from the latter, respectively.

Ellamey remarked that through her experiment, she succeeded in gaining quantitative data from geology, which in turns would help in the petroleum field. Consequently, she succeeded in achieving the research main objectives.

Young Professionals’ Success Stories

The third day of the convention also introduced us to Shell’s young professionals’ success story, with their challenges and milestones.

The session kicked off with Ahmed El Gabry, Deputy Communication Manager and Social Performance Manager at Shell Egypt, talking about Shell Intilaaqah Egypt Program which was launched in January 2004. The program aims to empower young professionals to become the leaders of tomorrow, pushing them forward to become business owners. “Imagine, waiting in a queue, waiting for a job that does not come. What can you do? What is your role to gain more experience to form a startup?” El Gabry said.

“Shell Intilaaqah is one of our streams in the social investments,” noted El Gabry, encouraging that one should invest and reinforce youth’s knowledge and skills. He went on to explain and detail the purpose of Intilaaqah, saying “Intilaaqah has many tracks, the one we call the Mainstream is whenever you have an idea, we take that bright idea and we start to develop it through the main methods and techniques. The second one is related to energy, which we do in collaboration with the American University in Cairo (AUC), and the third one is Shell Business, which is the oil change hubs that can be run solely with our brand name.”

Furthermore, Shell celebrated their Top Ten Innovators (TTI), which is a global competition that highlights and rewards businesses that demonstrate excellence in innovation as well as giving entrepreneurs a chance to shine on a global platform. There are three categories included in the competition; Food and Agriculture, Energy and Mobility, and Sustainable Future, where over 98 projects were submitted from all over the world. Moussa Khalil, CEO of Baramoda and the winner of the Food and Agriculture Category, gave an encouraging and interesting speech where he presented his winning project; Baramoda.

Baramoda is essentially the utilization of recycled agricultural waste to produce a bio-organic compost. As the first company in the Middle East to adopt a specialized product according to the type of land and crop, Baramoda is specialized in manufacturing organic fertilizers via technology. “We have integrated technology with agriculture as technology will prevail all in the next few years,” Khalil said, explaining how the company’s software would replace an agricultural engineer, as it would be responsible for analyzing each land to customize and manufacture fertilizers according to its needs.  This way, Baramoda would not only be building a commercial brand, but building relationships with its clients and farmers as well. It is without a doubt that Baramoda is a revolutionary and eco-friendly company that will take the market by storm. The company is an effective, clean source of organic fertilizers that may soon enough replace artificial chemicals.

A Dynamic Discussion on Career Start Up & Enhancement

The third day of the Technical Upstream Convention has witnessed an interesting Dynamic Panel Session on Career Startup and Enhancement. The panel was moderated by Colby Fuser, Vice President at Halliburton in Egypt and Libya. Fuser introduced the panelists, which included: Ahmed El-Banbi, Professor at AUC; Ola Balbaa, Drilling Engineer at BP; Eman Shahin, Engineer at Transglobe; Salma Maarouf, Communication and Change Management Senior Specialist at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Enas Shabana, Communications Section Head at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; and Alaa Adel Hagar from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

Fuser entertained the idea of being a professional in the field by saying, “There are many things that define a career, and there are many things that define a career that has multiple starts”. Fuser brilliantly managed to lead the conversation into a direction of exploration among the panelists and understanding among the audience.

Balbaa began by talking about the barriers she had to overcome throughout her career as a woman in the field.  Beginning her career in the academic field, then shifting her focus to being in the field has been very challenging, especially as a woman working among 150 men in the field. Balbaa’s career was not linear; it had its ups and downs, but one of the things that Balbaa embraced through her transition from the academic sphere and into the actual field is mentorship. “You need coaching, you need someone to guide you,” Balbaa noted during the panel. “As an operator company, you are the leader or the boss on the rig, and that is another challenge. People from very diverse backgrounds, accepting you as a young female bossing them was quite a challenge,” she added. She commended the resilience one must have in order to reach their goals, reflecting on her choice to contribute to the industry outside of the academic field. She concluded her talk with a powerful piece of advice to all the young professionals out there, especially women, by saying “Ask the questions, raise the questions, take a seat at the table and do not stand aside.” Balbaa also added that in moments of doubt, one should always remember they have great strength and competency that allowed them to be in the industry in the first place, and most importantly is that one should always believe in themselves.

Consequently, Shahin continued by discussing her role as a female petroleum engineer at the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (GUPCO), along with its respective pros and cons. One of the pros of being a female engineer is that “you will be noticed if you are a hard worker. Show dedication and commitment, you will be recognized and appreciated from your team leaders and managers”. Shahin believes that her self-motivation could only go so far, and recognized the effect of what good leadership can do when combined with motivation. Shahin noted that “it is all about the mindset you are dealing with, even if there is someone who is not accepting you as a female or so, you can change this, you can prove with your work that you are deserving for the place you are”.  She spoke about her journey in the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and how it helped her establish herself as a person not just as an engineer. “SPE is a great opportunity to anyone who needs to develop his/herself outside of work,” Shahin said. Shahin recommended to enroll in SPE as its core value is to empower and help others; it is a platform that will inspire you and lead you to inspire others.

Hagar began by discussing the human capital management program. “The main asset in any entity is the manpower” he said. Hagar also mentioned the challenges previously faced to find talent, as there was no database to acquire talent from. Moreover, Hagar elaborated on the making of a unified comprehensive database. Before the database, there was no structured data in any company, and it took 18 months to fill the database with various talents. However, a database that covers such a wide range of the sector’s human capital is not an easy task to accomplish. One of the challenges the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources faced was the lack of frequent updates; that led the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to start a dialogue with the sector’s companies in order to have a unified comprehensive database.

The panel continued with Maarouf discussing how being a part of the Modernization Project has improved her development in her career. “Being in the ministry itself is a blessing. I got to see the strategic perspective of how the industry is working and not only focusing on the daily tasks, and I got to learn about the technical aspects of the oil and gas industry, and this for me was very new back then,” Maarouf said. She also noted that even though the concept of communication and change management is new, it remains vital in the oil and gas sector. Maarouf noted the importance of creating a fully developed communication strategy, and raising awareness about the expected changes that will take over the sector. One of the things that her team has integrated was the development of an online feedback system to collect feedback and concerns regarding other projects from as many employees as possible.  As humans, we are constantly changing, and careers are not that different; “Change is inevitable, and we all have to embrace this in order to grow,” Maarouf said, in regards to her decision to leave ENNPI and join the Modernization Project.

El-Banbi went on to explain that the main reason behind his shift from the practical field to the academic field was his passion for teaching. El-Banbi mentioned that, even as an Operation Manager, he would teach one or two industry courses every year. He explained that academia is a step further in his career that would hopefully result in research that would impact the industry in Egypt. Moreover, he offered an important piece of advice, which was not only aimed towards the young professionals, but to the whole industry; stating that “there is no end to learning, and there is no end to contribution.” Furthermore, he weighed in on some of the issues facing the young professionals, stating that “they want to do a lot of things very quickly, and everybody knows the grass is always greener on the other side, so let me tell you it is not.” El-Banbi concluded that progress takes time and effort to succeed.

Finally, Shabana examined the challenges that faced the Modernization Project, by stating that “whenever there is change, there are challenges.” The main challenge Shabana mentioned was that of a cultural challenge. Shabana mentioned that she has faced some difficulties as a 28-year-old young woman leading a process of change. Shabana also highlighted some of the tasks they have achieved such as developing a communication strategy for the whole sector, which, at the time, was a novel idea to the people in the industry. In fact, Shabana and her team “were learning and executing at the same time”. Shabana did not forget to give credit where it is due, as she expressed her gratitude for the Minster of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, for supporting and evolving the communication team in such a large-scale project.

Young Professionals Receive Coaching Session 

The Young Professionals Day was concluded with a closing session, presented by Kelly Bone, Founder and CEO of Wolfpack Holdings. Bone kicked off the session by showing last year’s Young Professionals Day inspirational video titled Go Hunt Your Dreams which generated a surge of power and excitement among the youth throughout the session.

Furthermore, Bone asked Abdelrahman Fathy, a graduate from Al Azhar University, about his university experience. Fathy expressed his admiration of Bone’s career path which he knew it when he first met Bone in July. He stated that the main lesson he learnt is that “passion is the keyword. Never listen to anybody who say you cannot do it because you can actually do whatever you want.”

Afterwards, the session continued with a presentation on Seven Lessons for Intrepreneurship by Michael Graziano, Founder of Global Degree Academy. Graziano had the chance to visit around 176 countries all over the world, stressing that he came to Egypt to transfer his experience and inspire the youth.

Starting his presentation, Graziano clarified the difference between entrepreneur and intrapreneur, “entrepreneur is creating your own business, intrapreneur is creating projects within a business.” Before diving into the seven lessons of intrepreneurship, Graziano described ideas as the core of intrapreneurship, noting that “the human mind is really good at creating ideas, but it is not that good at holding them,” adding that “what you can do is use your mind and full creativity as an engine to be spitting out new ideas, knowing that it is a scientific process; trial and error.”

Furthermore, Graziano elaborated the aforementioned seven lessons of intrepreneurship, and how can anyone in the energy sector benefit from implementing them. These lessons are making a proper plan, seeking mentorship, creating for others, it is not about now, always be learning, building real relationship, and leading by example. Drawing on these seven elements, it is important to remember that everything takes time, and transferring any new idea from abstract into reality takes time as well. Graziano stated that ideas do not have an expiration date, yet they exist in the present and will exist in the future as well. Accordingly, he stressed on considering the impact a single idea could have because “legacy trumps all; it is about the collective [not the individual].”

Concluding his presentation, Graziano delivered two messages to young professionals and top management of the industry. “To all the young people here in the room, I want you to know that your seniors are watching, and as they grow older and more established, they stop listening and start watching. So, you need to lead by example, and be the one that naturally rises up, and become the change you want to see in the company,” Graziano advised the young professionals. Then, he addressed the top management, saying “I want to challenge you to be a good manager not a good leader,” explaining that a successful manager will have the ability to observe and recognize those who can acquire leadership positions, in addition, successful managers would be able to support their leaders to enhance their full potential and achieve their goals.