Sharing opportunities for industrial training while studying.
Fostering skills development
Attracting and recruiting skilled staff can be challenging. Investing in local content initiatives is the way forward to reflect the expansion of the oil and gas industry in Myanmar.
MPRL E&P has introduced the internship program since the year 2013 to provide internship opportunities for the younger generations of geoscientists and petroleum engineering students.
MPRL E&P provides real-world exposure and responsibilities for interns who take away practical experiences and professional achievements. Duration of the program can be as short as weeks or as long as months depending on the requirements of their course of study like preparation for dissertation or thesis or their length of holidays.
The latest statistics show that MPRL E&P has hosted the interns mostly from Yangon Technological University (YTU), Thanlyin Technological University (TTU), Dagon University, University of Yangon and Government Technical Institute. The following table indicates the number of students who had completed successfully for their internship program since the year 2013 to 2020.
|University||Number of Students|
|Yangon Technological University||38|
|Thanlyin Technological University||14|
|University of Yangon||9|
|Government Technical Institute & Other Universities||15|
TOTAL NUMBER OF INTERNS
NUMBER OF INTERNS (MALE)
NUMBER OF INTERNS (FEMALE)
As part of their mandatory industrial training, the students travelled to Mann Field and participated in three aspects of the program:
- Field Study: whereby they familiarized with the many processes which bring oil from deep underground to the storage tanks
- Assignments: where students integrated parts of the processes, observed and contributed to operations, while they were made aware of the importance of HSE and social acceptance of our activities in the field
- Report & Presentation: where students had to prepare a report of their experience and present it to no less than the CEO in person as well as to professors of the respective universities to be marked for the effectiveness of their communication skills.
Students from other disciplines can also get an opportunity to take an internship in other business support units.
Taking up Work at Rig Sites: Testing Limits and Possibilities
As one of the Myanmar Female Petroleum Engineers, Daw Thae Hnin Si introduces us to her role as Junior Engineer working in field operations and shares her first-hand knowledge of the industry and more. We hope our readers find her story insightful and inspiring!Read more
Taking up Work at Rig Sites: Testing Limits and Possibilities
As one of the Myanmar Female Petroleum Engineers, Daw Thae Hnin Si introduces us to her role as Junior Engineer working in field operations and shares her first-hand knowledge of the industry and more. We hope our readers find her story insightful and inspiring!
Thae Hnin Si, now a Yangon Technological University alumna, saw petroleum engineering as an exciting choice when she was a high school graduate who aspired to a career in engineering. However, it wasn’t until she was admitted to the Yangon Technological University which helped her decide which engineering field she wanted to pursue.
She says, “Since I was a kid, I was always interested in machines and when I passed the Matriculation Exam in 2013, I looked into the engineering field. Being the subject of estimating, calculating, and exploring for non-renewable resources, which we cannot see through our eyes and are very vital to our economic development, is what finally swayed me to petroleum engineering as my future profession.”
Both of Thae Hnin Si’s parents work in government before retiring, her father in the navy and her mother in the Myanmar Pharmaceutical Factory or MPF (formerly known as BPI). Her father, who always wanted to be an engineer himself when young, was stunned and pleased with his daughter’s dream of becoming an engineer, while her mother, albeit a little bit worried about having one of her daughters work in the oil field, asked her to pursue her subject of interest and was ready to support her throughout the journey.
Despite all these encouragements from the parents, the engineering potential felt intimidating due to the fact that it is a male-dominated field: “I was aware that the petroleum engineering is a field dominated by men, both in Myanmar and elsewhere. Although I do not see any advantages or biases in regards to the industry offers towards male engineers, I did feel anxious about entering the industry, whether they would welcome and accept female talent.”
Nevertheless, Thae Hnin Si dived into her six-year studies at the university, traveling to Mann Field twice as part of field study trips and internships. On 5th February 2020, Thae Hnin Si officially started working as a Junior Engineer in the Well Servicing (Pulling Unit) Section in Mann Field, where there are ample cross-learning opportunities and rotating assignments.
The Junior Engineer says, “I like staying physically active and that’s why I joined the Field Operations Department. The second reason is that I would like to get first-hand experience and knowledge of the day-to-day operations in Mann Field and it will be my strong point when I work later in an office setting. At the moment, I am being transferred to the Data Processing Section.”
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work overnight—Thae Hnin Si was able to take on more responsibilities during the pandemic, thanks to the company’s robust training program when a second wave arrived in Myanmar. She finds the experience empowering and voices how she is determined to be well-prepared for such opportunities in the future.
“When the second wave of COVID-19 was taking place in Myanmar, we were working in Mann Field as a “closed system”, running operations with minimum crew. I was given an opportunity to prove my willingness and competence in the Echo/Dynamo Section by working independently amidst this challenging period. Normally, I would still be a trainee in the section for up to a year and to be given such an opportunity to work independently in the meantime was very unlikely. I am very thankful to Field Management for this golden opportunity. I am looking forward to many more opportunities like this. The most interesting operations in Mann Field for me is the well servicing operations; I am still undergoing my training period and I hope to keep learning and be able to work independently in these operations in the near future.”
The Junior Engineer, who wishes to study production technology in particular, intends to become a reservoir engineer or production engineer who can harness the power of technologies. She thinks the oil and gas industry is more interesting when you have hands-on experience, and because it is one of the top significant industries that continuously adopt technologies to help streamline operations for both recovering new hydrocarbons and optimizing existing operations. By involving in the field operations, she is now truly understanding the industry’s balancing act of extracting hydrocarbons, ensuring human rights while maintaining environmental wellbeing.
“As the global oil and gas industry develops sophisticated technologies, we can utilize them at a similar pace. Foreign energy companies enter Myanmar and make use of such technologies in exploring and producing hydrocarbon resources in the country, which gives Myanmar engineers many learning opportunities. This is what’s great about the industry. On the other hand, we have become aware of the need to extract natural resources in a sustainable manner. Overexploitation of non-renewable resources like hydrocarbons can result in depletion and it will take years to replace them. Therefore, it is of great importance that the extraction methods are holistic, sustainable and systematic,” the Junior Engineer says.
She continues to enthusiastically discuss the challenges of exploring for more hydrocarbon resources in the country: “Studies indicate that there is an abundance of natural gas resources under the seabeds in offshore regions of the country and it proves to be a formidable challenge to locate and explore these resources beneath the seafloor. Naively, we tend to think that the more oil and gas we produce, the better our living standards will be. So why not? Only when I worked in the oil field did I realize practical operational challenges, volatility of oil prices, observing industry safety standards, and minimizing implications the new and existing production technologies have for the environment. As a result, I could think now in broader terms and feel more informed.”
The World Health Organization indicates in the context of the coronavirus pandemic that people are subject to a range of concerns, including fear of falling sick and being socially excluded. The Junior Engineer observes that the pandemic and infection control measures create multiple effects on employees where there are fewer people at the workplace while more workload lies there for the skeleton staff. She shares her experience of working outside of the normal routine in the field: “Having to stay home during a wave of the pandemic takes a toll on the mental health for some employees while others have to stay a prolonged period in the field because the crew change is postponed to a later date. I myself spent two-thirds of the last year working in the field but the away period from home was not too obvious to me due to the instant communication with the family via the Internet.”
Additionally, Thae Hnin Si believes the country’s new realities in recent months and its weight on operations in Mann Field as well as interactions with the host communities on a daily basis contribute to employees’ mental health and wellbeing. It is obvious at this point that the depth of some people’s political beliefs and the heightened distrust of those with differing views can sometimes be a source of additional pressures on those working in operations to a certain extent.
Despite all these shortcomings, the Yangon-born Junior Engineer is proud of her field life filled with days working side by side with senior male colleagues—never giving up learning, staying fit, and maintaining self-confidence.
“In the past, we cannot find female petroleum engineers in Myanmar. When we see women petroleum engineers in other countries, we feel inspired and want to prove to the world that Myanmar women can be petroleum engineers too. Today, we are realizing the dream and I am very happy to make it happen myself. Traditionally, Myanmar women are seen as gentle both mentally and physically, thus unfit for what an oil field demands on them. Many tend to think science and engineering subjects go well with men while women should pursue less demanding subjects like art.”
Furthermore, science and engineering subjects themselves are a form of art—you won’t know unless you try it yourself, the Junior Engineer insists. “Women’s unique point of view in combination with scientific knowledge can help pave the way for the development of innovative and fresh technological ideas. Therefore, I wish to encourage more girls and women in Myanmar to follow the field of science and engineering if they are really into it.”
Throughout her childhood in which her father was most of the time away from home for work, her mother nurtured Thae Hnin Si and her sister to be independent and strong as young girls. Not only this, Thae Hnin Si adopts her mother’s kind-heartedness.
As a growing working adult, she looks into good traits and ideas in everyone she meets and regards them as mentors while learning life lessons from them. She says, “Every person has both good points and bad points. I have adopted the practice of learning their good points and avoiding the bad ones.”
Being a declared introvert who enjoys being alone when her duties are over, the Junior Engineer develops a habit of greeting people she meets at the workplace with a smile. With a bright smile, she concludes, “Your smile can brighten someone who is having a bad day. It will also make them easier to remember you while it costs you nothing. Let’s spread love and kindness specifically in this difficult time and that’s what really matters at the end of the day for all of us, doesn’t it?”
Internship Experience of Mechanical Engineering Graduate
Let me start by explaining how I became an intern at MRPL E&P. I am Banyar Myo Tin, a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Glasgow. After graduating in June, I updated my CV and made a targeted CV for MPRL E&P – the leader in Myanmar’s upstream energy sector. I have always worried about energy sources running out. If we look at our mature Mann Oil Field, a gradually depleting production rate can be seen. I believe right now is the turning point for Myanmar’s oil and gas economy with enhanced oil recovery being implemented on the depleted wells of Mann Field, while gas exploration is extensively done offshore at the Rakhine and Ayeyarwady basins in partnership with Woodside Energy and Total E&P.Read more
Internship Experience of Mechanical Engineering Graduate
Let me start by explaining how I became an intern at MRPL E&P. I am Banyar Myo Tin, a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Glasgow. After graduating in June, I updated my CV and made a targeted CV for MPRL E&P – the leader in Myanmar’s upstream energy sector. I have always worried about energy sources running out. If we look at our mature Mann Oil Field, a gradually depleting production rate can be seen. I believe right now is the turning point for Myanmar’s oil and gas economy with enhanced oil recovery being implemented on the depleted wells of Mann Field, while gas exploration is extensively done offshore at the Rakhine and Ayeyarwady basins in partnership with Woodside Energy and Total E&P.
Initially, I had a vague understanding of the job setting at MPRL E&P’s Mann Field, but I was ready to work hard. What I did not expect was to stand under the sun from 6:00 am until lunch break at 11 am; coming back to the base camp to study the theories behind what I had learned in the field. On days when I was not studying, I would be taken back on site to examine the intricacies of working with obsolete machinery.
The working hours are 12 hours (5:00 am to 5:00 pm) which seems like a lot, and tires you out both physically and mentally. However, my first week with Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) was a smooth ride. I was given an HSE orientation alongside the HSE operation manual. I read the HSE manual in a day and took out the relevant information for the upcoming safety meeting with the M&A catering service. Around 30 catering staff attended the meeting where I shared the information I read from the HSE manual. I cited some health and safety-related issues for improvements at the base camp.
On my second day with HSE, I got to experience first-hand a Perforation job on a previously shut-in well #637. When we arrived at the well, an engineer from Schlumberger rounded the staff on site to give us a safety toolbox talk. Safety precautions such as keeping the area radio silent and stopping all traffic across the well site were briefed. Once the toolbox talk was over, one supervisor after the other came to explain to me about what was going on. I am pretty sure I had puzzled eyes, and nodded involuntarily throughout our 3-hour long “discussion”. I was new to everything and I could not grasp 90 percent of the technical information they were flooding me with.
We endured through it until the HSE officer wanted me to see the safety measures taken when operating with a pulling unit. He took me over to another well with less action so that I could observe the preventative measures implemented according to the JSA (Job Safety Analysis). The well was being swabbed for oil using the P-75 pulling unit. The pulling unit supervisor, like the supervisors from the previous well, introduced himself and started explaining the mechanisms and reasons for doing casing swabbing. By then I realized my lack of knowledge was hindering my opportunity to learn more onsite. Thus, I decided to read in my free time to deepen my understanding of the work. From that day onward, I stayed on the field until noon and did the background reading afterward. After the HSE week, I was moved to other departments such as the Downhole Workshop, Pumping Unit, Echometer (MJ6), and Pulling Unit.
The learning experience at each department was more fluid and enriching than universities. For instance, when I had a question about the slow jack principal, the pumping unit supervisor immediately took me to a well site to show how this was applied. When we got back to the office, he went to the library to show me the theory behind it, and printed the pages for me to read.
At the end of my first month at Mann Field, I got to experience another objective of MPRL E&P: maintaining the interrelationship between the locals and the company healthy while maintaining a social license to operate. It is important to give back to the community when we are working on lands that locals call home. Thus, MPRL E&P’s department CSR & Communications is specially designed to work towards the betterment of the community with coexistence of two parties in mind.
I first joined the CSR activities when there was a meeting with the locals regarding a Community Investment about 40+ sesame farmers that profited using the GAP method provisioned by CSR. Following that, there was another meeting with community-based volunteers, which was held at Auk Kyaung Pagoda. It was there that I learned the “bridges between the company and the locals”, a phrase they used to symbolize the volunteers. However, I believe these people are more than just a communication bridge as they are engaged in the activities and ultimately act as the engine of the entire CSR team. Their efforts are paid with the smiles and gratitude of the locals which helps bring up the overall image of the company. They are also involved in every activity that the CSR team does, which includes, but not limited to, Community Infrastructure Development, Operational Grievance Mechanism, Community Capacity Building, Community Healthcare, Waste Management Program, community meetings, and knowledge-sharing sessions. I was told that volunteers are also involved in the mobile clinic established by MPRL E&P, but I did not get to experience it since the clinic operation was halted due to COVID-19.
Another thing that’s free, apart from the volunteer’s incentive, is the free-flow of empathy and responsibility taken by the MPRL E&P’s CSR Field Team. For instance, the locals would directly call the CSR Field Coordinator to inform of an oil spill at 5 am in the morning. The Coordinator could not stay home but immediately reacted to it and helped solve the case with the support of the Field Operations Team and MOGE Departments, although it was out of her office hours.
To summarize, I have realized that a friendly, cooperative relationship has been built between MPRL E&P and the Communities surrounding Mann Oil Field over the six years since the CSR Department was established. It is amazing how strategic community investment projects have turned conventional strong-headed villagers into engaging in activities together with the company and to be lenient when it comes to dealing with the company. Owing to the hard work of CSR, MPRL E&P can contribute to sustainable developments and improve the livelihoods of communities where it operates through active engagement and regular dialogue.
During my first month at Mann Field, I believe the tightly-knit staff at Mann Field was the highlight. It is amazing how respect and work-knowledge come before the ranks. Every practical suggestion is considered and the standard of work taking place keeps getting better with time and additional recommendation.
This is an insight into my one-months’ worth of internship at Mann Field. I still have one more month there, to learn from Uncle U Win Myint at the mechanical workshop and research a way to lower the cost of a DFPS by working with Ko Soe Thiha. Afterward, I will be continuing my internship at the Yangon Vantage Tower office, where I will be giving presentations on the things I experienced and making suggestions on how production can be increased. Once I am done with my study at MPRL E&P, I will pursue a master’s degree specializing in exploring new oil and gas reservoirs for the growth of our economy.
Working in the Field Operations: Perspectives of a Female Petroleum Engineer
While the oil and gas industry offers one of the world’s most rewarding careers, it is also demanding for its petroleum engineers, requiring them to solve challenging problems. However, this is part of the fun, and the multi-billion dollar question for a petroleum engineer who takes up the challenge is “how can I make the most of my life in the field?”Read more
Working in the Field Operations: Perspectives of a Female Petroleum Engineer
While the oil and gas industry offers one of the world’s most rewarding careers, it is also demanding for its petroleum engineers, requiring them to solve challenging problems. However, this is part of the fun, and the multi-billion dollar question for a petroleum engineer who takes up the challenge is “how can I make the most of my life in the field?”
“My daily work routine starts at six in the morning and ends at around five in the evening, like everyone else in the field. Currently I am assigned in the Echo Meter Team and I monitor conditions of the wells on a daily basis. If there is something wrong with the wells, I have to conduct a survey and troubleshoot, then report to supervisors,” said Ma Thin Thandar Win who works in Mann Field as a Junior Engineer.
Born and raised in Yangon as an only child, Thandar’s initial childhood dream was to become a pilot. Yet she ended up studying Petroleum Engineering at the Yangon Technological University (YTU) after passing the matriculation exam in 2012.
During her six years at the university, she took part in four internship programs. In those programs, she became familiar with the working nature of the oil and gas industry, and the link between practices and theories after observing the real-life application of equipment and tools. To ready herself, she trained herself in time management, interpersonal skills, and public speaking.
“It used to be very difficult for me to speak in front of people during my freshman year. However, it was a necessary skill as we had to make presentations about what we had studied during the internships. So preparations and self-rehearsals helped me to overcome it. Now I’m pretty confident.”
As a Junior Engineer, Thandar is dedicated herself to the 24/7 operations in one of the oldest onshore producing fields in Myanmar. “Mann Field which has been fulfilling national oil demands for a long time, and its Enhanced Oil Recovery Project is a testimony to responsible business with regard to environmental and social impact management through environmental management plans, rigorous corporate social responsibility initiatives and promoting a positive safety culture. I am happy to be involved in this specimen field as my very first career step. Along the way I have opened my eyes to the country’s energy industry and its role in the wider context.”
She said teamwork plays a critical role in the field operations to deliver optimum economic results. There are many oil wells under operations, and subject matter experts from a variety of disciplines work together to ensure all those wells are running and producing oil as expected. According to her, the keys are good communications, trust, and synergy.
“The weather conditions here are quite extreme, so you have to be strong both mentally and physically to work under such conditions on a daily basis. I work 28 consecutive days in the operations and then I am off for two weeks. Many people tend to think that this is not a suitable job for a woman who is generally considered physically weak.”
She insisted that a can-do spirit, good health, and physical strength shows that women can work side-by-side with men. Conservative thoughts of not allowing women in certain workplaces should wane with more women being welcomed and accepted to “find their own place and shine”.
“Given a relative lack of gender diversity in the oil and gas industry, the industry should ensure its attractiveness and reputation to women candidates by providing a wide range of compelling job opportunities. It should also ensure that women have equal career development opportunities, especially in technical roles which are often critical to career advancement, through necessary support. When women persist in the industry, there will be gender balance, higher quality of teamwork, diversity of perspectives, and creativity.”
Being an admirer of Mother Teresa, well-known humanitarian for her great love and compassion, Thandar is inspired to live a life free from fears, and dare to do things others don’t.
“I am the type of person who likes taking new challenges, amalgamating practices and theories, solving problems, and playing with new ideas in order to support the field operations. Basically, I am a field person.”
The Junior Engineer has also set her heart to becoming a production engineer, possibly in a natural gas field, as her future career path with the full support of her parents who always believed in her and respect her decisions. In this regard, she understands life-long learning in technical know-how and general knowledge about the industry alongside refining communications, problem-solving, analytical skills and creativity are integral to ensure a successful career. In addition, determination, persistence and adaptability will ensure that she continues to break future glass ceilings.
Thandar is hopeful of the country’s energy industry which continues to attract foreign investments by opening up opportunities, and the resulting role of women.
“The industry plays a very important role in improving the country’s economy and quality of life. In the coming years, it is obvious that we have to produce more oil and gas to meet growing demands; in this regard we will need more capable human resources. This is a good opportunity for women in Myanmar, who remain as untapped resources, especially in science and engineering disciplines. I would like to encourage the next generation of women to prepare their best as the oil and gas industry will inevitably have to harness the power of women engineers to fulfill national energy needs and drive economic development.”
Internship @ MPRL E&P
Kyi Kyi Shonn became an intern at MPRL E&P after completing her First Year in Environmental Studies at the Yangon University. She was interested in gaining practical experience related to community service and environmental management during her 2-month holiday. Here is her internship story.Read more
Internship @ MPRL E&P
Kyi Kyi Shonn became an intern at MPRL E&P after completing her First Year in Environmental Studies at the Yangon University. She was interested in gaining practical experience related to community service and environmental management during her 2-month holiday. Here is her internship story.
Environmental Studies is a new course recently introduced at the Yangon University and I applied for it as I wanted to understand more about the world we live in, and how human activities are having major impacts on the environment like pollutions. I believe the course will allow me to find ways to creating a healthier and better environment for us. In my minor subject which was Environmental Geology, I learnt about oil, gas, coal and other concepts such as groundwater, reservoirs, erosions and wastes. However, I wanted to understand more about oil and gas fields, and my father happens to work at the HSE Department of MPRL E&P. So I decided to apply for an internship there and immerse myself in the field I was interested for two months. My hosts were HSE Department, and CSR & Communications Department, where I learnt about health, safety, environment and corporate social responsibility matters.
The internship was a step-by-step program, and during the first week, I went through several orientations sessions to have a general understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the departments in the organization. In addition to these, I read many of the previous issues of Insight!, a great way to gain insights into the company’s past, present and future activities as well as staff stories. I got myself used to the daily office routine too.
Learning about CSR
During an information session by the CSR Department, I learnt that CSR is not donation and the communities in Mann Field play a big part in the CSR projects being implemented there. There are also Community Volunteers who serve as a bridge to facilitate communications between communities and the company like the Operational Grievance Mechanism (OGM). In my point of view, CSR is the company’s image and it is really important. I witnessed this when I went to Mann Field along with the CSR Team to contribute to the OGM Awareness Raising Campaign and CSR Open Day. Before the event, I got a chance to observe the CSR Team educating the local schools how to apply proper cleansing methods to the water purification units installed to obtain clean drinking water. I also listened to a lively discussion among Community Volunteers about the community-led waste management system in Mann Field through the facilitation of the CSR Team.
The CSR Open Day on 2 November was a great event, and lots of preparations were made to ensure a success. There were 11 groups of school children competing against one another through their cute performance to the OGM Theme Song. At intervals, we were entertained by the Field Operations Teams with their amazing performance. I myself was busy taking care of the Environmental Booth and quizzing visitor children about their general knowledge on the environment. In return we rewarded right answerers with notebooks. Even if they couldn’t answer, I gave them a hint. So altogether we gave out 14 dozens of notebooks to the children from the community schools! Although I had a hard time thinking about different questions, it was really fun. I was happy to see the children got excited at the questions and trying their best to answer them. What a remarkable memory and irreplaceable experience in my internship!
Learning about HSE
During the first day in Mann Field, I attended the CSR Performance Progress Update Meeting and Environmental Monitoring Activities Meeting. I also looked around the field operations sites, and visited the Waste Management Compound where waste is segregated for proper recycling and disposal. I found the composing system for the food waste from the Kitchen very interesting as it is turned into natural fertilizers.
I went to see how crude oil is produced by using pump jacks and collected in oil tankers at the GOCS-2. Then produced water is separated by using gravity methods and it is injected into the shut-in wells so that none of it is discharged outside the field. I also had a chance to see how water samples were collected from the water bodies in Mann Field to study their quality at a laboratory to ensure they are not impacted by the injection of produced water. In addition, I observed how the HSE Department takes care of the qualities of air in or near Mann Field.
As a highlight of my internship, I took time to read the Mann Field Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report in which I noted there was an Environmental Management Plan mentioning managing impacts related to air quality, noise, landscape as well as water qualities. It enabled me to understand the impacts of oil and gas field operations and why it is important to manage them effectively in order to maintain good environmental health.
This two-month internship was a great opportunity for me to get a glimpse into the oil and gas business, its operations and its sustainability strategies related to environmental and social impact management. It also helped me build confidence in communications and develop new relationships. Overall, it helped me grow in knowledge, capacity and self-disciplines. This would not have happened without the kind support of the company and its personnel. Thank you very much!
A Female Petroleum Engineer from Mann Oil Field
Petroleum engineering is the application of science, engineering and economic principles to the discovery of oil and gas resources over land and under seabeds.Read more
A Female Petroleum Engineer from Mann Oil Field
Petroleum engineering is the application of science, engineering and economic principles to the discovery of oil and gas resources over land and under seabeds.
It is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers that ensures access to energy and national prosperity in our modern civilization which depends on vast energy systems. In this regard, petroleum engineers function in oil and gas exploration and production projects around the world and here is the story of a female petroleum engineer, Naw Floriance George, aka Floriance, working in one of Myanmar’s onshore producing fields which has played an important role in fulfilling national energy needs since 1970.
Floriance, named after St. Floriance for being a Roman Catholic born on his feast day, hails from northern Kayin State, and her earliest and closest experience with petroleum was the kerosene lantern with which she worked on her lessons with at night during her childhood. She introduced herself saying, “I was born in a town called Leik Tho in Kayin State. I studied my secondary school years at a boarding school in Pyin Oo Lwin. I am a Kayin Gekho by ethnicity, like the well-known Myanmar women professional fighting sensations Bozhena Antoniyar and Veronica. Naw is an honorific for all the girls and women, and George is my family name. There is no one associated with petroleum field in my family.”
Quizzed about how she happened to choose the petroleum engineering subject as she was applying for universities upon passing the Matriculation Examination in 2012, Floriance laughed and said, “The decision is like love at first sight. I really had no idea what the subject would be all about. I saw an offshore rig, a very big one, on the university’s prospectus and I decided this is what I wanted to study. Boom!”
While studying petroleum engineering for six long years at the Yangon Technological University (YTU), she went all out to make the most of the multiple internships at MPRL E&P and Petronas Carligali Myanmar (PCML). When asked if she could work as part of the field operations team in Mann Field during the job interview, she was beyond herself with excitement at the idea of getting her hands dirty and being on the frontlines. Then, she successfully landed her career as a Junior Engineer in December 2018.
Today Floriance is full of pride and satisfaction for her role in the production operations in Mann Field where she gained hands-on experience every day with the mentorship of senior colleagues which includes engineers, geologists and technicians. She said, “Production optimization operations is the playing ground where I imagined to be all the time during my final year at YTU. I like starting with the basics and I love to go the extra mile at a time. I want to see the result of my efforts first hand so, a field job suits my personality.”
She spared no effort during the first few months of her career in Mann Field, and Floriance has now garnered a good grasp of the production enhancement operations and the importance of teamwork. “The daily production of Mann Oil Field depends on the synergy of the whole field operations team. To have team work, means comprehending one another and understanding that their jobs matter. We will leave no stone unturned!”
Floriance also enjoys taking the very challenges of consummating the marriage of theory and practice in daily operations. “Because we cannot see everything with our own eyes, some have to be imagined in the mind’s eye. When problems arise on the ground, we have to figure out a practical solution, and I love it. Another challenge is to take the positive safety culture we already have to a whole new level where each and every one of the folks here lives by it.”
Life in the field is also a challenge, Floriance agreed. “The weather is different. In summer, it is scorching hot and we are prone to heat stroke and heat stress. In winter, you have to anticipate temperatures dropping to a freezing point. Both types of these extreme weather conditions affect us. I live in a separate cabin in the camp with another female junior engineer colleague from the same batch at university. We are in different teams and so we seize ample opportunities to exchange our experiences after daily routines. Normally, we work for 12 hours a day and stay in the camp for 28 consecutive days. There are a set of rules to follow while in the camp. Then we are off to home for two weeks. ”
Expounding on the success of the enhanced oil production techniques in Mann Field, the Junior Engineer said, “We work on optimizing and stabilizing oil production on a daily basis. Personally, I like using software applications to promote and support these operations. Now we are targeting to implement the spot water injection project in Mann Field. As we step up our efforts to extract more oil, we need to manage potential social and environmental impacts from our operations. I recall our Country Manager U Sithu Moe Myint giving a good example on the importance of social management in extractive projects during the orientation week. I believe we have very strong and successful social and environmental management programs in Mann Field, for instance, vocational trainings for local communities and zero discharge targets.”
While she is learning to involve herself actively in many aspects of the onshore field operations in Mann Field, Floriance entertains the idea of participating in the offshore oil and gas development as the offshore drilling rig was what attracted her to the industry. Floriance uttered decisively, “I am aware of what I wanted to become may not fit into traditional gender roles but I have stuck to my guns to pursue my dreams anyways. The oil and gas industry is said to be a tough one with heavy machinery and dangerous operations, and not suitable for the faint-hearted. According to my experiences here, I can do what other male counterparts are doing, and I have set my heart on becoming a professional petroleum engineer in the future. So the debate is over.”
The Face of Petroleum Engineering
From classroom to office desk, Toe Akari Hlaing navigates her journey as a young female petroleum engineer.Read more
The Face of Petroleum Engineering
From classroom to office desk, Toe Akari Hlaing navigates her journey as a young female petroleum engineer.
Since her childhood, Toe Akari Hlaing, aka Toe, always gets excited at the idea of becoming an engineer, although not necessarily about entering the oil and gas industry which is associated with dangerous rigs and infamous for being less receptive of women engineers. Anyhow, she ends up graduating with a Bachelor of Petroleum Engineering from the Yangon Technological University (YTU) in 2018 and is determined to become a professional petroleum engineer.
During her six-year voyage at the university, she had many hitches but few friends of the same gender, because there were only six female students in her batch of Petroleum Engineering Class at YTU, which is hailed as one of the best universities in the country for students like Toe who passed her Matriculation Examination with distinctions in all subjects. When she was a second year student, she had a chance to have a two-week internship in Mann Field where she studied tools and equipment used in the oil and gas operations as well as life in the petroleum field. She recalled how the field experience helped her learn her lessons easily once back in class.
“Through this practical experience in the field, I was able to assimilate and understand all the theories and practice of petroleum engineering which I started studying in my third year. In the third year, I also got another internship at the Yangon Office of MPRL E&P. It was basically an office job under the supervision of the then Technical Manager, Mr. Daniel Chia.”
The internships at MPRL E&P became more advanced and challenging as her academic years progressed. In the fifth year, Toe was involved in a multidisciplinary project to fulfill her academic requirements. “We had to choose our own topics and work together to complete the whole project from selecting potential areas to drill a well, to producing and transporting oil to storage tanks, through a multi-disciplinary team approach. MPRL E&P provided the required field data and information to us. We only had three months to complete the whole project that included writing a report and making a presentation. With the support of the company’s seasoned engineers we sailed through it successfully.”
As a variation, Toe also took up a nine-month internship at Total E&P Myanmar where she embraced an opportunity to get intimate with the natural gas fields and their operations. She has observed that the oil industry and the gas industry are quite different in terms of aspects such as tools and equipment used and working principles.
Whenever she has to make an important decision including choosing her first career upon graduation, Toe turns to her family which includes her parents and a brother, who are always appreciative and supportive of every effort and achievement she has made up to now.
“I always wanted to work at MPRL E&P since I was an intern there. I was able to build a good relationship with almost all the people in the technical functions during my internship, and I found the working culture that includes working environment, company goals, ethics and values, very dynamic with both a team-based approach and excellent management style. So I applied for a Junior Engineer position at the Reservoir Engineering Department following the encouragement of my family, and landed on my first career in December 2018 at the age of 22.”
In the Reservoir Engineering team, Toe found herself to be the only girl. However, with the succor of her team members and increased promotion of diversity in the workplaces across the country, she aims to spread the message that the oil and gas industry is very conducive to everyone including women engineers with stringent health and safety standards while proving to herself that women are equally intelligent and capable of jobs in science, technology and engineering, to men or even better.
“All the seniors in my department are men. This makes me even more aware of the oil and gas industry being less diverse. However, I believe the field of engineering is not based on if someone is a man or woman. Rather it is based on if they can make it. Our society has different expectations for men and women. While men are not required to stay home and take care of the family all the time, women are. So women are not supposed to be well-suited to field-based jobs in the petroleum industry. However, that has to be changed,” said Toe in a confident tone.
As a Junior Engineer, she carries out reservoir studies and reservoir engineering functions such as decline curve analysis, waterflooding analysis and other research. She assists her manager, senior engineers and assistant engineers in her department with updating the database, monitoring daily production rates and productivity performance of individual wells, and appraising proven remaining reserves in Mann Field. She also has been assigned to be part of the Block A-6 Project Development Team. Toe believes energy development should go hand in hand with sound environmental management and social progress.
“Energy industries are really important because they have enormous impact on all aspects of our life. We use energy to light our home and cook our lunch, to commute to work and school, to produce goods and run our economy. Currently, energy demand is growing in the country. In this regard, the government and private sector should keep working together to optimize current field productions, to develop new fields and to explore more prospects. At the same time, environmental impacts like greenhouse gas emissions due to hydrocarbon extraction, refining, transporting and consumption needs to be curbed with the use of technologies and market mechanisms. In addition, social impact management is important to ensure community support and creation of shared value.”
She also insists that technologies are key to developing the country which is rich in natural resources. That is one reason why she decided to study a subject which attracts few women. “By learning the tools and techniques of the petroleum engineering field we are able to estimate how much hydrocarbon resources the country has and study how much of it can be economically recoverable. As a petroleum engineer, the most exciting aspect of my job is that new challenges pop up every day and I have realized that I should never stop learning!”
Although currently confined to an office environment, Toe imagines a time when she moves to the field and gains more experience. She pictures herself as a successful petroleum engineer working in one of the most important roles for the development of the country within five or ten years from now.
“I felt inspired to become an outstanding female petroleum engineer after watching the video clip of an interview program with our CEO, namely, ‘Passing the Leadership Baton’. He mentioned that the company gives equal employment opportunities for both men and women. According to my own experience, that is right and the company recruits its employees based on their skills and experience, not on their gender. So I would like to encourage other female petroleum engineers to pursue their dreams as well.”
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