A fe­male pe­tro­leum en­gi­neer from Mann Oil Field

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - Thal Sandy Tun

The Ju­nior En­gi­neer en­joys work­ing as part of the field op­er­a­tions team in Mann Field where she sees the re­sults of her ef­forts first hand.

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 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 ex

pe­ri­ences 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. So far so good.”

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.”

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