Hani Baluch

Why I chose engineering

My interest in Chemical Engineering was sparked by my experience of the modern day Gulf War and its implications on society. It instigated my fascination with how oil is involved in many different aspects of our lives and led me to pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering (MEng) at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. I also spent a year abroad at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, as part of my degree.

What I do now
After graduating, I joined BP as a Petroleum Engineer and have had three unique roles which have taken me offshore to the West of Shetland and to the largest gas field in the USA, located in the Texas Panhandle. I am currently based in Aberdeen and I work on the optimisation of wells and plant with a focus on production enhancing opportunities.

My career highlight so far
Living the American dream - I spent the past year working on the largest onshore gas field in the USA and was based in Amarillo, Texas. I had the opportunity to work on an array of projects to address my development needs and stretch my technical capabilities. The highlight of my time in Amarillo was the unparalleled support and mentoring I received by my colleagues to mature as a competent Petroleum Engineer, and successfully graduate from the Challenge programme (BP’s graduate programme). My colleagues created a wonderful, supportive and open working atmosphere.

What I like best about my job
Having the freedom to succeed in my role – making value adding changes. It is very satisfying for me to see the direct results of my work manifest on well stability and production figures. I also appreciate the opportunity to work with multifunctional teams within which there are varying degrees of experience.

Why is engineering a great career for females to consider?
I genuinely feel there are no barriers or restrictions for women progressing in this industry. I think there is a general stigma associated with women in the oil and gas industry but can say I have never felt at a disadvantage during my time at BP. Yes the oil and gas industry does have a higher proportion of males to females, but if we do not encourage young women to pursue careers in science and engineering, this will never change! If you have a keen interest, I would suggest trying to get work experience and internships to better understand the set-up of the industry and get a flavour of the different disciplines.