Mission Possible: Turning your dreams into a reality, one day at a Time
Shell Graduate Reservoir Engineer Jessica Polkinghorne shares with us who she is, her mindsight, and what it takes to succeed without losing your sense of self.
Jessica studied Bachelor of Petroleum Engineering (Hons) with a major in oil and gas at the University of Western Australia.
What's your name and job title? Where do you come from?
My name is Jessica Polkinghorne and I am a Reservoir Engineer. I studied a Bachelor of Petroleum Engineering (Hons) with a Major in Oil and Gas at the University of Western Australia, graduating in November 2014. I spent my childhood and teenage years in Rossmoyne, a suburb just south of the Perth CBD, in Western Australia.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
As a part of my petroleum engineering degree, I was required to complete 12 weeks of work experience before graduation. Shell appealed to me because of the extensive training provided on the graduate program, the opportunity for international placements, and its reputation for technical innovation. I worked as a Drilling Engineer in the Wells team in the Perth office from November 2013 to February 2014. Following an assessment of my business deliverables and behaviours exhibited over my 12 week Assessed Internship, Shell offered me a Reservoir Engineering position on the Shell Graduate Program. I commenced my role in March 2015 and have been working here for 3 years to date.
What does your employer do?
Shell is an integrated energy company that aims to meet the world’s growing demand for energy in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible. Our operations are divided into four businesses; Upstream, Integrated Gas and New Energies, Downstream, and Projects & Technology. In Upstream, we focus on exploration for new liquids and natural gas reserves and on developing major new projects. In Integrated Gas and New Energies, we focus on liquefying natural gas (LNG) and converting gas to liquids (GTL) so that it can be safely stored and shipped to markets around the world. The New Energies business has been established to explore and invest in new low-carbon opportunities. In Downstream, we focus on turning crude oil into a range of refined products, which are moved and marketed around the world for domestic, industrial and transport use. Our Projects & Technologies business is responsible for delivering new development projects and the research and development that leads to innovative and low-cost investments for the future.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I recently moved from Perth to Brisbane to work for QGC in the Integrated Gas line of business. As a Reservoir Engineer on the Shell Graduate Program, I have worked on many projects. These include working on reservoir uncertainty, experimental design, PVT fluid analysis, short and long-term production forecasting and production data analysis. These roles have been within the Subsurface or Development Planning teams, and have given me exposure to many different parts of the business.
Can you describe a typical work day?
I am working on projects through to completion over timeframes of months, therefore each day involves different tasks that contribute to final project deliverable, there is very rarely a “typical” work day. Each day I am at my computer creating dynamic model reservoir simulations, and analysing the results of these to identify subsurface impact on the business plan.
Pros and cons
What do you love the most about your job?
Every day is exciting! Whether it involves engaging with new teams, meeting people from different parts of the business, networking, or diving deep into a reservoir simulation, it is always challenging, thought-provoking and very rewarding.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
The biggest limitation of my current role is the restricted site exposure. In previous roles, I had that opportunity. Gaining site exposure is very important; it puts your own work into perspective, and introduces you to the many different moving parts of the business.
A word to the wise...
What advice would you give to a current university student interested in your role?
Studying Petroleum Engineering with a major in Oil and Gas provides a broad understanding of the oil and gas industry, in turn opening up the possibility to develop further into varying disciplines and career paths. It is beneficial to be a creative and ambitious professional, with the continual desire to learn. Show your ability to harness a culture of teamwork, integration and inclusivity, and obtain as much experience in the industry whilst you’re a student as possible. This experience that will help you decide on the right path within the industry, and shape your determination for long-term career goals.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the individuals featured and are not representative of the views of the Shell group of companies and their affiliates.