SPE South America and Caribbean Region Student Members Spend “A Day as an Engineer”

Back in 2013, Reinel Echavez and his colleagues at the Universidad de Oriente (UDO) SPE student chapter were looking for options to improve student communication and networking with the regional oil companies. Keeping this in mind, when Echavez made the transition to a professional position in 2017 as a reservoir engineer at Petrocedeno (a joint venture between PDVSA, Total, and Statoil), he joined the SPE Eastern Venezuela Section committee as the student liaison.

“During that [student] time, we were working with SPE programs in the university such as Energy4me, Ambassador Lecturer Program, Distinguished Lecturer, and others, but we needed a stronger student-professional relationship with elements of participation, action, and development: “participation” for both parties—students and professionals, sharing knowledge and experiences; “action” where the students experience playing a role in the workforce of a company; and finally the learning “development” of the future professionals,” said Echavez.

Now as a young professional, he fulfilled his dream to support students prepare for their professional careers by launching the program called “A Day as an Engineer.”

How the Collaboration Works

“A Day as an Engineer” activities include touring the host company, spending a day with the company staff team, experiencing the company engineering workflows, helping in engineering calculations, and obtaining one-on-one career advice. In order to pull off the successful event, the Eastern Venezuela section had to convince companies to host the program. The section selected senior petroleum engineering students who responded to questions posed on the section’s social media accounts and who participated in SPE section events to attend. At the end of the day, the lessons learned and feedback from students and mentors were gathered by the section.

Mastering the Skills: Student Feedback

Douglas Moreno and Carla Contasti, senior petroleum engineering students at UDO, were part of the first group of students that spent the day as reservoir engineers in Petrocedeno. Contasti indicates that “the most rewarding part during my participation in the program was that Petrocedeno engineers made me feel as part of their team, encouraging me to move forward in my career and pursue my goals.”

Moreno highlighted that it was a great opportunity to apply his knowledge before completing his degree. Their experience involved meeting with different professionals of the reservoir management team, and supporting in some reservoir properties calculations while learning about the internal company well planning workflow.

Roylena Maestre, Jesus Ortiz, and Andres Maita, senior petroleum engineering students at Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Fuerzas Armadas (UNEFA)–Núcleo Anzoátegui, together with Emiliano Bond and Angel Ramirez from Universidad Central de Venezuela, participated as drilling engineers at Petropiar (a PDVSA and Chevron joint venture) in a rig in the Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt in El Tigre.

Maestre commented “I had the opportunity to see for the first time a downhole motor, the recommended tool to provide a fast response when a change in a well trajectory is required due to geological uncertainty.”

“This activity not only strengthens the knowledge that I’ve learned during my studies but also to fall in love with drilling processes. I really enjoyed learning about directional tools such as positive displacement movement and rotary steerable system, said Bond.

Developing the New Generation: Mentors Feedback

Mayra Moreno, a Petrocedeno geologist, indicated that participating as a mentor was a wonderful experience for her, especially due to her previous experience as a teacher. “I think the program is a great motivation for future professionals because it allows them to watch the real activities that we face as engineers.”

Maria Rendon, reservoir engineer in Petrocedeno, highlighted it as a win-win relationship “for the company getting to know the students is a great way to identify potential candidates for internships or new grad positions while contributing to their development.”

Carlos Hernandez, petrophysicist, stated that he will continue to support the program to transfer his technical experience to the new industry professionals: “It is an opportunity that I never had during my academic formation.”

Diego Amarilla, a drilling engineer and a Chevron secondee in Petropiar described his experience as a mentor as gratifying: “Contributing to the professional development of future petroleum engineers is very gratifying for me. When I observed the enthusiasm of the students during the drilling rig visit, it made me feel very proud to be part of this SPE activity.”

Jose Garcia, company man at Petropiar, said, “The students arrived in a perfect time during the rig visit to show the rig components, and the different teams working during the drilling operation. I would like to congratulate the SPE Eastern Venezuela Section for promoting such activities that definitely are beneficial for the future generations.”

Feedback indicates that “A Day as an Engineer” has positively impacted both mentors and mentees. In 2018, the program estimates to benefit more than 100 students and hopes to expand the program to additional universities and companies. “Now I can say that it’s possible to reach the goals, and apply our three words: participation, action, and development,” said Echavez.


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