This month’s Oil & Gas UK Next Generation conference in Aberdeen is expected to attract hundreds of young energy professionals from the full gamut of disciplines.
One of the delegates will be Charlie (Charlotte) Hamilton, a 23-year-old associate geoscientist at Maersk Oil North Sea UK. Like many, she hadn’t planned on a career in upstream petroleum. It sort of happened by chance.
“My decision to study geology came from the film, Jurassic Park, and a love of fossil hunting on beaches,” says Hamilton.
“My desire to become a palaeontologist led to a GCSE and A level in geology, then on to a BSc at Edinburgh University, which provided me with a strong foundation in all aspects of geoscience.
“It was in my third year at Edinburgh that I completed a hydrocarbon course and realised that this stuff was actually pretty interesting, so I began thinking about working in the oil industry.
“I would be able to travel all over the world, experience working offshore, go on field trips to weird and wonderful places, be at the forefront of technological advance … not to mention the impressive salary that I stood to earn.”
After deciding this was the career for her, Hamilton applied to the Integrated Petroleum Geology MSc at Aberdeen University – an essential vocational link into the energy industry.
“During my Masters, I was given the opportunity to compete in the AAPG Barrel Award, which is a competition that aims to give students the chance to work an exploration project from start to finish.
“Our team had six weeks to change a few wells and some rather challenging seismic into a seamless presentation detailing prospects and risk analysis. This presentation was given to a panel of industry experts … that was nerve-racking at the time, but an invaluable experience.
“After graduating in 2007, I joined Maersk Oil in Aberdeen. I liked the company’s graduate programme as it allowed me to rotate to a number of different departments, improving my knowledge in all areas.”
Hamilton is currently working in exploration, completing a study on Upper Jurassic sand distributions in the Outer Moray Firth, but will shortly be rotating to rock physics, then into operations geology.
“I have also been given the opportunity to join the Maersk International Technology and Science programme (MITAS) … a two-year programme that combines challenging hands-on experience with theoretical learning, aiming to fast-track new graduates to becoming technological leaders/specialists in the AP Moller Maersk Group.
“The theoretical learning includes courses such as project management and process excellence while also giving you the chance to hone your leadership and teamwork skills.
“The major benefit of the programme is the opportunity to network with other Maersk people from different business units and from all over the world.
“But if you asked me 10 years ago where I thought I would be now I probably would not have said working for an oil company. However, I am confident I made the right choice. Although my career has only just begun, I like the way it’s going so far.”