ANPERC Students Talk About Summer Internships

Sep 30 2019

Several of ANPERC's students have been busy this summer in a variety of internships, both academic and industry-focused. Antonia Sugar is a PhD student working with Dr. Hussein Hoteit. This summer she interned at OMV, one of Europe's biggest oil and gas companies, in Vienna.

"The New Technology Department is basically R&D. I did a lot of work in decision analysis, which is using data to decide whether to develop or redevelop a field. The software was different from what we use in ARMS because it's focused on economics and industry.

"I was also doing some work with polymers that is related to my PhD, and went on a field trip to see polymer flooding. My MS was on field scale polymers. I actually got my master's degree in Austria thanks to an OMV scholarship. I met Thomas at Leoben in Austria as well.

"Vienna was a wonderful place to visit. It's the most livable city in the world, and I was surrounded by culture. For me, it was like going back to my second home. But I also felt lucky to be at KAUST. Everyone asked questions about what it's like at KAUST, and it was clear that we have faculty and resources that even top-tier universities don't have.

"Working in industry has really complemented and broadened my understanding. After my PhD I want to work in the industry for a few years, like Dr. Hoteit. I'm very lucky to have him as my P.I."

Meanwhile in Tadeusz Patzek's Energy Geosystems research group, MS student Phillip Mitchell interned at Peking University "modeling embodied energy in the economy. I analyzed the energy it takes to create a product, and mapped how that energy flows from country to country, with special attention paid to bottlenecks and other vulnerabilities in trade networks.

"My professor used to work in Jeddah, at King Abdulaziz University. And I met a former postdoc from KAUST there. It seems like there are KAUSTians everywhere you go. But China was a very different experience. The contrast with KAUST was interesting. You see more people out on the street, of course. I lived in a youth cooperative with 18 people, and we would come home after school and cook together or have discussions.

"I'm interested in the future of conservation and population. In a hundred years, what can be supported? Here in Saudi Arabia it is especially important since we are reliant on outside energy flows. There are a few of us working on things like this in our research group. That's what drew me to Dr. Patzek's group in the first place, after I heard him speak in the US about two years ago."

PhD student Daniela Ortiz interned with Aramco in Dammam at the Unconventional Department.

"Unconventionals became its own department a couple of years ago and it's growing because unconventionals are the future. They focus on deeper reservoirs, and reservoirs that present difficult engineering challenges or have very different properties to the shallower reservoirs. For example, the Jafurah Basin is the source for a lot of the oil and gas that has migrated into the Ghawar oil field. But you need to be able to understand what happens below the surface where you can't see, and all you have to work with is production data. That's why I was there. As Dr. Patzek says, 'If you can see production data, you can see everything.'

"I also wanted more industry experience, and to see the kind of teamwork they have in industry, working and reviewing problems with people. As a woman in Saudi Arabia I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a really nice work environment and people were super kind. In the future I still want to work with predicting gas production in shales, but I'm still focusing the topic. And I have more long term goals to work in the industry. For now, the next step is my thesis."

Left to Right: Philip Mitchell, Antonia Sugar, and Daniela Ortiz