Petroleum Engineer Highlight: Hala Hashmi


As the primary lady petroleum engineer in Pakistan, Hala Hashmi navigated her tutorial {and professional} profession by overcoming challenges, taking dangers, and sustaining her self-confidence. On this article, Hala introduces us to her position as Senior Reservoir Simulation Engineer of Parex Assets and shares her inspiring story as a trailblazing engineer.

What impressed you to grow to be an engineer?

I’m initially from Pakistan and though the village I lived in was small, the literacy price was excessive. I went to an all-girls Catholic faculty which was very aggressive and I participated in plenty of extra-curricular actions. I later attended the College of Engineering and Expertise at Lashore which is a 7-hour drive away from residence. My dad and mom and siblings had been very supportive of my tutorial pursuits in expertise. I’ve two sisters and one brother, and all of us have established completely different profession paths. My father emphasised to us the significance of schooling and I noticed that with a purpose to achieve success, I wanted to get my schooling and determine alone occupation.

In Pakistan, girls usually enter certainly one of two professions: educating or drugs. I used to be not concerned with turning into a doctor and I felt I’d not really feel proud being a doctor. I felt I’d solely really feel pleased with myself if I turned an engineer, so I made up my thoughts once I was about 12 years outdated. It wasn’t till in a while that I made a decision particularly on petroleum engineering. I didn’t know any petroleum engineers rising up however I made a decision to pick petroleum engineering once I entered school just because it sounded very attention-grabbing. Based mostly on my good grades, I used to be allowed to pick just about no matter self-discipline I favored. 

Throughout my first day of school, the admission officer suggested me to decide on a unique self-discipline which is likely to be simpler for me to maintain up with. Nonetheless, I had no want in different engineering majors. Our dialog went backwards and forwards, and he lastly mentioned “However you’re the solely lady! Do you perceive?” I didn’t know on the time (late Nineteen Nineties) that there have been no feminine college students within the petroleum engineering program at my College nor had been there any girls petroleum engineers in Pakistan. I used to be the primary ever lady who declared petroleum engineering as my main, however I used to be not afraid. I used to be decided to pursue petroleum engineering based mostly on my curiosity and perception that this can make me proud. Though generally I felt lonely within the classroom, I used to be in a position to make associates with college students in different majors. I had a great expertise in school and realized to grow to be impartial. 

I used to be the primary ever lady [in Pakistan] who declared petroleum engineering as my main, however I used to be not afraid. I used to be decided to pursue petroleum engineering based mostly on my curiosity and perception that this can make me proud.

What’s your regular work week like? What do you want most about your job?

In a broad view, petroleum engineers seek for oil and fuel underground, extract it, and make it helpful for the business. There are completely different specialties inside petroleum engineering: geophysics, geology, petrophysics, drilling, manufacturing, reservoir, and extra. 

In my position, I’m a reservoir engineer which suggests I’m accountable for estimating how a lot oil reserves are underground, how lengthy it should take for us to supply it and the way a lot it’s price. Then I discover other ways to supply it cost-effectively. We additionally work on simulation modeling, monitor our day by day manufacturing and attempt to provide you with optimization alternatives. There are dangers that we have to mitigate so we purchase surveillance information to scale back our uncertainties. We make a area growth plan and, utilizing reservoir fashions, we consider whether it is economically logical and environmentally secure to supply the oil from a reservoir. Most of my work is office-based however I’ll often go to the fields as a result of when I’m engaged on a venture associated to a sure area, the sphere is my accountability.

Once I’m doing simulation and learning on a area, simply as I get near discovering an answer, I really feel loads of pleasure and that’s what I take pleasure in probably the most about my job. I actively search for challenges and seeing the onerous work repay on the finish is at all times price it.

What challenges did you face at first of your profession?

I moved international locations and corporations a number of instances all through my profession. I began my first job in Pakistan, then moved to Abu Dhabi, Oman and I’m now in Canada. Now that I believe again to my first job, I want my coaching would have been higher as I used to be not put in a strong coaching program. I labored there for 3 years and day-after-day I felt I used to be not doing sufficient and didn’t know what I used to be presupposed to do. A colleague inspired me to continue learning and to not stress myself out and by no means quit as a result of success would come sooner or later. I now notice that it was good recommendation. My subsequent place was with British Petroleum and in only a yr, I realized a lot due to their strong coaching and assist techniques. Now, the recommendation I give to others is to not really feel discouraged in case you are not performing properly in a single space as a result of this doesn’t imply you aren’t succesful. A change in atmosphere or management could give you precisely what it’s good to excel.

“Don’t really feel discouraged in case you are not performing properly in a single space as a result of this doesn’t imply you aren’t succesful. A change in atmosphere or management could give you precisely what it’s good to excel.”

Do you’ve any mentors or mentees?

There have been many individuals that inspired, impressed, and supported me all through my engineering journey. I believe again to college, the place I had a professor that gave me suggestions that stayed with me eternally. Once I began working at corporations, a few of my crew leaders and managers actually advocated for me and helped me to provide you with a plan for my profession path. I’ve met so many individuals that I appeared as much as and realized from and we be in contact despite the fact that I’ve moved on to different corporations. I by no means hesitate to succeed in out and ask for his or her recommendation.

I additionally prefer to cross on the recommendation I’ve obtained and the issues I’ve realized, so I’ve been in contact with some feminine college students from Pakistan who’re learning engineering. I went again to Pakistan for a go to and met with them to share my expertise and provides them encouragement. We nonetheless be in contact by way of messaging app. 

The place do you see your self in 10 years?

I’m passionate in regards to the area of petroleum engineering and I’m at all times in search of progress so I want to be in a management and govt position in 10 years. Extra importantly, I see myself inspiring different ladies or women. 

What are your hobbies? What’s your favourite guide?

After I moved to Canada with my household, we began a brand new passion: mountaineering–and all of us love doing so. I additionally take pleasure in portray, listening to music, and planning occasions and events. My favourite guide is the Forty Guidelines of Love by Elif Shafak.

What recommendation do you’ve for future engineers?

When you’ve got a ardour for one thing, simply go for it. I imagine that in case you are motivated, a path will create itself and all the pieces will work out. There are actually struggles and challenges as a result of nothing is straightforward. I think about if I’d have stopped pursuing Petroleum engineering when my college admission officer suggested me to decide on another diploma. If I had switched, I’d not have been as profitable as I’m now and it will have been my largest remorse. My recommendation is that in case you discover one thing that pursuits you, don’t hesitate and don’t let others dissuade you from pursuing it.

“If you discover one thing that pursuits you, don’t hesitate and don’t let others dissuade you from pursuing it.

One other piece of recommendation I’ve is to develop the essential abilities of time administration, planning, and prioritization. Plans typically change, which is okay, however we should always make base plans for the issues which can be below your management. 

Lastly, you will need to acknowledge the advantages of networking. Once I moved to Canada, I didn’t instantly have all of the information and expertise I would want to succeed. I spent an entire yr specializing in networking to assist me reach my profession within the new nation after which I used to be in a position to lean on my community to assist me be taught. That additionally tells us all that it’s by no means late to be taught something new and apply.

In the event you’re concerned with listening to extra from Hala, try her inspiring message to future petroleum engineers right here.


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  • Petroleum Engineer Spotlight: Hala Hashmi petroleum engineer

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