MSc Scholars Award Mentoring Success
Article by Max Casson
Almost a year ago, travelling in the Vietnamese jungle of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park I received news of my successful application for the PESGB Scholar Award. I was elated as the award granted me an opportunity to further my career in the oil industry by providing financial support for my MSc Petroleum Geosciences at the University of Manchester. With the award, the PESGB appointed a mentor from within the PESGB Council, Michael Caulfield, to offer technical support and act as current contact in the industry.
I made contact with Mick in September to discuss the possibility of completing an internship as fulfilment of my MSc independent project. I expressed a keen interest to add industry experience to the MSc at Manchester so I could apply my technical knowledge to a relevant industry project. At the President’s Evening I had the opportunity to catch up with Mick and discuss a project at JX Nippon for the forthcoming summer.
Amid the low oil-price environment, internship opportunities are rare for graduates so I was delighted to receive confirmation of the project and begin working in JX Nippon’s London office this June. The project is located around the Mariner field development in the Central Viking Graben studying the relationships between Mesozoic structure and Tertiary reservoir distribution, which includes analysis of faulting observed within the field and remobilization of the reservoir sands. Completing the project in-house has exposed me further to aspects of the oil industry beyond MSc teaching and given me insights into the early stages of the Mariner field development e.g. well planning, facility design and economic background.
My experience over the past year highlights the successful mentoring and networking scheme the PESGB has established with university students. Currently this is a difficult period for geoscience graduates but successful relationships between industry and academia exist, and these should be maintained and pursued. I am very grateful for receiving the support of the Scholars Award from the Society, and to Mick and the exploration team at JX Nippon for providing the project data, assistance and encouragement.