- Why did you choose a scientific faculty after high school? Can you tell us about your career in Geoscience?
I always loved science, because it’s rigorous and logic, but also creative. I think it can help society by explaining why and how things happen leading to inventions and discoveries that support our livelihood. I’ve always been fascinated by how a problem can be solved in a logic and rigorous manner.
My first job as a geophysicist was in the field, acquiring electromagnetic and gravity data. It has been great fun; travelling around the world, working side by side with people from different background and cultures. After that I moved into processing, inversion and interpretation. Through my career I’ve been lucky enough to have seen the entire life cycle of the data we interpret. This allows me to better understand the strength and the pitfalls of our data.
I’ve been with Cairn Energy since 2011. Here I’ve been through exciting times and some disappointments, as part of the exploration cycle; it is a high risk business.
I learnt a lot during all these years and I keep learning. This is something great about our jobs; you keep learning, about new technologies, a new basin, or a new interpretation of an old basin. You never stop learning, it’s difficult to get bored!
- You have just been elected as SEG board member. What will be your position? What do you want to achieve?
In August this year, I’ve been elected as SEG district representative for district 7 which covers northern Europe. As their representative I want to listen to the voices of the communities in my district and represent their views to the SEG council. I want to hear their concerns, their ideas in these challenging times. What do they like? What would they do differently? What does make them chose to subscribe to the SEG every year?
- What you think is and will be the role of geophysics in the energy transition phase?
I think geophysics will be core to the energy transition.
Geophysics is the science that studies the physics of the earth. Whenever a better understanding of the subsurface is needed, geophysics will be needed and geophysicists will play a critical role. If you think at the various renewables (geothermal, CCS, wind, mining for minerals… ), they’ll all rely on a better understanding of the subsurface. You need to estimate the temperature gradient for geothermal, the reservoir deliverability is essential for traditional geothermal and CCS, seal capacity for CCS…
Still the economics for renewables are different to O&G. We’ll have to learn to explore in a more efficient way, more sustainably. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m very excited to see how we will overcome these challenges.
… and that’s in the future. In the meantime, still O&G is highly needed. We cannot afford to switch off from fossil fuel tomorrow, but we can start by producing HC more sustainable.
For example, we have been the first independent UK company to sign up to the world bank zero flaring gas emission, committing to zero emissions by 2030. I’m not claiming it’s going be the one solution, but it is a step in the right direction.
O&G can help to phase out from coal into cleaner gas for example, while more sustainable technologies are matured. The geophysics community, actually the O&G industry can help maturing these technologies leveraging on existing expertise, repurposing existing infrastructures.
- What will be the role of female geoscientists in the coming years and what is your advice to a young female student who wants to pursuit a career in Earth Science?
It’s great to see a well-balanced community of young geoscientists. It will make me feel old, but I’m glad to say that we went a long way since I came out of university.
Moving forward, both female and male geoscientists will have a critical role to play reinventing the energy landscape. We will have to redeploy our skills and develop new expertise to support society through the energy transition.
My advice to a young geoscientist is to choose a job that they like. It takes time and effort to build your expertise. You need to find something that excites you and stay curious about it. The energy environment is changing at a fast pace. The world is rapidly changing and the need for energy is increasing.
Few years ago someone told me that he chose to work in the O&G because we power the world,
and that’s what we did in Senegal; in 2014 we made a discovery which will soon be on stream, supporting the livelihood of local communities
We power the world, and the world is needing more and more power. Our challenge will be to provide it in a sustainable manner. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but if the mission of powering the world resonates with you, you’ll have a role to play in the energy transition and geophysics, actually geoscience will provide you the tools to do it.