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Samia Ahmed

Studied: BSc Biology and Geology and MSc Petroleum Geoscience

Graduated: 2008, 2009

Place of work: IHS, UK

Position: Middle East Field Researcher

IHS provides data and expertise across product lifecycle, security and the environment for customers ranging from governments and multi-nationals to technical professionals in over 180 countries. IHS employs 3,800 people in 20 countries. 

Samia’s role is to create new discovery field records and to research and reconcile all aspects of hydrocarbon field data, ensuring data accuracy and consistency. 

Why did you choose to study at Royal Holloway? 

Royal Holloway came highly recommended from my brothers who studied there and had found their time at the University a great experience, both academically and socially. Coupled with the reputation of the geology course at Royal Holloway, I decided to move from Denmark to study there.

Why did you choose the course you studied?

I initially chose Biology and Geology (BSc) because of my enjoyment of biology, zoology and fossils. Also, these were subjects I excelled at in school and felt they would give me a good basis for a career. It was in the second year, that I realised the signifi cance of biology and fossils to oil and gas and decided to pursue a career in hydrocarbons.  

How was life at Royal Holloway?

The social life was great. There was a wide range of people from around the country and world, with abundant opportunities to make friends with people across multiple departments. In my fi rst year, I spent many evenings in the Students’ Union which was always fun! As the course progressed, I often had the opportunity to visit London due to my job and third year project.

Were you involved in any societies? 

I was part of the Islamic Society and was responsible for its promotion and helped to organise charity events. We had many discussions, such as how to be a Muslim student at University and how to integrate into campus life. We would also meet up socially after Friday prayers. Alumni were very active in the Islamic Society and would identify people to come in to present and debate. There were lots of us and we are still good friends now, including the alumni who supported the Society.

Did you do gain any work experience while at Royal Holloway?

The Director of my Masters, Professor Chris Elders, had business contacts and sent out emails for job opportunities  On the back of these, I applied to Sasol Petroleum, where I worked on a CO2 research project in my third year. At the same time, I was doing my third year project with the Natural History Museum in London. 

I also did an internship at Deloitte as an Analyst before starting my Masters. I worked on two GIS projects using Petroview software and Petrobase, which are both Deloitte’s products. 

What support did Royal Holloway offer in addition to your academic studies?

My Professor was very pro-active, supportive and kept us up-to-date with alumni careers. He was my inspiration and he has definitely contributed to my success today.  We also had departmental careers fairs, where oil and service companies came to tell us about their graduate programs. These were mostly delivered by alumni who had studied geology. We would have company presentations, discussions, drinks and the opportunity to network with them.  

What did you learn at Royal Holloway that has helped you in your current role?

Everything!  My degree was very career specific, extensive and challenging. It constantly focused on learning and improving your skills. There was extensive laboratory and field work which helped to develop an analytical and critical approach. There were also field trips, presentations, written projects and group work; all of this has helped me tremendously in my career. 

I love working on carbonates – my second year, third year and Masters projects at Royal Holloway were on carbonates, so I have a good background on my current regional reservoirs, which are mostly carbonates.

Tell us a bit about your current role?

My role involves creating new oil and gas discovery field records, research into Middle East developments and reconciling hydrocarbon field data from multiple sources to achieve high quality and consistent information. Additionally, I contribute to IHS editorial products such as “Weekly Highlights” and “Global Exploration and Production Services (GEPS)” as well as presenting technical papers and posters at regional conferences. I am currently working on a CO2 storage project, which is a hot spot in the oil industry. 

What are your aspirations?

I want to become a chartered geologist and be part of developing the carbon capture and storage database as a new product for my company. 

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