Over the years I have worked a few different jobs, some good, some bad, but they all shared one common thread. They all came with their own bag of tricks. These skills are something that no classroom can prepare you for, and they are some of the most important. With my first year of university behind me it was time to set my sights on gaining valuable work experience to supplement the fundamental theories that I learned in class. Being a first year student I realized that this would be an uphill battle. I spoke with many of the contacts that I made over the school year and everyone said the same thing, “It will be tough, good luck.” Knowing that my chances were slim; I exhausted every resource available to me, from flooding the market with resumes to incessantly harassing my mentor for a possible opportunity at TAQA. As it turned out, the latter came to fruition.

Immediately after school I returned to my regular job installing office interiors with the hopes that I would get called up to the “big leagues”. Weeks went by without a word. Every time I saw my mentor I would ask, “Should I give up hope?” and every time he said, “No, don’t give up hope.” So I hung on, and at the end of July when I was beginning to think that all was lost, I received an email. It was from my mentor and it simply said, “Want to come play with the big boys?”

My first day at TAQA consisted of a few introductions and then being promptly tossed into the fire. My first task was to find a way to transfer paper plats of survey areas into digital layers. Second, “Here is an area. Find oil.” Kelly took the time to familiarize me with the programs along with some basic concepts and then let me loose. It was clear that there would be no breaks for the first year summer student. I’m happy to say that with a ton of phone calls, questions and emails, that my first task was a success. I wish I could say the same for the latter.

I went to work tying well data to the seismic and then started picking horizons. The goal was to practice using the programs and try my best to develop an eye for doing picks. A few days in I came to a spot in the seismic that I couldn’t figure out. Myself and the summer student next to me had a bet going whether to pick up or down. When the expert arrived the pick was down and I lost the bet. But what is important is that Kelly pointed out an interesting anomaly within the seismic.

Could we have found oil? Possibly, but the depth of the science that I study and love goes far deeper than some wavy lines and fancy colours on a computer screen. I have learned that the level of correlation involved in drilling a successful well is one which demands scientific support. You must be able to recreate environments buried deep within geologic time and then bet millions on it. I see the level of intelligence and experience required and it motivates me. Unfortunately another company owned the mineral rights to the play but I still learned valuable steps for success, and the search continues.

All this in six weeks. I can only imagine what I’ll learn over the next three years! With each passing day my toolbox grows. The things that I have learned with my time at TAQA will only reinforce the theory that I will learn in class. So I implore you, my loyal reader, seek out first year students and give them a chance. Show them what they are getting involved in, cultivate their skills and help the world turn out a better scientist.

I want to thank TAQA, Kelly Hrabi and all of the people involved for the opportunities given to me and my student peers. I know we all learned a lot this summer and we will carry it for the rest of our careers.



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