Carving a career in oil and gas
Helena Wu Photo by Randy Larcombe Helena Wu has picked up a string of top awards since joining the oil and gas sector – a career that was furthest from her mind back in high school.
In just a few years Helena has made an impression as a senior reservoir engineer at Santos, and she is now part of a corporate planning and strategy team working on the company’s future.
She’s a passionate advocate for the sector and a role model for other women interested in a career in resources.
“I’ve always been a practical person and was drawn to the practical nature of engineering but I must admit I’d never considered working in oil and gas,” says Helena.
“My dad is a traditional Chinese man and he didn’t feel that women belonged in the resources field.
“But I was really fortunate to be supported through university by a number of scholarships, including some from resource companies, so I built a relationship with the sector quite early on.”
Helena graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) first class honours and Master of Engineering Management with a thesis project at Santos that led to a full-time position.
For two years she was a fly-in fly-out field production engineer for the company and then became a reservoir engineer, working with geologists and geophysicists to appraise and develop oil and gas reserves.
During that time she also managed to squeeze in study at the University of Adelaide and graduated in 2011 with Master of Petroleum Engineering.
Today she is a group planning and portfolio analyst based at Santos’ headquarters in Adelaide.
Among her numerous accolades is the 2015 International Young Member Outstanding Service Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Last year she was named the Exceptional Young Woman in Australian resources at the Women in Resources National Awards.
Helena is an active member of SPE and has sat on its international gender diversity task force to promote career opportunities for women in the industry.
“I’ve also been appointed to the SPE International Board of Directors so hopefully I can be further involved in gender diversity,” she says.
Story by Ian Williams