Energising the world
APU’s Petroleum Engineering programme bridges the gap between students and the real world, preparing undergraduates for the global professional world.
There are many myths circling the petroleum industry.
Some of the most common ones are that renewable energy will replace fossil fuels soon, the petroleum industry does not care about the environment and the oil industry is a monopoly.
Debunking this perception, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) Bachelor of Petroleum Engineering programme leader Nur Ailie Sofyaiana Serasa points out some important facts that we should know about the oil and gas industry, the Petroleum Engineering degree and the outlook of this academic path.
Depletion of oil and gas is not true
Nur Ailie shares that the pipeline for substitute renewable energy fuels is already present, but it has not come to the mass market stage.
Until then, fossil fuels will still be in demand and highly relevant.
“This continued demand for traditional oil and gas means that the job of petroleum engineers is to make sure oil and gas extraction is more economical to produce and use, whilst minimising the impact on the environment,” she says.
“We need fresh innovative ideas to look into the possibilities of extracting hard-to-reach oil and gas, and this should come from the graduates studying the Petroleum Engineering degree.”
The key message she shares is that minimising the impact on the environment will be a crucial part of academic training for a qualified petroleum engineer.
Nur Ailie (right), who is both a petroleum engineer and geologist by profession, leads her students in geoscience fieldwork at a cut slope wall near Temerloh Toll Plaza.
To be a successful petroleum engineer in the field also requires a good grasp of knowledge of many other related disciplines in the industry.
This is why APU hosts a number of multidisciplinary professionals at its institution, so that students learn from academics who have related industrial experience, across multiple disciplines.
“For example, the exploration stage is a sub-discipline of earth science that requires the expertise of a geologist and mining engineer,” says Nur Ailie, who is both a petroleum engineer and geologist by profession.
Geologists are well-versed in materials, processes, products, and the physical nature and history of the earth.
Mining engineers, on the other hand, plan and supervise the processes involved in extracting minerals and the earth’s natural resources from mines – particularly coal, when it comes to the aspect of fossil fuels.
Apart from the two professions above, the Petroleum Engineering programme faculty at APU is also made up of chemical engineers, mechanical engineers and data scientists.
Need for skilled professionals
Post-graduate study paths and career prospects for students are abundant, as they can fulfil roles across the board.
The profession of petroleum engineers can be divided into several sub-disciplines that are labelled as Upstream, Midstream and Downstream.
Upstream, which focuses on oil and gas production and exploration, involves petroleum geologists, petrophysicists, geophysicists, reservoir engineers, drilling engineers, mud engineers, completion engineers and production engineers.
Midstream, which pertains to transport and storage, involves mechanical engineers and process engineers, while Downstream, which relates to product preparation and usage involves chemical engineers.
APU staff using the liquid permeability equipment in the reservoir lab.