Marianna Sinakova (2012-2013)
MSc Petroleum Engineering

Marianna SinakovaCurrent Employer: BP, London

After finishing my Bachelor degree in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Manchester, I chose to come to Imperial College London for its world class reputation, and specifically to study at a leading university in petroleum engineering where I would learn from some of the  world’s leading specialists and distinguished lecturers.

I  studied alongside some of the brightest students, expanded my professional network, and developed my time-management and problem-solving skills.

Having graduated from the course I can say that the course fully prepared me for the challenges of professional life and I owe my success to the intense year I had at Imperial College. Since completing my Msc I joined BP in London as a reservoir engineer. From early on in my role I contributed to important projects for the business and applied what I had learnt at university.

Many of my classmates are now working all over the world, and we still keep in touch and meet whenever our paths cross in the same city. I still visit the campus occasionally through my role as an SPE Young Professionals London committee member.

I would strongly encourage students who want to expand their career opportunities and to develop industry-relevant skills to apply to Imperial College. The year that you spend here would be one of the best periods of your life.


Despoina Mylonaki (2011-2012)
MSc Petroleum Engineering 2011/2012

Despoina MylonakiCurrent Employer: Shell UK Ltd.

I was studying Mineral Resources Engineering at the Technical University of Crete in Greece when I first attended a Reservoir Engineering course. The exciting and challenging aspects of this subject soon made me realise that this was the career path I wanted to follow.

Therefore, after finishing my Bachelor degree I decided to apply for an MSc in Petroleum Engineering. The reputation, the international recognition, the academic specialists, and the diversity of its students made Imperial College my first and only choice.

During my studies, I had the opportunity to learn from distinguished professors in Petroleum Engineering and use the latest software available in the petroleum industry. I developed valuable engineering skills and created a worldwide network of friends and colleagues.

In my opinion what distinguishes Imperial College from other universities is its academic and professional quality. Imperial has formed valuable connections and partnerships with oil and gas companies around the world, offering its students the opportunity of a successful career.

After completion of my MSc, I joined Shell UK Ltd working as a Reservoir Engineer in a North Sea field. My experience from Imperial College has proven to be really valuable in my every day job, especially when dealing with team projects and time pressure.

The knowledge I gained on different subsurface subjects during my MSc studies, has helped me significantly to integrate with colleagues from different disciplines.

If you are looking for a strongly industry-focused MSc in Petroleum Engineering, then Imperial College is the right place to study.

Ayana Breheret (2009-2010)
MSc Petroleum Engineering

Ayana BreheretI was studying for a Master degree from a French Ecole d’Ingenieurs, the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Geologie, when I applied for a double degree with the MSc Petroleum Engineering at Imperial College.

Oil and gas exploration today requires a high level of integration, and this MSc was the perfect choice to make: from the first day on, I was trained not only to be an engineer, but also to interact with all kinds of specialists, from geoscientists to economists.

During my studies, I not only developed a new theoretical understanding, but how to be proficient in the application of this knowledge; owing to the group and personal projects I undertook.

In the unique environment of Imperial College (software access, library, working but still a cozy atmosphere…), among international classmates of different backgrounds and past experiences, helped by passionate and communicative professors and industry specialists, I learnt both theory and practical applications.

The close ties between MSc Petroleum Engineering and industry, enhanced by affiliations to professional associations such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers, allowed me to immerse myself into the professional environment, and to feel confident that I would be able to tackle any challenge in my future job.

Upon graduation in 2010 I joined the consultancy group Fugro Robertson Ltd as a Reservoir Engineer. The skills that I developed during MSc Petroleum Engineering have proved invaluable on the projects I have worked on, from generating production profiles to defining field development plans. And it is always a pleasure to meet my former classmates knowing that we shared a great time at Imperial, but that our futures are brighter still.

Ayodele O. Sanwoolu (2006-2007)
MSc Petroleum Engineering

Ayodele O. SanwooluCurrent Employer: Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS), Kuwait

Current Position: Senior Reservoir Engineer

“Petroleum Reservoir Engineering deals with the problem of maximizing producing rate and ultimate recovery of oil and gas reservoirs” – H.C. Slider, Worldwide Practical Reservoir Engineering Methods

As a modern Reservoir Engineer, in this computer age, at no other time have we had so many resources at our disposal to study and analyze the hydrocarbon bearing reservoirs.

We are now able to take uncertainties into consideration - and propagate these uncertainties from the development of the structural model, through the building of the geological model and the eventual simulation of the different recovery scenarios from the reservoir.

The complexity and labour intensiveness of some of the processes involved in model building and simulation necessitates the development of specialist software to assist the engineer in making the necessary decisions.

While the software exists to help the engineer, it is of utmost importance that the reservoir engineer understands the fundamentals of the physics governing the reservoir and the fluids within the reservoir, as this is the only way in which he/she can make informed decisions on which tools to use and to correctly evaluate results obtained from the tool in a process, putting the right weight on it, based on the data and assumptions involved in the decision process.

I work as a reservoir engineer with Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) and my daily activities involve training and supporting reservoir engineers in the use of some of the industry’s reservoir engineering software, some of which are ECLIPSE, the flow simulation software and Petrel Reservoir Engineering (the Reservoir Engineering component of Petrel, a platform for creating geophysical and geological models and carrying it on through to simulation).

I also work with clients on simulation projects, an example being a project involving the simulation of a waterflood project designed to provide pressure support for one of the reservoirs of the Burgan field in Kuwait.

My time in Imperial College provided me with the necessary background in Petroleum and Reservoir Engineering. The group project really provided me with a lot of skills that I still draw on today in my daily activities, things I did not realize I was learning an example of which is the holistic approach to reservoir studies.

I’ll encourage all the students that have the opportunity to be part of the MSc Program to get fully involved. Learn all you can and ask all the questions you can. It is very important to learn the fundamentals and you have around you excellent sources of information and knowledge.

Ran Qi
MSc Petroleum Engineering

Ran QiAfter finishing my undergraduate study at the University of Petroleum in Beijing, China, I sought to enhance my understanding of petroleum processes by continuing with a MSc degree in petroleum engineering at Imperial College London.

During the masters program, along with a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of general reservoir development strategies, I developed a keen interest in the storage of carbon dioxide in mature oil fields.

This occurred after listening to a very engaging lecture from my then future PhD supervisor Martin Blunt where he described the dual benefits which could arise when carbon dioxide is injected into a mature oil field. It was there he showed how additional oil recovery could be obtained from these fields which may be close to abandonment while redu cing carbon emissions. 

I thus embarked on the research of the topic “Simulation of geological carbon dioxide storage” under the supervision of Professor Martin Blunt and Dr. Tara LaForce.  During my PhD study, I had the opportunity to modify a streamline simulator and used it to study carbon storage in several field cases.

After completing my PhD in 2008 I joined Chevron’s Energy Technology Company as reservoir simulation engineer in Aberdeen.  There I worked on various simulation projects which included history matching mature fields, simulating Enhanced Oil Recovery processes and using experimental design to model green field developments for Chevron’s different business units.

In early 2010 I moved over to Chevron Upstream Europe, the operational arm of Chevron in the UK, where I took a development assignment as an EOR simulation engineer in the Captain Field in North Sea, which is currently testing chemical enhanced oil recovery methods.  

Petroleum engineering is a very unique subject, which combines the theories of physics, mathematics, chemistry and engineering to obtain ways to efficiently and effectively recover oil from the subsurface.

On a daily basis I am called upon to use the basics I learnt in my MSc and PhD studies to validate the results of numerical simulation and modeling packages to ensure that they give reasonable answers and do not become black boxes whose answers are never questioned. I am also called upon to use these basics for business decisions which require us to determine how likely various strategies are to provide sufficient economic recovery.

One of my favourite parts of working as a petroleum engineer is the knowledge that I am contributing to the safe and reliable production of an essential energy source in a manner which has as little impact to the environment as possible. 

My best and worst moments are kind of related. I enjoyed every moment during my PhD study at Imperial College as I was working with the greatest supervisors and colleagues, so the best moments is of course when I graduated at Royal Albert Hall with Imperial College London’s purple PhD robe. The worst moment is to sadly leave London, leave my student life at Imperial College.