Clara Rodriguez

Clara Rodriquez completed a Petroleum Geoscience MSc at Imperial College London

My first degree is in Geophysical Engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela. After I graduated as a Geophysical Engineer, I worked for Schlumberger for 4 years before I decided to pursue an MSc in 2006. My performance in Schlumberger was key to obtaining full sponsorship for the MSc degree, which I decided to undertake at Imperial College London. I chose the MSc in Petroleum Geoscience from Imperial College as it is very comprehensive and adapted to the needs of Exploration and Development teams in petroleum companies. During my MSc studies, I was able to significantly broaden my knowledge and experience as a Geoscientist. For example, during the Barrel Award competition, I had the opportunity to work to strict deadlines and to apply my passion for exploration geoscience. In a multidisciplinary team exploring the North Sea, I was the seismic interpreter, mapping and applying seismic attributes to identify potential prospects.

I started a job with Schlumberger UK after completing my MSc, where I welcomed the opportunity to further develop my seismic interpretation skills in a variety of sedimentary basins offshore east and west Africa. I worked for 4 years in the Multiclient team until in 2012 my love and curiosity for salt tectonics took me back to Imperial College London to undertake a PhD. I decided to return to Imperial College for the PhD because I was particularly interested in the groundbreaking research by the Basin Research Group. Therefore, I decided to get in contact with Professor Christopher Jackson, who gave me the opportunity to work on a PhD research in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil.

I love the cultural diversity at Imperial College London, the variety of nationalities you can find even by walking down the hallways. During my MSc and PhD studies, I made friends from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Italy, Spain, Nigeria, India, Malaysia, Brunei,  Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. Imperial College’s location in South Kensington is particularly exciting as I was able to, occasionally, enjoy the nearby museums and Hyde Park.

During the MSc, I particularly enjoyed the fieldtrips to the Wessex Basin and to the Book Cliffs and Onion Creek in Utah, USA.  The MSc was, at times, very demanding and challenging due to the significant workload; however my passion for geoscience helped me to stay focused and successfully finish it.

What I enjoyed the most about my PhD was unveiling the geology from the seismic data. Seismic interpretation allows you to understand the geological evolution of sedimentary basins and I have always found that really inspiring.

The PhD was extremely challenging since, when I started it, I was already a mother of 2 girls. It was difficult and it took some time until I found the right balance between my family and the research. To keep up with a very hard routine, I focused on being healthy, by maintaining good nutrition and taking up running.

The MSc and PhD degrees from Imperial College London positively influenced my career as a Geoscientist. The MSc in Petroleum Geoscience was key to be able to start a career as a seismic interpreter in Schlumberger. The lectures are designed to provide you with the necessary skills to properly understand the range of basin-to-reservoir scales, and incorporate geological knowledge when doing seismic interpretation.

During my PhD, I integrated high-quality 3D seismic and well data from the deep-water Santos Basin, offshore Brazil. I gained insights into the depositional evolution and stratigraphic architecture of so-called ‘salt giants’ (i.e. thick, laterally extensive bodies of evaporites), and documented how salt-related deformation controlled deep-water sediment dispersal. I challenged previous studies and improved our current knowledge of the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Santos Basin, an economically important, highly petroliferous salt basin. The PhD research was challenging, but it fostered my analytical ability and communication skills through presentations and writing papers. For example, I presented my work at conferences such as the annual meetings by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the British Sedimentological Research Group and the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory at the University of Texas. I also wrote three scientific papers to international, peer-reviewed journals, and I contributed to other four papers as a co-author. 

Follow Clara on Twitter @ClaraExplores

Read more student profiles from graduates of the Petroleum Geoscience MSc at Imperial College London.