By Maha Alkhulaifi, published on March 6th, 2018, modified on March 22nd, 2018
I first studied architecture but felt it was not enough science for me thus I switched to Petroleum Engineering to later join the Oil and Gas industry. Once graduated, I wanted to be more exposed to the reservoir and understand what was going on underneath! I entered TEPQ in September 2014 with a Alkhalij monitoring team, then moved to the non operated asset, North field, as a reservoir engineer.
I remember very well dealing with my first challenge. I was given a project to present and my first impression was that I wouldn’t be able to finish it on time. The timeline was tight, the topic was massive and I found it too overwhelming. At that time, I had a baby and I needed to get back home by 4 pm to feed him and put him in bed. I returned to office and worked until late hours for four days in a row. The presentation went really well and from this day, I understood that nothing is impossible if you are fully dedicated. I must say that my husband supports me and it makes a big difference.
Qatar is still a traditional place where the respect of our culture is essential. Being a woman, a mother and a Qatari national is something I have to juggle with. A year ago, I had to present my job, as an engineer, to young Qatari girls who visited the company. They were interested in the oil and gas industry and wanted to know a lot of things including if I shared office with men and if I was married. I was not surprised at all because I work in a men dominated environment and this can be not acceptable to a typical mindset of some people in my country. I answered all their questions, by assuring them of how much I loved my job and that men are not too complicated to work with. Sharing an office area with men was not such an issue and everybody in Total is very respectful. The new generation is very educated and we have many job opportunities in Qatar. We have such an exposure to the world while keeping the respect of our culture. Young women must understand that everything is possible if you have a dream. I told them not to give up their ambition. Working in a foreign company with people coming from the whole world has been a real amazing experience. I remember my positive energy when I left the room after this talk, I am very proud of this. I am lucky enough to have a father who is my big inspiration; he always gave me the push to follow my goals. I am the oldest of eight siblings and I feel the responsibility to pave the way, especially for my sisters. One of them wants to join the Oil and Gas business. I like it when young girls look up at me.