Career development

TWA Energy Influencers 2022

The TWA Energy Influencers are a selection of outstanding young professionals in the oil and gas industry whose work positively influences and inspires others.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers needs outstanding and committed young professionals to achieve its mission of knowledge sharing, life-long learning, and building community strength. This is true today more than ever as the industry overcomes the impacts of volatile commodity prices, COVID-19, and the energy transition. "TWA Energy Influencers" program is an opportunity to recognize young professionals’ grit and determination as well as their contributions to the energy industry, communities, and the world at large.

Giovanni Paccaloni, the 2005 SPE President and champion of its young professionals’ programs, used to say excellence is a choice. That choice is evident in this TWA Energy Influencers Class of 2022. These ten professionals from eight countries include reservoir engineers, geoscientists, professors, and innovators—all of whom have made an outsized impact on the world through their scholarship, work, and volunteering. Their commitment to excellence is a reminder that each of us are capable of making a difference through passion and hard work.

-Thomas Shattuck, Editor-in-Chief, TWA Editorial Committee

Moataz Abu-AlSaud

Research Engineer, Saudi Aramco

With excellent communications, leadership, and mentoring skills, Moataz Abu-AlSaud makes multidisciplinary collaborative projects successful by developing innovative technology solutions and solving business challenges.
With excellent communication, leadership, and mentoring skills, Moataz Abu-AlSaud makes multidisciplinary collaborative projects successful by developing innovative technology solutions and solving business challenges.

Moataz Abu-AlSaud is a research engineer at Saudi Aramco EXPEC Advanced Research Center reservoir engineering team, focusing on the fundamentals of multiphase flow in porous media, improved oil recovery, and sustainability. Previously, he worked as a production engineer to initiate acid stimulation jobs as part of field development project in Saudi Aramco. He also worked on evaluating advanced completion tools in the wellbore.

As a research engineer, Abu-AlSaud led the development of an in-house core analysis software with full automation capabilities that saved significant time and costs by optimizing field development. This 4IR-based standalone software tool with its unique heterogeneity modeling played a major role in reservoir-management strategies. Abu-AlSaud has an exemplary record of working on multidisciplinary collaborative projects to develop innovative technology solutions and solve business challenges. With excellent communications, leadership, and mentoring skills, he nurtures knowledge transfer within each team and mentors young colleagues. Abu-AlSaud is currently leading and supporting strategic pilot projects on SmartWater flooding and zero-liquid-discharge produced-water management, which received the World Oil Award for Best Water Management Solution in 2020.

Abu-AlSaud is the author of several high-impact journal, conference, and patent publications and has taught courses on improved/enhanced oil recovery at Saudi Aramco. He also serves as technical reviewer for various journals, including JPSE, Journal of Computational Physics, and Energy & Fuels. He holds bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and mathematics from Rice University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and a PhD degree in energy resources engineering from Stanford University.

Olawale Ajayi

Petroleum Engineer, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company

A Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative, Olawale Ajayi is an offshore production operations engineer and young professionals leader who educates the next generation about the energy industry and serves the local community through volunteer work.
A Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative, Olawale Ajayi is an offshore production operations engineer and young professionals leader who educates the next generation about the energy industry and serves the local community through volunteer work.

Olawale Ajayi is an offshore production operations engineer at Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the E&P subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC). In this role, he supports the team in achieving safety and operational excellence and serves in offshore management roles when required, all with a focus on operational performance. He liaises with the asset leadership team to ensure work deferrals have appropriate approvals, provides input to the annual budgeting process to meet asset-planning expectations, coordinates with vendors and third-party contractors, and mentors university interns deployed to the company.

Since joining as a student member in 2013, Ajayi has served SPE in diverse capacities at section and international levels. As an Ambassador Lecturer, he led interactive sessions about the energy industry and related career opportunities for more than 300 high school students. In 2021, as a member of the Young Professionals Committee of the SPE Benin-City Section, he co-led a STEM book donation drive for public secondary schools within the Benin-City metropolis impacting more than 4,500 students. He currently serves as the Young Professionals Committee chair for the section and is a member of the 2022 PetroBowl Question Writers Committee.

For his inspirational influence on other young people, Ajayi was named Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a US government signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Ajayi also has volunteered at the Lagos Food Bank Initiative and organized the first-ever virtual international tour as the project team lead of the Energy Institute’s Young Professionals Network, providing opportunities for young professionals to explore global energy industries.

Ajayi holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering and project development jointly from the University of Port Harcourt and IFP School, France.

Zahraa Alkalby

Reservoir Engineer, TotalEnergies

A reservoir engineer and proponent of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the industry, Zahraa Alkalby holds leadership positions in SPE D&I committees and helped expand related activities to more than 65 SPE sections and chapters.
A reservoir engineer and proponent of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the industry, Zahraa Alkalby holds leadership positions in SPE D&I committees and helped expand related  activities to more than 65 SPE sections and chapters.

Zahraa Alkalby is a reservoir engineer at TotalEnergies with more than 7 years of experience in the energy sector, with previous experience at Shell and Schlumberger working on projects in the Middle East.

A member of SPE for more than 7 years, Alkalby volunteers at the local and international levels in various capacities, including the SPE e-Mentor program and SPE regional student paper contests. She is a strong proponent for diversity and inclusion (D&I) and advocates for gender diversity by serving on the SPE Women in Energy Committee as deputy chair. She led the inauguration of the SPE D&I Committee as its chair for 2020–2021 and expanded D&I activities to 65-plus SPE sections and chapters around the globe.

Currently, Alkalby is the social responsibility officer of the Sustainable Development technical section in the SPE Gaia Sustainability Program. She is a member of the Just Transition Task Force at IPIECA, which was formed to help connect learning and thought leadership between SPE and IPIECA in complementary ways. Alkalby is also part of the Energy Workforce of the Future, an initiative by International Oil and Gas Producers. For her contributions to SPE, she was recognized with the SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award in 2020.

Alkalby holds a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Basra, Iraq, an MSc in reservoir evaluation and management from Heriot-Watt University, and an MSc in petroleum engineering from Imperial College, London.

Mathias Carlsen

General Manager Americas, Whitson

A Fulbright Scholar and reservoir engineer, Mathias Carlsen helps builds software solutions for complex unconventional reservoir models. He uses his technical excellence and teaching abilities to advance the discipline of numerical rate transient analysis.
A Fulbright Scholar and reservoir engineer, Mathias Carlsen helps builds software solutions for complex unconventional reservoir models. He uses his technical excellence and teaching abilities to advance the discipline of numerical rate transient analysis.
Garberg Foto AS

Mathias Carlsen is the general manager for the Americas at Whitson, a company that develops an all-in-one, web-based, petroleum engineering platform named whitson+. After earning his MSc, Carlsen joined Whitson and has been a key developer, conceptual driver, and product manager of whitson+ for unconventional reservoir model management. He has been instrumental in the implementation and continued development of the numerical rate transient analysis (RTA) methodology proposed by Bowie and Ewert. Additionally, Carlsen has been a key proponent and developer of multiphase flowing-material balance and pragmatic modeling of complex fractures (i.e., non-uniform fracture spacing and random fracture patterns) in numerical RTA.

Through Whitson, Carlsen has supervised and consulted on projects for more than 50 E&P companies. He is part of the ongoing Numerical RTA joint-industry project of more than 30 participating companies, which focuses on developing best practices and guidelines related to the technology. In addition, he researches and teaches industry courses on well performance, advanced pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) studies, phase behavior, and gas-based enhanced oil recovery. He has presented papers at more than 10 SPE conferences, and his papers on unconventional reservoir PVT and production strategies have been recognized broadly for their technical excellence. His ability to explain complex topics in an understandable and pragmatic way has led to new ideas in the multiphase unconventional RTA that is being implemented in the everyday workflow of a variety of companies.

Carlsen holds an MSc degree in petroleum engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University.

Cassandra Dewan

Audit to Optimize Engineer, Schlumberger

A student advocate, Cassandra Dewan demonstrated remarkable leadership in adapting the in-person model of the PetroBowl Student Contest to an innovative digital platform, enabling the contest to be held virtually during the pandemic.
A student advocate, Cassandra Dewan demonstrated remarkable leadership in adapting the in-person model of the PetroBowl Student Contest to an innovative digital platform, enabling the contest to be held virtually during the pandemic.

Cassandra Dewan is an audit-to-optimize engineer at Schlumberger with more than 10 years of professional experience. She has worked both upstream and downstream with individuals across many disciplines and departments globally. Dewan is also a PhD candidate in metallurgical and materials engineering at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro where her research focuses on sustainability and decarbonization.

Dewan became an SPE member in 2013 while pursuing her MSc in petroleum engineering at the University of the West Indies and started volunteering for the SPE Trinidad and Tobago Section young professionals (YP) Committee. Currently, she is the SPE Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region YP liaison and SPE Young Member Engagement Committee incoming chair.

Over the past 9 years, Dewan has dedicated her time to the improvement of student activities, most notably the PetroBowl competition which benefits hundreds of students around the world. During the pandemic in 2020, rather than cancel the LAC PetroBowl Regional Contest, she co-led the planning team in developing a new software to host the competition virtually, demonstrating resilience, adaptability, innovation, and leadership. The software was then used to host the 2020 PetroBowl Championship. In 2021, her team developed a process for PetroBowl question writing and review; it is now focused on standardizing the regional competitions and developing a new software for hybrid mode. For her contributions to SPE, Dewan was awarded the Giovanni Paccaloni Outstanding Young Professional Award in 2021. She also represented SPE at the Emerging Leaders Alliance Conference.

Dewan is also a volunteer teacher and class owner at Cidadão Pró-Mundo, teaching English to teenagers and adults from needy communities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kyle Haustveit

Manager, Devon Energy Ventures

An SPE Distinguished Lecturer and technology innovator, Kyle Haustveit is a coinventor of the sealed wellbore pressure-monitoring technology (SWPM), considered a stepping stone toward real-time fracture design.
An SPE Distinguished Lecturer and technology innovator, Kyle Haustveit is a coinventor of the sealed wellbore pressure-monitoring technology (SWPM), considered a stepping stone toward real-time fracture design.

Kyle Haustveit is manager of Devon Energy Ventures, a team focused on venture capital, additive energy, and digital data monetization. He has a diverse engineering background and is experienced in completions design, fracture modeling, diagnostic program design, interpretation, and integration.

Haustveit was a key driving force behind the development and commercialization of the SWPM breakthrough technology. Considered a stepping stone toward real-time fracture design, the technology saw a rapid time to market, from introduction to first commercial project in under 6 months. Currently, more than 15,000 fracture stages, covering every major unconventional play in the Americas, have been analyzed using this method. Haustveit’s presentation of the work as paper SPE 199731: Monitoring the Pulse of a Well Through Sealed Wellbore Pressure Monitoring, a Breakthrough Diagnostic with a Multi-Basin Case Study at the 2020 Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference was widely received. The technology also received Hart Energy’s Meritorious Award for engineering innovation in 2021.

An SPE Distinguished Lecturer during 2020–2021, Haustveit is the author of more than 15 technical papers related to integrated diagnostics and holds three patents related to offset pressure monitoring during hydraulic stimulation. He serves on several SPE committees, including as member of the Completions Advisory Committee, vice chair of the Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference Committee, and co-chair of the SPE Forum on Future Stimulation and Completions Committee.

A professional engineer registered in the state of Oklahoma, Haustveit holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Montana Technological University and an Executive MBA in Energy from the University of Oklahoma. For his role in technology innovation, Haustveit was recognized as a member of Hart Energy’s Forty Under 40 in 2021.

Gaurav Hazarika

Assistant Professor, Pandit Deendayal Energy University

An academician and technical expert, Gaurav Hazarika champions skill building in students and facilitates industry-academia interaction by publishing research papers and holding technical events.
An academician and technical expert, Gaurav Hazarika champions skill building in students and facilitates industry-academia interaction by publishing research papers and holding technical events.

Gaurav Hazarika is an assistant professor at Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU) in Gujarat, India. Along with his academic activities, he serves as a technical consultant in his organization's enhanced oil recovery (EOR) screening committee consulting for private and government E&P companies.

Hazarika has published research papers and delivered conference presentations and lectures on reservoir performance, EOR, and well stimulation. He holds an Indian design patent in hydraulic fracturing and is working toward the commercialization of the technology. His technical know-how led to his role as a technical consultant for NITI Aayog’s (a Government of India public policy think tank) project, a “Detailed Analysis of ONGC Videsh Limited's Overseas Investments.” His contributions to the report were widely appreciated.

In his academic career since 2019, Hazarika has guided 20 students in their undergraduate projects and mentored more than 30 students in their academics. An active SPE member since his student days, he is the founder member and faculty mentor of the International Association of Drilling Contractors PDEU student chapter.

Hazarika organizes events and lectures for knowledge dissemination; he conducted a fire-safety training for students at the Oil and Natural Gas Corp.; an international webinar series for the Tashkent Branch of the Russian State University of Oil and Gas Named After I.M. Gubkin in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; and a field workshop and brainstorming session for top ONGC officials and his colleagues in the onshore geological sites of Kutch Basin. Passionate to share knowledge and stimulate young minds, he trained more than 100 students in skill development sessions conducted by Indian government’s Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

Hazarika holds a BTech degree in petroleum engineering and an MTech degree in petroleum exploration and production from Dibrugarh University in Assam, India.

Adonis Ichim

Well Design Solutions Sr. Engineer, Tenaris

Adonis_Ichim_TWAEI22.jpg
Adonis Ichim heads the Young Professional Committee of one of SPE’s largest sections and shares his technical expertise with the industry as a technical reviewer for journals.

Adonis Ichim has a passion for solving engineering challenges and for bringing people together. In his role at Tenaris, he provides E&P companies with well engineering expertise in mechanical modeling, material selection, and engineering forensics. He also develops novel methods to improve well integrity, reduce nonproductive time, and enhance knowledge transfer through physical and digital solutions. In prior work, he investigated oil field cements, wellbore heat transfer, drilling fluids, and equipment condition monitoring. Ichim is the author of more than 30 publications, eight of which are peer-reviewed, and one pending patent, and has presented at various flagship conferences around the world.

An SPE member since 2013, Ichim is the chair of the SPE Gulf Coast Section Young Professionals (YPs) Committee, which focuses on improving the membership’s technical know-how, networking with a purpose, helping the local community, and creating opportunities for YPs. As committee chair, he also leads programs that connect graduating students to the SPE professional membership, which helps in membership retention and growth of the section. Ichim has been an SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Committee member for the past 3 years and serves on the SPE Drilling Advisory Committee.

In his passion to share his knowledge and help support the industry, Ichim volunteers as a technical reviewer for multiple scientific journals, including Elsevier Journal of Natural Gas Engineering, Elsevier Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, Multiphase Science and Technology Journal, Advances in Mechanical Engineering, American Chemical Society Omega Journal, Experimental Heat Transfer Journal, and Natural Resource Research.

Ichim holds an MS degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma (OU) and a BS degree in energy and natural resources from Clausthal University of Technology, Germany. He is the recipient of two graduate student awards at OU, the Elsevier Outstanding Reviewer Award, and the 2020 SPE Gulf Coast Section Exemplary Volunteer Award.

Sayanima Kisku

Manager (Reservoir), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

A celebrated mentor and technical expert, Sayanima Kisku championed the use of new technologies in mature assets to improve production statistics, leading to the reshaping of her company’s brownfield development strategy.
A celebrated mentor and technical expert, Sayanima Kisku championed the use of new technologies in mature assets to improve production statistics, leading to the reshaping of her company’s brownfield development strategy.

Sayanima Kisku is an effervescent young professional focusing on augmenting India’s oil production, optimally and economically, to meet the country’s growing energy demand. She is currently the lead reservoir engineer for one of ONGC’s mature fields.

Kisku played a pivotal role in successfully advocating the maiden use of underbalanced drilling in ONGC and inducting new technologies such as intelligent well completions, chemical enhanced oil recovery, low-salinity waterflood, and modern data analytics for waterflood management. For example, she was able to reduce the cost of projects by approximately 50% using zonal isolation techniques to delay water production in infill wells of the Heera field. These challenging initiatives have helped ONGC reshape its brownfield development strategy, leading to improvement of the production statistics of mature fields. For her technical excellence and management skills, Kisku was named “Young Achiever of the Year” in 2019 and 2020 by ONGC and the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry, respectively. She was also honored with several other technical awards by ONGC.

As part of the industry and academia interface, Kisku diligently coaches and mentors students through internships, serves as course content advisor for universities, and as an SPE e-mentor, she helps students and young professionals navigate their career. Passionate about gender equality in the STEM fields, she conducts workshops and webinars focused on building leadership skills among women. A blogger and author of technical papers, Kisku discusses the realities of energy transition in the podcast “Future of Energy,” highlighting the role played by the oil and gas industry toward a sustainable future. An ardent music lover, she is trained in Indian classical music for 12 years and is now learning to play the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument.

Kisku holds a petroleum engineering degree from Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad and an MBA in oil and gas management. She will be pursuing an MSc in mature field management at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh in the fall.

Sadaf Shah

Team Leader–Drilling, United Energy Pakistan

Breaking stereotypes, Sadaf Shah works in the oil and gas industry as a drilling and completion engineer in Pakistan. She initiated the SPE D&I Pakistan Committee to support women in the oil and gas industry in the country.
Breaking stereotypes, Sadaf Shah works in the oil and gas industry as a drilling and completion engineer in Pakistan. She initiated the SPE D&I Pakistan Committee to support women in the oil and gas industry in the country.

Sadaf Shah is a team leader–drilling at United Energy Pakistan (UEP) with approximately a decade of experience. She oversees planning and execution of drilling wells for two concession areas (onshore). She started her career as a trainee wellsite-drilling engineer at UEP and later became a drilling and completion engineer. Her experience includes drilling and completion operations, contracts management, and performance reviews.

Shah has been an active SPE member since her university days. She has served SPE in various roles and is currently a member of the Young Member Engagement Committee, contributing to global SPE initiatives for young professionals and students.

Shah’s key achievement in her advocacy for diversity and inclusion (D&I) is the founding of the SPE D&I Pakistan Committee. Modeled after the SPE International D&I Committee, it helps women in the oil and gas industry in Pakistan navigate their careers by creating forums and spotlighting examples from global women in leadership positions. The committee comprises 14 members, made of female and male engineers working in different organizations in Pakistan. Shah currently serves as the chair of the committee. She also volunteers for the Lean-In Network Energy where she advocates for women in the energy sector and motivates students to pursue a career in STEM fields.

Shah was selected by Transition Economist for “#TE100 Women of the Energy Transition” in the Oil and Gas category. She is recipient of the 2021 National Youth Award by Minhaj Youth League, Pakistan, as well as many other awards by her organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Mehran University, Pakistan, and is currently pursuing her MSc degree from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

Evaluation Process Summary

SPE TWA received numerous high-quality nominations from different parts of the world. An exhaustive, three-step evaluation framework developed by the TWA committee was used. The nominees were evaluated on various scales such as academic and technical credentials; quality of work experience; awards; positions of responsibility; volunteering; and academic, industrial, and social impact. The result was the selection of 10 TWA Energy Influencers whose candidature had the intrinsic qualities of going above and beyond.

A special recognition of thanks to TWA Committee members Vikrant Lakhanpal, Andreas Michael, Thomas Shattuck, Baraa Salman, Bita Bayestehparvin, Mani Bansal, Michael Cronin, Abdul Saboor Khan, and Stephen Forrester for their efforts in strategy building, promotion, evaluation, execution, and recognition of the initiative.