Career development

TWA Energy Influencers 2023

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

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One of the strongest pillars of TWA along with SPE is knowledge sharing, lifelong learning, and building community strength. With the growing dimensions in the energy sector towards data science, digitization, and alternate energy resources, it is imperative that we encourage young professionals to help educate future generations of the importance of energy sustenance.

For the very same reason, the TWA Energy Influencer awards have been recognizing remarkable young professionals who have worked hard and strived to achieve success at a young age.

We celebrate again this year with 11 mighty young professionals who have proven their caliber by passion and hard work. These young professionals from various parts of the world have collaborated with their community as engineers, scientists, professors, data scientists, and innovators. Please congratulate and welcome our TWA Energy Influencers 2023.

-Aman Srivastava, deputy editor in chief of The Way Ahead

Barasha Deka
Assistant Professor, Presidency University, Bengaluru

Barasha Deka is an assistant professor in the department of petroleum engineering at Presidency University, Bengaluru. Deka also served as a lecturer in the School of Petroleum Technology, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gujarat. She was the recipient of Best Woman Performer in Research and Development Award in the International Inspirational Women Awards 2022 by GISR Foundation; Institute Gold Medal and Certificate of Merit for standing first in Master of Technology in Petroleum Engineering from IIT (ISM), Dhanbad, India; LJ Jhonson Gold Medal for being the Best Student of Master of Technology (petroleum engineering) for the session 2015–2016 from IIT (ISM), Dhanbad, India; and Anundoram Borooah Award in 2007 from Government of Assam, India. Deka was also the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Honor of Jefferson Creek from the SPE Flow Assurance Technical Section.

Deka holds BTech and MTech degrees in petroleum engineering from Dibrugarh University, Assam, and IIT (ISM), Dhanbad, respectively. She holds a joint PhD in petroleum engineering and chemical engineering from IIT (ISM), Dhanbad, and Curtin University, Australia.

Gabrijel Grubac
Senior Engineer, Blade Energy Partners

Gabrijel Grubac is a senior engineer at Blade Energy Partners where he focuses on stimulation and completion projects across unconventional/conventional and deep geothermal projects. He has previously worked in different roles as global completion lead at Seismos, senior stimulation engineer in the production technology team in OMV Petrom, Black Sea, and senior engineer in stimulation for Halliburton in the US, UAE, and Saudi Arabia offshore and onshore.

Grubac received the 2021 Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award in Europe and the 2023 SPE Giovanni Paccaloni Young Professional Service Award and was involved in the 2022 Emerging Leaders Alliance conference. He has been involved in SPE as the young professionals and program chairperson for SPE Romanian Section, consecutive years of mentoring students, SPE Tech Days moderator/technical program, advisor for the Virtual Career Pathways Fair, lecturer through the Ambassador Lecturer Program, organizing committee for SPE Europe GeoHackathon, coordinator for SPEcial Geothermal Talks, 2023 ATCE Well Stimulation Committee, 2024 ATCE Completions Subcommittee member and 2024 Young Professionals Committee.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Wyoming and a master's degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Belgrade.

Justin Kilb
Engineer, Ovintiv

Justin Kilb is an engineer in Ovintiv’s chief division, a team focused on operational excellence, new technology, and innovation. In his role, he has worked with drilling systems and a wide variety of machine learning applications. He previously collaborated with NASA on a Mars drilling system.

He volunteers as an artificial intelligence lecturer at universities and was an organizer and technical presenter at the 2022 SPE North America Student Symposium.

He graduated from SAIT, the Colorado School of Mines, and the University of California, Berkeley, with a petroleum engineering diploma, BS, and a master’s degree in data science, respectively. He is currently pursuing a PhD in mathematical optimization for energy systems on earth and in space from Colorado School of Mines.

Akos Kiss
Senior Expert Production Technologist, OMV Exploration and Production GmbH

Akos Kiss is a senior expert production technologist at OMV Exploration and Production GmbH well optimization and integrity team in Austria. He joined OMV in 2017 and has worked in Austria, Romania, Tunisia, and New Zealand in specific workover operations.

An SPE member since 2011, he is currently a board member of the SPE Vienna Basin Section (VBS) and served as the section chairperson from 2020 to 2022. Kiss is the founder and organizer of SPE VBS Young Professional Assembly and E&P Observatory: A Viewpoint Exchange of Upstream Professionals and Eager Minds program series. He co-organized the SPE Young Professional “Beyond the Borders” event in Vienna in 2022 and the Carbon Capture and Storage Evaluation Workshop at the 2023 EAGE Annual Conference and Exhibition. He is the organizer of the yearly SPE VBS Summer Event and was also a moderator of the SPE Europe Students Series 2020–2022 and numerous webinars since the COVID-19 pandemic. He was awarded the 2023 SPE Regional Young Professional Member Outstanding Service Award.

He holds a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from the Mining University Leoben and a bachelor’s degree in earth science engineering from the University of Miskolc.

Ir. Kuhanesapathy
Staff Wells Engineer, Petronas

Ir. Kuhanesapathy is a staff wells engineer with Petronas. As a Chancellor Award recipient in 2011, he began his career at Petronas through the All-Rounded Drilling talent development program and as executive assistant to the drilling advisor. He has been involved as a drilling engineer and offshore supervisor in high-complexity projects at exploration, appraisal, and development phases. He has also served as a director at the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia through a corporate secondment.

His technical contributions include Petronas deepwater projects in Malaysia, Brunei, and Suriname. He also recently emerged as a winning venture in the Petronas Innovation Garage, a corporate incubator for employee-driven innovation. He has been recognized with over 30 distinguished awards, both regional and global, including professional fellowships of YSEALI 2017 by the US State Department and Obama Leaders Asia Pacific 2022. He was recognized as an 2021 OTC Emerging Leader, Prestige 40 Under 40, and the Tatler Gen.T List Asia. He served pro bono as a young professional representing Asia in US President Obama's Working Group for Inclusive Capitalism in 2023 and is currently an adjunct professor at UNITAR.

Tarek Nigim
CFD Project Leader, University of Alberta

Tarek Nigim is a mechanical engineer specializing in thermofluid and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and CFD project leader at the University of Alberta. Since 2018, he has orchestrated advancements, notably the integration of cutting-edge CFD technologies into inflow-control devices, optimizing steam injection and oil/water emulsion production in steam-assisted gravity drainage processes, thereby reshaping the energy landscape.

Nigim has assisted in organizing the SPE Canadian Energy Technology Conference and Exhibition and serves as president and co-founder of the Youth Leader Training Center in Gaza and University of Galway Student Ambassador.

He holds a PhD in in thermofluid computational fluid dynamics from the University of Galway.

Ogolo Oghenrume
Senior Staff (Training), Petroleum Training Institute

Ogolo Oghenerume is a senior staff (training) at the Petroleum Training Institute headquartered in Effurun, Delta State, Nigeria. He was formerly a lecturer in the department of petroleum and gas engineering at Nile University of Nigeria. He has consulted for companies such as Innovationeering Ltd., Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., Teno Energy Resources Ltd., and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria.

He is passionate about SPE activities. He received the 2020 SPE Nigerian Council Chairman’s Medallion and the 2021 SPE Abuja Section Young Member Service Award. He won the SPE Nigerian Council Student Paper Contest (MSc Category) in 2018. He is also a reviewer for international journals such as Scientific Reports and Petroleum Research.

He holds a BEng in petroleum engineering from the University of Benin and an MSc in petroleum engineering from the African University of Science and Technology. He is an African Development Bank Scholar at the African University of Science and Technology where he is pursuing his doctorate degree.

Choja Ojanomare
Reservoir Engineer, Nigerian Agip Oil Company

Choja Ojanomare is a reservoir engineer at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, a subsidiary of the global energy firm Eni. He specializes in reservoir simulation, estimations and forecasting, production optimization, and data analytics.

He has served as the communications and protocols chair for SPE in Nigeria and secretary of the SPE Port Harcourt Section.

He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a master's degree in advanced mechanical engineering from Cranfield University, UK, a master's degree in petroleum engineering from Politecnico Di Torino, Italy, and an MBA from the University of Port Harcourt Business School.

Neil Robinson
Research Fellow, The University of Western Australia

Neil Robinson is a research fellow in the department of chemical engineering at The University of Western Australia (UWA), where he holds a Forrest Research Foundation Fellowship. He focuses his research in the fields of energy engineering and measurement science. His research targets significant industry impact, encompassing new catalysts to produce low-carbon fuels, state-of-the-art measurement approaches to characterize hydrocarbon resources in tight rocks, and materials for the efficient and large-scale transport of hydrogen. Robinson also holds a Strategic Research Fellowship within the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre, a flagship, industry-facing research center aiming to future-proof Australia’s energy exports over the next decade. Here, his role centers on outreach and science communication training, most prominently as organizer and lead judge for the center’s 3-minute thesis competition. He was a finalist in both the 2021 and 2022 IChemE Global Awards and received the 2022 Australian National Measurement Institute Prize.

Within SPE, Robinson is a founding member of the new Hydrogen Technical Section (H2TS), where he holds the role of technical progrm chair for the Eastern Hemisphere.

He holds a chemistry degree from Cardiff University and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Timothy Robinson
Senior Data Scientist and Product Owner, Exebenus
Timothy Robinson is a senior data scientist and product owner at Exebenus. He leads research and product development for Exebenus Spotter, an applied machine learning solution for real-time drilling optimization and hazard detection.

Robinson has co-supervised three University of Stavanger master’s student projects working with Exebenus and presented a guest talk on emerging technologies to University of Oklahoma graduate students as part of the offshore technology course.

He holds an MSc degree in physics and a PhD in experimental laser-plasma physics, both from Imperial College London.

Abhijith Suboyin
Environomics Lead/Sustainability Specialist, Digital Energy

Abhijith Suboyin is the environomics lead/sustainability specialist at Digital Energy, specializing in contributions in emission reduction, sustainable strategies, and process optimization. As a petroleum engineer, Suboyin started his energy sector career focusing on production optimization and hydraulic fracturing but transitioned to water management in arid regions due to his passion for sustainability.

In his work as a senior researcher, he leads projects that encompass broader sustainability issues across the value chain while leveraging machine learning and data analytics for resource optimization and emission reduction, all while challenging the concept of true circular energy.

An SPE member since 2011, he has numerous peer-reviewed publications and conference proceedings and contributed to technical reviews. He also led the SPE UAE team–Dubai cohort to victory in the ideanco Climathon 2021.

He holds an MSc degree in petroleum engineering from Khalifa University and a BE in petroleum engineering from Savitribai Phule Pune University (currently MIT-WPU).