Meet Fahad Ashraf Senior Engineer & Petroleum Analyst at APT

Today we would like to introduce Fahad Ashraf, one of APT’s senior engineers who joined the company back in 2015 as a petroleum analyst. Mr. Ashraf holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Geosciences and is based out of our geochemistry labs in Oslo, Norway.

What sparked your interest in geosciences, and what are you most passionate about?

Topics related to applied sciences and archaeology have fascinated me since my early education. So, after finishing college in 2006, I decided to pursue a bachelor's degree in a science-related field at university.

The Bachelor of Sciences (B.Sc.) Geoscience degree caught my interest because it was a well-structured program with “well-defined” different career paths in various industries after graduation (The four-year program covered more than 30 different geoscience disciplines (GIS to seismology to petroleum geology to geochemistry).

During the pursuit of my B.Sc. degree, I did an internship with an oil and gas (O&G) company, where I was further introduced to how different STEM programs, particularly geosciences, were applied to solve complex O&G exploration and production challenges. This internship also assisted me in selecting my B.Sc. major and a topic for my thesis, which was focused on “Petrophysical analysis and Wireline logging”.

Subsequently, working on my B.Sc. thesis further “sparked” my interest in pursuing my M.Sc. Geoscience degree with a specialization in “Reservoir Characterization”.

Tell us a bit about your role at APT and what you do day-to-day.

I work as a Petroleum Analyst/Senior Engineer at APT and joined about nine years. I am actively involved in a variety of projects and work tasks.

In my current role, I am in charge of a number of specialized procedures and technologies, including GCs, elemental analyzers, stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS), and its peripherals, in order to conduct geochemical fingerprinting of oil and gas. In addition to logging project progress and updating data in APT LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), I also carry out quality assurance and control on acquired data.

Furthermore, I actively participate in research and development initiatives focused at improving our current processes and procedures. I also play an active role in procuring and integrating new equipment into our existing workflows, establishing new potential services, and optimizing workflows to improve turnaround times (TATs).

Moreover, I actively engage in training and mentoring APT staff, sharing my expertise and knowledge to enhance their skills.

During your career, assuming you can talk about it, what has been your most memorable experience and why?

Throughout my career at APT, I've had the opportunity to work on well over 1000 different projects from all over the world; many of which were really fascinating to work on.

At APT, we primarily provide services to companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and production. So, our procedures and workflows are tailored to provide solutions for the O&G industry. But from time to time, clients outside of the O&G industry reach out to us as well. There is a particular project where a client outside of the O&G industry requested that we help them acquire as much data as possible on small ice cores samples, something completely new to us. So, establishing a workflow and developing procedures to overcome technical issues to handle ice-cores samples in a short time was a remarkable achievement by our team and indeed a memorable experience.

Is there any advice you would give students looking to build a career in geosciences/geochemistry?

The geoscience field is vast, as it is not only limited to the conventional O&G industry. So, look for other geoscience industries that may “spark” your interest. Also, build your professional network during the early years of your educational journey by attending as many geoscience webinars, seminars, and conferences as this may help you understand different applications of the “geosciences”.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming months? (personal & work-related)

On the work-related side we have recently acquired the latest generation Delta Q-IRMS from Thermofisher Scientific. This addition has increased APT’s stable isotope processing capacity and significantly improved our TATs. So, incorporating and utilizing this new IRMS in day-to-day workflows will be very exciting in the upcoming months.

On a personal side, after enduring -25°C this winter, I am already looking forward to going on summer vacation with my family!

Outside of work, what is your favorite pastime and why?

I don’t have any particular "hobby". I like to spend my free time on photography and forest walks. I also enjoy exploring “IT”; from software to hardware.

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