UKM’s Petroleum Geoscience Master’s Graduates in Demand

TUESDAY, 10 AUGUST 2010 18:06

By Kuah Guan Oo and Abdul Ghani Nasir

BANGI, 10 August 2010 – The first batch of the Master’s graduates in petroleum geoscience of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has little or no problem in getting jobs after their graduation this year.

The double Master degree programme jointly introduced by UKM and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) of Indonesia in 2008 saw nine of the 12 pioneer graduates receiving their scrolls at UKM’s 38th Convocation here today. The other three all Indonesians did not turn up.

Ten of the 12 pioneers are Indonesians, with one Malaysian and one Iranian.

Under the Master’s degree programme, the students had to study in ITB for one year for their Master in Petroleum Geophysics and another year in UKM for a Master in Petroleum Geology.

Allan Moris, 25, who hailed from Balikpapan in Kalimantan, Indonesia, said in an interview that he was a scholar of the state-owned oil company, Pertamina and he had started working for the company in Jakarta.

He said he was involved in oil and gas exploration in eastern Java and Papua and he found that the skills and knowledge he had acquired in the double degree programme were “very helpful and relevant.”

“We were taught the theories and exposed to the practical, like the use of the state-of-art technology,” said Allan, adding that he was attracted to the industry because he grew up in Balikpapan, an oil town like Miri. He had obtained his first degree in Geophysics from ITB.

His compatriot, Indra Yuliandri, 29,  who came from Acheh, Northern Sumatra, was also a Pertamina scholar and is presently involved in oil and gas exploration work on Java island.

He said he and his colleagues in the exploration arm of the company were trying to find new reserves to increase Indonesia’s oil production from the present rate of more than 900,000 barrels a day.

Indra, who had worked with Halliburton, the American oil company, for two years before joining Pertamina in 2007, said he had been to site drilling three times since he went back to Pertamina. In his two years with Halliburton, he had to work at drilling sites more than 30 times.

Indra said he found the double degree course to be very useful because “you learn how to use the tools.”

Made Suardana, 29, from Bali broke from with the island’s tradition by going to ITB to study Geophysics and then to UKM for the double Master’s degree in Petroleum Geoscience.

“Yes, very few people from Bali venture out to seek new careers as they are generally contented with their tradition and way of life,” he said in an interview.

Made said he chose to go into the oil and gas industry because Indonesia still have huge reserves of these resources.  A Pertamina scholar, he has been working with the exploration team on Java island.

The sole Malaysian in the programme, Joo Woi Suaniam, 26, who hailed from Alor Star, said he is working as a geo-physicist for the Australian oil/gas services company, DownUnder GeoSolutions or DUGEO, in Kuala Lumpur after completing his studies here.

Joo, who is of Thai descent, said he is involved in processing and analyzing field data of their clients in order to advise them on their exploration work.

“Our company has the software to analyze these data gathered by exploration companies,” he said, adding that these companies would want to compare and be certain of their data before they decide to venture into the expensive business of drilling for oil and gas.

Joo, the youngest son of a retired businessman, obtained his first degree in geology from Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

In the case of Alexis Badat Samudra, 29, of Jakarta, he is currently working with the exploration team of Pertamina in North Sumatra. Also a scholar of Pertamina he was confident that there are more oil in fields now considered “mature” by the industry.

He said now that they had been equipped with the skill and knowledge, they had to be creative in their work in searching for oil and gas.

Dina Novisusanti binti Suharto Priyohartono, 26, from Purwokerto, Central Java, felt her studies prepared her for more rigorous work since oil exploration has taken a new dimension with deep sea drilling.

A geophysics engineer also from, Pertamina, she lived in Jakarta and attended GajahMada University for her bachelor’s degree also in geophysics.

Her ability to master English makes it easier for her to attending lectures. The daughter of a poultry farmer she felt lucky and happy to be selected to take up her master’s degree.

For Mirayanti Aspan, 27, who is still single , life in the big city is definitely a challenge besides her job as an engineer in exploration and production.

She earned her bachelor’s degree also in geophysics from ITB dan grabbed the opportunity to further her studies in ITB and UKM.

Although the oil reserves in Indonesia may be dwindling, she is confident engineers like her will still be needed as more gas reserves are found especially in southern Sumatera.

Dicky Hilmawan, 27, is also prepared for any eventuality but is confident more oil reserves will be found in deep sea off Indonesia.

He has been working with Pertamina after getting his first degree from ITB in geology and is prepared to work another six years under bond with the national oil company.

Mehdi Mahmoudian, 27, from Iran, feels very happy not only because Malaysia is a Muslim country but the high standard of courses conducted in UKM and ITB.

A seismic interpreter working in the International Iranian South Oil Company, he learned about the twinning degree from the UKM website and immediately applied.