Outstanding in Her Oil Field: The Networking Challenge of an Isolated Engineer

How does an asset development and completion operation expert connect with others like her when there are so few like her?

How does an experienced, skilled woman advance in her career when her workplace is the oilfield? (Source: Photo collage by Joseph Markman / Hart Energy; Yelyzaveta Minaieva, nano-stocker, FreezeFrames/Shutterstock.com)

[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the July 2022 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]

Nabila Lazreg is outstanding in her field. She is an educated, experienced and highly skilled engineer. How does she advance in her career?

The simple answer is to network, but not all situations are that simple. Lazreg is a woman of color in an oil and gas industry dominated by white males. She is an immigrant from North Africa and non-native English speaker living in North America. And she is an engineer stationed in the oilfield, far from corporate headquarters.

“Women of color do have unique challenges in the field,” Katie Mehnert, founder and CEO of Ally Energy, told Hart Energy. “You don’t see as many, if not many at all.”

Mehnert also offered two salient points for those working in the field:

You’ve got to be there: “If women are going to get to the top of the house, they do need operations experience, absolutely, because it helps broaden a person’s resume and background, and gives them a greater chance of being competitive for the executive roles.”

You’ve got to leave: “There’s only so far you can get in the field on the ladder to the top. If you’re not in the corporate office, you may not have that ability to move up the ladder because of the access to the people, access to the information.”

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Joseph Markman

Joseph Markman, senior editor for Hart Energy, covers markets and provides data analysis for all Hart Energy editorial products.