From an early age, Andrea Hepp found herself drawn to math and sciences, especially chemistry. This passion led her to earn a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. From there, she found a natural fit with Shell in Calgary, Alberta, which kickstarted her diverse and global career in energy. Hepp spends her time outside of work with her two sons and advocating for STEM education.
Which of your professional achievements are you most proud of?
“Most recently, it was a passion project that matured from a question of ‘Why is Shell Canada not in geothermal’ to entering a joint development agreement one and a half years later in British Columbia, Canada, establishing Shell’s North American geothermal footprint. It was a very unique opportunity, as I was able to see the project through from origination, gathering and leading an agile team to define work scenarios and securing capital to leading negotiations and closing the deal. This established the business case for full-time resources dedicated in Shell Canada to further progress and develop the geothermal funnel.”
What is a memorable professional experience that is especially meaningful to you?
“I always wanted to live abroad, experience different cultures and learn new languages. I was presented with the opportunity to move to the Netherlands with Shell when I was five years into my career. It was an incredible experience that broadened my skill set and perspectives, allowing me to work on global opportunities with diverse and talented individuals.”
What qualities do you think are necessary for a good leader in the oil and gas industry?
“The perfect recipe for a good leader in the energy industry includes collaboration, adaptability and the ability to face challenges and pivot accordingly with transparency. For a leader of teams, it comes down to shielding your team from unnecessary and distracting tasks and creating an environment of trust and care.”
What advice would you give other young professionals in the industry?
“I recently had the opportunity to speak with young talent interested in STEM. The very simple advice I offered was ‘to be bold and do you.’ Sounds easy right? But as life progresses, it throws us curveballs, additional challenges and self-doubt. Remember your boldness that you had as a child, don’t be afraid to break the mold, think outside the box, actually smash that box and create a whole new shape.”
What keeps you motivated and passionate about working in the oil and gas industry?
“The oil and gas industry as we know it is constantly changing. It’s not your parents’ oil and gas field anymore. We are transforming into the ‘energy industry’ where renewables are introduced—including wind, hydrogen, geothermal and utilizing carbon sequestration—that are addressing the decreasing oil supply, customers and community concerns as well as the environment. We still need conventional oil and gas to continue to meet energy demand until renewables are more cost efficient and ramp up, but it is a bright and hopeful future that will be sustainable for you and your children and your children’s children. I’m very excited to be part of this change.”
What transformations do you think the industry must undertake for it to thrive in the future?
“We are already seeing major transformation in the industry as many companies and governments have net-zero carbon commitments. The way customers are demanding energy in both accessibility and frequency is also changing. Energy infrastructure was built on the premises of customers coming to the energy (gas stations or wall outlets). Users are now requiring frequent, remote power for constant connectivity, since our world is driven by data and digital technologies.”
1. The Netherlands and Houston will always have a special place in my heart. I raised my two kids in the early part of their lives in each respective places, and the Netherlands is part of my ancestry (my grandmother was a war bride from Hilversum).
2. Travel bucket list—next up is Japan and Australia.
3. The house is full of drones and robots (not by choice!). My husband works for Thread, a company that is embedding drones and robotics into everyday workflows of industry (and apparently my home).