We got to spend a lovely Saturday afternoon with Terania Lukmanto. With her rather buoyant personality, you wouldn’t guess she does Completion Engineering for a living. But as we got to know her and her preferred choice of career, we know that she wins some, but loses some too.
Tell us, what makes you want to study petroleum engineering? Is it because of your family? Is it your passion to be an engineer?
Uhm, there is no particular reason and no one in my family work in petroleum industry and I am the only one who actually works in this industry but when I was a kid, I was kind of given a doctrine to like technical engineering, because my old folks consider that if you master technical engineering, you can master everything else. But I remember that when I was a little girl, I really liked fixing my toys, especially a music box. Then when I grew up, I was torn apart between mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering that is not quite common.
Where do you spend your childhood?
I was born and raised in Jakarta – I spent my high school in girls-only private school in Jakarta, in Santa Ursula then I moved to Texas where I studied petroleum engineer for 4 years at University of Austin and when I graduated, it happened to be the time when I got offered a job in all-American company that is based in Jakarta. Since 2009, I’ve been working there for 8 years as I started as reservoir engineer then I was rotated to be in drilling department as completion engineer.
So, what does Completion Engineer do?
Short, to induce oil or gas from inside the earth, we need to drill and create well for the oil, and that’s where the drilling engineer comes in, so I am in the final step during that process, in completion department I plan the size of tubing and casing. So basically I create bridge for oil to flow.
What’s the value from your parents or family that you bring until now?
I cannot actually point out all values that are given by my parents but my parents always teach me to be strong and keep fighting what you believe in.
Do you spend time working in the field?
Yes, I do. Even though I am based in the office, but not rare I spend time working in the field because I need to supervise the progress myself.
Do you travel for work? How many times have you travelled for work in 2017?
Just a few, compared to the past few years because I used to travel three times and four times to The States, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur. But in 2017, we needed to cost-cut because of the declining oil value last year.
Who do you look up to?
My Dad. (Giggles). It’s bizzare because since I was a little girl he taught me to love Mother Nature; to be free-spirited, he taught me to be adaptable and he can do anything with only high school diploma.
What is like to work with men in such serious work environment?
It’s thrilling actually. Every time I work in the field, I mostly work with men with a great age-gap and often I am the only woman and I am usually there for a month. But I will set mindset differently; I would think that I have a new family. It’s nice because we have the same work ethic; we help each other and work tirelessly. So once I got there, I usually adjust to their full-24 hours operational system where I try to find time to sleep. It’s exhausting but everything is paid off with all the good results. And it’s somewhat satisfying to realize the fact that I am usually the only woman there; most likely to be the youngest as well but my opinions and inputs are appreciated and considered.
What’s the hardest part of being a completion engineer?
Being an engineer…it never crossed my mind. I have some drawbacks, sometimes when I was in the field, everything changed; my life cycle changed and it was a bummer when I was working in the field, my best friend got married, or my cousin got married or had birthdays. Since I can’t choose when I will be in the field and the schedule is not at my convenience; the fact I am missing out some moment in my life.
What do you like the most about your job?
It’s too many! I love the fact that we design something from nothing; it has the same principal in fashion where you design clothes, but here I design wells (giggles) and it’s fulfilling to know that what we design; what we create is used by many people.
Do you consider yourself as a feminist?
I feel that, that it’s about time for women to be seen and treated equally as men. But I think it should be fair. If us, women want to be treated equally as men we need to be able to do what men do; for example like I’d like to be offered a seat because I am a woman but I don’t want to lift a water gallon.
What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading work-related books, and I have tendency to buy a book, read it halfway then buy another book. Hahah. But I was able to finish Catcher In The Rye.
What is something you’ve been wanting to do but never had the chance to do it?
Ok, this was sometimes ago when I was in Houston. I have always wanted to do skydiving. When I finally had the chance, tickets are booked and paid and I was already on the way, but then the weather was so bad that day so we went back to Austin. Oh and I always want to travel the world and see the beauty of nature because every time I travel and see such a beauty I consider it as a pilgrimage; a spiritual experience.