Despite visions of working in the renewable energy field after earning his degree in Chemical Engineering in 2013, job opportunities attracted Ahmed Soliman to the Alberta oil fields.
He took a position as a process engineer with Jacobs, a large engineering, procurement and construction firm. Less than two years later, the crash of the oil market led him to transfer to the firm’s Saudi Arabia office.
The move shifted his focus, as the Canadian office had worked on upstream projects and the Saudi office worked on downstream projects.
“My undergrad chemistry courses really helped, as I was now working in refining and petrochemicals, which required a solid background in chemistry and thermodynamics,” says Soliman.
Currently, he designs offshore platforms for the company’s client Aramco, the world’s largest oil and gas company. He also works on marine terminals and storage facilities.
But his passion for the environment hasn’t waned.
“While it is customary for engineering professionals to mention cost savings on a particular project as a career highlight, for me the innovations that add value to a project are not only tied to monetary savings,” says Soliman.
“I consider my career highlight to be an idea to recover hydrocarbons via a vapour recovery system. The system was expensive and added cost to my project, but it allowed the client to recover vapours and condense them to be sold or used in more effective ways rather than just flaring or burning them.
“This is the kind of work that makes me feel good about what I do. While I understand that the oil and gas sector is inherently unsustainable, my mission is to use my experience and forward-thinking to make it as green and as sustainable as humanly possible.”