Lauren Thompson

Lauren Thompson

Reservoir Development Engineer, Suncor Energy Inc.

Describe a typical day

It’s shorty after 7:00am. I’m standing at my desk running economic sensitivities on a new well pad development. 10:00am is a meeting with our new technology team. We brainstorm data monitoring strategies for our upcoming pilot project. After replying to a few e-mails I head to the gym over lunch. I then polish off some edits on our risk assessment. Late in the afternoon I meet a former coworker to get an update on their latest project. While walking home, I call my relatives in the Maritimes for a chat. Supper tonight is local flank steak and kale salad. After cleaning up, we pack our gear for tomorrow’s backpacking trip. I end my day by reading my book.

Perks of your job and things you like about your current company.

Suncor nurtures a culture of training and development. There is a wealth of knowledge to be learned from senior employees and Suncor provides every opportunity for us young folk to do so. Not only are “Knowledge Forums” a weekly occurrence, Suncor helps connect employees with mentors inside the organization.

Perks? Given that I love fitness, the outdoors and travel, a company that has a gym on the 3rd floor along with ample vacation days is a great fit.

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.

Last August there was a drive to increase oil production before year-end. In 3 months we executed a few re-entry drills rather than new drills (these new drills would have taken about 9 months). A re-entry is when you drill additional legs, or stems, off of an existing wellbore. I am proud of this because we had never drilled re-entries before; they were producing before year-end and resulted in rates of return greater than 100%.

My proudest personal moment was in May of 2011, shortly after finishing university. I was checking my e-mails and had a message from the University of Alberta notifying me that I had won the Gild Medal; a short Google search later and I realized I was soon to graduate at the top of my Petroleum Engineering class. I achieved this while training daily with the U of A Triathlon Club, reading a couple of novels a month and getting my eight hours of beauty sleep every night. This was quite a significant moment because I had achieved ultimate “school-life balance”; I continue to strive for balance in all that I do.

Thoughts on the future of the industry as it relates to your field.

It all comes down to the cost of getting oil out of the ground.  It’s not the days of our parents when a simple vertical well would produce high volumes of nice, light oil. There is more than enough unconventional oil to go around these days, but the key is finding the most cost efficient, sustainable way to extract that oil. It all boils down to innovation.

Current community involvement efforts.

Being part of Junior Achievement (JA) in high school sparked my interest in business. Naturally I am thrilled to volunteer my time with Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta as a Company Program Advisor. Last year, my team “Jardin” created “Le Petit Potager” which was a DIY herb garden kit. In addition to JA I am a strong supporter of local agriculture (shopping weekly at the Sunnyside-Hillhurst Farmers Market) and an active member of the newly formed Calgary hub of Global Shapers.

Why YWE?

As young, professional women we are privileged to have such ample opportunity to shape our careers; however, navigating this sea of possibilities can be quite the unexpected challenge. So, why do it alone? Surely exchanging unique experiences with equally motivated and interesting women will provide us with new perspectives that will help to guide our career journey, particularly when the direction may seem unclear.

What are you reading?

Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy. I enjoy fiction and find that classics tend to be a more challenging read than your mainstream fiction thrillers (they also happen to be free on my Kindle).