Petroleum engineering student snapped up by industry

28 August 2019

NEWS FLASH ABOUT STUDYING PETROLEUM ENGINEERING AT UQ: The new suite of petroleum engineering programs is open for applicants to start from Semester 2 2019. The new programs range from 0.5 to 3 years. They are now listed on UQ courses and programs pages (


Petroleum engineering student snapped up by industry

 Ben Wu. His industry placement will Shell puts him firmly on track for his longer term goal to become a senior production technologist and discipline team lead.
Student profile:
Ben Wu

UQ Master of Petroleum graduate Ben Wu's industry placement with Shell puts him firmly on track for his longer term goal to become a senior production technologist and discipline team lead. Click here for more infomation about the Master of Petroleum program

UQ Master of Petroleum graduate, Ben Wu, has been snapped up by industry, joining Shell’s well integrity team as a Production Technologist.

With well design and production technology being two of his favourite courses during his Master of Petroleum Engineering studies with The University of Queensland, he is excited to get out to industry and apply his research on the ground.

Ben says his studies with UQ placed him to take a job in industry which has meaning to him. “I'm really interested in helping to find the balance between meeting the world's energy demands while preserving the environment. Fossil fuels will remain a necessity as alternative energy sources continue to be developed, but it’s important to recognise how we can reduce our immediate impact on the environment by optimising operations,” he says.

The industry placement puts him firmly on track for his longer term goal to become a senior production technologist and discipline team lead.

Before starting his Master of Petroleum Engineering program at UQ in 2014, Ben had started out with an interest in civil engineering, completing his Bachelor from UQ and then going on to work as a Graduate Civil Engineer for the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works.

The Masters of Petroleum Engineering piqued Ben’s interest in going on to complete a PhD in the field.  He recently submitted this PhD thesis titled ‘The experimental study of counter-current two-phase flows in annuli’. “In real-world terms, the research was focussed on reducing costs and minimising environmental impacts by better understanding and predicting the production from a CSG well,” he explains.

“The project was focused on optimising CSG operations by improving our understanding of the fluid mechanics downhole and aligned almost perfectly with my interests on optimisation and production technology.”

Ben says that he was lucky to be have a strong team of supervisors including Dr Mahshid Firouzi, Dr Thomas Rufford and Prof Brian Towler. He had been keen to work with them after coming across them during his previous studies at UQ. “The opportunity to continue my personal and professional development under their supervision was a huge positive,” he says.

A keen sportsman, Ben says it has been important for him to make time to stay fit. “Playing soccer three times a week and basketball once a week really helps my productivity,” he says.

“Getting life-balance right has helped me get through the commitment and patience that is needed to complete a PhD.” He says that to this day he thanks his wife, Steph, who convinced him to get married during his PhD. “She was right as always,” Ben laughs. “I'm blessed to have such a positive presence in my life who can always make me smile.”

When asked about his advice for anyone taking on a PhD, he says its all about being open. “Don't forget that it is a degree and you are expected to develop along the way - not know all the answers from the onset,” he says.

“If I had to give one bit of advice to any current students, I’d encourage everyone to make the most of the available resources. There is such a wealth of knowledge and experience around the university you're unlikely to come across a problem that no one can advise on,”

“I’ve also found it important to be social and seize opportunities that present themselves along the way. Studying can be hard work but it’s important to do what you can to make it a fond and memorable experience.”

As Ben packs up ready to head for industry, he says his final words will be to thank the people who helped him along the way.  “There have been so many people who have been a part of this journey so far, but I particularly want to thank the team at the UQ Centre for Natural Gas, especially their research manager, Helen Schultz, and Centre Director, Alf Garnett for their ongoing support and opportunities afforded to me. Hopefully I’ll be able to get involved with UQ in some capacity in the future through collaborative research or lecturing,” he says.

Click here for more infomation about the Petroleum Engineering program which is now part of the Master of Engineering