Ahmed Al Tammar, ‘17

Ahmed Altmmar

Current Employer:  Schlumberger

Q:  What attracted you to the MEECON program?
A:  Working in the energy industry in the operation side internationally, I built an interest for market dynamics, the economics of energy mix and policy as a frame work. I wanted to build a strong foundation based on scientific methods for energy markets and how they interact. Coming from a third generation family working in Oil & Gas industry, living by the largest onshore oilfield in the world -Ghawar field- I got to see how energy could elevate the standard of living, and how could it transform social life. On the other hand, as the industrial revolution was fueled by the energy sector, we are in Inflection point in history for the fourth industrial revolution combined by environmental challenges; where fusion of technologies has eliminated the boundaries between the digital and physical world. The complexity of energy markets required a unique place that combines academic excellence, strong policy environment and innovative solutions that can only be found in MEECON program fused with Baker Institute at Rice University in the heart of the energy capital of the world, Houston.    
Q:  What was your career like prior to the program?
A:  Before the MEECON program, I was working as an application engineer for LG Engineering and Construction in Doha, Qatar. I was exposed to the construction of Linear Alkyl Benzene (LAB) plant in Mesaieed, Qatar. I was part of a team of multinational background tasked to build LAB. Traveling to the US afterword, I got the chance to work in Louisiana State University PERTT Lab (Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Lab), during the Macondo well incident, we build a model part of a well control team to stop the flow of oil to GOM. In the same summer, I traveled with LSU academic program abroad to attend courses and get exposure to research in NOAA labs ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in Anchorage, Alaska.  The focus of research was marine biology and how keystone model affect marine life. Furthermore, I worked in service companies in production, completion, plug & abandonment in GOM, mergers and acquisitions and trade & commerce.
Q:  Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
A:  I’m currently working as an Engineer with Schlumberger in Midland, TX. I work in Drilling and Measurement segment where we focus in optimizing the drilling operations by cutting edge technology, analyzing well data, improving well design and creating new frontier to push the envelope to reduce cost by integrating the digital and physical world to facilitate automation. The Permian basin is unique in its vast reserves and low cost production, which bring challenges to reinvent operations by technology and new innovative solutions. 
Q:  What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your experience in the MEECON program?
A:  I have a memory in every corner at Rice University, representing MEECON in Graduate Student Association GSA and joining couple of their committees; Co-Chairing speakers and career panel committees for United States Association of Energy Economists USAEE  Rice University Chapter and volunteering for events around campus such as President BBQ and OISS for new international students .MEECON program opened many doors, which include trips to energy companies such as ExxonMobil, ercot, South Texas Project – Nuclear Generating Station and Gas Power Planets. Nevertheless, the most memorable experience was attending events at the Baker Institute, where they hosted events such as Global Energy Transition Summit, many guest from the international community covering topics in the heart of our study from both end of the spectrum ranging from technology, energy and policy. It was truly a unique experience, after all the Energy Center at the Baker Institute is ranked number one in the world that is associated with academia. 
Q:  What was your favorite class in the MEECON program?
A:  I enjoyed attending all of the classes; Energy Economics with Professor Ken Medlock was a class that I wish it never ended. It provided a glimpse into the future with unparalleled frame work for energy mix, energy economics models, technology realm, forecast and policy and how they interact. The Political Economy of Oil in Developing Countries with Professor Francisco Monaldi provided a lens through past experiences of NOC & IOC and how each country represents a unique case which has its own challenges from the Dutch Disease to political arena. 
Microeconomics in the Energy Sector with Professor Peter Hartley pushed the boundaries of understanding what it takes to position people and markets in the efficiency curve by quantitative analysis  .Management of Public Policy Issues with Professor John Kelly took us to a new level; his experience with ExxonMobil and knowledge of hands-on issues he lived through his carrier was a course that I will never forget. His passion and wealth of knowledge drove us to live the cases presented like we were there in that country, at that project with shareholders equally in mind. 
Geopolitics of Energy with Professor Jim Krane opened our eyes to many issues I did not know even existed; his anecdote of real life events he lived, experienced or studied surely allowed us to see the events from a different prospective. Applying analysis and studying different scenarios and above all giving everyone a chance to engage and discuss without borders. Thanks to Ambassador Edward Dejerian and Professor Antonio Merlo for allowing me to attend their class. 
Q:  What would you say to someone who is considering leaving their job for about one year to pursue a professional master's program?
A:  Manage your expectations and plan ahead how to utilize the tools in the program to maximize your benefit. Understanding why you choose MEECON and what your carrier look like after is all your responsibility. You will get a lot of help along the way, you will be presented with many opportunities, but no one will build your skills for the carrier you like but you. Therefore, it is very important to research the carrier path you choose, talk to professionals in that field, build the skills during the program and most importantly network your way all along. Remember CCD, Center for Carrier Development has many tools that will definitely position you to succeed.