All-women former SAIT technology team receive provincial honour for oil and gas project
14, Oct, 2022
EDMONTON, Oct. 14, 2022 – An all-women former team of SAIT chemical engineering technology students has been honoured at the provincial level for the design of an oil and gas industry refrigeration plant addition. For their achievement, they have been nominated as a finalist for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta’s (ASET) Capstone Project of the Year Award.
Refrigeration of natural gas is an essential process in the oil and gas industry. When natural gas is cooled to approximately -107.778 C, it changes to a liquid form called natural gas liquids (NGLs), which are easier to transport through pipelines and freight.
Former SAIT students Katie Henry, Barbara Gies and Farley Flynn Fortes were tasked by a local engineering, procurement and construction management firm to design and model a refrigeration gas processing package to be used for an existing facility expansion.
The package included upgrading and expanding an oil battery whose function is to collect oil from one or more wells and pass it through equipment to separate out gas, water and other impurities before piping it.
The refrigeration package the former team completed is expected to process a raw inlet gas flow of up to 30 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD).
“What makes their project stand out are the positive implications for the environment: increased efficiency of gas production with limited waste,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “It is also inspiring to see three women in engineering technology tackle a Capstone Project in an area that has historically been male-dominated. Their achievement will surely serve to change that and encourage other women to join the profession.”
When former SAIT team member Henry earned her undergraduate degree in biology and medical science at Western University, the science and engineering classes were male-dominated. After working for several years in engineering consulting, she enrolled in SAIT’s chemical engineering technology program with the intention of assuming a larger role in the process and design of oil and gas facilities.
On her arrival at SAIT, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that the program had more women students than men, and that many of the technical instructors were female.
“It was a great atmosphere to work around so many intelligent young women. I feel we had a great support system within the class, empowering and encouraging one another,” said Henry. “One of the lead instructors who taught several of our courses during the two-year program is a process engineer, and was an excellent role model for the women in the program.”
The former SAIT team’s project is one of eight finalists named by ASET for the 2022 Capstone Project of the Year Award. The winning project will be announced later this year.
The Capstone Project of the Year Award was established by ASET in 2017 in response to overwhelming member interest in back-to-school stories about Capstone projects undertaken by teams of engineering technology students from NAIT, SAIT, Red Deer Polytechnic and Lethbridge College as part of their end-of-program requirements.
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET