Alexander Ney
Q&A with Petroleum Engineering Student

Alexander Ney

Alexander Ney is a fourth-year student studying a double degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Petroleum) and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mining) at UNSW. We spoke to Alexander about why he chose to study a double degree in mining and petroleum at UNSW and on the future of resource engineering in facing global challenges. 

Why did you choose to study Petroleum Engineering? 

I chose to study Petroleum Engineering because the scale of the industry fascinated me. Figures like hundreds of millions of dollars or thousands of barrels per day are commonplace for the petroleum engineer and are a bit hard to even wrap your head around. Aside from that, petroleum engineering is a profession that is so globally transferable that one can end up in any corner of the planet if they so choose. So, it gives the opportunity to travel as a professional. I decided to do a double degree with Mining Engineering for many of the same reasons - it was another industry that fascinated me. Now the hardest choice is deciding which one of the two careers to pursue in future! 

What do you like about your degree and what are your favourite classes? 

The UNSW petroleum engineering program is really unique - not many universities give you the opportunity to specialise in such a specific degree or teach such relevant, hands-on courses. That not only makes it easier to get a job after university, but also gives you a head start in the professional world compared to students studying more general degrees. My favourite classes would have to be well drilling and well technology. They combine hands on learning with very applicable theories that you'll be using at work very soon. 

Do you hold a Scholarship and what has it meant for you to be awarded this Scholarship? 

I do - the Henry Salisch SPE Award in Petroleum Engineering. Being awarded a scholarship makes so much difference to the way you spend time at uni. Not having to worry about money and not needing to stress about working a certain number of hours in a week means you can devote yourself to your degree or to your social life as much as you want. It gives you the freedom to make this part of your life so much more memorable and enjoyable. Being a student at the MERE school also gives you so many opportunities to receive different scholarships, you should definitely apply!  

What are your favourite things to do in or around UNSW and how can students make the most out of the UNSW experience?  

The student life and culture at UNSW are great. No matter what your hobby or favourite pass-time is, there's a group for you. There are world-class facilities to study in, clubs dedicated to just about any sport you've ever heard of, and always some social event to get involved in. What's great about both mining and petroleum is that both cohorts have societies dedicated to professional development and networking with industry. The Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy- AusIMM Sydney Student Chapter and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). That's another opportunity to get a head start in your career. Plus, the city of Sydney really is iconic and has so much to offer for those who never lived here (like me)! 

What do you think is the relevance of your degree and why is it important that it exists? 

Australia is one of the world leaders when it comes to natural resource production, and as demand grows with our global population, it is more important than ever to have a highly skilled group of engineers ready to face the associated challenges. It is therefore our job as future engineers to continue developing more efficient and less environmentally damaging methods to meet these demands. This can only be done by professionals with a good fundamental understanding, which is taught at UNSW. 

What do you want to do after completing your degree? How do you think your studies at UNSW will help in your career aspirations? 

Being highly specialised degrees, both mining and petroleum engineering studies help anyone wanting to pursue careers in those industries. By offering these courses at an undergraduate level, UNSW gives you a head start in the professional world. 

Can you share something about the resources & energy industry that might interest someone considering studies and a career in this industry? 

Each year, the global demand for energy and resources increases. We are a part of meeting this fundamental demand as engineers by innovating and pursuing better ways to supply. 

What advice would you give to a new/future student on how to excel at your degree? 

Make the most of the resources available to you. UNSW has so much to offer through societies, facilities or even your peers. Take advantage of that and enjoy learning at one of the top universities in the world! 

“Petroleum engineering is a profession that is so globally transferable that one can end up in any corner of the planet if they so choose”