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Interview With Safia Bourougaa

ALWIS Petroleum Engineering Community led by Nina Chalah hosted for their first event a distinguished speaker: Safia Bourougaa an Algerian Drilling Engineer who works as a Drilling Rig Manager and has more than 18 years of work experience in Drilling.


Safia is an engineer specializing in oil exploration and production. She graduated from the Algerian Petroleum Institute, class of 2003 and she joined the "National Company of Petroleum Works.


Nina Chalah interviewed Safia Bourougaa for ALWIS and spoke with her about her career in the O&G field and the challenges she’s facing.



  • Tell us about yourself, your academic path, and how you find yourself in drilling?

    • Currently, I am a Ph.D. student in the petroleum field and a Rig manager at Anadarko/Tassili Drilling Project. Since 2012, I have taken many positions starting from petroleum engineer, assistant driller, driller, night toolpusher, to rig manager. Drilling is a process that I can manage more than anything in this world.

  • What do “Woman” and “Feminine Leadership” mean to you?

    • Women and Feminine leadership mean to me my story when no one believed in me but I did choose to prove to the world that women can take many positions and I opened the door to the next women's generation in my country.

  • How were your first early stages in the O&G field?

    • My first stage in the O&G field in SH ENTP TP169 in 2003 was a very difficult start. Being a freshly graduated female engineer standing in the middle of a drilling rig full of men was something my superiors wouldn't accept so let's not talk about a work team. I was therefore exposed to ridicule, sarcasm, and all kinds of mistreatment, but I believed in myself, and I imposed respect on everyone with my abilities, my strong personality, and my scientific knowledge. I fell and I got up dozens of times to finally make it.

  • How do you describe working as a woman in a drilling field?

    • It was not a piece of cake and it will never be but working hard makes it possible.

  • What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a drilling engineer?

    • The biggest challenge I have faced during my career was proving myself to multinational companies knowing that they have the most advanced quality and HSE system.

  • Do you have any advice for young students?

    • Make your own research to achieve more goals because the O&G field is so big and doesn't stop in one direction. Love what you do, then you will innovate and succeed.​

  • Do you have any other things to add?

    • Drilling and working on rigs is a business that men consider their monopoly, therefore, the woman who chooses this field must prove herself 200% to gain respect and appreciation.

_by Nina Chalah; ALWIS Petroleum Community Leader


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