Educational development programmes created by bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) are paying dividends as exemplified by the success story of three Mayaro-based students who excelled to become engineers in the Cassia Compression (Cassia C) platform project.
Located 57 kilometres off the south-east coast of Trinidad, the Cassia C project will enable bpTT to access and produce low pressure gas reserves from fields currently in production in the Greater Cassia area, maximising recovery from these existing resources.
The platform will play a key role in Trinidad and Tobago’s energy future as well as complement bp’s renewed focus on sustainability and low carbon energy, all towards becoming a net zero company.
Mayaro resident, Felicia Kissoon works with the instrument and control engineering team supporting the Cassia C commissioning process. For Felicia, the journey to this point has been a deeply personal one, “My dad worked offshore on the Cassia B and Kapok platforms, and growing up there was a photo of him on Cassia B in our living room. It wasn’t common for women to work in engineering, but I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps. That meant breaking that ‘glass ceiling’ and in so doing, become an example for other young women.
“My hard work paid off when I received a bpTT Brighter Prospects scholarship during my A’ Level studies at Rio Claro College and they continued to support me throughout the pursuit of my Degree in Process Engineering. After becoming qualified and working for a short while, I became employed in the Cassia C project, stationed both in Mexico and Trinidad. With the support of my family, my teachers and bpTT, I have been able to achieve my dream, and that dream is now expanding into new realms of possibility.”
Open to residents of Mayaro and environs, the Brighter Prospects scholarship programme is one of bpTT’s flagship social investment initiatives. Started in 2003, it provides financial assistance to Mayaro students who gain access to tertiary education at approved institutions. Since inception, the programme has provided more than 600 scholarships, producing over 400 graduates. Beyond the financial assistance, the company also provides additional support such as academic guidance and motivational sessions.
For Chemical and Process Engineer, Royanne Warrick, the journey was somewhat different, but no less impactful: “I was supported by Brighter Prospects from A’ Levels straight through university, but upon graduating I didn’t immediately get a job in the field. I was actually working at a fast-food restaurant when I got an opportunity to teach at Providence Girls’ Catholic School. Over a year later, I got a call to join the Cassia C project and fulfil my lifelong dream to be an engineer. Within months I had moved from the Trinidad operations and travelled to Mexico. It was an immensely transformative experience and changed my perspectives on life.”
“Growing up in Mayaro, I was influenced by the energy sector, including the fact that my dad worked in industry. Actually, one of my happiest memories was entering and winning an energy quiz hosted by bpTT when I was in Standard Four. Having achieved my goal to become an engineer and working on a monumental project like Cassia C, it may sound strange, but I realised that my true passion was teaching. As such, I decided to focus on becoming an educator and providing opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams, just as bpTT did for me,” Warrick added.
The bpTT scholarship programme has been enhanced over the years to cover a wide range of tertiary education studies and students and encouraged to explore new areas of study including Environmental Science, Sustainable Technology and Renewable Energy Technology.
The programme was also expanded by facilitating post-graduate scholarships as well as an internship programme that provides Brighter Prospects students with invaluable work experience. The only stipulation placed on students is maintaining good grades and volunteering for community development projects.
Denish Boodoo, who serves as an instrument and controls commissioning engineer, believes that his future is boundless: “I came from a humble background and the bpTT scholarship helped me to put all my focus on my academics and achieve success. I suppose that it’s symmetry that I’m working on the Cassia C project now. I have gained international experience and exposure, and along this pathway, I’ve uplifted my family and myself. Right now, I am looking to invest in an agricultural project to generate sustainable work for people from my community. Apart from qualifying and working on their platform, uplifting others is another valuable lesson that bpTT taught me.”
The Cassia C project is currently at the commissioning stage and first gas is expected this year. Production from the facility will go towards meeting bpTT’s existing gas supply commitments, and reinforcing the company’s focus on running a gas business that is safe, reliable and resilient.
According to Michael Daniel, project general manager, bpTT, “There is no doubt that bpTT, Mayaro and the nation have benefitted from our investment in developing talented young people like Felicia, Royanne and Denish. It is very inspiring to see how they are using their education as a platform for further development on a personal level but also on community level as well.”