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Rodrigo Oropeza

Tackling the challenge of global climate change

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Hi – I’m Rodrigo – and I work in carbon capture. The best thing about my job is that I’m having an impact right now. We need clever minds to help us do things differently.

I was born in Mexico City, Mexico. When I was growing up, I loved camping and exploring nature. Some of my family works in rural areas all over Mexico, and so my interest and awareness of climate change and how this affects people in everyday life started from a young age. I wanted to be part of the solution to help, not only my community, but also the world.

I studied Petroleum Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and during my social service – (a six month-one year voluntary program which university students in Mexico are required to do) – I worked with the Hydrogeology Group of the university. This is where I discovered research was a passion of mine and focused my efforts on understanding energy production and its environmental impact.

I received a national award for my research on water consumption in fracking processes, which helped me make the move to the UK. As the UK is a major economy leading global climate change targets, and Aberdeen being the hub for energy in Scotland, I settled here. For my Masters degree, I studied Oil and Gas Enterprise Management at the University of Aberdeen, where, again, I got involved with a research department, working on carbon capture processes and methods.

I am now an Energy Transition Engineer at Pale Blue Dot Energy, and I love that the energy transition is at the forefront of my role – working in the energy sector really isn’t just about oil and gas!

My time at university definitely prepared me for my career. With a lot of work still ongoing about how we capture, use and maximise new energy sources, my research skills are tested every day. My favourite project that I’m involved with is definitely the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project - designed to take advantage of existing oil and gas infrastructure and an offshore CO2 storage site, which was awarded the first UK CO2 appraisal and storage licence by the industry regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority. To be involved with such a monumental project is amazing.

It’s because of opportunities like this that every day is the best day at work for me. I’m constantly learning new things and have the chance to work alongside people who are leading the way in our field. The whole team at Pale Blue Dot Energy are inspirational and drive me to continue to develop my skills. Also – the day I received the call to let me know I’d got the job is up there with best days too!

I’ll be staying in the UK to deliver the Acorn CCS project for the next few years for sure, however it would be a dream to open a Pale Blue Dot Mexico office. I came to the UK as it is a hub of excellence for the energy transition, but my goal is to take the skills we develop here and distribute this knowledge around the world – including Mexico.

I think that the general public believe that what we’re doing in the energy transition space is purely to help the oil and gas industry – which is not the case. There is still a need for oil and gas energy production, but we all have a duty to do it responsibly. We need to consider the communities around the world and create a sustainable plan of action for energy production, storage and use.

Over the next decade, we’re going to need to maintain energy and momentum to achieve our collective climate change goals. We’re going to need people from a wide range of disciplines too – it’s not just engineers! As more people become aware of the issues facing the global energy sector, and its consequences on the way we live, I’m hopeful that we can welcome them to be part of the transition.

For those looking to start their career in the energy sector, my top tip would be to ask. Ask as much as you can, to as many people as possible. And importantly, share the knowledge you learn with others. When you start to piece together that many of your questions follow a similar theme, then you might just have discovered your passion!

As an Energy Influencer, I hope to inspire as many people as possible to be inquisitive and discover how they can be part of the energy mix. If I can help just one person think about what role they want to play in the energy sector, then I’ll be happy!