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Mpanda, from mud to first oil

Diversity – a considerable added value. Mpanda, a chemical engineer in her early thirties, works as a drilling fluid engineer and manages a team of 5 professionals from 3 contractors. She has already worked on 3 projects and on 6 rigs.

From chemical to cement engineering, now a drilling fluid specialist

After a successful application on Total Careers website, Mpanda overcame rigorous aptitude tests and recruitment interviews.

A graduate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, her academic training contributed to her abilities to fit in rather quickly and easily. In September 2010, Mpanda joined Total in Angola as a Drilling Fluid & Cement Engineer on Block 17. To perform her new functions and meet the challenges proposed, she took further specialized training courses in Oil & Gas provided by Total. After her in-house training, she took on the challenge of doing the same job, only managing now a team of 5.

Today, the young professional has 4 years of experience in exploration and oilfield development.

Mutual support: a commitment required

Objectives targeted are only reachable when team members are united and supportive. Between the launch of the project and its start-up, there are countless tasks, actions, processes and details to be checked. Knowledge, expertise, tasks are the results of inputs from a great number of people, each of them playing their part. Every action is equally important for the final objective. Synchronization, understanding, discipline and respect for each other’s work are crucial between team members.

In order to perform her job, Mpanda depends on drilling programs sent from onshore, the Drilling Fluid Superintendent’s feedback, and reports from Drilling Department. Once she has gathered and reviewed everybody’s contribution, she can decide what to do and how to do it.

"Respect and mutual support are key qualities in this segment”, says Mpanda.

From block to block, well to well

Working at Total provides opportunities to discover different realities. Both onshore and offshore, from Block 17 to Block 32, from Dalia to Kaombo, Mpanda has met and worked with people of different ages, genders, nationalities, customs, believes, personalities, trainings and experiences. It is the main asset of working in this industry. According to her, whichever job you perform, relationships enrich your CV.

Offshore life is challenging: “I work on Rig DS1. I go to work by surfer, working from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm on 28 day cycles, wearing special clothing.”

Default description.

"Whichever job you perform, relationships enrich your CV."

Short Resume


2010 – to present

Drilling Fluid Supervisor, Total E&P Angola


2009 – 2010

Cement Engineering, Schlumberger


2004 – 2008

Chemical Engineering, University of Johannesburg, South Africa