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Natalie Swanson

Petroleum Geologist
Natalie Swanson | Géologue pétrolière
Natalie Swanson | Géologue pétrolière
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Natalie Swanson is a Petroleum Geologist, located in Alberta.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Born and grew un in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I now live in: I currently live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I completed my training/education at: I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Geology from the University of Calgary

What I do at work

I am a Petroleum Geologist and have worked at two major oil and gas corporations so far in Calgary during my 12-year career. My main responsibility is to understand the information we get from rocks deep below the surface of the Earth (sometimes greater than 3km deep!). I try to tell the story of the Earth below us and how the rocks came to be there millions of years ago. My interpretations can include creating maps, analyzing data gathered from rock samples, fluids and specialized tools. It can also include providing new technological ideas to extract oil and gas from the Earth in a safe and sustainable manner. 

The majority of my daily work is in done in an office setting with a team of engineers and geophysicists. We are an integrated team that work closely together and we rely on each other for our interpretations and ideas. A large part of a geologist’s responsibilities is to collect data from wells drilled deep below the Earth’s surface. Specialized tools collect data about the properties of the rock, such as radioactivity, density, fluid content, mineral and clay content, and pore space. Oil and gas is stored in the pore space and fractures of these subsurface rocks. A geologist will analyze the data and create maps and 3D models to predict where the oil and gas will be found. The whole subsurface team will use these maps, models and predictions to create a development plan to extract the oil and gas through drilling wells.

My career path is

I grew up in Calgary, a city rich in history in the energy industry. My parents did not work in the oil and gas sector, so I didn't have much exposure to it until I started my career. In high school I applied to the University of Calgary and got accepted into the Commerce/Management department. I completed a year of my B.Comm degree, but I soon realized I missed math and science. It was during my first year of university that I took an Introduction to Geology course and found my passion and love of the Earth and environment. Before my last year of my degree, I worked as a summer student and a major international oil and gas company. There I met many intelligent, caring and interesting people in the industry. My technical mentor gave me the skills and confidence to continue successfully in the industry and it is because of the mentors in my career that I, myself, enjoy being a mentor and giving back to the industry.

I am motivated by

Geology is creative and collaborative. I have a passion for the Earth and understanding it's history, resources and sustainability. I enjoy using a variety of methods and technology on a daily basis. I also like having the ability to use creativity and problem solving to explore for resources. In my career I have worked with so many caring people who are passionate about teamwork. Working as a Geologist involves an integrated effort with other like-minded and creative scientists who work together towards a common goal.

How I affect peoples’ lives

Energy fuels our lives. Working in the Canadian energy industry gives me pride to be able to contribute to the world's growing energy demand. By producing oil and gas in a safe, ethical and sustainable manner, we can continue to manage our Earth's resources properly.

Outside of work I

I am an active person that loves to spend my time in the Rocky Mountains, a short drive away. I like to camp, hike and run and have interests in photography, travel and interior design. I have two young daughters that keep me busy!

My advice to others

Your education should not stop once you graduate. Take opportunities to continue to learn and grow through continued learning, industry courses and networking. Engage in the community and meet the people you are making a difference for.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Music
  • Art
  • Geography
  • Math
  • Physical Education / Health
  • Science
  • Other: Earth Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Liked reading
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to design or build things

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