July 2021

Perception of female engineers has improved considerably over the years, says DNV’s Moyo

“Traditionally the energy industry was male-dominated, and the balance is being re-addressed. I think we need to make engineering an attractive option for all genders. In that way, diversity of thought will shine through,” said Anna Moyo, Senior Approval Engineer at DNV in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Anna Moyo, Senior Approval Engineer at DNV
Anna Moyo, Senior Approval Engineer at DNV

Editor’s note: In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, June 23, World Oil is pleased to offer this unique perspective from a practicing, veteran female engineer.

Anna Moyo is a Senior Approval Engineer at DNV, based in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. She is a Naval Architect with 14 years of experience, mainly in the oil and gas industry. Ms. Moyo has experience in conducting verification of the strength/fatigue and stability analysis for floating offshore installations and undertaking design verification of offshore lifting equipment. She has an MSc degree in Logistics and Management in Maritime Transportation from Technical University of Szczecin, as well as a BEng degree in Technology of Floating Objects from the Technical University of Gdansk, Poland.

Recently, Ms. Moyo visited with World Oil to share her experience as a female in engineering and how she assesses the current state of opportunities for women in oil and gas.

World Oil (WO): How would you assess the state of women’s roles/careers in the upstream oil and gas industry? How much progress has the industry made in the last 20 years?

Anna Moyo: I joined the oil and gas industry in 2006 and have been with DNV for seven years. For me, the perception of females as engineers has changed a lot through the years. I now find that our opinions and contributions are appreciated more and more in the workplace. Change is ongoing, and it’s in the right direction.

WO: In what ways does the industry need to work, to further improve opportunities for female engineers?

Moyo: We are going in the right direction. I think that it is important that we say that. Traditionally the industry was male-dominated, and the balance is being re-addressed. I think we need to make engineering an attractive option for all genders. In that way, diversity of thought will shine through.

WO: Why did you become an engineer, and what led you to choose a career in oil and gas?

Moyo: It started from a childhood dream but matured to a desire to be part of a process delivering safe equipment and structures. Safe not only for operation but for the environment. I like the variety of projects in which I’m involved and the challenges that new technologies bring. I especially like the fact my role can be adapted, depending on the project needs.

WO: What is your current role, and can you describe your day-to-day responsibilities?

Moyo: I am responsible for undertaking third-party design reviews to ensure the verification and certification of materials and components across a variety of structures and equipment in the maritime, oil and gas, and renewable industries. This ensures that clients follow internationally recognizable standards, rules and regulations for safe and efficient operations.

In addition, I act as an Independent Competent Person for in-service reviews, in line with UK legislation. I also work as a Project Manager on various multi-discipline projects, where I’m responsible for internal project coordination and external interaction with all project stakeholders for medium-sized projects. As part of my day-to-day responsibilities, I really enjoy being a mentor for graduates and staff within my department.

WO: What do you enjoy most about your role, and can you describe some of the highlights of your career so far?

Moyo: I get huge satisfaction from bringing the recognition of the efficiency and safety of new equipment and structures to the industry. The appreciation of efforts made by all the team is second to none. Even when things may not go as well as planned, we support each other and understand that learning is part of the process, not a hindrance.

As a mother, I feel so proud, explaining to my child that I was part of the development of several structures or equipment to be built, and be safe for all to use.

WO: What are some major projects that you have worked on, and what have been some of the greater challenges?

Moyo: I enjoy challenges associated with the introduction of new or more advanced equipment and technologies to the market, especially those where no clear set of rules or guidance is already available. This involves closer collaboration with clients and internal experts from the start, and it results in a steep learning curve on the project.

Another type of challenge concerns projects where many subcontractors are involved in delivery of the product and multiple stakeholders (internal and external), to which progress reports need to be provided. In that kind of project, managing individual subcontractors’ expectations, and the relationship between all parties involved, is extremely important for the overall project success.

We need to be careful, as well, about Intellectual Property Law associated with each component delivered for individual subcontractors and the level of information that can be released to particular project stakeholders in agreement with each individual party at project start-up.

WO: Have you encountered any gender bias in your career, either recently or in the past?

Moyo: As an approval engineer, I need to communicate non-compliance with relevant rules and standards. This is never easy, as it may result in financial consequences to all parties involved. As a woman, it is particularly difficult to have those conversations with people from locations or cultures, where females are not seen as equal or as bringing the same value to the process as male engineers.

WO: What advice would you offer to any aspiring female engineers?

Moyo: For both men and women, I would encourage aspiring engineers to create their own network, which will motivate and support you and allow you to grow. Stay positive and take one thing at a time. Do not be harsh on yourself—we all go through challenges and learn from them.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to go and ask for help when you need it. Work hard. Work smart, and never give up!


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