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Shell Malaysia

  • 50,000 - 100,000 employees

Lee Ling Ting

I would say the coolest part about my job is that I have the freedom to turn many ideas into reality.

What's your job about?

My employer, Shell MDS Sdn Bhd is the first Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plant in the world that converts natural gas to hydrocarbon liquids, and my role, as an R&D Process Engineer, focuses on Heavy Paraffin Synthesis (HPS) catalyst development. I am the technologist of a large-scale R&D unit that is tied into the main plant. On a daily basis, I, together with the Operations team, monitor and validate catalyst performance to develop catalysts that have stable performance, produce optimum products and have a long lifetime. Besides, I plan for catalyst change out activities where the catalyst is being loaded or unloaded. I also work closely with our maintenance team which plans and executes Preventive Maintenance and Corrective Maintenance to ensure all equipment functions well. 

What's your background?

I grew up in Bintulu, Borneo Sarawak, Malaysia, a small town which is known for its oil and gas industries. I completed my primary and secondary education at public neighborhood schools in Bintulu. After that, I was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Honours at PETRONAS University of Technology (UTP). Due to my passion for critical and logical thinking, I participated actively in competitive debating during my time at UTP. Having been to more than 30 national and international tournaments, I was crowned multiple times as Top Ten Best Speaker in Malaysia and Best English as Secondary Language (ESL) Speaker in Australasia. I graduated with a first-class degree from UTP in 2020. In the third year of my studies, I did an internship at Shell MDS and I was intrigued by Shell's values, culture, and ways of working. Since then, I was determined to develop a career at Shell. As soon as I had the opportunity, I applied to the Shell Graduate Program immediately after my graduation. After passing the stringent selection process, I was offered a role in Process Engineering and I gladly accepted the offer. So far, I have been on the job for 8 months. It has been an absolutely amazing journey in Shell, and I look forward to many more decades working in this company!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Doing this job without some basic knowledge in chemical engineering would be difficult but not entirely impossible so yes, I do think that someone with a different background will be able to do my job on the condition that he/she is passionate about being a process engineer. The resources provided by Shell such as line manager’s coaching, on-the-job learning, trainings, etc can help to overcome the challenges. I would say the most important skill that one should have when it comes to my job is problem-solving. As an R&D Process Engineer, I always face challenges while troubleshooting the technical issues of my unit. From time to time, the unit experiences hiccups that disrupt the experimental plan progress. This is the time when I need to gather information, analyse the situation and try to resolve the issues to get the unit back on smooth running again.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I would say the coolest part about my job is that I have the freedom to turn many ideas into reality. Most process engineers, who work at an operating asset, do not have much room to make any changes to their units as there are concerns about jeopardising the production so their jobs are mainly about keeping the units running smoothly. As I have an R&D unit that is tied into an operating asset, I get to run my unit in an actual plant environment but still have the freedom to make any modifications to my equipment and line-up. Freedom to make changes means more opportunities to try out new things!

What are the limitations of your job?

In terms of limitations, I would say my job can be physically demanding at times, especially throughout turnaround. During a major scale turnaround, process engineers are tasked to carry out equipment inspections and support catalyst change-out activities. The hectic schedule requires us to work extended working hours of 12 hours a day and 6 days a week. Most of the time we are on-site, climbing up and down long ladders and going in and out of huge equipment. I have heard stories of colleagues who struggled during these activities. Despite my passion for the job, after numerous hours moving around on-site under the hot sun does make me miss the office environment.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

My advice is to take all assignments or projects seriously in university. While some of them might appear to be irrelevant to a Chemical Engineering career, most of the time, the assignments help to develop important skills such as problem-solving, analytical skills, teamwork, and so on.