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Bill Maddock, Director of Subsea Systems Institute

UH Petroleum Engineering Student Uses her Background for Future Success


By Valeria Dominguez


Anisha Deka stands out as an engineering student at the University of Houston.

While pursuing a master’s degree in petroleum engineering, Deka shows that by combining her background from the oil and gas industry in India with her graduate studies in Houston, she is making strides on the path to a successful career in the energy sector.

“I was very happy to come from India to Houston, the energy capital of the world, to participate and contribute even in the slightest manner to the energy sector,” Deka said.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani in India. By the time she finished her undergraduate studies, Deka had completed internships at companies including Schlumberger, Shell Technology Center and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited in India.

Now at UH, more than 8,000 miles from home, Deka continues working towards a career in energy. Selected by Oil India Limited (OIL), she is taking part in a joint project between UH and OIL called the Carbon Capture Project. This $1.4 million project, led by UH petroleum engineering professor, Dr. Ganesh C. Thakur, aims to reduce India’s carbon footprint by using carbon dioxide captured from nearby petrochemical plants to boost oil recovery.

“This tie up project is an excellent initiative to connect between the two nations,” Deka said. “I feel this is a common platform for both institutions to interact and exchange ideas in order to successfully maximize oil recovery.”

By working as a reservoir engineering intern with OIL, Deka was involved in a preliminary reservoir management study of key reservoirs, analyzing their performance to improve oil recovery.

 “It is the need of the hour that every oil and gas extraction process needs to be environmentally safe, and being a part of the joint project on carbon capture makes me a part of the society that has similar goals as I do.” Deka said.

When it comes to energy and the environment, Deka feels strongly about working toward a good cause; she strives to develop optimized processes for extraction that are both sustainable and meet growing energy needs while also minimizing the negative impact on the environment.

Along with internships and graduate studies, Deka serves as vice chair of communications for the UH Energy Coalition, an umbrella organization of 34 student organizations. She keeps in touch with individual organizations by managing the spread of information across the coalition. Set to graduate in August, Deka plans to become a researcher in the energy field.

“I feel that a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Houston can help me achieve my ambition,” Deka said.