Ellen Heyns

Preventing leaks

My job is to prevent leaks from pipes, tanks, vessels and reactors, for example. I do this by focusing on three key areas. Firstly, I perform material selections for new build projects; secondly, I draw up the maintenance and inspection strategy; and thirdly, I support the plants with run and maintain practices: operating within the design windows, investigating leaks, performing root cause analyses and determining how to repair and prevent leaks. 

Materials and corrosion are part of every project

It’s great that I get to work with all the different disciplines on site, from Operations and Maintenance to Management. I can’t do my work without everyone’s input. I get that input during meetings, but also by going out into the field myself, for instance during turnarounds when major maintenance is carried out on equipment. Materials and corrosion are part of every project and plant operation, which in turn allows me to get to grips with every aspect of the Downstream manufacturing sites.

Everybody respects you

You might not expect everyone to be on first-name terms at Shell, but they are, even Ben, our CEO! You are expected to respect everybody and everybody is expected to respect you. The floor is always open for discussion, reflection and feedback, not only top-down, but also very much bottom-up.

Making a real contribution to the business

I also considered strategy consultancy but I chose Shell because I want to become a specialist. I want people to appreciate me for making a real contribution to the business. Furthermore, there are good courses, a large international network and a demanding environment: a place where I can excel! But now I’m off to do yoga during lunch and tonight I’m having dinner with five colleagues who are also my friends.