How women are slowly becoming more involved in a heavily male dominant industry
MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is an extremely male dominated field, a study done in 2021 by Zippia.com, showed women make up roughly 5% of the industry’s employees and here in the Permian Basin, that’s exactly the case.
ABC Big 2 News sat down with a female owned oil and gas company in Midland to see what it’s like to constantly break those glass ceilings.
Founded in 2016 in Houston, Geokimika is a female-owned oil and gas company, specializing in delivering high-quality, un-biased chemical testing and consulting services for Oil & Gas operations.
“Our company focuses on two things, we do consulting around the water and chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations, and then we offer onsite support and monitoring of water or chemical performance on jobsites,” said Tanhee Galindo, co-founder and technical director with Geokimika.
They realized three years ago, after all the travelling they had done to the Permian Basin, there was so much room for opportunity and growth, and they were needed in the area.
“There was a need for companies that offered testing support that was independent of the companies that were actually selling the products,” said Galindo. “In general for oilfield, this is sort of the heart of where all the work usually is, and even in a down turn, you’ll always have activity out here. We realized there was also a need here, there wasn’t a lot of testing support or the opportunities that we’d seen in other spaces. So, it kind of, by default, we just started spending more and more time here and saw that this was the place for us to really grow and continue to expand.”
Which is exactly why they decided to settle and expand in Midland.
Co-founder and managing director, Kristin Hatch added, “A lot of opportunity out in the Permian, this is, this is a boom right now.”
In general, opportunity swarms the industry.
Galindo said, “Honestly it’s a good career opportunity.” And Hatch added, “There’s a lot of learning opportunities.”
Galindo mentioned that there are so many different options in the industry, “A lot of them, I didn’t even know existed, in the oilfield, until I got into the industry. It goes outside of engineering, there’s so many opportunities in sciences, marketing, any career there’s a lot of opportunity within oil and gas.”
Trying to grow and expand in a heavily male dominated field is almost if not impossible, but Geokimika used that as motivation to prove to themselves and others, that women can be in the field.
“For me it was nice to say, ‘look we can go do this and yes some people are going to wonder like, are these girls going to stack up against, you know, some of the other companies that are out there with all the guys and the experience,'” laughed Galindo. “And kind of being able to show where we’re at, seven years down the line, and here we are and we continue to grow.”
For some like Hatch, there was no hesitation going into the business.
“I don’t know, for me, it was not that big of an issue,” she laughed. “I’m here to work, I’m here to make my day to day happen so it didn’t affect me too much.”
And slowly but surely, other woman are following in Geokimika’s footsteps.
“I think as time has progressed, you’re seeing more and more of it so it’s not as like scandalous as it once was,” Hatch shrugged. “Like she said, yeah we’re seeing more women out there but it’s like we’re not just the one off anymore, there’s more out there and they’re doing more technical rules.”
While more and more women are joining the oil industry, there’s still a lot of room to grow, and that’s exactly what Geokimika is trying to do right here in their own backyard.
“I convinced her to start up a company and told her you know, here’s the opportunities, here’s who you need to go talk to and I’ll tell what you need to go buy, get it to a point where you can afford me and I’ll quit my job and I’ll come work for you.”
And Hatch laughed low and behold, she was able to afford her and here they are, seven years down the line, and it’s had its fare share of hoops to jump through.
“Uphill battle because like at first, people kind of wonder like, who are you? First thing is like, ‘we’ve never heard of your company, and so you’re kind of like having to build that trust around who you are, what your background is, but then also really show them what your capabilities are,” emphasized Galindo.
They both said the schedules are what deter most woman from the oil and gas industry.
“I think that sometimes gets missed in that, you know, we’re out there, getting the work done, but there’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into that,” said Galindo. “So it’s kind of the unseen sacrifices that a lot of people make that you kind of just don’t think about but all you see is the traffic and how much people are out here and they’re making money but you’re also making a lot of sacrifices.”
But to them, the hard work has paid off and it’s all been worth it.
Galindo finished by saying, “Don’t be afraid to want to try it, I think that’s where a lot of people get hung up and don’t go out there. You know, just ask to learn, because if you’re curious about it and you’re okay with getting your hands dirty, there’s so many things you can learn and it’s not just the field, you know, that’s where you can start and you can learn a lot but you can do just about anything.”
And Hatch reiterated, “Bear down and get with it and go, don’t get bogged down with being a woman in the industry, just grit. It’s hard, but it’s life and you can get through it.”
Geokimika, Hatch and Galindo only look to grow and make their way through the Permian Basin, all while inspiring other women along the way.
If you’d like to learn more about their company, head to the Geokimika website.