​Rising Stars Class of 2019: Virginia Wornstaff; OSP Microcheck

Today’s up-and-coming leaders are helping to shape tomorrow’s energy future. Whether it’s new thinking, fresh attitudes or technical solutions, showcasing their work and vision is of tremendous value to the entire energy industry.

Daily Oil Bulletin’s Rising Stars Class of 2019 is a showcase event of the excellent work done by young emerging energy leaders.

Today, we profile Virginia Wornstaff, OSP Microcheck.

Click here to see this year's Class of Rising Stars.


In the three years that Virginia Wornstaff has been with the OSP Microcheck, she has risen from Director of Business Development and Technology to VP LifeCheck Resources to her current role as Chief Technology Officer.

During her tenure as leader of a team of technical experts and PhD microbiologists, OSP has opened a full-service Technical Centre that includes inhouse DNA microbial testing, reporting and recommendation services.

“We’re one of the only oil and gas service companies to have full DNA sequencing and bioinformatics processing in-house. No other single company permeates the market with as much high-level genomic (DNA) testing offerings as OSP, which is reflected in the global client-base we support everyday,” Wornstaff says.

A lot of service providers make a run at controlling the souring effects of microbes in wells but providing technical solutions for microbial challenges is OSP’s primary business. But business is growing because of the preponderance of hydraulic fracturing in today’s oil and gas fields.

“Increased dependencies on fluid recycling, diverse water management strategies, and geological factors within plays introduce large volumes of microbes that have never been put into reservoirs before. They are souring these reservoirs, or some are already sour from geological factors, making them substantially worse — more so than people realize. So the problem continues to evolve despite the efforts of throwing some chemicals at it,” she says.

A better understanding of the problem is OSP’s competitive advantage. And the company continues to innovate and deepen its water quality and microbial control services.

Wornstaff’s success at OSP might seem as though it came over overnight, but it also stands on 13 years of work experience with Baker Hughes. Baker hired her before she even graduated in 2003 from NAIT’s Chemical Engineering Tech/Petroleum Engineering Tech Honours programs.

As part of Baker’s integrity management services group, she had the good fortune to work under a manager who said, “I’m going to throw you in the deep end of the pool. I’m not going to let you sink, but you’ll learn how to swim.”

Wornstaff learned everything from facility process to managing clients and was made manager of the Integrity team after four years. She was one of the youngest female field managers in that role at age 27.

Today Wornstaff practices a similar leadership style that allowed her to flourish. She provides her team with the tools, resources and support to succeed.

Growing up in a family of four kids on a farm outside the hamlet of Fort Assiniboine in northern Alberta, where she attended a small school that couldn’t provide biology and physics in the same year because there weren’t enough students or teachers, Wornstaff appreciates the importance of personally contributing to the community.

Most of her giveback is currently through OSP’s support of children and families — Christmas giving, local sports teams and the children’s hospitals.

“We also have two intern programs through the U of C. I really love being part of bringing younger people into the private sector and giving them a taste of what they can do with what they have learned,” she says.

Beyond this mentorship, she flies across North America delivering presentations and sharing industry-leading insights on microbial issues to educate peers, clients and colleagues.

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