Another Look at Future Demand for Petroleum Engineers: We Can Prevent the Coming Shortage
- John M. Campbell (U. of Oklahoma)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 1959
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 14 - 16
- 1959. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment
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In the past several years questions have been raised about the future status of the petroleum industry. Some of this has been triggered by rather vague notions of the probable effect Of nuclear and solar energy along with many pessimistic public pronouncements that were designed to influence legislation. Superimposed on this has been the so-called recession, or what might better be called "re-adjustment". The net result has been the development by many individuals of a rather gloomy outlook which is largely unwarranted by the facts. Regardless of how valid this pessimism might be, we must recognize that it could have a long-range deleterious effect on petroleum engineering as a profession.
This is illustrated by the results of a recent poll taken among petroleum engineering schools on enrollment and hiring trends, reported by Robert L. Whiting in the April, 1959, issue of the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY. The poll was as good as any can be, and Professor Whiting made a conscientious effort to present the results fairly. The article "shook up" many people, and well it should.
The conclusions presented were fine as far as they went, but they did not fully answer the basic questions of, Why the decreasing enrollment?" and "What will be the demand for petroleum engineers?". Because of the rapidly changing technology, I do not believe the latter can be answered by a mere extrapolation of data. Instead, we must try to analyze the factors involved. There is certainly no doubting that a shortage of qualified engineers exists, even though there is a plentiful supply of engineering graduates.
This is the purpose of this article. I have concentrated on the negative factors, not because they are paramount but because they are the ones we usually choose to ignore. In doing this, I am not motivated by pessimism but by the optimistic feeling that careful thought will at least minimize the two problems presented. I hope that those who might be offended by some of the following comments will accept them in the intended spirit.
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