The Realistic Development of Petroleum Engineering
- Harry H. Power (U. Of Texas)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- September 1964
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 947 - 958
- 1964. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.2 Reservoir Fluid Dynamics, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.3.4 Scale
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This paper first traces briefly the history of general and petroleum engineering education, noting the changes that have been made in the factors which have not only characterized the profession, but engineering as a whole. A broad treatment is made of the educational process, the role of engineering educators and important objectives in the initiation of professional development. The close relationship between accreditation of the engineering curricula, professional engineering, registration and characterization is discussed, and the need for breadth noted. The value of graduate study is compared with that of self-study or directed study programs and experience gained "on the job", particularly from the standpoint of professional obsolescence and its reduction. The value of training programs and team-work in industry at the junior and senior levels is indicated, as well as the development of engineer-managers on the job", and through special programs of study. The various needs for accreditation of curricula and registration of professional engineers are summarized.
The percentage of engineers to total number of employees in industry has quadrupled during the past 55 years. According to the Department of Labor's latest summary of employment in 150 major labor markets, the largest number of unfilled openings during the latter part of 1963 were for engineering and scientific personnel. Regardless of the overall demand, however, the report showed that the nationwide demand for chemists, physicists, mathematicians and the natural science occupations declined. Although business is still giving top engineering students an impressive rush, the ardent wooing of college engineering seniors by aerospace and electronics companies, following the event of Sputnik, has slumped, especially on the Pacific Coast. Much of the blame has been placed on defense contract losses, but the efforts of both government and private business in the encouragement of engineering study have been bearing fruit. The supply of recruits appears to be meeting the decreased demand. In the more distant future, however, the supply of engineers will be related to the rise of industrial society, to our dependence upon technology and, in particular, to the resulting increase in the use of energy in this country. The annual growth of electrical power consumption here has been estimated at 6 to 7 per cent compounded annually. Universally, the 1:1 relationship existing between energy use and national income is mute evidence that our future development will depend upon technology.
Over 100 years ago, engineering education in this country was designed for people who expected to do something, to conceive, to design, to build, to operate. Their functions involved the analysis and solution of practical problems, planning of needed systems, circuits, structures, or processes, and the prediction of their performance and cost. The engineer's experience and judgment were sought for the art he had developed for a particular project, rather than for his scientific knowledge. Since the organization of the engineering educational society in 1893, many reviews of engineering curricula and contents have been made, together with the distribution of time spent in the major divisions of work. The Wickenden Report of 1923-30, "Curricular Content as Related to the Objectives of Engineering Education", and its supplemental report of D.C. Jackson, were outgrowths of the Mann Report of 1907. The necessity of learning how to study and of continuing study throughout a whole professional career was emphasized. The earlier Wickenden and Jackson reports were followed by the Hammond and Wickenden reports, "Aims and Scope of Engineering Curricula" in 1940, and "Engineering Education After the War", in 1944.6 Pre-War Emphasis Before the second world war, heavy emphasis was placed on method and on "how". The professor's worth depended greatly on his knowledge of current practice and his ability to train students in his field of engineering. The content and organization of courses were determined largely by skills most useful in the first jobs of the young engineers after graduation. The 1940 and 1944 reports emphasized two major areas, namely, the scientific-technological and the humanistic-social. The latter program was to be an integrated sequence running throughout the four years. This phase of engineering education has received considerable attention during the last decade.
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