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Graduates and professionals in the petroleum engineering industry are hot property - enough for companies to expend their efforts poaching them from rival companies.
Students have made the headlines this year due to protests, a bleak graduate job market, financial struggles and because of clashes with police.
However, as rare an occasion as it seems to be, some graduates are looking forward to job security and a high salary before they have completed their studies.
Reuters has reported that petroleum engineers are some of the most sought-after in the business, with corporations signing students up before they graduate, and often resorting to poaching staff from rival businesses.
It seems the energy market is still going strong in many areas, fractured economy or not. Emily Woner is a 22 year old student who is currently studying petroleum engineering at the University of Tulsa. She is one of many currently completing her training, but due to the skill shortage, is already signed to a company or soon to be so.
"I'm really lucky. In my class, a lot of us are already committed to companies." The student said.
As Reuters noted, it's not based on luck or chance. The exploding popularity of this engineering profession is due to the industry's rush to exploit recent discoveries of vast shale gas and oil fields. This, in turn, has sparked a boom in drilling -- and the industry finds themselves desperately under-staffed to cope with the change in resource acquisition.
Engineering graduates are hot property. Given the chance and requirement for trained staff, corporations will sign trainees up early and try to retain them as long as possible. However, experienced professionals over 30 are just as valuable to the industry, if not more so.
Graduates are signed up early and trained in the company's ways, but those with experience are able to hit the ground running, making them the more enticing option -- if they can be hired.
Petroleum engineers hunt for oil and gas reservoirs, either locked underground or waiting to be discovered thousands of feet below sea level. They may also be involved in the design and implementation of new tools to make drilling more efficient.
The shale industry's lack of available speciality engineers has become the catalyst for sly dealings between rival firms -- who often offer lucrative pay packages, bonuses, housing assistance and are partial to occasionally swiping staff from other businesses.
The role of specialist engineers has become crucial to the industry. Not only are new fields being discovered, but drilling now is taking place in unforgiving landscapes such as the Arctic. U.S-based shale oil reservoirs currently pump approximately one million barrels a day.
Image credit: Nastor Galina/Flickr
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Jan 19, 2012
Almost thirty years ago, when the oil was in short supply due to the conflict with Iran, chemical engineering students were focussed on petroleum engineering because that's where the jobs and higher salaries were. During the 4 years that it took to get the degree, everything changed and oil companies were rescinding job offers made to graduating students, causing many of us to switch fields. It taught me that it is never a good idea to pursue a career by what the media points to as being"hot" in the moment. I never put to use any of the petroleum engineering training I got from a prestigious engineering school. The same thing happened with solar and wind energy too. Better to pursue a career in something you like to do than what the media says is "hot!"
All those things you learned in the petroleum engineering training will now be beneficial. There has been a new development in the liquification of natural gas, LNG, gogle TASHE-OPTR to read about it. In Brazil, where Praxair has developed the process, and ALL their vehicles don't run on petrochemical fuels, they use this to produce LNG to deliver by truck to areas without a pipeline service. Since pipelines are a big regulatory deal in the US, it is likely this process will continue to catch on as fuel costs drive vehicle fleets to convert to LNG power. First test case was in WV. While there are already over 1000 LNG refueling stations along interstate highways now, thousands need to be built - sound like jobs? One company has planned to build 150 in the Central Atlantic area by end of 2012. Fracking has made NG so plentiful, that it has instantly become the probable savior of the US energy independence from oil. I'm working to get the new nuclear workers trained up for the two first plant to be built in US, you do your part and take on bringing the energy industry up to date. Plenty of work there!