"Would you recommend that your son or daughter go into petroleum engineering?"

This is a question SPE presidents and senior executives have been asked for decades and, for most of the last 40 years, the answer has been positive. However, how realistic is a positive response today?

In today's society, negative attitudes toward the extractive industries, and fossil fuels in particular, have made the oil & gas industry less attractive to college students. In addition, this negative opinion has been greatly exacerbated by issues surrounding climate change, not to mention the seemingly constant cyclical demand and massive layoffs during downturns. Factor in the inherent pressure for efficiency, new data-driven approaches and AI-based systems and the future of petroleum engineering looks to be quite different from what has been experienced in the past. In addition, decreasing oil demand in American and Europe may well portend radical changes in how the industry functions.

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