Petroleum Engineering - Where Does It Go from Here?
- John M. Campbell (U. Of Oklahoma)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 29 - 32
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 170 since 2007
- Show more detail
- View rights & permissions
The question of declining enrollments in petroleum engineering schools and future manpower problems have been ably covered by others. Declines in enrollment ranging from 50 to 100 per cent, accompanied by recruiting problems, have provoked increasing discussion about the problem. Most of the discussions to date have involved the forecasting of future enrollments, future demand, and the like. This discussion takes a look at another facet of the situation, namely: 1. Does the petroleum industry of the foreseeable future have a need for men formally trained in the petroleum engineering discipline? 2. If the answer to the first question is positive, what are the problems of the educator and how can they be solved? 3. What are the roles of industry, the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME and educators in future events? A plan of action is advanced that, hopefully, may serve to stimulate further thought in the areas involved.
It is difficult to characterize petroleum engineering, for the term is used by many people in many ways. Many "petroleum engineers" are educated in another discipline but justify the title by adoption and experience. The discussion here shall be limited to the formal discipline of petroleum engineering. This is difficult because curricula in this area have never been standardized to the degree usually found in other engineering disciplines. About 13,000 bachelors degrees have been awarded in petroleum engineering to date. Of these, about 40 per cent have been earned from curricula that are really options of another discipline. Many consist largely of a survey course or two, reservoir engineering and some geology. It is indeed unfortunate that the membership of SPE has not set up general criteria for petroleum engineering schools in much the same manner that AIChE and other organizations have done. It would help alleviate our current problem. The Education Committee has defined the scope of petroleum engineering quite well, but there has never been any real effort to implement it from the standpoint of curricula, academic standards, etc. Therefore, for the purposes of this discussion, a petroleum engineering school will be defined as one which offers at least 18 hours of instruction (exclusive of geology) and is operated as a separate budget unit in the college of engineering. This is not necessarily where the line should be drawn, but it merely serves to define a petroleum engineering school for the purposes of this paper. Before examining our current problems we should reflect for a moment about the past contributions of petroleum engineering schools. Many people have apparently lost sight of these contributions and are advocating change just for the sake of change. As best we can determine, petroleum engineering dates back to approximately 1925. Then, men with mining and geological backgrounds became aware of the need for training to cope with some of the specific problems being encountered in the "mining" of oil. The first curricula were composites of certain basic engineering and geology courses, plus a course or two stressing the art of drilling and producing. Although revised many times, it is interesting to note that art (survey) type courses remained a part of the curriculum until several years ago-even in the better schools. However, all of the engineering disciplines have gone through this phase. Petroleum engineering started to come of age in the late forties or early fifties and is just now reaching full maturity. Examine the Transactions volumes for the past 20 years and you will notice how much more sophisticated they have become. There were some excellent early publications, but they were few and far between unless one was interested primarily in "how to do" articles. In fact, truly significant articles prior to 1945 were so scarce that they soon attained the status of "true gospel". This is pointed out in rebuttal to current detractors who look with scorn on past petroleum engineering educational efforts. A study of old curricula bears out the premise that petroleum engineering training has changed as the need has changed.
|File Size||338 KB||Number of Pages||4|