Law and Regulatory Practices: Essential Training for Petroleum Engineering Students
- Charles M. Quinnelly (Mississippi State U.) | William D. McCain Jr. (Mississippi State U.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 1969
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,026 - 1,028
- 1969. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 1.6 Drilling Operations
- 5 in the last 30 days
- 176 since 2007
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The combined efforts of an experienced lawyer and the petroleum engineering faculty at Mississippi State U. have produced a course that stimulates in the young engineer an awareness of his responsibility as expert witness in this multifaceted Technological Age.
To comprehend and to appreciate any aspect of engineering education that does not fall within the usual spectrum of technical training, some sense of urgency and exhilaration must be discerned and experienced from the very fact that this is a Technological Age. The accelerating thrust of science and technology, viewed as process leaves no part of society unaffected by its implications and consequences.
For technology in general and for petroleum engineering in particular, the mandates of a Technological Age require an immediate awareness of the legal and political processes by which man attempts to impose controls and order in this age. In a democratic society, to make technological advances, especially in the realm of natural resources, is only a beginning. The petroleum engineer must then relate his knowledge to the intricacies of competing values stemming not only from nontechnical sources, but also from irrational feelings and desires held by people who naturally turn to the political arena to find legal support and protection.
The present educational system affords scant awareness, much less training, for the engineer to share in responsible decision making. A sense of interdependence within the intellectual disciplines develops readily when one considers the social, economic, and political questions that technology not only has generated but will continue to produce. As an example, offshore drilling and production techniques permit a steady movement out to and under the seas, rendering standard concepts of international and municipal law obsolete and posing new means for vast economic, social, and political change.
Present approaches to engineering education, despite Present approaches to engineering education, despite efforts to review, improve, and enhance the total curriculum, tend to provide for the education of competent petroleum engineers without regard to the society in which they will live and function. Moreover, the oil and gas industry, because of the American economic and political framework, operates under close regulatory and economic controls from initial exploration through final consumption. The problem, thus, is finding an approach to the education of competent engineers that will also make them sensitive to the importance of the expert appearing before governmental agencies responsible for decision making in the supervision of the industry.
The student must become aware first of his professional and intellectual role as an engineer in a professional and intellectual role as an engineer in a Technological Age. Secondly, he must become fully aware of the interplay of three intellectual disciplines: his own technology, law, and economics. This awareness would include not only practical but also theoretical comprehension.
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