The Petroleum Industry An Attractive Career Potential For Young Engineers
- C.E. Reistle Jr.
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- May 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 455 - 457
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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REISTLE JR., C.E., MEMBER AIME, PRESIDENT HUMBLE OIL and REFINING CO.
Editor's Note: C.E. Reistle, Jr., 1956 AIME president and a former chairman of the old Petroleum Branch of AIME, delivered the following paper in Beaumont, Tex., at the April 6 Welcoming Luncheon fo the Upper Gulf Coast Drilling and Production conference sponsored by the Spindletop Sectio of SPE.
The postwar years have brought our share of problems in the oil industry. Some of the problems are caused by government intrusion (or the threat of intrusion) and others probably are of our own making. Most of the trouble stems from public misunderstanding of our business, and this undoubtedly contributes substantially to a very needless problem to be discussed here. That is, very noticeable absence of an adequate number of competent science and engineering graduates who are attracted to the oil industry.
We hear from our universities that high school and college students are tending to avoid a petroleum career because they have the mistaken belief that our industry does not have the same potential it once had. Recently when one of our engineers was addressing a group of Explorer Scouts who have an interest in science, he found that disappointingly few were considering careers in the oil industry. He diplomatically probed for a reason and the general answer he got was: "My science teacher tells us that the long-range outlook for the petroleum industry is not too favorable, that replacement of petroleum with other forms of energy will gain momentum, and we are running out of oil and gas". That is nonsense, of course, but that kind of misunderstanding of our business hampers us in recruiting competent college-trained scientists and engineers. We need to spread the fact that our industry is vigorous and dynamic to the public, to prospective scientists and engineers still in school, and to parents and teachers of those students. We need to publicize our industry's dependence on advances in technology and on scientific approaches to its problems. We need to emphasize that our needs in the future will continue to demand a ready supply of young, capable scientists and engineers. And we need to stress the many attractive opportunities open to these people. Mistaken stories concerning the petroleum industry take several forms: (1) that we are running out of oil and gas, (2) that petroleum soon will be replaced by other forms of energy, and (3) that our industry is on the downgrade.
Are We Running Out of Oil and Gas?
Some people have always claimed we were running out of petroleum resources they said it even before Colonel Drake discovered the first oil well more than 100 years ago and yet we have larger proved reserves today than we have ever had. Figures showing the relation of crude oil production to our known recoverable reserves give a good indication of our ability to develop the technology and resources needed to meet demand. In 1937, the estimated proved reserves of 13 billion bbl was only 10 times that year's rate of production. At the end of last year. proved reserves had increased to more than 31 billion bbl, and amounted to about 12 1/2 times production for the year. Although natural gas as a major source of energy, has a much shorter history than crude oil, a similar trend of increasing proved reserves has emerged. Prior to World War II, there was no satisfactory means of delivering natural gas to large consuming centers throughout the United States. But during the past two decades a network of gas pipelines 570,000 miles long has been laid across the country allowing gas to be delivered to large population and industrial centers at prices competitive with existing fuels. Gas now supplies 28 per cent of the nation's energy needs, and yet despite the rapidly growing demand and production of natural gas we are told by industry sources that proved reserves at the end of last year were almost double the reserves known in 1945. The estimated proved reserves recoverable from known fields by existing recovery methods are estimated at more than 38 billion bbl of liquid petroleum and 267 trillion cu ft of natural gas. Those figures are the highest in the history of the industry. While we must recognize that it is not likely or even possible that all the oil and gas in the ground will ever be produced, it is interesting to note estimates that have been made of total quantities potentially available for recovery in this country. Economists Schurr and Netschert have compiled estimates, as of 1960, of the total resource base of fuels yet to be produced.
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