petroleum engineering and geoscience students

what would you recommend?

Hondo Lane | July 09, 2020

(Petrolytics) - Few local stats before diving into the morning highlights from the TX RRC:

  • 312 original drilling permits issued in June 2020 vs 1,001 in June 2019
  • Conversely, ~1,500 completions were processed in June 2020 compared to ~850 in June 2019
  • 2020 YTD completions processed is ~7,900 compared to ~5,100 in 2019

Vast majority of these were in the Midland area (no surprise there), with another significant piece in Refugio in South Texas.

A few links to get you through the morning:

  1. Oil sands restoring production - add'l curtailed production planned to come back online
  2. Yet more workforce reductions - not unexpected, unfortunately
  3. Pooled COVID testing - we've seen this gain in popularity recently

Finally, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the state of the industry with respect to university students.

Graduating undergraduates, with petroleum engineering and geoscience degrees in particular, have been on our mind lately. To be honest, we're not sure why anyone would be attracted to such an industry. The incentive just isn't there.

What're the longer-term consequences of a lack of competent workforce? A number of operators and service companies haven't hired a fresh graduate in >5 years. Perhaps some of the more talented students are waiting things out by attending graduate school or by pursuing research and teaching positions at the universities. We'd wager that a vast majority of high-potential students aren't interested in the subsurface at all.

What's interesting is the incoming class size of petroleum engineering students at UT Austin for 2018 isn't much different than that of 7-10 years ago. Appears that the interest is still relatively high (at ~80 students). Of course, this could dwindle towards graduation, however, based on our anecdotal experience with LinkedIn requests, we imagine students are still optimistic of the high-risk, high-reward discipline. Furthermore, the credentials of these students suggest high-potential. Weird times.

What're everyone's thoughts regarding the subject? Would you recommend to anyone in high school or college a subsurface technical degree?

Stay safe.