Enviro & Petroleum Engineer

Enviro & Petroleum Engineer

Oil Comp Engr

38 Years Experience

Houston, TX

Female, 60

I recently retired from a major integrated oil company after 38 years. I have degrees in Civil and Petroleum Engineering. I worked with safety, health and environmental management systems and operations in the upstream (finding and producing oil and gas) and downstream (refining, chemicals and distributions) areas. I travelled all over world, enduring good & bad business cycles and good and bad managers.

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214 Questions


Last Answer on December 12, 2020

Best Rated

How much influence do international politics have in the oil and gas industry? Have you ever been pressured by a government to award a contract or take a certain action?

Asked by CelesteG almost 8 years ago

I am not really qualified to answer that question because I am not an executive and privy to all the goings on. I personally have never been pressured by a government to award a contract or take a certain action nor do I know anybody who has. Some governments, such as Nigeria, have passed legislation that requires companies to funnel their work through a Nigerian owned company to act as the in-country "partner" in order to create some local jobs. This doesn't really add much to the value chain, it just adds cost and slows things down.

Even though we only tend to hear about the BIG oil spills, is it true that these actually happen pretty frequently?

Asked by The Morganism almost 8 years ago

Frequency is in the eye of the beholder. I would suggest that you visit the websites of the integrated oil companies and the large independent oil companies and see for yourself. There are definitely minor spills (1 cup or less) of highly biodegradable hydraulic fluids frequently but many companies now install liners on their well pads. Most offshore floating rigs and platform rigs are designed to capture spilled fluids and process them before discharging them and meet the standard of 30 parts per million, which is 0.003%

If they discover oil underneath my property, how much will an oil company pay me? Would they try and buy my entire property, or could I keep my house and just sell them the rights to the oil?

Asked by Morgan almost 8 years ago

The key to answering your question is whether you own the mineral rights under your land. The surface rights can be sold separately from the mineral rights but this does not happen frequently. Let's assume you do own the mineral rights. The typical arrangement is for an oil or gas company to pay you anywhere between 12.5% to 25% royalty which means 12.5% to 25% of their gross proceeds. It all depends on what you can negotiate with the land man. So if oil is selling at $100per barrel, you will receive $12.50 to $25.00 per barrel. A decent onshore oil well might make 100 barrels per day, so you would get $1250 to $2500 per day. You never ever want to sell your mineral rights because you get that royalty check whether the oil company is making a profit or not. When the price of oil or gas is low, the company can shut in the well and you don't get a check, but once the price rebounds and they start producing, here comes the checks again. Also you never know exactly how much they will produce. There is always an upside when new technology is invented such as the recent combo of horizontal drilling plus cracking. What you want to avoid is owning only the surface rights because the law says that the oil company can come in and drill the well as long as they reimburse you a reasonable amount for the disruption to your use of the land. With horizontal drilling you can try to convince to position the rig as far as possible from your house, barn etc to minimize the disruption.

What college major would you recommend if I wanted to get into the oil / energy field?

Asked by Scout almost 8 years ago

It depends on what facet of the business you want to be in and what you enjoy doing. Independent geologists having the biggest upside in income because it just takes one big discovery with a retained percentage of the royalties and you are set for life. However, it's a combination of luck, skill and connections and you have to start your own company. If you are more conservative, like me, you go the engineering route and pick a versatile degree like civil or mechanical which is transferable. Petroleum engineers get the highest salaries straight out of school but they are only hired by oil companies. I have seen several up and down cycles in the industry so never assume the current situation will continue forever. If you are a deal maker type of person you might be happiest with a law degree specializing in oil and gas.

Thank you so much for answering my questions. I'm currently a Junior in High School, I'm planning on attending University of Louisiana -Lafayette. Have you heard much of their Petroleum or Chemical Engineering program? Thanks

Asked by Eli over 7 years ago

I am not super familiar with this school currently.  When I lived in Louisiana in the early 1980's, it's engineering program was not as strong as it appears to be today based on it's website.  The main thing is to attend a school that has been accredited by ABET.  If you plan to stay in Louisiana and want to major in petroleum engineering, LSU Baton Rouge has a powerhouse reputation (world famous professors, strong relations with major companies and big research programs).  I would definitely tour both campuses and talk to students and professors. Find out what companies recruit at both campuses and how successful they are at placing students in summer internships and permanent jobs.  Pick the school that is the best fit for you.  A place where you can envision yourself belonging, thriving and succeeding. Lastly, make sure you check out the Society of Petroleum Engineers for scholarships.  They offer some awesome ones.

Right out of college, are you able to choose to where you'll work- in a office setting or out on the rig?

Asked by Eli over 7 years ago

Generally, I would say yes.  However, it depends on what positions are available and what the company's philosophy is.  Given the choice, I would recommend it is best to get as much field experience as you can, be it at a rig, a production facility, a gas plant, etc.  There will always be opportunities for office work but as you get older, have kids, etc., hit gets harder to be in the field away from your family.  Also, although many of the major business decisions are made in the office, good decisions depend on a deep understanding of how things work in the field and what can and cannot be done.

I am thinking about pet. engineering, simply cuz of money. However, I am very indecisive because im not great at math/physics, though I can still do it. will I fail in uni? (i am thinking of tamu).

Asked by Girl over 7 years ago

Any engineering degree is a lot of hard work.  You don't necessarily have to be a genius but you have to be very committed.  Most engineering schools want to see their students succeed (they are not trying to weed students out like you might find in a pre-med program).  Schools I have been associated with offer help sessions, tutors, and office hours for teaching assistants and professors.  One of my friends' children attended TAMU and I know that they offer these benefits.  It is critical that you take advantage of all of these and never be afraid to ask questions and ask for help.  If you don't understand a concept, chances are that at least one other person in the class didn't either but was just too shy to ask the question.  I would not advise anyone, however, to pursue petroleum engineering because of the great salaries.   You need to enjoy what you do and look forward to going to work every day.  If you don't, a great salary won't be enough to keep you going day after day.