Oil Comp Engr
35 Years Experience
I have worked at a major integrated oil company for over 30 years. I have degrees in Civil and Petroleum Engineering. I currently work with safety, health and environmental management systems. I have worked in operations and safety in both the upstream (finding and producing oil and gas) and downstream (refining, chemicals and distributions) areas. I have travelled all over the world. I enjoy my job but have endured both good & bad business cycles as well as good and bad managers.
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Before switching majors, I would see if you can fix the situation. if you switch majors, you might lose a lot of ground. If your professors are decent and your program is accredited, I would work with some other students and approach your engineering dean and/or career placement with some proposed solutions. Do you have a student section of SPE? If not, consider chartering one; see if you can get local professionals to come give lectures and help with resumes, interviewing and finding internships; ; SPE might be able to connect you with a retired petroleum engineer who lives in your area that would be willing to help; consider some joint activities with geology majors; if you are successful, you will have an impressive achievement for your résumé. Future employers want to see that you take on a tough problem, show some creativity and solve it. It is about more than just mastering the technical topics And getting good grades in your courses. It is about showing that you can work with others and improve things. Best of luck to you.
It will depend on how much experience you have and what you want to do when /if you leave. If you have, say, 10 years of experience wand have been promoted into management, then I would think your chances could be pretty decent of landing another management job in a technical field. If you become very specialized in a technical area that is unique to oil and gas it could be more difficult. However e, there is always the option of pursuing a master's degree in mechanical engineering or getting an MBA. Let's say you have a lot of experience in natural gas processing, working with compressors, piping design, corrosion engineering, etc., those skills will be very transferable to other fields. If you specialize in well log analysislethal would be less transferable. If you love what you do and are good at it, you will make it through any downturns. US educated petroleum engineers will always be in demand if they are willing to relocate. I lived through the downturn of 1985 /1986 when the price of oil fell to around $9/bbl. I only had about 5 years experience but had earned a reputation for being a hard worker who got along well with others And loved the job.
If the price of oil is high enough, there are unconventional reserves that are economic to develop. Plus, high oil prices will encourage conservation which will also help decrease dependence on imports. I think it is way too complicated to say all efforts are in vain.
Absolutely! You should be in demand in the US as well. Keep your grades up, try to get a good summer internship and best of luck to you.
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Whole novels have been written about peak oil, so I could not do it justice here. I would just say that because petroleum delivers an unbeatable amount of btu's per unit volume as compared to other energy sources and because there is a mature and highly functioning infrastructure to refine and deliver it to the market, it can continue to command high prices. The high prices fuel technological motivation to find more oil. Horizontal drilling combined with fracturing is a splendid example of how we have now economically unlocked reserves that we knew were there. Because we can drill multiple wells from one surface location, we are able to produce the oil (and gas) with a smaller impact on the environment than previously. I think more breakthroughs will come in the future so it is hard to predict when/if we will hit peak oil.
This is not an easy question to answer. Getting a masters degree in any engineering area depends on why you want the degree. In some fields, having a masters degree is a prerequisite for entry. For example, if you want to do research, you need a masters or even a PhD. This is generally not the case for petroleum engineers who want to do entry level work. However, you also need to weigh the cost of pursuing the advanced degree with the benefits it will return. In the USA, someone with a Masters in PE may start at a higher salary than someone with a bachelor's degree, but after 4 or 5 years on the job, the person who is a best performer may command the best salary. Also, it depends on what the hiring environment is like. During some of the down cycles, students may do better to stay in school and get a Master's degree if companies aren't hiring. That's a gamble, but if you can get a good scholarship, it could be worth it. Also, I have interviewed some students who did not get great grades as an undergraduate and they pursued a Master's degree in order to demonstrate that they had turned things around and could master the material. Sorry, that I can't just give you a "yes" or "no" answer, but there are lots of factors you need to consider.
It depends quite a lot on where you intend to pursue a job and what your citizenship is. I can really only speak for the situation in the USA. Having recruited for a major oil company before, I CAN tell you that US companies will rarely hire a foreign national and sponsor him or her for US citizenship or a visa unless that a person has a PhD In a very specialized field of study.
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