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Geology/Future of Petroleum Geology and Engineering


Dear Mr. Keith Patton,

I'm writing here to get the explicitness from you about the future outlook of oil and gas industry. Firstly I state my gentle gratitude for your requisite services to the public.

Sir,I have recently completed B.Sc. degree in Earth Resource Engineering with first class honors at the University of Moratuwa, Srilanka. I had an eye on Petroleum geology and engineering to pursue master's degree. But recent transition in the oil and gas prices undermines my hope. I learnt some reports say that the downfall of fossil fuels have begun and the world moves steadily towards alternative energy. To underpin the argument, some countries such as Denmark and Sweden have taken initiatives to off fossil fuels by 2050.

So, I couldn't make up my mind.please spell out me the future outlook of oil and natural gas. Your advices should be greatly helpful.

Thank you,


The only problem with that green wet dream is that there will always be a need for hydrocarbons.  Germany has tried the route of Denmark and Sweden and it is hurting their industrial sector immensely.  Renewable energy sources do not have the capacity to replace fossil fuels, by that I mean they can only provide a very few percent of the energy needed on a sustained basis.  Wind and solar are nice, but the wind and the sun can not be depended on 24/7 can they?

Look around you, notice how many things are plastic or synthetic materials?  They are all made form hydrocarbon feed stocks, so unless you can make plastic from sunbeams, or wind, we will need hydrocarbons for plastics.  Granted a large percentage of hydrocarbons go to personal transportation.  They still have not made an airplane the will run on wind power of solar.

So their will always be a need for oil and natural gas.

Today's price slump is due to the same things that caused it in 1987: politics.  There is not shortage of oil, so your professors are full of dung.  Prices do not go up, when there is too much of a commodity, rather the prices go up.  The shale oil boom in the US which recently made it the highest producing country in the world, caused OPEC to fight for market share especially when there was an effort to lift the ban on the US exporting oil.  This caused them to keep their production high even in the face of falling demand, sending the price into a tailspin.  This may have had political ramifications too, since Iran and Russia both depend on oil sales for a large part of their governmental income.  Reagan and the CIA orchestrated the price drop in 1987 to undermine the USSR at a time when they were spending to match the US military buildup and as a result the USSR fell apart when their source of hard currency was strangled.  

Today we see the Saudis trying to kill or at least retard the Shale oil boom in the US by driving prices down below the minimum to make drilling for it uneconomic. Right now the world is awash in oil, and I cannot see many countries turning their backs on the cheapest energy source around.  Politically it would be suicide, but no one ever accused European Greenies of being too intelligent.

A word of caution, most university professors are out of touch with the real world.  They are liberal and teach to a personal agenda.  They can stand up and say whatever it is they want with very little accountability whether it is true or not.  They have a captive audience, and not many students will argue with them differently even if they were knowledgeable enough to do it.  I know what is was like in college and I have kept in touch with my professors over the years an in so doing lost all respect for them entirely.  Only one do I still hold in high regard, he was my advisor and died in the 1990's.  My other professors I learned were pretty much scum.  One traded sex for grades from my female classmates, other caved into political pressure, still others, got on the global warming bandwagon in order to make money: period.  They no longer teach a geology curriculum worthy of the name and tossed the entire mineral collection I was curator for out the door for the students to pick over.  They no longer teach the subject!  

So don't worry about jobs there will be plenty into the future.  If you have the aptitude for math, become a Petroleum engineer.  There are never enough of them, and when and if oil becomes harder to produce the engineers will be in even higher demand as it is they who find new ways to get it out of the ground.  I have two very successful PE friends.  One went back to school and got his PhD in PE at Stanford.

Hopes this helps you out.


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.


I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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