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Geology/Nervy Times


QUESTION: The current situation with the low oil prices and companies not hiring plus laying off people.For e.g. Shell and Centrica just cut nearly 12000 jobs, Chevron is saying that they expect the situation to persist for the next few years at least, Shell also said something like this. This has got me pretty nervous. What advice would you have for someone just graduating from school?

ANSWER: You just have to ride it out.

Go ahead and do your job search and send out your resumes.

The situation is this.

The companies are getting ready for a huge turnover in personnel as us older guys retire.

Don't lose heart.  Yes, they are cutting back on projects, but they cannot stop looking.

A lot of the layoffs are in non-skilled labor or technical people.

The truth is they are afraid of a shortfall of talented experienced people in the coming years.

Overseas in my experience the majors and to a larger extent the service companies look at local hires as interchangeable parts.  When working for Schlumberger in Dubai, I was a bit shocked by the way they treated the locals, mainly Indian and Pakistani engineers.  They hired and fired them like they were Styrofoam cups.   I was a bit shocked.  The guy I shared an office with was a Brit and I was just there using a desk, he was in charge of logging engineers working logging jobs.

Things will bounce back.  They may stay at a low level of activity for a while, but they will come back.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'm strongly considering a second bachelor's degree(in petroleum engineering). I love geology but I've always wanted had a thing for engineering, plus the two disciplines are sort of related.I'm looking at schools in the US and Germany. Germany seems to be the more likely destination as it's a lot cheaper with the same standard of education. Any advice on the matter?

A PE degree would be a good choice.  

Traditionally PEs make more money than either MS geologists or geophysicists, since there are fewer of them.

As to schools, I am only familiar with American schools, Colorado School of Mines, University of Tulsa and University of Houston all have good PE programs.

I am sure the German school is a good program too.  Just be sure that they have contacts with the petroleum industry.  It opens doors for practical experience as well as possible internships as well as access to real world data.



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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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