How the Price of Oil Affects Hiring
When oil prices crash like they did in 2014, times get tough. Each oil well or rig has a break even point, and anything above that is pure gravy. For example, Eagle Ford’s DeWitt County makes money when the price of oil is above $22.52. Nice, but when the price of oil is low, some projects stop being viable and there are closures and layoffs.
The price of oil is determined by too many factors to list here, but include geopolitical factors, speculation by traders, and good ol’ supply and demand.
Throughout 2016 the price has steadily risen, though it’s still a long way short of normal levels so companies are rightsourcing and slow to hire new staff.
So should you think twice before starting out on this career path? No. Just remember when you get your first job to set aside some of your generous paycheck to build a ‘rainy day’ fund – oil is a great industry and a rewarding and lucrative career, but you might not experience the job stability previous generations enjoyed.
That being said, my analysis is that oil will slowly return to its historic price levels and thus create more jobs ready to be filled by newly graduated engineers. The easy to access hydrocarbons have mostly been used, and future projects will only become more complicated and need more brainpower and technical skill. That’s where you come in…
And in case you were worried about the future of this vital industry, even after the shocking collapse of the oil price the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that from 2014 to 2024 the average growth rate for this occupation will be nearly 10% compared to only 7% for all jobs. If that’s the scenario with $30 dollar oil, what do you think will happen when oil is back to $100?
Most analysts share my optimism. Here’s a visual summary of how jobs in this sector are expected to grow over the coming years as compared to other occupations.
There are a number of Oil & Gas Companies (including Oil & Gas SMEs) that are currently hiring and if you are considering a career in Petroleum Engineering, these are some of the best entry level jobs to consider.
Companies with Entry Level Petroleum Engineering Jobs in 2017
Exxon Mobil is the world’s largest Oil & Gas company with global operations in hydrocarbon exploration, refining and chemicals and has been in the business for over 125 years. Additionally, the company is capable in exploring for and retrieving a number of natural resources including conventional & heavy oil, shale gas, liquefied natural gas, deep water drilling as well as Arctic and sour gas projects. Exxon Mobil focuses on safety and application of production best practices while ensuring efficient management of current and new fields. As the largest company in its industry, Exxon Mobil has one of the highest numbers of entry level petroleum engineering jobs for recent graduates.
Occidental Oil and Gas is a major player in the field for oil exploration and production and has operations in the U.S., the Middle East and Latin American markets. The company focuses on the latest technologies to improve the retrieval of resources from existing fields, as well as enable them to exploit new resources from previously difficult to access reserves.
Shell is another global Oil and Gas company with operations in seventy countries and significant upstream operations for exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico off the southern coast of the U.S. It has a dedicated projects and technology division which is focused on providing new and innovative solutions to improve both extraction and reservoir management techniques. This is a great place to start your petroleum engineering career.
Conoco Phillips has a presence in over thirty countries worldwide and is focused on the improved identification of hydrocarbon reservoirs and techniques to determine accurately the commercial feasibility of new deposits. This ensures that it’s Oil & Gas exploration and production operations are efficient, productive and well managed.
Chevron, on the other hand considers itself an integrated energy company as it not only does exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources, but it is also involved in the generation and production of energy as well. In this way, its focuses on innovative solutions in the Oil & Gas sector to maximize production of existing and new resource deposits, while ensuring responsible extraction and delivery with an environmental focus.
Types of Positions On Offer
These companies offer two main types entry level petroleum engineering jobs based on your career position. If you are not yet qualified for the field but are pursuing a degree in petroleum engineering and want to know what the Oil & Gas sector has to offer, you can look for internship opportunities in your chosen company. These usually last anywhere from 10-12 weeks and the intern is expected to contribute in project development, research and operations, as well as work under a mentor to experience the different areas of specialization. This hands-on approach combines the education and practical knowledge needed to understand the requirements of a petroleum engineer, and is a great transition into an entry level role.
However, if you have already completed your education and are looking at entering the job market, then you can seek entry level positions in drilling, production, reservoir, and simulation engineering. Each of these areas will require you to undergo an extensive job training program and then assign you to work under the guidance of a senior engineer. You will then most likely be placed in the field giving you good hands on experience. Once you have an established entry level petroleum engineering job, within a period of five years, you will generally be able to progress to a more independent role as a Reservoir, Drilling or Production Engineer.
Other Companies Hiring Petroleum Engineers
Dominion is a large gas transport company that needs petroleum engineers as part of its human capital mix. The minimum qualification is a 4-year ABET-approved degree.
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