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Is Petroleum Engineerig still worth it?

124

Replies to: Is Petroleum Engineerig still worth it?

  • Mr PayneMr Payne Registered User Posts: 8,850 Senior Member
    I won't mention his name, but he is the lead recruiter for Exxon here at Purdue and I imagine a few other schools.
    I don't believe recruiters. Hiring 700 people is pretty massive. That can't be new hires.
  • purduefrankpurduefrank Registered User Posts: 485 Member
    I don't believe recruiters. Hiring 700 people is pretty massive. That can't be new hires.

    I’m not here to tell you what/who to believe. But ExxonMobil had 79,000 employees as of March 2009, 700 new hires would be .8% of that. Obviously, 79,000 would include all employees, not just engineers – but at a company like Exxon where nearly everyone holds an engineering degree I think it would be safe to say ~40,000 are engineers in one capacity or another or at the very least hold an engineering degree – 700 would be 1.7% of that. Even just looking at turnover 700 wouldn’t be much of a stretch.
    Ok, but still, isn't hiring down almost everywhere right now? Is there something special that would make you recommend prospective students to steer clear of PE?

    Hiring is down everywhere. The main point here is that oil is boom or bust, roll the dice if you want. PE is a highly specialized degree, if your timing is wrong you could easily end up in bad shape. If you major in ME, you can still land an upstream job if times are good – but if they’re not, you have many fallbacks. ChemE can land you downstream during both good and bad times. Many people say that ME/ChemE etc., have a much harder time getting upstream than PE’s, that may be true, but Purdue does not have a PE program and nearly every major oil company is on campus every semester recruiting for both up and downstream positions.
  • TigerBaitTigerBait Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    The recruiting pipeline is clogged up. You have people from UT, A&M, OU, LSU, etc. etc. getting their offers pulled left and right. I think like 30% of LSU's PETE graduates let alone other engineering majors didn't have jobs. Hell, so what makes you think some person from ABC, who isn't a PE major, will be employed? Usually I go against Payne's widespread pessimissm, but everything he has stated in this thread on recruiting is true.
  • aGGieENGiNeeRaGGieENGiNeeR Registered User Posts: 961 Member
    But if petroleum engineering is what you really want to do, then I wouldn't see anything wrong with doing that. If you love the subject that much (which would be hard to tell if you havent experienced any of the curriculum), then that's the way to go. Everyone has to take their own risk and weigh the benefits/costs.
  • purduefrankpurduefrank Registered User Posts: 485 Member
    Hell, so what makes you think some person from ABC, who isn't a PE major, will be employed?

    I'm not saying they will. My point is simple, PE is much more specialized than ME/ChemE/etc. Those majors have numerous fallback options, PE really doesn't. In good times, hell even this past fall - I have perssonally witnessed ME/ChemE's who've gotten positions both up and downstream. I'm not saying it's the norm, easy to do, or anything else...
  • Mr PayneMr Payne Registered User Posts: 8,850 Senior Member
    Obviously, 79,000 would include all employees, not just engineers – but at a company like Exxon where nearly everyone holds an engineering degree I think it would be safe to say ~40,000 are engineers in one capacity or another or at the very least hold an engineering degree – 700 would be 1.7% of that.
    I'd be surprised if Exxon employed more than 15,000 engineers. I used that number earlier in the thread.
  • BenBennBenBenn Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    I'm not saying they will. My point is simple, PE is much more specialized than ME/ChemE/etc. Those majors have numerous fallback options, PE really doesn't. In good times, hell even this past fall - I have perssonally witnessed ME/ChemE's who've gotten positions both up and downstream. I'm not saying it's the norm, easy to do, or anything else...

    Yes, you're right. I'm very aware of that. As such, PE certainly is a hit or miss, and the unemployment rate is extraordinary. That is to say, other degree programs that are as narrowly pointed to a particular work field and career can have 0% unemployment after graduation and there's no sort of "gambling" involved.

    Look at it this way, if you go through the program and when you're out you find yourself unemployed, you can just take a Master's degree in some other field. I mean, it is after all "just" a Bachelor's degree.

    If you are motivated enough though, don't you guys think you'll find a job eventually?
  • BenBennBenBenn Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    Is it better to do B.Sc. in Petr. Eng., and then do M.Sc. in some other subject if I don't get a job, or is it best to do a B.Sc. in something else and then M.Sc. in Petr. Eng.?

    Any thoughts on this?
  • arrdadarrdad Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    For pure upside, I cannot imagine a better degree than Petroleum Engineering.

    I graduated with a "middling" GPA in Pet Eng in 1982, and have been able to work every day since then. Have had some awesome opportunities, with plenty more to come.

    If you have any entrepreneurial spirit whatsover, the O&G industry can be very lucrative.

    No one on this thread has talked about attrition and retirement of PE's in the industry. Over the next 10 years, a huge percentage of working PE's will retire forever, and there will be a gap that will have to be filled by someone other than Petroleum Engineers.

    If I could give advice, I would suggest that you try to follow the path that seems the most rewarding and most fun. I see too many kids take the PE path just for the money, then find out that they aren't cut out for the "oil field".
  • hokiefanhokiefan Registered User Posts: 522 Member
    My son is also interested in petroleum eng. Since we are Va. rsidents he will have to go out of state. We know what is available but not quite sure what programs have an edge. My son is a great student who has not taken the SAT or ACT yst but did well on the PSAT, especially math. Any suggestions? He is also interested in marching band. No alligence to location.
  • tom8tom8 Registered User Posts: 165 Junior Member
    However, after hearing this I spoke with a long time professor here who said that a few years ago Exxon was hiring nearly as many engineers as they could find, regardless of type, and according to him recruiting is down substantially from a few years ago.

    And provided alternative fuel sources and the present crisis, I doubt the hiring number is looking to rise any time soon...
  • pnptruongpnptruong Registered User Posts: 292 Junior Member
    @hokiefan:
    Colorado school of Mines
    Petroleum Engineering

    US Graduate Petroleum Engineering School Rankings
    There's information about the Mines band on this side:
    Traditions
  • Mr PayneMr Payne Registered User Posts: 8,850 Senior Member
    I graduated with a "middling" GPA in Pet Eng in 1982, and have been able to work every day since then. Have had some awesome opportunities, with plenty more to come.
    That's funny. My mentor says there was huge blood lettings all throughout his career based on low oil price (and a glut of petroleum engineers).
  • arrdadarrdad Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Mr. Payne, your mentor is right that there has been plenty of bloodletting in the O&G industry over the span of my career. I worked for a major company for the first 16 years, and went through 9 lay-off/reorganization efforts in those years. Some decent engineers were affected by some of those lay-offs. But, for the most part, the typical engineer made it through.

    I graduated with a class of 45 Pet E's in the spring of 1982. I am aware of the status of about 20 of those people today, 28 years later. Every one of the 20 that I know about has worked continuously since 1982, and several of them have become very successful in independent ventures in the industry.

    So, basically, 100% of the people I know from my graduating class have had a long, steady career as Pet Engrs. There was/is nothing special about our particular class. I just think that the industry has always favored Pet Engrs, and I see no reason for that to change.

    The oil patch isn't for everyone. But if you think you might fit in, it can be an awesome career.
  • troyviper19troyviper19 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Lots of jobs in NE in petro now. We just explored in Western New York.
This discussion has been closed.