Petroleum Engineering Alumni Newsletter - March 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

After the February newsletter was published, we received many emails about Dr. E. T. Guerrero. We appreciate your response and, if you permit us, we will post your kind words on our website. If you sent one of these emails, please send another authorizing us to display your responses.

On another note, the job market in the petroleum industry has tightened significantly. In the fall 2008 semester, most of our graduating seniors returned from the summer with full-time jobs already lined up. With lavish salaries, signing bonuses and sometimes, stock options, the oil industry appeared to be so different than the rest of the industries. Unfortunately, things changed rapidly after the New Year. The oil companies have not rescinded the offers; however, new offers are hard to come by. Those few unlucky students who did not have job offers in the fall semester are still looking and are having hard time finding something suitable. The summer internships have dried up and, especially for freshmen, the internships are really difficult to find. Those of us who have been in the industry for a long time know that this has happened many times before. Those who graduated in the last five years, though, have never before seen this kind of downturn. This is especially hard on the students who are in the program. They cannot make quick decisions like oil companies and have to rely on the belief that – over the long term – the industry is a solid bet.

With drilling activity in the U.S. down by almost 50% over the last six months, I expect that the gas supply will tighten in the not too distant future. Hopefully, this is going to help with the gas prices. As I write this, the price of oil price has already climbed back up to $54 per barrel. I sincerely hope that the downturn is shallow and prices will stabilize soon; and, most importantly, that there will be a steady demand for petroleum engineers from oil and gas companies over many years to come.

Alumnus of the Month


This month’s featured alumnus is Francisco Alhanati. He holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the Instituto Militar de Engenharia (1980), a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (1989) and a Ph.D. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Tulsa (1993). Francisco has over twenty-five years experience in the upstream Oil & Gas industry, mostly on applied R&D related to production operations. He worked 14+ years for Petrobras in Brazil but moved to Canada in 1997, where he has spent the last 12+ years with C-FER, a renowned R&D organizaion, with clients world-wide. He is a recognized technical expert in all artificial lift methods. He also has extensive knowledge of offshore production systems and heavy oil production operations. Francisco has been actively involved in the SPE for many years, serving on technical committees for the ATCE, the JPT editorial committee, and as Distinguished Lecturer. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

For more on Francisco, please visit our see our March Alumnus of the Month feature.  

Keep sending your comments.

Mohan