Petroleum Engineering Alumni Newsletter - October 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

October 3rd-7th I had the opportunity to attend the 2009 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.  The meeting was interesting on so many levels.  I want to provide you with my impression.  On October 3rd, I attended the chairs’ meeting which involves all the chairmen from PE programs within the U.S.  The main topic of discussion was the job market for graduating seniors.  Although there was no consensus on the exact number of students who will be getting jobs this year, in general, there was consensus that the market is tough this year.  The following figure (Courtesy: Lloyd Heinze, Texas Tech ) shows the number of B.S. degrees granted by individual universities this year. 

 PE graph

As one can see, the number has increased rapidly over the last few years.  In 2006, we graduated about 300 petroleum engineers.  This year, the number is close to 900; a 300% increase.  My expectation is that jobs will be available to approximately 50% of the students at the time of their graduation.  This is still better than other engineering disciplines.  However, considering that, in the last few years, we had almost 100% employment, these are scary times.  Most schools are making an effort to reduce the enrollment and I believe that the number of graduating seniors will either remain constant or will decline over the next few years.  

The bottom line is that now, more than ever, we need your help in placing these students.  With the industry’s urging and encouragement, we increased our enrollment.  We need your support in finding jobs for these students.  If you know of any company, not visiting campus, but still interested in hiring our students, please let me know and I will be happy to provide student resumes to them. 

The Petrobowl, a competition between universities, was held on October 5th.  This year, TU had a good team and was well prepared.  Although we did not win the competition, the team members represented TU well.  I would like to congratulate the team - Gaurav Seth, Kyle Bonney, Philip Bonney, Alex Zheng and Anton Skopich - for working hard and making a strong effort.  That evening, TU was well represented at the award ceremony.  In our September newsletter, I mentioned the people who would be receiving awards.  Dr. Brill won the highest award – Honorary Member; I received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and alumnus Anil Ambastha won the Lester Uren Award.   

On Tuesday, the Legends of Production were awarded.  Of the eight people SPE selected from all members, four had connections to TU.  That is quite an accomplishment.  Drs. Brill and Brown, Joe Mach, and Harry McLeod received recognition during the luncheon and TU’s name was mentioned in many conversations.  The most important event of the SPE meeting was the alumni function on Tuesday evening.  This year, more than 120 people attended; many more than in years past.  I had an opportunity to meet some new folks and revive some old acquaintances.  It is always good to meet our successful alumni and this year was no exception. Overall, the meeting went well and I believe that TU was strongly represented.  In addition to all of the recognition, our faculty and graduate students had ten papers in the meeting.  Next year’s meeting is in Florence, Italy.  I hope to see many of you there.  Click here to see the photographs of the alumni function.

Keep sending your comments. 

Mohan Kelkar
Chairman and Williams Endowed Chair Professor

Petroleum Engineering Dept.