Reconstituting a drilling team will be a challenge when oil demand increases

Over the next two to three years, if oil recovers, labor shortages are going hit the industry hardest, producers and recruiters say.

More than 100,000 U.S. oil and gas extraction and support jobs have been lost since late 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Early retirements, minimal hiring of new graduates, and a loss of early-career professionals to other industries have reduced the workforce that will be available when the recovery takes hold.

Torgrim Reitan, executive vice president at Statoil USA in Houston, said a shortage of skilled contractors would force producers to dial down their plans if they all tried to boost output over the next six months or so.

"So many people have been let go, and so many people have left the industry," he said. "We need to be prepared for growth in activity that needs to be at a slower pace than we thought earlier."

With energy sector jobs still scarce, some petroleum engineering graduates opt for jobs that offer more security even if they cannot match the industry's six-digit salaries.

"I would say to future graduates - 'do not go into this path'," said Nick Menon, 23, a petroleum engineering graduate, who took up a job as a mechanical engineer.

To be sure, several former oil and gas employees interviewed by Reuters have said they would return if given a chance, because the money was so good.

Raising production also becomes harder with each month drilling rigs and other machinery sit idle because they often get "cannibalized" for spare parts for what is still in use.

"The capacity that we had two years ago is already crippled, and it'll take a while to catch up," said Jennifer Miskimins, associate professor at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.
There is much more.

I think the guys with petroleum engineering degrees will fair better than a women's study graduate in the long and short term.  They can still create something of value when the market conditions improve.  The petrochemical business appears to be weathering the downturn better than most.  Big Green also does not have any alternative to it.


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