Lee Gerhard, Janice Sorensen, and Melanie Hathaway of the Kansas Geological Survey recently released a report, National Geoscience and Engineering Manpower Issues for the Petroleum Industry, which was published by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. The report traces the effects of the price crash of 1986 on petroleum employment and education.
The reduction in workforce and enrollment in the eighties has had lasting effects. Gary Lee, vice president of human resources for Diamond Offshore stated, "The industry as a whole is experiencing a shortage of skilled people because we lost, in essence, a generation of people in the 1980's that just haven't come back or haven't been developed." According to the report, "Any crisis in oil supply causing increases in domestic activity will be constrained by lack of qualified staff." Additionally, the petroleum industry follows a "boom or bust" cycle, and more petroleum geologists and technical employees, such as drillers and toolpushers, must be trained to adequately handle increased future production. Since a five-to-seven year time gap exists between both increased oil exploration budgets and increased geology enrollment and their results, a policy must be developed now to ensure future production is stable.
For more information or copies of the report, please contact the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission at (405)525-3556 or PO Box 53127; Oklahoma City, OK 73152.
Contributed by Kasey Shewey, AGI Government Affairs.
Last updated September 3, 1997