Petroleum engineering enrollment: Past, present and future

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


1. Objectives/Scope: Graduate and undergraduate petroleum engineering degrees and enrollments are presented. Causes and effects of huge changes in enrollment and degrees granted over the past sixty years are discussed. The impacts on the future of the petroleum industry's available new engineers and sources of these talents are presented. 2. Methods, Procedures, Process: United States petroleum engineering enrollments and degrees granted since the 1950's have been collected from AIME (SPE's mother institution) sources, SPE's annual enrollment reports, and more recently surveys of the petroleum engineering department heads. Additional input from SPE's standing Education and Accreditation Committee and Professionalism Committee are included. Approximately a dozen Colloquiums on Petroleum Engineering Education (CPEE) have been held over the past twenty-five years at locations in the US and other areas of the world. These CPEE discuss enrollment trends, job placement, industry needs and have resulted in significant advancements to petroleum engineering education. Over the last year information has been collected to include five years from non-US programs. Enrollment is compared to inflations adjusted oil prices. Lastly, a look at international petroleum programs as compared to SPE membership changes on a global basis. 3. Results, Observations, Conclusions: This paper presents the following results, observations and conclusions: 1. Petroleum Engineering enrollment and the resulting degrees granted are affected by oil and gas prices. These changes lag price by 2.5 years. 2. The Recent peak in Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees granted 2550 (in 2017) are projected to drop 980 (in 2020). 3. The pipeline to produce new engineers is four to five years long. 4. As industry petroleum engineer requirement increases, it will take several years to increase the supply from previous conventional sources (programs/universities).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2019, ATCE 2019
PublisherSociety of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)
ISBN (Electronic)9781613996638
StatePublished - 2019
EventSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2019, ATCE 2019 - Calgary, Canada
Duration: Sep 30 2019Oct 2 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition


ConferenceSPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition 2019, ATCE 2019


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