For many people, being a petroleum engineer may not sound as glamorous as being a lawyer or doctor. However, because of the increasing importance of natural gas in the global market, the time that parents wish their kids to pursue a career in petroleum engineering, as opposed to medicine or law, is coming sooner than expected.
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Decades ago, the oil boom came with an increased demand for petroleum engineers. However, when oil became cheap during the ‘90s, one by one, many petroleum engineering schools became empty. Today, two-thirds of those oil professionals are over 40 years old; many will reach retirement age in the next few years.
The increasing demand for oil and natural gas and the upward trend of oil prices are two factors that exacerbate the demand for petroleum engineering experts, and since there is a lack of petroleum engineers in the US, American oil companies are opening design shops in Southeast Asia, where there are many engineering graduates. Additionally, the fact that most of the natural gas reserves that the US has found are located in its native soil contributes to the booming demand for petroleum engineers.
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Oil will continue to play a big part in the future energy needs of the US. Thus, the country needs a great supply of petroleum engineers who can figure out the best way to get it out of the ground and into the market.
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Dr. Ali Ghalambor is an expert in petroleum and natural gas engineering. He has written hundreds of articles and books on the subject, including the Natural Gas Engineering Handbook. Visit this Facebook page for more updates about the oil industry.