concern of the upstream industry and of the AAPG is whether there
will be enough geoscientists coming out of the universities in
the coming years to meet the demand. We all know that there will
be many retirements in the next ten years but we don't know how
many of those jobs will need to be replaced. A number of short-term
hiring projections have been made but they don't answer the additional
question that students have about the longevity of a career in
the petroleum industry.
these questions, the Future of Earth Scientists Committee looked
at projections of petroleum demand for both the United States
and for the world. We then took the number of petroleum geoscientists,
calculated pro duction per geoscientist and projected the number
of geoscientists needed into the future. There are many uncertainties
in this approach and in the numbers, but it turns out that there
has been nearly a constant increase in production per geoscientist
of close to 2 percent per year for the last ten to twelve years.
We interpreted this as a measure of productivity improvement and
projected that trend to 2020.
the above approach and knowing the number of current AAPG plus
SEG members working in the petroleum industry, and assuming retirement
at 65, we predicted the number of new geoscientists needed. A
major uncertainty is the percentage of working petroleum geoscientists
who belong to AAPG or SEG. Assuming that 2/3 in the U.S. belong
to one of the societies, an average of 200-400 new geoscientists
will be needed by the U. S. industry annually for the next 20
years. Similarly, if perhaps 1/4 of petroleum geoscientists in
the world are members, about 2,000-3,500 will be needed worldwide.
Note that because of the method used, if the actual percentage
of geoscientists who are AAPG or SEG members is lower, the demand
will be correspondingly higher.
key point here for university students is that there will
be a strong demand for petroleum geoscientists for at least the
next 40-60 years, or for at least a career length.
the above is based on the scenario for world production published
by Committee member Jack Edwards in the December, 1997, AAPG
Bulletin and updated in 2001. His estimates conform to those
currently made by the EIA, the IEA, and by the USGS, but not to
those made by those Hubbert's Peak believers who place the peak
world production in the next few years.
version of this report was presented at the March HoD meeting
in Houston. The full set of 22 PowerPoint slides is available
for downloading from the AAPG web site. They are compatible with
the excellent "Quest For Energy" set of slides which can be found
under "Slide Bank" on the Shortcuts pull-down menu on the AAPG