PESGB June 2005
President’s Page- Jim Munns
It seems only a year or so ago that Steve Boldy, my predecessor as President of the PESGB was bemoaning the fact that exploration on the UK shelf was almost non-existent and that explorers are a dying breed! How different it feels at the moment. The 2004 DTT Survey on exploration and appraisal drilling projects that up to 40 exploration and appraisal wells will be drilled this year and that level is likely to be sustained in the near future. In fact the lack of drilling rigs in the North Sea may be the ultimate control on the actual number drilled. Drilling companies are so encouraged that they are mobilising rigs from “cold stack”. Everywhere I go the topic of conversation rapidly evolves to discuss “how busy we all are” and to bemoan the shortage of geoscientists. The sustained high oil price has led to significant growth in projects requiring geoscience skills and despite the large geoscience consultancies that have proliferated in the last ten years demand is apparently outstripping supply. Furthermore it appears the demographic time bomb we have been talking about in recent years is about to hit. The lack of jobs in oil companies in recent years has led to a shortage of skilled geoscientists with “prospect generation” experience and the subsequent exposure /involvement in exploration drilling. In the May edition of the PESGB newsletter there are 10 adverts for geoscience related staff including two from major operators.
I have had the recent frustrating experience of trying to recruit a 5 to 10 year experienced Geologist and I have been very surprised at the apparent dearth of candidates from that particular
demographic range. Given that we have excellent institutions such as Imperial College, Royal Holloway and Aberdeen with very successful M.Sc. courses in Petroleum Geology the question has to be asked as to where the graduates of the last 10 years have gone? No doubt many are working in exploration/production related areas and abroad but we need to encourage them back into the “prospect generation” world.
I recently attended the Barrel awards at Imperial College and was very encouraged by the quality of the work undertaken by the members of the M.Sc. course. The quality of the technical work is being reinforced by the need to develop interpersonal and communication skills that were evident in the team based presentations. I think we all have a responsibility to be involved in developing the future generations of geoscientists and I urge oil company staff to take on the mentoring role by involvement in M.Sc. projects and to encourage your organisations to recruit at recent graduate level. The answer to the demographic timebomb lies in all our hands.
The PESGB Council through its Sub Committee for Investments and Disbursements (ScrD) is continually looking at ways to encourage the teaching of geoscience at all academic levels.
As reported in the July 2004 newsletter, last year we focused on supporting universities with M.Sc. courses in Petroleum Geoscience. This year we are looking at supporting secondary school Earth Science teaching and this is a topic I will return to later in the year.
I am writing this editorial the week before DEVEX which I hope was a success and those of you that attended found it both educational and enjoyable. Finally for those who did not notice
Harlequins were relegated from the Zurich Premiership last month so my earlier assertion this would be a good year for England Rugby and the ‘Quins has proved somewhat optimistic!
Maybe I’ll find some oil instead!