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So Many PE Schools, So Many Strangers

University of Texas at Austin

Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of in which SPE’s technical directors comment on the state of their industry sector heading into 2019.

Ramona Graves,
SPE Director for Academia

If there is a list of all the petroleum engi­neering programs in the world, no one in the industry may have ever seen it.

It is a sign of a bigger problem—those running programs around the world do not know each other. Ramona Graves, SPE’s Technical Director for Academia, wants to begin closing that gap by building a global network that connects leaders of petroleum engineering pro­grams around the globe.

Based on her experience as the for­mer head of the petroleum engineering program at Colorado School of Mines, she sees an enormous universe of pro­grams educating petroleum engineers in many shapes and sizes. And she recog­nizes there are good reasons why dif­ferences among petroleum schools will remain.

Graves said that SPE needs to continue to foster con­nections that will help educators work together on ways to improve programs and give graduates a better chance to get into, and ahead, in the oil industry. “The thing that is important is to find a job. It is important that students are well prepared for their jobs,” Graves said.

Stu­dents with the skills needed to succeed will benefit companies. “The industry has needs, and a legal responsibility, to hire people” in the coun­tries where it operates with agreements requiring local staffers, Graves said.

There has long been an organization of US department heads. Graves said those universities want to establish more international ties. Similar groups exist in other countries. Graves has been deep­ly involved in the partnership between Colorado School of Mine and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. The fruits of the effort, which took years, include the first student internship program there and the creation of an industry advisory board.

Eventually, Graves would like to see face-to-face gatherings at regional SPE meetings and programs to promote bet­ter teaching and stronger ties between universities and oil and gas companies.

By the time her term ends in 2 years and the position is sunset, Graves hopes to have “initiatives that are long lasting.”

So Many PE Schools, So Many Strangers

18 January 2019

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