Geologists Now See Demand for Services / Slightly Up from 1986

Article excerpt

Geologists, the first group of professionals to be hired during good times in the oilpatch and the first to be let go in hard times, are seeing a slight increased demand for their services in comparison to the same period in 1986.

"We are seeing much more demand for geologists than this time last year," said Larry Nation, Tulsa-based director of communications for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. "Anything is an improvement.

"There are geologists out there, but whether they have the specific background or experience the company needs is questionable. The companies are being choosy.

"We're going to see a great demand for geologists, probably sooner than we all think. The oil industry has gone through this cycle many times. We haven't learned our lessons from history."

However, for the most part, Oklahoma exploration and production companies are simply maintaining their staffs, hiring only when someone leaves the company, according officials of Oklahoma City firms such as Alexander Energy Corp., Kerr-McGee Corp., Beard Oil Co., Bogert Oil Co., Devon Energy Corp. and Tulsa-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co.

Some older geologists with several years of experience, are finding more work as the year progresses, said Robert Northcutt, a consulting geologist in Oklahoma City, but there is no shortage as there is for some firms in skilled workers with the rise of oil prices and the rig count.

Younger geologists are trying to work for the older geologists to gain experience or are leaving the industry, said Kathy Gentry, also a consulting geologist.

"I've been out of school for two years," Gentry said. "The big decision we have to make is whether to stick in out or find another avenue."

Some of her compatriots, with less than five years of experience, are leaving the industry, Gentry said, and are returning to school for teaching certificates, graduate work, additional computer skills. Some are are opting for the armed service or other diverse interests, she said.

"I've been one of the fortunate ones to pick up work," Gentry said. The younger geologists that do stick with the oil industry are trying to generate prospects, locate permanent jobs or work for experienced geologists.

The younger geologists that have decided to stay in the field are applying for the same jobs that geologists with master's degrees and 10 years experience are applying for, she said. …