Petroleum Industry Can Be Optimistic/but, Must Adjust, Says Hocott

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The petroleumindustry can be optimistic about its future, but the industry, its professionals, academia and the government must learn to adjust to the current condition of the oilpatch, a University of Texas professor says.

Claude Hocott, a member of the petroleum engineering department at the University of Texas, said basic research, which provided a foundation for applied research and development in the past, will be even more crucial for the future.

"Research and development provide the knowledge capital, the expert manpower pool and the training resource for lean times as well as for seasons of rapid expansion," Hocott said.

He pointed to the petroleum industry's four critical ingredients: policy, money, manpower and technology.

Management's handling of the potential in each of these areas will determine the welfare of the society's members, a company or the industry, he said.

"The formulation of a consistent long-range strategy that can lead to alternate, logical, tactical approaches for lean times or fat," he said, "is essential for the development of sound economic programs in a highly volatile market place.

"A significantly larger share of the work force will be engaged in research and development, and particularly into its optimum application in routine operations.

"Management of the highly technical operations in the future will undoubtedly call for more and more graduates at the Master's and Doctorate degree levels," he said. "There is an increasing awareness that only in this manner can an industy optimize the utilization of its financial resources both by expense reduction and income generation."

The manpower pool must be continuously recruited, trained and given experience, he said.

"Recruiting is more frequently not for tomorrow," he said, "but for the future - 5, 10, or 20 years down the road."

Demands made on U.S. universities are staggering, Hocott said, when considering the future needs of the industry for scientists and engineers in research and operations. …