Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Petroleum Geology Student Count Falling

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State Petroleum Geology Student Count Falling

Article excerpt

TULSA (AP) - Newly enrolled students majoring in petroleum geology are becoming increasingly rare in Oklahoma, but educators say they expect the downward spiral to rebound in the near future.

The University of Tulsa reports the number of undergraduates majoring in petroleum geology has dropped from 125 in 1982 to 45 this year.

However, Nicholas Sylvester, dean of Tulsa's College of Engineering and Applied Science, noted that there are about 60 geo-science freshmen in the college who have yet to choose a major. Such a decision is not required before the junior year.

Although jobs in petroleum-related fields are scarce now, experts in the field suggest the situation will turn in the next few years with companies once again clamoring for the top graduates.

Meanwhile, officials at Oklahoma's universities admit the lack of students borders on alarming.

""We haven't had this happen in the last 15 to 20 years,'' Sylvester said. ""You could say we're a little concerned at this point.''

The concern is for petroleum-related education and for the industry itself. The question in the petroleum industry is whether there will be qualified professionals to lead the resurgence in exploration and production when the price of oil rebounds.

At the University of Oklahoma, enrollment in petroleum geology is down from 153 undergraduates in 1985 to 94 this fall. Fifty-seven of this year's undergraduates are seniors, however. The graduate program has dropped from 67 last year to 58.

Petroleum engineering is another OU major that is top-heavy with seniors, according to Dr. Roy Knapp, director of the School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering. Of 168 petroleum engineering undergraduates, 101 are seniors.

Oklahoma State University does not offer a specific major in petroleum geology, according to Dr. …

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