Is an aging workforce a limiting factor in oil & gas production growth?

September 16, 2011

We wrote yesterday about the National Petroleum Council report that estimates North American oil production could reach 22.5 million barrels per day within 25 years.  Combined with the potential for an 85% increase in natural gas production and possible advancements in coal, it is conceivable that the US – or at least North America combined – could achieve energy independence (or something very close to it) in that time frame, even without a “clean energy” revolution.

These estimates, however, are based primarily on the size of the resource base and the technological ability to expand the commercially viable sub-section of the McKelvey Box:

However, there is another important limiting factor beyond the resource base and the technology to exploit it:  the petrotechnical professionals (PTP) needed to maximize production.  Schlumberger Business Consulting has been tracking the size of this talent base since 2004 and has come to two major conclusions:  (1) PTP talent is an important strategic resource and (2) demographic shifts mean that this talent base is both aging and shrinking.  Thus, in addition to the regulatory reforms outlined by the NPC in their report, we need to seriously engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs at the local, state and federal levels.


One comment

  1. […] of untapped natural gas in the US.  In the oil and gas industries, there is something called the McKelvey Box, which breaks the carbon resources into different sections – discovered, assumed but […]

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