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Petroleum graduates attracting top dollar

Petroleum graduates attracting top dollar
With energy prices soaring and oil-company ranks thinning through retirement, petroleum-engineering graduates have become a hot commodity in the US.

With energy prices soaring and oil-company ranks thinning through retirement, petroleum-engineering graduates have become a hot commodity in the US.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it means that students are once again pursuing engineering degrees, so positioning themselves for energy-industry jobs with salaries that attract envy from college academic staff who teach them.

Top-flight petroleum-engineering graduates this year can expect starting pay of $80,000-110,000, plus signing bonuses and other perks.

It is a sharp reversal from the 1990s, when students mulling career options on both sides of the Atlantic recoiled from anything to do with the petroleum industry.

Then, the memory was still fresh of the major oil bust in the mid-1980s, when the price of oil sank to $12 a barrel and hundreds of thousands of industry professionals lost their jobs.

Between 1986 and 2000, the American petroleum industry slashed its work force by 60%, according to a report by the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission. An earlier report by John S. Herold reckoned something like a million jobs were shed during the 1980s and 1990s.

Like the UK, in the US, in the hotly competitive race to secure new engineering graduates, serious courtship begins with summer-internship programmes that identify promising students and pull them into lucrative summer jobs over the life of their degree programmes.

In the UK, Aberdeen is unquestionably the best place to secure such work, with both operators and the supply chain becoming increasingly keen to take a risk on smart youngsters.

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