THE OIL AND GAS industry has been suffering a critical shortage of talent. The average age of petroleum engineers is past fifty years, and the most experienced baby boomer employees are beginning to retire in droves. Exacerbating the problem is the industry’s image, which has taken repeated hits as sustainability becomes an increasingly important societal issue. Indeed, over the past thirty years, the enrollment of college students studying the geosciences has plunged, which several years ago prompted the American Petroleum Institute to investigate the shifting demographics of the industry. The results of that research were sobering. “The consequences of these trends are both severe and imminent,” the study concluded. ...

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