The low prices of oil are having an impact on hiring, but students are optimistic and are still coming in, believing the drop in prices is temporary, Colorado School of Mines Professor Will Fleckenstein told Angie Austin at EnerCom’s The Oil & Gas Conference® 21.

Dr. Fleckenstein spoke about the downturn in the industry, the adjustments being made in the oil patch, and when asked about future of innovation in the industry, Dr. Fleckenstein said, “The industry is trying to move towards longer types of laterals, one thing we have as a limit is gravity.

“Right now we are relying upon gravity to physically push these drill bits up to 15,000 feet. Which are eventually going to run into friction. And now you are going to have to start to have to take downhole types of tractors to be able to physically push and pull the longer laterals, and also to have more wells per pad, and to be able to do things that are more acceptable to the locals, in order to continue to have that support to continue to produce.”

Interview Questions

  • Will, what as to changes in the industry are you seeing since you were here for last year’s conference?
  • What about on the technical side – what is the industry doing differently as far as laterals, completions, frac stages, fluid formula, sand – is there a lot different since last year?
  • What are your students at the Colorado School of Mines asking about regarding the job and career situation in the industry in 2016?
  • What is the enrollment picture going into next term – are enrollments down because of the industry downturn, and are people going more into petroleum engineering, or geology, geoscience? What do you see at the School of Mines?
  • Will, we are seeing a new kind of resilience in the industry – it’s driven by sharpening the pencil and squeezing out every kind of drilling and completion efficiency, lowering the costs to get oil and gas out of the ground, shortening drilling days on the pad, more wells on a pad, more frac stages, downspacing – how much more cost can operators remove, and what’s left to squeeze costs out of?
  • What’s the next technology you are seeing heading toward the industry?

For more of Will Fleckenstein’s unique perspective on the oil and gas industry, watch the video below.

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