Colo. School of Mines School of Petroleum Newsletter 2014, Page 3

Colo. School of Mines School of Petroleum Newsletter 2014, Page 3



It’s an exciting time to work in the energy industry, especially petroleum engineering. The outlook for domestic oil and gas has dramatically changed from one of declining production to abundance at break-neck speed, and this reality has demanded that industry, government, and academia respond just as quickly. I was recently invited to give a public technical lecture at my alma mater, the University of Tulsa, and I’ve been thinking about unconventional oil and gas production in terms of a “Black Swan” phenomenon.

Dr. Bill Scoggins

Author and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb developed the “Black Swan” theory to explain rare and unpredictable events which have reality-altering impact, such as spotting a black swan when evidence up to that point indicates that all swans are white. Taleb asserts that “history does not crawl; it jumps.” We’ve experienced the “jump” in the last few years and we are on the frontier of a new generation of oil and gas production, and in the Denver area, we see the hot button issues of urban encroachment and environmental impact play out daily in the local news.

This domestic oil and gas boom is a game changer on so many levels— from drilling-related water usage and disposal to the geopolitical sphere. And in that regard, Mines is an intellectual powerhouse, with Petroleum Engineering faculty and students working with counterparts from all over campus such as Civil & Environmental Engineering to the Master of International Political Economy of Resources program to better understand and contribute to the complex world of global earth resource study and research.

This rapid growth has also led to increased collaboration between academia, government, and industry— leading to improved student outcomes, greater applied research opportunities for students, and an overall increase in faculty and infrastructure support. Additionally, academia has an important role to play in public outreach and education so that there is a better understanding of drilling and production technology, the resource opportunity, and community and environmental impacts. It’s a truly remarkable time to be a Mines student: to work with world-class faculty to learn and add to the body of knowledge of global resource and energy challenges, and to participate in one of the defining discussions of the early 21st century. Make the most of this opportunity and make 2014 a great year!

Best regards,

Bill Scoggins