Students in energy programs getting nervous as oil prices plummet

When Daniel Forero left home in California to pursue a petroleum engineering degree at Texas A&M University, he thought his career prospects were strong.

As the energy sector flourished, many around him pointed to such a degree as a surefire ticket to success in the age of the American oil boom.

But as oil prices continue to plummet – they reached five-year lows last week – Forero, now a senior, is quickly getting a harsh lesson in the cyclical nature of the energy business.

“What I kept hearing was ‘there’s plenty of jobs in this industry,’?” Forero said. “Now that I’ve gotten to this point, it doesn’t seem that way.”

Today, energy companies are holding off on hiring decisions until they have a clearer picture of the changing economics of their business, said Tobias Read, CEO of Houston-based energy staffing firm Swift Worldwide Resources.

All as students like Forero hope to enter the workforce.

“For the graduate marketplace, this is not a good time,” Read said.

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