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The Changing of the Guard

by:Wingoil     2020-06-06
The end of World War II brought about 2 significant events that would have a major role in shaping the oil industry as we know it. The baby boom and the oil boom happened almost in parallel and both were born out of a wave of optimism that swept across the allied nations. The world was at peace and people saw this as a new beginning. The baby boom started straight after the war and is officially know as the period from 1946 to 1964. Birth rates in the US soared during this period and in 1954 annual birth rates exceeded 4 million and did not drop below that figure until 1965 when 4 out of 10 Americans were under the age of 20. This trend continued across all of the allied nations and a new work force was being born. Separately to this there was another boom happening, this time in the oil industry. At the end of the great depression the oil industry had started to grow with oil being discovered across the globe. A number of the American oil companies had expanded into these regions and the introduction of the first submersible drilling barge in 1933 had created another massive avenue for growth. In 1938 oil was discovered in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and things were looking good until a year later when WWII put another premature end to the impending boom. This was however only delaying the inevitable and when the war ended in 1945 the donkeys started nodding once again and this time there was nothing to stop them. For the next 28 years the industry grew rapidly with more oil being discovered and new technologies invented making it easier to get to reserves once thought impossible. By the late 60's early 70's, the baby boom generation had finished college and were ready to hit the work place and the oil industry was waiting with open arms. In 1969 Oil was discovered in the North Sea and it wasn't long before the oil fueled circus come to town. Aberdeen went through an amazing transformation as the oil men moved in. A city home to fishing, textile mills, shipbuilding and paper making factories was soon to be became the center of Europe's petroleum industry but it wasn't until 1975 that the first oil was produced from the North Sea 2 years earlier the oil embargo had raised oil prices from $2.90 to $11.65 propelling the oil industry into a new age. The attractive wages caused a stir in the UK and a lot of the baby boomers joined the oil industry to find their fortune By 1981 the oil industry was the industry to be in. School leavers, college graduates and university students all saw the industry as a place to make a lot of money and between 1979-1981 oil prices had risen from $13.00 to $34.00 During this time the industry attracted people from all walks of life. With a rich vein of new recruits joining the industry all seemed to be going along smoothly. The baby boomers now in their mid 30's / 40's provided a good mix of experience and youth and information was being transferred between the generations. Until 1986... The 1986 oil price collapse was commonly referred to as the perfect storm. Oil prices that were trading at over $30 a barrel had dropped to $9 by August that same year. Hundreds of Thousands of jobs were lost worldwide and in the US marginal wells were being plugged one every 30 minutes. This event was the start of a grim period where the oil industry attracted more bad news than good. The golden days of the last 20 years were now well and truly over and the industry was fast becoming the pantomime villain. With continued bad press and lack of growth the industry staggered on, unable to attract any new blood. With a surplus of experienced oil workers combined with the emergence of the more colorful careers like marketing, advertising and investment banking the generation X didn't want to work in foreign countries drilling for 'black gold', instead they were lured by a new trend, the M.B.A.
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