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Petroleum Engineering's History

In the first 42 years (1959 – 2000), 665 students were admitted in the school of IMP/ICT; 264 students were admitted in petroleum engineering (40.3% of sample), and 133 students were graduated, this amount corresponding to 46.7% of the students graduated from the department and 50.4% of the students admitted in the career. At this time, petroleum engineering was the most attractive career for the students between Geology, Mining and Petroleum. The student’s population of Petroleum Engineering career grew 10.8% in an average per year. The period from 1964 – 1976 was the interval with greater growth period (67 student in 1971) when the student’s population grew an average of 47.8% per year, and then it began to decline (-15.5% average) until 1979 when it began to grow again an average 8.8% per year until 1990; then it decreased again -2.3% average per year until 2000.
In mid-1960, Petroleum Engineering career began to be interesting for students from the Coast and from all the country. The principal reason was the Petroleum Industry started the exploration and production at Santa Elena, at that moment part of Guayas Province. In 1965, a petroleum reservoir was discovered in the northeast of Ecuador (Lago Agrio) and after two years, it was discovered the biggest reservoir such as Sacha and Shushufindi Oilfield, turning Ecuador the fourth petroleum producer country in Latin American. The oil exportation began in the second semester of 1972.
Initially, and through 1972, oil was produced only in Santa Elena Peninsula by Anglo Corporation, which extracted roughly 8000 barrels per day. No huge volumes were exported and by consequence, local demand for petroleum engineers was limited at best. This was the reason the initial name of ‘Geology, Mining and Petroleum Engineering’ got its reason to be on bachelor degrees, situation that changed in 1965 with the Discovery of economical oil reservoirs in the Amazon basin.
From 1959, year of ESPOL foundation, to 1964, 10 prospective students entered to study this degree; It was in 1965 when the oil industry potential of Amazon basin was known that potential engineer population began to rise to 31 in 1967 (Lago Agrio discovery year) and kept its pace to achieve 67 members for the class of 1971. It is good to know that first oil exportation was recorded in August of 1972.
The period from 1964 - 1971 is that of the fastest growing student population in petroleum engineering, which coincides with the discovery of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon region, the development and operation of the oil fields and with the beginning of oil exports in August 1972. The largest percentage growth - compared to the previous year - occurred in 1964, and the student population grew until 1971. In 1972, year of creation of CEPE - Corporación Estatal Petrolera Ecuatoriana - predecessor of Petroecuador, the student population was 59 students and continued decreasing until 1978 (20 students) when it began to increase again, initiating a second cycle of growth until 1992 (53 students) before decreasing again until the end of the period - 36 students in 2000.
In the first 42 years (1959 – 2000), 665 students were admitted in the school of IMP/ICT; 264 students were admitted in petroleum engineering (40.3% of sample), and 133 students were graduated, this amount corresponding to 46.7% of the students graduated from the department and 50.4% of the students admitted in the career. At this time, petroleum engineering was the most attractive career for the students between Geology, Mining and Petroleum. The student’s population of Petroleum Engineering career grew 10.8% in an average per year. The period from 1964 – 1976 was the interval with greater growth period (67 student in 1971) when the student’s population grew an average of 47.8% per year, and then it began to decline (-15.5% average) until 1979 when it began to grow again an average 8.8% per year until 1990; then it decreased again -2.3% average per year until 2000.
In mid-1960, Petroleum Engineering career began to be interesting for students from the Coast and from all the country. The principal reason was the Petroleum Industry started the exploration and production at Santa Elena, at that moment part of Guayas Province. In 1965, a petroleum reservoir was discovered in the northeast of Ecuador (Lago Agrio) and after two years, it was discovered the biggest reservoir such as Sacha and Shushufindi Oilfield, turning Ecuador the fourth petroleum producer country in Latin American. The oil exportation began in the second semester of 1972.
Initially, and through 1972, oil was produced only in Santa Elena Peninsula by Anglo Corporation, which extracted roughly 8000 barrels per day. No huge volumes were exported and by consequence, local demand for petroleum engineers was limited at best. This was the reason the initial name of ‘Geology, Mining and Petroleum Engineering’ got its reason to be on bachelor degrees, situation that changed in 1965 with the Discovery of economical oil reservoirs in the Amazon basin.
From 1959, year of ESPOL foundation, to 1964, 10 prospective students entered to study this degree; It was in 1965 when the oil industry potential of Amazon basin was known that potential engineer population began to rise to 31 in 1967 (Lago Agrio discovery year) and kept its pace to achieve 67 members for the class of 1971. It is good to know that first oil exportation was recorded in August of 1972.
The period from 1964 - 1971 is that of the fastest growing student population in petroleum engineering, which coincides with the discovery of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon region, the development and operation of the oil fields and with the beginning of oil exports in August 1972. The largest percentage growth - compared to the previous year - occurred in 1964, and the student population grew until 1971. In 1972, year of creation of CEPE - Corporación Estatal Petrolera Ecuatoriana - predecessor of Petroecuador, the student population was 59 students and continued decreasing until 1978 (20 students) when it began to increase again, initiating a second cycle of growth until 1992 (53 students) before decreasing again until the end of the period - 36 students in 2000.
The largest promotion of petroleum engineers happened in 1974 (11 - 18.0 %) and 1989 (11 - 36.0 %), due to two particular events that appear to have influenced the registration rate and interest in petroleum engineering as career, the start of production of the Ecuadorian oilfields in the Amazon or better known as Oriente in 1972-1974, and the dramatic increase in oil prices from $ 2.50 / BBL in 1972 to $ 13.50 / BBL in 1974. The following major price increase occurred in 1978 when the price rose from $ 12.50 / bbl to $ 35.20 / BBL in 1980.
During sixteen years, for the period (2000-2015), ESPOL had admitted 665 students to the Faculty FICT (Facultad de Ingeniería en Ciencias de la Tierra, Faculty of Engineering in Earth Sciences). In this period, 751 students (31.9 %) had entered, and graduated 345 (43.1 %) of all school graduates and 45.9 % of students who entered the career. The biggest promotion of petroleum engineers was in 2012 (46 - 17.7 %) and 2014 (55- 22.8 %).
The student population of the petroleum engineering undergraduate program grew an average of 17.2% per year, and since the beginning of the period it has shown a steady growth except between 2009 (258 students) and 2013 (230 students); in 2015, 355 students were registered. It will be interesting to see the behavior of the population in 2016, considering that between 2014 and 2015, the student population in the petroleum-engineering program grew up a 37.1%.
Currently, the Petroleum Engineering program at ESPOL is preparing two processes: Curricular Reform and National Accreditation (CEAACES). So we have been working on the redesign of the undergraduate program and managing improving laboratory infrastructure for teaching and service, resulting in addition of new equipment for the petroleum lab this year.