«The best way to predict the future is to create it»

This quote pretty much sums up the panel debate on students' prospects in tomorrows's oil and energy sector.

Panel debate: Øystein Lund Bø, Tobias Lynghaug, Leif Johan Sevland, Terje Søviknes and Arne Sigve Nylund. Photo: Mari Løvås Panel debate: Øystein Lund Bø, Tobias Lynghaug, Leif Johan Sevland, Terje Søviknes and Arne Sigve Nylund. Photo: Mari Løvås

The quote, brought up by head of the NITO students (Norway's Engineering and Technology Organization) Tobias Lynghaug, is credited to both Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker, two people known for their lessons to live by.

Lynghaug pointed out that even though the oil industry has a great responsibility in hiring graduates, the students themselves have to create their future.

Tobias Lynghaug represented the students in a debate with the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Søviknes, Equinor's Executive Vice President for Development and Production, Arne Sigve Nylund, and CEO of the Energy Conference ONS, Leif Johan Sevland. The UiS student's department of NITO hosted the event.

IT and computational engineering

The Minister concluded that IT and computational engineering are important areas for the petroleum students in the years to come. Next year, in 2019, the Faculty of Science and Technology at UiS is introducing a new Master programme in Computational Engineering.

«Right now, the activity on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is at an all time high. The industry needs you more than ever,» was the Minister's message to the students present.

At the same time, the Minister pointed out, we already know that the activity will drop drastically after 2020-2025.

«For that reason, exploration is extremely important,» Søviknes said.

How to recruit the best students?

The debate adressed several challenges: How can UiS facilitate the students to have the required skills? What expectations do the business community have for the graduates? Tobias Lynghaug also came with a request to the industry leaders present:

«Since 2016 the oil and gas industry have failed in attracting the best students. If oil turns into a strictly "operation and maintenance industry", I fear that recruitment will be even more difficult to achieve, Lynghaug said.

«We have to focus on the whole life phase of the project. The National IOR Centre of Norway is a great example – their research prolongs the life time of the fields on the continental shelf,» Søviknes said.

Following the panel debate, the Minister got a tour of The National IOR Centre of Norway on campus Ullandhaug.

Text: Kjersti Riiber