BlueCrest Energy Representatives are looking for local talent to help man a facility at the company’s drill pad north of Anchor Point. BlueCrest wants to drill for oil in the Cosmopolitan Oil Fields in Cook Inlet. They plan to hire four graduates from Kenai Peninsula College. KBBI’s Quinton Chandler spoke to Jeffery Laude, a professor in the college’s Process Technology Department about the hires.
Quinton Chandler: "Professor Laude, what is Process Technology?"
Jeffery Laude: "Process Technology is the study of how a process works. We take a raw material and we process it in some way. In Alaska our biggest industry that hires process technicians would be the oil and gas industry. We also supply people in mining, food processing as well as power generation and petrochemical."
Quinton Chandler: "Right now BlueCrest Energy is looking at hiring some of the students who graduated or who will soon graduate from your program. What do those students bring to the table that BlueCrest is interested in?"
Jeffery Laude: "We spend a lot of the time in the program studying a lot of the facets of the oil and gas industry. We know that they are one of our biggest customers as far as hiring our graduates. Somebody who goes through two years of comprehensive education in math, English, as well as the technical knowledge necessary for working at a process facility gets a big jumpstart on being ready for work. That wouldn’t happen for somebody who was strictly hired without any prior knowledge."
Quinton Chandler: "You actually had BlueCrest representatives come by the college to scout out your talent?"
Jeffery Laude: "Well the initial visit they just came and looked at our campus and looked at our course curriculum. They were really impressed with the talent of the faculty and the facilities that are available at the Kenai Peninsula College. They came back on December 3rd and they did interviews with quite a number of students. I think they had something like 12 – 14 students that they were able to talk to. I think they were really impressed with the knowledge that the students brought."
Quinton Chandler: "Do you know what jobs BlueCrest would be hiring these students for?"
Jeffery Laude: "BlueCrest has a brand new onshore facility that is the control room and drill pad site located at mile 151 of the Sterling Highway. It’s down near Anchor Point. That facility’s control room in order to monitor the flow of oil from their wells would be controlled by the process technicians."
Quinton Chandler: "How important is this control room and the employees who will be working in it? How important is that to BlueCrest’s operation trying to drill for oil in Cook Inlet?"
Jeffery Laude: "Oil production, the drilling part is just one day. That’s like drilling the well at your house. It’s how you run that water out of the well that is important. The operators are the people who control the flow of the oil out of the life of that well and that production field. That can happen for 40-60 years depending on how robust the field is."
Quinton Chandler: "How many of your students generally are hired to work in the oil and gas field? Would you say this is one of those programs that can impart a lot of applied skills and students can easily find a job?"
Jeffery Laude: "There are a couple of different studies that I can bring up for that. There was a study done through a research group at the university that determined the Process Technology Degree is one of the highest paid and longest continued employment positions you can get an education for in the state. And it’s a two year degree. The other study is the Department of Labor offers placement for people who complete the program and the last time I looked at that, it’s been quite a number of months, but it was over 70% placement."
Quinton Chandler: "Thank you very much Professor Laude."
Jeffery Laude: "You’re welcome."