West Coast Lecture Tour Wrap-Up

By: Colin Etienne   |    May/June 2019
The final lecture tour of the 2018/2019 academic year was sent out to the west coast, and the earth science programs of British Columbia. Colin Etienne, the CSPG’s Outreach Director, was sent out to connect with students to discuss the new opportunities for geologists in the energy sector and how the industry has been evolving over the past decade. On his tour Colin visited the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Simon Fraser University in Burnaby. 

Colin has been working at Canbriam Energy since April 2014, where he spent 4 years working in various capacities as a geologist before moving into his current role as a Corporate Planning Analyst. Within the CSPG Colin has been involved in the University Outreach committee since March 2014 in various roles. He also founded the Young Geoscience Professionals in 2017, has been a long serving member of the SIFT Committee of which he is currently a co-Chair, and also now serves in the dual roles of Outreach Director and Trustee of the CSPG Foundation. Throughout his time with the CSPG, Colin’s work has focused on supporting students and new graduates, so when he was presented with the opportunity to go speak to students directly he seized the opportunity. This tour also had the added benefit of having Colin return to UVic, where he studied, and connect back to the BC schools that played an integral role in his career.

The talk focused on the evolution of geologists roles within the industry as Colin has observed them. Starting with a broad discussion of the “conventional” workflows for geologists, Colin then took the students through an operational case study that he has developed to highlight the atypical yet critical role of geologists during development of unconventional reservoirs. Following this technical discussion, Colin provided his assessment of the state of the global energy industry and how Canada can play a role in it going forward. This led to a broad array of discussions that are necessary to the future of the energy sector. The discussions ranged from the evolving understanding of social license, how a growth in the Canadian industry has the potential to reduce carbon emission intensity around the Pacific Rim, and how the energy industry’s ability to diversify markets has a direct impact on the career prospects of geologists. 

Between the three schools attendance varied from a small number of highly engaged students during one lecture, to a large group filling a classroom with backgrounds comprised of undergraduate as well as graduate students within the departments. It brought together geoscientists who want to work in the energy sector, as well as those focusing on the mineral exploration and environmental sectors as well. Being able to bring together people from disparate backgrounds and specialties in earth sciences led to fascinating discussions about the geology contained in the talk, as well as in depth discussions on challenges the Canadian industry and graduates face going forward. This tour wraps up the program for the year, ending on a high note. 

Travel to for this lecture tour was sponsored by: