Aug. 22, 2013 06:00 AM

Women recruits in the sector are almost at parity with men. Could we someday see a LAGCOE Loo-eez?

[Clarification: While there is no "LAGCOE Loo-eez," there was indeed a female LAGCOE Looey in 2001. The late Gloria Knox, a respected oil woman, was 95 when she was selected for the honor.]

While men still dominate the field, a recent report shows that 46 percent of the new jobs filled in the oil and gas industry in the first quarter of 2013 went to women, up from 30 percent in the previous quarter. New technologies are leveling the playing field, making more jobs more accessible to women, and big players are actively recruiting women into their ranks. BP, for example, reported at the end of last year that 17 percent of its group leaders were women, and the company has set a goal to grow that to 25 percent by 2020.

 Photo by Robin May
The women of LAGCOE: Susan Fowler, Claire Thom, Angela Cring, Julie Oubre, Alissa Sarradet and Danielle Morrissey (not pictured is Leah Roger)

One of this year's Women Who Mean Business honorees is an example of this trend. A drilling engineer on a mission, Kelsey Corrigan devotes her off-duty volunteer hours to the recruitment of high school students, encouraging them to do well in the science, technology, engineering and math courses that will earn them the lucrative opportunities in the industry. While Kelsey doesn't target teen-age girls, she clearly relishes her successes with them. "I tell them you don't have to do what every other girl does just because," she says.

LAGCOE is one barometer of the trend locally. The Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition is held every other fall in Lafayette, and women have run the show since 1994, first Sally Ware and now geologist Angela Cring. Leah Roger, owner of Enviro-Sense, serves with Angela on the 21-member executive committee. Aggreko's Julie Oubre and Schlumberger's Susan Fowler, who has been a LAGCOE volunteer since 1983, join the two on the 70-member board. "Susan will comment from time to time that it's really only in the past decade that she feels like she's been taken seriously as a contributor and asset to the show," says Angela, who thinks it's about a new generation in the industry. "As our Young Professionals of LAGCOE group grows and our board continues to age, we'll start pulling more from YPL to fill in. It's only natural that more women will move up."

Angela says the trend is more evident in big markets like Houston. With an all-female staff and with the active recruitment of young professionals - both women who are moving into the industry and their male counterparts who accept them as equals - it will also happen at LAGCOE, perhaps soon.

Each year, the group honors one of its own as LAGCOE Looey. Could we someday see a LAGCOE Loo-eez?

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