|Stene Hultgren. Sun Times photo|
By Darryl L. Flowers
Stene Hultgren would like a summer job. On an oil rig.
The 19 year old, a Freshman at Montana Tech in Butte where he is studying Petroleum Engineering, says he would like to take on any job in the oil field to get started, “I would like to get the experience of working on a rig.”
Stene is the grandson of “Swede” and Faye Olsen of Fairfield. He grew up in Molt, Montana where he was homeschooled by his Mom, Tara.
According to Hultgren, there are three types of Petroleum Engineers: Reservoir, Drilling and Production. “I want to pursue Drilling and Production… the Reservoir engineers have to spend too much time in an office looking at charts and data.”
Growing up on the family farm in Molt, Stene says he is accustomed to the hard work he expects on a rig, “I enjoy working from sun-up to sundown, as long as I’m outdoors.” He adds that being in Butte is hard for him, saying that he is not able to get out of town much, “But I love going to ‘Tech’.”
Hultgren made his decision to work in the oil patch at an early age. When he was 13, he was working with a neighboring farmer when he was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up. The farmer was good friends with Billings oil man Tom Hohn and helped arrange a chat with Hohn. When his Dad, Randy Hultgren found out Stene had an interest in oil and gas, he told his son he knew another oilman, Tom Hauptman, a geologist and surveyor, who also encouraged Stene.
Montana Tech is recognized as being one of the leading Petroleum Engineering and Geology schools in the nation. At a recent career fair on campus, 43 oil and mining firms showed up looking for resumes. Stene was not able to take part, the event is for juniors at the school.
Hultgren is fascinated with the fast pace of the industry, “Developments seem to happen overnight… new technologies… new oil fields are constantly being discovered to make oil exploration and production more efficient.
Stene says when he graduates he hopes to stay in the Montana, or maybe North Dakota Oil Patch. Asked if he would like to work on a rig in the ocean, he doesn’t seem enthused about the possibility, or even the question. After pondering for a few seconds, he admits that working on a rig in Norway, where his ancestors come from would interest him, maybe working for a company like Norwegian oil giant Statoil.
But the thought of working on a rig down south, in the Gulf of Mexico, causes Stene to shake his head, “Man, down there south of Texas… it’s too hot to work on a rig out in the ocean.”
Spoken like a true Montana oilman.