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Petroleum engineers Often seen as part of an aging industry that’s set in its ways, oil companies need to show they can offer thrilling tech careers to keep recent graduates from joining start-ups or giants such as Facebool. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Every few weeks, in a glass-walled office with a picture of an oil platform filling the east side, an unusual conversation takes place.

Bernard Looney, the 48-year-old who controls BP Plc’s massive oil and gas production, sits down with a 26-year-old petrophysicist, Connor Tann, to get answers to a few fundamental questions. Among the most important: How can the oil behemoth keep up with the times?

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