Energy Education

The FAQ on E&P: Chatting with Middle School Students about Oil and Gas

SPE Gulf Coast section member Vikrant Lakhanpal recently visited Olle Middle School in Houston, Texas.

Fueling young minds, that’s why Vikrant Lakhanpal recently visited Olle Middle School in Houston, Texas.

Lakhanpal, a production engineer at Proline Energy Resources, spoke with the students about the whole life cycle of energy production from oil and gas – geological exploration, drilling, production, transportation and refining.

“I got a chance to interact with the students and understand their perspective about the E&P industry,” he said. “It was interesting to understand what the young minds think about petroleum engineering as a career.”

A member of the Gulf Coast section, Lakhanpal based his presentation on the future energy outlook, increasing dependency on renewable energy and how the world will still depend on oil and gas 30 years from now. Lakhanpal said that even though a lot of research is happening in the renewable sector, it is not possible to become completely fossil fuel independent.

He also emphasized that oil production is a multi-disciplinary science, and the first principles of science are applied at each stage.

“I sometimes hear students ask why a certain subject is being taught to them,” Lakhanpal said. “They think it won’t be of any use in the future. That’s exactly why I wanted to give them the technical details of how things actually work. I wanted them to realize that petroleum engineering is not something out of the world; it is based on the principles of physics used to extract oil from ground.”

Lakhanpal created a trivia quiz game. He said he was concerned that the students had not been interested in the topic he presented. Had they paid attention? Would they be able to answer the questions? Happily, he received an over-whelming response.

“They asked questions about which courses to take, whether to go for an associate degree or a master’s degree,” Lakhanpal said. “I am glad I could make a difference and motivate them to take up STEM education. I am thankful to SPE for giving me this opportunity of making an impact in someone’s life. I will definitely make myself available again for such opportunities in future.”

 

STEM Day at Elmore Elementary in Houston, Texas

SPE member Randi Steele represented SPE’s Energy4me program and the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Elmore Elementary’s second annual STEM Day on Jan. 26. The program was organized by Crystal Williams, fourth grade STEM, computer science and robotics educator.

Williams instituted STEM Day as a way to motivate the students to think big about their futures and get them to focus on going to college. The day consisted of science presentations, robotics labs, a math competition and six science workshops.

Steele presented a basic discussion of fossil fuels and drilling for oil using materials from the Houston Museum of Natural Science where she is a master docent in the Weiss Energy Hall. Steele presented twice to large groups of about 30 fifth graders. They were very attentive and asked great questions.

“They loved learning about the rocks – especially the coal, halite, and sulfur samples,” Steele said. “Another highlight was showing the perforating gun and discussing the chemical explosive involved. This was a very worthwhile experience, and I look forward to doing it again!”

 

 

 

Sharing Experiences of Energy4me Between Aberdeen and Kazakhstan – Inspiring the Next Generation.

Aizhana Jussupbekova, SPE Atyrau-Kazakhstan Section, recently visited Aberdeen and met with Colin Black (Director SPE Europe Limited) and Sonia Watson (STEM Learning Coordinator at Aberdeen Science Centre) to get advice about expanding their Energy4me programme in schools in Kazakhstan and also running an Energy4me workshop at the forthcoming Caspian Technical Conference 2016. 

Aizhana was instrumental in starting the Energy4me programme in Kazakhstan back in 2013. Aizhana explained “We started with two people willing to visit schools, talk to kids and educate them on energy. Now, the program has grown significantly. Young professionals from SPE Astana Section, in collaboration with Nazarbayev University Student Chapter, visit a number of public schools year round.’ Additionally, Aizhana is involved in making steps to expand the program in Atyrau. She added, “Our passion for Energy4me convinced SPE Global to run a workshop for teachers at the Annual Caspian Conference and Exhibition in November of 2016”.

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Aizhana Jussupbekova, SPE Atyrau-Kazakhstan Section, with Colin Black (Director SPE Europe Limited) and Sonia Watson (STEM Learning Coordinator at Aberdeen Science Centre)

 

Ahead of this workshop, Aizhana met with Colin and Sonia. Aizhana explained ‘I was always impressed with the fact that Aberdeen Section was able to include the Energy4me program in the school curriculum. Talking to these dedicated professionals I realized that this was possible through the great collaboration between SPE Aberdeen Section and Aberdeen Science Centre. Visiting Colin and the team provide me with valuable advice on how we can improve the implementation of the program and also how to organise the planned workshop. I would like to thank Colin and Sonia for meeting with me at the Aberdeen Science Centre and also special thanks to Colin for taking me around Fittie town!”

 Colin commented “Aizhana and I are on the SPE Global Energy Information / Energy4me Committee so it was really good to have her visit us in Aberdeen and see first-hand our collaboration with ASC on Energy4me teacher CPD”.

Sonia added: “It was great to meet Aizhana and pass on the successful approach that we at Aberdeen Science Centre, in collaboration with SPE Aberdeen, have taken with Energy4me teacher CPDs.”

 

 

 

Engineering meets arts and crafts – Dallas staff Energy4me workshop

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Core Sampling

In the field, core samples consist of sediment or rock. But in an Energy4me workshop, core samples are made up of bright pink and purple sand.

About 30 Society of Petroleum Engineers staff participated in an Energy4me workshop in Dallas. During the workshop, participants conducted four experiments that focused on various parts of oil exploration and production. In the core sample exercise, employees filled small plastic cups with three layers of colored sand. Then, using a drinking straw, they worked to pull out a core sample.

It’s a simplified version of the real experience, but it serves as a great example of core sampling.

“Allowing us the opportunity to complete hands-on activities really helped everyone visualize the types of things that petroleum engineers work on, and the types of engineering work that we talk about with our members,” said Debbie Anderson, Bookstore & Libraries Manager. “I would recommend the workshop to anyone that wants to learn more about petroleum engineering in general.”

Conducted across the globe, Energy4Me educates middle school and high school students about the energy industry. The program is designed to engage students at a young age to study math and science, thereby ensuring a future workforce. The program also educates teachers on using hands-on activities to illustrate technical aspects of engineering.

In the Dallas workshop, the other experiments were “getting the oil out,” “perforated well casings” and “fracturing with gelatin.”

For the “getting the oil out” experiment, participants taped together drinking straws to create the illusion of a well drilled deep underground for oil. The trick is to properly connect the pipe sections – pieces of straw – to suck the oil, or in this case, soft drink and chocolate syrup, to the surface.

Some staffers were immediately successful while others learned that drilling can be challenging.

Getting the Oil Out

“My favorite activity was definitely the activity with the straws, though each were interesting in a different way,” said Leah Looten, Membership Recruitment and Engagement Senior Administrator. “We improvised a bit and messed up others, so I’m not sure they were 100 percent successful, though they were 100 percent fun.”

By participating in an Energy4me workshop, several SPE staffers expressed an interest in conducting their own workshops.

“I would also recommend it to anyone who may want to conduct their own event,” Anderson said. “I’m a Cubmaster for a Cub Scout pack, and I would love to conduct my own E4M workshop with our Scouts. Thank you for the opportunity!”

Brett Fountain, Senior Web Integrator and Developer, likened the workshop to “engineering meets arts and crafts.” He said that the experience is a very enjoyable way to learn some basic concepts that he hopes to teach to his son’s class next year.

“It was simultaneously so fun and so educational that it made me wish my son could have been in on it,” he said. “Now I want to facilitate this kind of hands-on learning for him and his friends. If you are inquisitive and curious and not afraid to get your hands wet, you will have fun learning about this industry.

“This was the best lunch-and-learn ever — I basically forgot to eat.”

SPE QLD Energy4Me Brisbane Teachers Workshop

A big thanks to the SPE Queensland Section for initiating & sponsoring the SPE Energy4Me Brisbane Teachers Workshop. Teachers from various schools in the greater Brisbane area participated in Energy4Me program which utilized hands on activities to illustrate some basic technical concepts about oil & gas exploration & production.

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Teachers found out in a fun way that getting the oil out is not as easy as it looks!

 

Finding the oil requires rigorous scientific analysis.

Finding the oil required rigorous scientific analysis.

Teachers were trained on how to use the Energy4Me resources in their classrooms and how these resources would encourage students to pursue STEM subjects. Energy4Me has ensured that all materials used in the experiments are easily accessible from local grocery stores and school science labs, which allows teachers from different regions to have access to the materials required to conduct such experiments. This is how Energy4me ensures that its lesson plans can be utilized globally.

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Looking for that natural oil seep gives you an understanding of how oil was first discovered

The SPE Queensland Section members also provided some exciting presentations on the oil & gas industry in Australia and globally. Another huge contributor to the success of this workshop was the amazing effort of our 4 Australian Energy4Me facilitators who organized and hosted the workshop and the generosity of the All Hallows School for the providing the venue.

Natalie Chadud, Vice Chairperson QLD Board, SPE, giving the welcome address

Natalie Chadud, Vice Chairperson QLD Board, SPE, giving the welcome address

 

Offshore Technology Conference- Bringing Teachers and Students Together with the Industry

For the ninth consecutive year, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) invited Houston-area K-12 teachers and high school students to attend the Energy Institute. This one day workshop highlights the offshore energy industry, the science and technology it uses, and the careers that make it all possible. Nearly 100 teachers and 125 students saw firsthand the latest technology and equipment companies use to access and recover some of our world’s most valuable resources, oil and natural gas.

Chris Del Campo

Teachers began their day with an engaging keynote speaker, Chris Del Campo, a Mechanical Metier Manager with Schlumberger Oilfield Services. Taking a walk through time, he led the teachers from the use of whale oil to the first well drilled for oil in Titusville, Penn., all the way up to the cutting edge technologies used today.

His talk was a perfect introduction to what they saw displayed on the OTC exhibit floor. To finish out the workshop, the teachers were led through experiments by instructors from the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Each breakout focused on hands-experiments they can do in their classrooms – breaking down the scientific principals used by industry professionals every day.

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Teachers work through the perforated well casing activity in their breakout session.

The students’ workshop kicked off with a unique challenge called Peak Oil, a NEED activity that aims to explore the production process and its advancing technologies to better extract petroleum for products and energy use. The student groups went through simulated challenges such as oil spills, refinery contamination and reduced production over time.

In the end, the students discussed the challenges they had, the economic strategies they used and their evolving business models.

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Students tour the OTC exhibition floor, learning about the technology on display.

The students then had their turn on the exhibition floor. Competing in a scavenger hunt, the students gathered information from the company booths and industry professionals they spoke with. They were able to see the wide variety of careers available and learn about the education and training necessary to acquire those positions.

At the end of the day, the volunteers that help make this day possible are just as thrilled to be involved as the teachers and students. Being a part of inspiring the industries next generation of scientist and engineers is what makes the Energy Institute so successful each year.

Energy4me In Malaysia!

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Energy4me hosted its first official workshop in Malaysia alongside the SPE Offshore Technology Conference Asia which was well received and endorsed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia!

Public and Private schools from the greater Kuala Lumpur area were invited to participate in the workshop using hands on activities to illustrate basic concepts of engineering within the Oil & Gas Industry. Students and teachers were treated to presentations by Mr. Mohammed Faiz Mat Isa who is the Head of Exhibits Content at Petrosains, the science discovery center at the PETRONAS towers http://www.petrosains.com.my/

Presentations were also made to students and teachers by Mohammed Rizam Sarif who is the General Manager & Geoscience Advisor for new Ventures at ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Malaysia as well as Datuk Ir. Dr. Abdul Rahim Hashim who is the Vice Chancellor and CEO, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS.

Students & teachers were then taken on an exhibition/technology tour where they were given the opportunity to see first hand the technology dealt with during the hands on sessions.

 

Saudi Arabia ATS&E and Think Science Fair 2015

Our energy4me team in the SPE Dubai office has been quite busy in energy education the past few months, including our first ever event in Saudi Arabia! Check out details and pictures below.

Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition

Held annually in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, ATS&E is considered a prime event that highlights the mission of the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Saudi Arabia Section in providing a means for trading technical information concerning the oil and gas industry. Energy4me had the privilege of being invited to host an energy4me teacher and student workshop. This was the first ever event for energy4me in Saudi Arabia, thanks to an invitation from Mr. Yaser Khojah (Saudi Aramco), Young Professional & Student Outreach, Vice-Chairperson.

Mr. Khojah was invited to be a keynote speaker at the energy4me teachers workshop earlier in 2015 at MEOS in Bahrain. Being so impressed with the workshop, he invited the energy4me team to Saudi Arabia and requested that we replicate the hands on activities that so inspired him. The activities that were conducted were done so to highlight some concepts in oil exploration. From the experiments that show how oil is detected by geologists and petroleum engineers (Sound Waves, Core Sampling, Porosity, Density, Oil Seeps) to the mechanisms of extraction (Perforated Well Casing, Getting the Oil Out), students and teachers alike learnt that there are many exciting prospects in the oil & gas industry.

Another highlight was leading local female representatives from the industry were invited to present as keynote and young professional speakers, thus showing the female students that there are many opportunities for a professional career in the country. One particular student commented, “I never knew that there were female engineers that could work in the country successfully.” That’s successful energy education!

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Students at ATS&E

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Energy4me presentation at ATS&E

 

Think Science Fair 2015

A three-day science exhibition showcasing ground-breaking technological innovations from some of the UAE’s brightest young scientific minds was held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Emirates Foundation’s “Think Science Fair”, held under the Patronage of H.H Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, is one of the biggest events of its kind in the region attracting thousands of school and university students, parents, academics, investors and private sector representatives.

The Fair saw exhibitors showcase the scientific inventions designed and built by young UAE scientists as part of the Emirates Foundation’s “Think Science” Competition alongside a range of interactive, hands-on activities in various fields of engineering, energy, aviation and other technological industries. More than 8500 students and teachers attended form over 75 schools from the private and public sectors.

SPE exhibited the energy4me Oil & Natural Gas book, different careers within the energy sectors, and the energy4me teacher kit. In addition to this we conducted hands-on activities like Core Sampling, Getting the Oil Out, Sound Waves and how fruit can conduct electricity. The program was well received and many Heads of Science Departments and science teachers were invited to attend the next energy4me workshop in Abu Dhabi.

Students visiting the Think Science Fair try Getting the Oil Out!

Students visiting the Think Science Fair try Getting the Oil Out!

Students showing off energy4me resources at the Think Science Fair

Students showing off energy4me resources at the Think Science Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re taking a short break after these events, the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, and our first ever New York workshop in Fredonia! We’ll be up and running again for the fall with even more events coming your way.

Be sure to sign up to receive invitations and visit our event calendar for more information.

Marching Right into Spring

Typically spring is not quite as busy as our fall calendar, but this month really stepped up! If you attended any of the events we hosted or were presenting at, we hope it was engaging and full of energy education resources for you.

Early in the month, as part of the Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference, we hosted a Teachers Workshop and Students Workshop in Bahrain. Teachers and students were introduced to the oil and gas industry with Energy4me activities, talks on careers, and visited exhibitions of technology and the sophisticated software engineers use to solve energy challenges.

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Male students exploring Energy4me activities

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Female students tour the MEOS exhibitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the same week, the Energy4me team were representing the program on behalf of the Society of Petroleum Engineers at two major events: the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, and the US National Science Teachers Association national conference. The Big Bang Fair was an opportunity to visit with school students about careers in engineering and energy, while building and testing a well with straw “drill pipes” as part of the Getting the Oil Out activity. It was estimated we performed the experiment over 300 times over the course of 4 days!

At NSTA in Chicago, we showcased the Oil and Natural Gas book, energy lessons, our website, and other resources available to teachers. We look forward to networking with our new contacts and hope to see you at future workshops.

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Big Bang Fair UK invites over 75,000 students to the NEC Birmingham for all sorts of STEM experiences

 

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Teachers loved these buttons at the NSTA conference 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week we’ve partnered with Alaska Resource Education in Anchorage to educate local teachers about Alaska’s energy and production. We’re excited to present oil and gas activities during this 3-day program. Stay tuned for pictures and updates on our Facebook and Twitter.

As always, keep up to date with upcoming programs on our Events Calendar. We hope to see you at one soon!