Energy

Syrup and Slinkies: Unlocking the Secrets to Oil Discovery

Energy4me went exploring for oil (well, really chocolate syrup) with high school students all the way in Mumbai, India.

Courtesy of our sponsor, Baker Hughes, Energy4me participated in the Students STEM Day alongside the Oil & Gas India Conference and Exhibition. Darcy Spady, 2018 SPE President, visited the workshop to speak about the vital role SPE serves in the oil and gas industry.

“The students really enjoyed discovering how humans found oil before modern technology was invented,” said Zunaid Jooma, SPE’s education specialist. “In one activity, we experimented with sound waves to teach the concepts of searching beneath the earth’s surface without being able to see through the ground with radar. Sound waves allow us to see what we cannot see deep underground.”

Students were treated to a free copy of our Oil & Natural Gas book, which highlights everything you need to know about the history and discovery of oil to its uses in life today. They also toured the conference exhibition floor, where they met representatives of the various companies that operate in the region.  

“This was an amazing opportunity to see the inner workings of the industry so I could decide if this is where I would like to spend my career,” said grade 11 student Shoaib Aggrawal.

If your company would like to sponsor a workshop, contact us at energyed@spe.org

Nigeria Section Conducts Energy4me Workshop

The Lagos Nigeria Section conducted a day-long Energy4me workshop in February. The workshop kicked-off with welcome remarks and overview by the Ehimhen Agunloye, section chair. Assistant program chair, Rita Okoroafor, described the oil and gas industry basics to the 77 students and 20 teachers. Afterward, Collins Onyeukwu spoke to the students about career opportunities in the industry. The students were excited about the information they learned and posed several energy-related questions to these speakers.

During the workshop, students conducted four Energy4me activities: Cartesian Diver, Perforated Well Casing, Density and Getting the Oil Out.

Several section board members and young professionals were on hand to explain these hands-on activities and how they relate to the oil and gas industry. The secondary school students and their teachers took turns asking questions; some took part in the Cartesian Diver and others answered quiz questions from the facilitators.

The students rotated in batches from table to table until everyone participated in all four activities. The students watched an animated video of the drilling process, through cementing, perforation and production.

 

 

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!”

 

 

 

SPE Aberdeen invests $247,000 to support STEM education

Because of skills gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in the UK, the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) Aberdeen Section has reported investing almost $250,000 (£200,000) over five years to support initiatives designed around these subjects.

SPE Aberdeen’s Schools and Careers Guidance Committee plays a significant role in encouraging young people to study STEM subjects, which are fundamental to the energy industry’s future workforce. Activities such as workshops at the Techfest Festival of Science, which take place in Aberdeen, are supported by profits from SPE Aberdeen events and offer thousands of children the opportunity to get a hands-on introduction to STEM subjects each year.

Another important enterprise that SPE has supported over the years is Inside Industry, the only tool of its kind focused on providing first-class, industry-driven career information and advice. The career guidance website, which is targeted specifically toward the energy industry, has been rolled out across 300 schools in Scotland.

Since 2011, SPE Aberdeen has invested $98,000 (almost £80,000) in scholarships to support students studying oil and gas related qualifications to relieve the financial stresses faced by students and allow them to focus on their studies.

“Inspiring the next generation has always been, and continues to be, at the heart of SPE Aberdeen,” said Ian Phillips, Chairman of SPE Aberdeen. “We are committed to encouraging and supporting the industry’s next generation of talent by providing opportunities that otherwise would not be available. The oil and gas industry has a long future ahead, and it is essential that we do all we can to equip the future workforce with skills they need to drive it forward.”

All of SPE Aberdeen’s initiatives are funded by profit generated from its annual program of events, such as the Offshore Achievement Awards, its monthly technical presentations and networking meetings, and topical conferences including DEVEX, the SPE ICoTA Well Intervention Conference and the SPE European Well Abandonment Seminar.

As well as key initiatives such as Techfest, Inside Industry and student scholarships, other events and workshops which benefit from these profits include CV workshops and industry exhibition tours for pupils and teachers, creating vital links between schools and industry.

In addition to the financial support given by SPE Aberdeen, the volunteers in each committee give their time and expertise to develop and deliver workshops, events and share their passion and enthusiasm for STEM and the industry.

“The events we run not only encourage knowledge sharing and professional development, but also play a direct link in supporting the talent of tomorrow,” Phillips said. “One such example is the Offshore Achievement Awards. As well as celebrating success and innovation across the industry, the awards also provide the wherewithal to attract the next generation of workers.

“It’s particularly important in this current market climate that we work even harder to encourage the next generation to pursue interests in the industry, and reinvesting back into key events and initiatives through the offshore awards is a fantastic way to do so.”

The Offshore Achievement Awards will take place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on Thursday, 23 March, 2017. For more information please visit: http://www.spe-oaa.org/

 

 

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.”

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.

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!