In July, 32 SPE members volunteered to teach the Energy4me program to nearly 600 6th and 7th grade students at the San Jose de Orito School and Jorge Eliecer Gaitan School in Orito, Colombia. The three-day event was a big hit among students and teachers. “With students, it is always important to do a hands-on activity since they are very curious,” said Jenny Bravo, teacher at San Jose de Orito School. “The activity is a motivation for their classes; many of them want to be engineers. When the students work with the volunteers, they have an incentive to continue their studies in university. I notice you were able to motivate them.”
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.”
The Energy4me blog staff recently caught up with SPE member Jennifer Miskimins and asked her thoughts on being a woman in the petroleum engineering field. She also offers excellent advice on being a volunteer for Energy4me. Check out her video here:
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!”
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/
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”.
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.”
We’ve been traveling worldwide this fall bringing energy education to teachers and students. In October, we visited Calgary, Moscow, Adelaide and Amsterdam! Hear from one of our amazing SPE member volunteers as she shares about the high school student event in South Australia:
Helena Wu (Santos), SPE South Australian Section Vice Chair
On Wednesday 15th October, students and teachers from 7 local schools participated in an Education & Teachers’ Day held in Adelaide, Australia. The event aimed to introduce high school students in grades 9 and 10 and their teachers, to Petroleum Engineering and the broader oil and gas industry.
The one day event was organised in conjunction with the 2014 Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition (APOGCE), held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 14-16 October 2014.
“A teacher has since informed us that after attending this event, at least two of his students had switched to include STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in their Year 11 enrolment next year,” said James Griffiths, 2014 APOGCE Education & Teachers’ Day Chairperson, and South Australian Section Community Liaison Chair. “We were extremely pleased to hear the event has made a difference,” he added.
“The diversity in student participation was also encouraging, with 35% females and 65% males, as well as 3 public schools and 4 private schools participating,” James said.
The day kicked off with a welcome from 2016 SPE President Dr Nathan Meehan, who broke the ice by demonstrating his juggling abilities while sharing insights on the industry.
After a quick ‘Mythbusters’ quiz designed to challenge common misconceptions, local SPE members Carrie Trembath (Beach Energy) and Steven Travers (Baker Hughes) explained how oil and gas is discovered, extracted and turned into everyday end products.
A number of hands on activities followed to reinforce concepts learnt and to spark interest – these included a close look at core samples (Nick Lemon, Santos), mixing frac fluids (Mary McGowen and team, Halliburton) and an intense Energy4Me game (Jenni and Lou, SPE).
Over lunch, young professionals David Warren and Helena Wu (Santos) shared stories on why they studied engineering and their career journeys to date.
In the afternoon, students toured the 700+ sqm exhibition area in small groups guided by local SPE members. This provided the opportunity for students to see first-hand, some of the high-end technologies developed by engineers and used within our industry.
Inspired (and loaded with freebies), the day concluded with a presentation on school subject choices recommended for engineering and a quick Q&A and Feedback session.
The Teachers’ Day programme was split off in the afternoon, to enable teachers to receive comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its importance in society.
Special sessions were organised resulting in the teachers spending time with 2016 SPE President Dr Nathan Meehan and SPE Energy4Me instructors, Jenni and Lou, who flew in from Texas and Dubai for this event. A higher level exhibition tour was also conducted.
The SPE South Australian Section would like to acknowledge and thank James Griffiths (Santos) and Nicole Ditty (University of Adelaide) for their hard work and dedication over the past 18 months to make the event an absolute success.
Further information on 2014 APOGCE Education & Teachers’ Day is available at: http://www.spe.org/events/apogce/2014/pages/schedule/education_day.php
By Helena Wu, SPE South Australian Section Vice Chairperson
How do you keep over 20,000 students, parents and children of all ages, dazzled and entranced in the science of oil and gas?
After months of planning, the SPE South Australian Section brought the science of oil and gas to life, at the recent 2014 Science Alive! event. In its first foray into this annual expo, the South Australian Section partnered up with two local sections of other professional societies to share a 6m x 6m booth titled ‘Discover the Science of Oil and Gas’.
Held from 8-10 August at the local showgrounds, Science Alive! is a three day science and technology expo which attracted over 4,000 students on the Friday ‘Careers Day’ and an estimated 20,000 children and parents on the weekend public opening.
Through a mixture of presentations, exhibits and hands on activities, attendees were provided with an understanding of the petroleum lifecycle, starting from generation and migration, right through to production and integration into everyday society.
SPE members volunteering at the booth were kept busy dispelling common perceptions of oil and gas being found in underground caverns. “Many were surprised by the numerous everyday products made from petroleum,” said James Griffiths, Event Coordinator and Community Liaison Chair for SPE South Australian Section.
Prior to the event, SPE Senior Manager Communication and Energy Education, Paige McCown and SPE Southern Asia Pacific Regional Director, John Boardman, made a special donation of Energy4Me materials to the section, which were well utilised for the event. The bookmarks proved to be most popular, while both students and parents shifted through the career brochures and quizzed each other using the IQ test questions.
The thinking caps are already out to ensure next year’s booth will be even bigger and better!
For more information about Science Alive! and Australia’s annual National Science Week, visit http://www.scienceweek.net.au/science-alive-2014/.
Earlier this spring, the Lagos section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers trained local teachers on Energy4me curriculum who then taught energy programs at their schools. Hear about their experience below, and see the energy education happening in the photos!
In a move first of its kind in Nigeria, the Society of Petroleum Engineers has collaborated with the Lagos Power Kids Program to bring Energy4me to 50 secondary schools in Lagos state. The Lagos Power Kids Program is an initiative of the Lagos state government as part of the power sector development plan to help improve energy efficiency and conservation practice among its citizens. The Power kids program is an interactive, extra-curricular club activity specifically aimed at students of the junior secondary school sector and currently runs as a reward for the top schools which won the Governor’s award for Public schools. One thousand students participated in the program.
SPE prepared the oil and gas module and distributed the Energy4me packs and posters for the students and lecturers. On March 4th 2014, SPE Lagos section held a teach the trainers workshop where the 50 teachers and 10 supervisors were taken through the module and the experiment. The Lagos section volunteers had an interactive session with the teachers answering various questions posed by them. The pictures below complete the story.
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We often get requests from students working on career projects for interviews with petroleum engineers. There is a wide range of specialties in the field and we get a variety of intriguing answers. So, we thought we’d share one our most recent student interviews!
Our guest interviewer is Joseph, a middle school student interested in studying engineering, and he is interviewing Mollie, a Field Engineer.
What education is necessary to be a successful Petroleum Engineer?
To be a successful Petroleum Engineer you should be willing to adapt to changing technology and constantly reading and talking to people about what’s going on in the industry. An advanced degree in engineering is necessary for most jobs; although you might not need a degree specific in petroleum engineering (mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and electrical engineering B.S. degree holders can also get jobs in petroleum field).
How would you describe your job?
My job is always changing. Working in operations I have many roles to fill and I have to make decisions that impact our business. If tools/ equipment break in the field, you have to use the resources available to you to fix it and you might not have a backup piece of equipment. You become very good, very quickly at all sorts of things: electrical wiring, computer repair, diesel engine maintenance just to name a few.
What does the day to day schedule of a Petroleum Engineer include?
My schedule includes trips to the well sites my crews are working on and many client meetings. I work on planning and designing field operations with instructions from clients on what they are looking for or with a problem they might be having with their well.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a Petroleum Engineer?
Learn as much as you can about engineering and participate in any science fairs/ science projects you can in school and as part of after school activities.
What does the future in the industry of the Petroleum Engineering look like?
Busy. There are more and more fields being worked on for EOR (enhanced oil recovery) and for developing new technologies. Water along with oil will soon become one of the most precious resources that we have to use and manage. Fracing takes a lot of water and managing your water supply and recycling water for use in many wells will be becoming a common practice, even though the technology to do it right now is expensive.
Are there enough Petroleum Engineers to fulfill the demand for them?
No. There are many open positions available to Petroleum Engineers and many companies are hiring currently because there are not enough.
Why did you want to be a Petroleum Engineer?
When I was looking for jobs after college, I wanted a job that would allow me to engineer in the field and not behind a desk. I wanted to work on new and developing technologies. I worked on rigs and on frac sites and didn’t know that I wanted to be a Petroleum Engineer until I worked in oilfield operations and learned the impact I could make on the industry and operations.
Can you see the impact that you’re having on the world as a Petroleum Engineer?
Yes, every day I work with my crews on frac locations and know that we are completing wells which will produce energy for the US and the world. My crews and I strive to complete these wells with the highest degree of safety in mind and we also strive to protect the environment while working on these locations, minimizing our use of solvents and chemicals, separating our waste products and recycling what we can. We try to produce energy but not waste it.
If you or a student you know is interested in interviewing an engineer, let us know! Contact us here – we’d love to put you in touch with one of our experts.
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