Petroleum

Fracturing with gelatin

Making gelatin is fun, and it certainly is delicious. But fracturing gelatin from the inside is a cracking good time.

Hydraulic fracturing was one of the experiments conducted by the SPE Calgary Section during a recent school visit. About 60 students participated in a range of Energy4me activities where they learned concepts such as porosity and perforated well casings in addition to hydraulic fracturing.

Dispelling many of the myths about this form of hydrocarbon production, SPE members explained to students about the technical aspects that are involved in the process, and why it is one of the most regulated and safest forms of hydrocarbon production. The Society of Petroleum Engineers provides good information on hydraulic fracturing on the Energy4me website.

Through Energy4me’s hands-on activities, the students also saw first-hand the results of core sampling on different sub-surface terrains. The SPE members offered instruction on why it is important to use science when investigating what is beneath the surface during hydrocarbon exploration.

From porosity to perforated well casing, students left with a better understanding of the various steps that go into exploration and production.

Globally, Energy4me excites students about the oil and gas industry. Through its award-winning program, Energy4me teaches students that engineers are investigators and problem solvers, often leading to new technologies and innovations for the world’s energy needs.

 

Sometimes, the right equipment is a spoon

It pays to have the right tool.

That’s the lesson high school students in San Antonio, Texas, learned during an Energy4me workshop. Nearly 100 students competed in the hands-on activity, which challenges them to produce and refine the most amount of oil in the quickest time with the least (or no) amount of spillage or other complications.

Just like real life!

During the activity, students can purchase or exchange various tools that represent advancing technologies in oil and gas exploration. In one game, they learn about exploration, project management and negotiating.

“I loved the peak oil game because it taught me the importance of having the right equipment and right team when doing a task,” one student said.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers conducts Energy4me workshops and presentations all over the world. Through extensive use of hands-on activities, this innovating program, working in conjunction with the NEED project, encourages students to study engineering. In particular, the peak oil game teaches students the value of exploring for and producing hydrocarbons.

Studies prove that hands-on activities create connections between the classroom and real-world situations. This style of teaching also nurtures critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are traits that many employers value.

“The Energy4me workshops not only are a lot of fun for the students, but they also are incredibly educational,” said Mary Spruill, NEED executive director. “Because we use hands-on activities, students do not passively listen to a lecture; they must think through a problem or situation. They learn that they can interpret data, which is a fundamental skill for engineers.”

After completing the activity portion of the workshop, students were then treated to a tour of the exhibition floor where they see all of the technology they just learned. The tour is a true highlight of the workshop and the only way that students can access an SPE exhibit floor.

At the same time, the students were learning about oil and gas, 20 science teachers took part in a separate workshop. Energy4me believes that if we educate a teacher, we educate generations of aspiring engineers.

A 5th grade science teacher said, “I now see the importance of combining hands-on experiments with theory to help increase students understanding.”

Teachers receive a free digital version of the Energy4me teacher kit, which includes many resources that they can take back to the classroom. Teachers also get an exhibition tour.

 

 

Space? Petroleum Engineering? Yes, There’s a Connection!

Just like with any industry, there is always an eye to the future. This also rings true regarding the future of petroleum engineering. In the March issue of the Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT), an article titled “Exploring the Deep Earth and Deep Space: What role does the petroleum industry play?” dove deep into the subject.

The article has interesting points about the future of petroleum engineering in space including how exciting hydrocarbon discoveries of mind-bending quantities are being made in the far reaches of our solar system and even in our own Milky Way galaxy. 

It also references a new paper by scientists on NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission, which finds that blocks of hydrocarbon ice might float upon the surface of existing lakes and seas of liquid methane, and ethane on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. 

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Keeping alive the interplay between advances in understanding deep Earth, deep space, and the needs of the petroleum industry may lead us to a future shaped more by the intersection of these pursuits. 

What do you think? Would you take your career to space?

Send us a note to energyed@SPE.org if you would like a copy of the article.

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IEA Says U.S. to be Biggest Oil Producer by 2020

According to a new forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer before 2020 and will be energy independent 10 years later.

The U.S. is experiencing an oil boom in large part thanks to high world prices and new technologies, including hydraulic fracturing, according to the report, that have made the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock commercially viable.

“The United States, which currently imports around 20% of its total energy needs, becomes all but self sufficient in net terms — a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries,” the IEA stated.

Iraq is set to become the second largest oil exporter by the 2030s, as it expands output to take advantage of demand from fast growing Asian economies.

Read the IEA report in the World Energy Outlook HERE.

What are your thought s on this projection? What does this news mean in your part of the world? How will it affect you?

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Energy Education Happening Globally at SPE Events!

Did you know that Energy4me energy education events are held globally in conjunction with events, SPE sections, and SPE student chapters?  Below is more information on upcoming Energy4me workshops and activities! Get involved!

 

Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2012 –http://www.spe.org/events/adipec/2012/pages/schedule/young_members.php 

Education Week – 9-13 November 2012: This four day programme is for the benefit of the best undergraduate geosciences and engineering students from international institutions. It is anticipated that some 60-80 students will be selected to attend the program. Students’ expenses will be fully covered through sponsorships. The purpose of this programme is to give the students a clear insight into the industry that they are about to join; to allow them to return to their universities and colleges with a positive story to relate to their fellow students; and to provide opportunities for students to form new friendships and to work together on joint activities. 

Teachers Workshop – 13 November 2012: Teachers’ workshop will be focused on educating the teachers about the energy world. SPE will ensure that educators will receive comprehensive, objective information about the scientific concepts of energy and its importance while discovering the world of oil and natural gas exploration and production. A variety of free instructional materials will be available to take back to the classroom. 

Education Day – 14 November 2012: Education Day is an initiative to introduce students to the discipline of petroleum engineering, and the industry in general. Targeting High School Students, (Grade 10 to Grade 12), invited industry professionals will share their experience with students and deliver talks on topics of general interest and relevance to the industry. The students will be given free access to the exhibition area during ADIPEC. They will be able to see firsthand the high end technology used by engineers and the sophisticated software available for solving many engineering problems. It is hoped that they will leave the conference with a better understanding of what petroleum engineers do and their role in the broader community. Equally important, they will also become aware that a petroleum engineering career is full of challenges, teamwork and responsibilities. 

Additionally, there will be “Education Days” at the below upcoming SPE events: 

SPE Middle East Unconventional Gas Conference and Exhibition (UGAS) 28-30 January 2013 – http://www.spe.org/events/ugas/2013/index.php 

SPE Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MEOS) 10-13 March 2013 – http://www.imexmanagement.com/show/70/meos-2013/

 

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How Kids Teaching Kids Works in My Classroom

 

Guest blog by Jeannine Huffman, CTE Energy & Design Instructor, San Joaquin County Office of Education – Stockton, CA. Courtesy of The NEED Project.

How did Jeannine Huffman convince her students to not only want to learn about energy content, but remember it as well? Her strategy was kids teaching kids… read more in this fascinating blog post!

At the end of the school year my high school students know energy transformations, energy sources, and electricity generation by heart. In fact, when Pacific Gas and Electric sent a team to help students conduct an energy audit, the professionals said that our students were the only students they had ever worked with who could name every form and source of energy, each transformation, and how electricity was generated.

How did I accomplish this? I first had to convince my students at the beginning of each year to want to learn and remember the energy content.  I did this by introducing them to the Learning Pyramid. I have known about the Learning Pyramid, but have not had an opportunity to fully put its method into action until I began using NEED curriculum. I have grown more and more convinced that the Pyramid is representative of the belief that when Kids Teach Kids they retain and apply the content more effectively.

How does it work in my classroom?  I post the Learning Pyramid Chart and refer to it during class, reminding the students that our goal is to reach the top. At the bottom of the chart is Lecture 5%, so I say to my students, “If I stand up here and lecture, you will only remember 5%. In fact, you probably wonder how you are ever going to remember everything.” Student buy-in is critical and right away they see on the chart that they will only remember 10% if they read along with my lecture. As students move up the chart, adding visuals to reading and lecture, the retention increases to 20%. This affords the students a chance to tap into their meta-cognitive skills which means they are thinking about their own learning and taking personal responsibility to examine how they learn.

Demonstrations help students remember a concept but it has been suggested that they will only remember 30%.   How do I know this? When asked to explain energy transformations, or energy flow from the sun, most cannot explain the concept completely. Allowing students to discuss in groups and as a class may increase their retained knowledge up to 50%.  As a teacher you will reap rewards, and they will too, by allowing them to discuss and collaborate.  It is OK for a classroom to be noisy.  Science and technology aren’t silent.   After demonstrations and discussion about half the class can explain the energy flow well.

When students practice by doing, the retention can increase to 75%.  Through repetition, most students are able to easily explain the energy transformation. Let your students experiment, explore and work in teams. It is more work for you to set up multiple labs, but the return on the investment of teacher time is significant.  NEED’s hands-on kits (wind, solar, Science of Energy and more) come with equipment for demonstrations and experiments like the Hand Generated Flashlight that students use to see how motion energy transforms to electrical energy.  Hands-on learning always requires more investment of time in the classroom, but it pays off in student performance and classroom success.

The biggest return on the investment is when students are afforded the opportunity to teach others. This is not a surprise to NEED teachers. For example, once you became a teacher, your first lecture on electrons made much more sense and led to more personal understanding.  The same holds true for your students. Unless they can explain each step accurately, they do not really understand the concept. What a perfect way to assess your students on the spot! The work that goes into preparing to teach a class prepares students for energy presentations and other academic presentations they will give throughout the year. It is an effective, and fun, way to bring important concepts about energy out of the classroom and into the community.  Teach each other, teach others.

What is the gain by taking extra classroom time for every student to teach each other? A whopping 90%.  I believe it! There is a great deal of satisfaction in observing them as they teach and as I assess them informally.  Once students are trained in this method, they know they do not leave the classroom until they have taught others. By the time the student teams have practiced and presented lessons, they have heard the concepts better than they ever expected.  Moreover, students seem to compete with one another to see who can give the best presentation! The classroom becomes a truly cooperative learning space and students all pay better attention, are more engaged and accountability and responsibility for learning skyrockets.  One freshman, who was struggling to grasp a concept after several attempts to explain, finally had an AH HA! moment and said, “I will never forget this!” This is what a teacher lives for!

To embed this knowledge, I reinforce regularly in a playful way. Out of the blue I will say, “I just heard a noise outside who can trace that energy flow from the sun?” Hands shoot up as students have become very aware of energy around them.

This about this:  I was talking with my niece about teaching electrolytes in my chemistry class. My niece said, “I memorized what the definition of an electrolyte was and passed my chemistry class last year, but I can’t even tell you what it is now.” This statement disturbed me. How many of us are good at memorizing facts but still don’t know how to apply that knowledge? Teach them to teach and they will never forget!

I love the NEED curriculum.  But it is only recently that I have come to realize the importance of the motto, “Kids Teaching Kids.” It was not until I had firsthand experience with the Learning Pyramid that see and know how well it works.

Learn more about the NEED project at www.NEED.org

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Visit a Petroleum Museum… They Tell Fascinating Stories!

Want to enhance your knowledge of the petroleum industry? How about a petroleum museum! At the museums, watch history come to life with interactive displays, informative guides, and live demonstrations. Some even have specific, focused, elementary, middle and high school educational tours. From Calgary to France to West Virginia, petroleum museums tell fascinating stories of oil discovery, production, to showcasing some of the modern uses of oil you might not know about.

For instance, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Energy exhibit, the Exploration gallery features the latest techniques used to search for hydrocarbons, from magnetometers and gravimeters to seismic vibrator trucks. In the Geology in the Field interactive, gaze across a barren, mountainous landscape, and watch as holographic illusions of two petroleum geologists materialize and explain what they are doing in the middle of nowhere. A massive Vibroseis truck interrupts them, sending its booming vibrations deep into the rock below.

At the Indonesian Oil and Gas Museum, the exhibits display how important the role of oil and gas is as the source of energy, for fuel, lubricants and petrochemical products. There’s even an oil tree that symbolically displays at its branches various products resulting from the refinery processes of oil and gas.

Check out our full petroleum museum listings HERE. Have plans to attend one on the list? Share your experience with us by Joining the conversation on Facebook— www.Facebook.com/Energy4me. You can also connect with us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Energy4me!  

Back to School With Energy Ant!

This week’s blog is courtesy of Mary E. Spruill, Executive Director, National Energy Education Development (NEED).

Enjoy!

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Welcome back to school, teachers! Can it really be that time again? All of us who are fortunate to work with teachers and students know that summer is a busy time. We refresh, we attend and deliver professional development, we try to take some much-needed vacation, and we start planning for the upcoming school year.

Over the summer, all of us at The NEED Project have worked with hundreds of teachers and students to help them integrate more energy information and lessons into their classrooms and afterschool programs. Without a doubt, one of the most popular resources we use is Energy Kids, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) site for students and teachers. Energy Kids is an extraordinary — and free — resource for teachers and students at all grade levels. Hosted by Energy Ant, the site provides facts, statistics, and educational graphics about the energy sources we use today, the science of energy, electricity generation, transportation, and energy efficiency.

As we all think about our energy education efforts this fall, we thought it would be a good idea to share some of the tools that Energy Kids offers. Are your students confused about therms, cubic feet, and British thermal units? Energy Kids has Energy Calculators designed specifically to help compare the units used to measure energy. The lessons about how we measure, buy and sell energy resources are every day lessons we hear about on the news. If you have students who always say “How big is it?” “How much is that?” These calculators are for them.

Energy Kids also provides resources for teaching about the history of energy and the people who paved the way for energy usage as we know it today. These include Energy Timelines and Famous People pages. Have a lesson that has students researching famous people and writing or presenting about them? Why not choose one of these energy pioneers?

As students expand their vocabulary about energy and energy issues, checking out the Energy Glossary is a great idea. And from there, you can check out how some of the oddest energy terms — Christmas trees? Cat crackers? Dog houses? — come from the slang used by the energy industry. Energy Slang is a huge favorite among teachers and students — it is a must see.

There are so many great resources available on Energy Kids. Take some time, introduce your students to the pages, check out the Teacher Guide to using Energy Kids and go ahead and have your students embark upon the Energy Kids Scavenger Hunt too. Energy Ant, with help from the great team at EIA, helps students (and adults, too) understand the basics of how energy is produced and used.

Energy Ant has traveled the globe visiting energy facilities and sharing his experiences with students and teachers in the Energy Ant Journal. Want to understand how refineries, offshore platforms, nuclear power stations and more energy facilities work? Energy Ant has been there and can help students understand what goes on behind the fence at many of the nation’s largest energy facilities.

Just this past June, Energy Ant was a special guest at the 32nd Annual NEED Youth Awards for Energy Achievement hosted in Washington, D.C. With more than 750 teachers and students in attendance to receive awards for outstanding energy education efforts in their local communities, Energy Ant toured Washington, D.C. and students looked for him around the city. Students who found him learned more about energy and received valuable energy prizes. It was a hot day, but everyone (including Energy Ant) had a good time.

So from all of us in energy education to you and your students— welcome back, have a great school year, and we hope you’ll find the resources and tools you need to make teaching and learning about energy fun!

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How Oil Drilling Works?

How does a company go about finding oil and pumping it from the ground? You may have seen images of black crude oil gushing out of the ground, or seen an oil well in movies and television shows like “Giant,” “Oklahoma Crude,” “Armageddon” and “Beverly Hillbillies.” But modern oil production is quite different from the way it’s portrayed in the movies.

Foreign guest workers drill at the Saudi Aramco oil-field complex facilities at Shaybah in the Rub’ al Khali (empty quarter) desert in March 2003 in Shaybah, Saudi Arabia. The Shaybah oil field reportedly produces 750,000 barrels per day. Courtesy: Reza/Getty Images

This article, from www.HowStuffWorks.com, examines how modern oil exploration and drilling works. It discusses how oil is formed, found and extracted from the ground.

Give it a read and let us know what you think!

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