Appalachian Basin

OOGEEP Teacher Workshop Shows History, Future of Oil & Gas

For the last fourteen years, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program has been holding teacher workshops aimed at providing information about the oil and gas industry.  Now that  more Ohioans are hearing about the incredible opportunities stemming from shale development, these workshops are taking off!

Not only can teachers bring information back to their classroom and earn their continuing education units, but they can also receive Ashland University graduate credit for their participation.  Teachers are even given resources such as lesson plans, classroom supplies, and many other educational materials.

The two-day workshop started with OOGEEP Director Rhonda Reda and several guest speakers leading information sessions on topics starting with geological formations, going through the entire development process, and the products we use every day that come from oil and gas.  That night, attendees had the opportunity to network with other educators and industry representatives on a riverboat reception on the Ohio River.

The second day, the enthusiastic group of teachers boarded a bus and headed out on a field trip.  The outing included four stops aimed at highlighting the various steps of oil and gas development.

First stop, Miller Supply in Marietta.  The group learned the supply center provides everything the oil and gas industry needs from when they start the project to completion and beyond.  Teachers were able to walk around the supply field through hundreds of pipes that will soon be put to  use in natural gas wells.  They also got first hand looks at pumps that will be on sites in their home counties.  Many in the group cheered as Scott Craycraft of Miller Supply pointed out that many of the pipes the group were seeing were made from recycled steel scraps.

Miller Supply

Next, the group ventured to Ohio Oil Gathering Corp’s Bell Run Station where they learned the facility receives oil produced around the region and is then sent to get refined.  The facility’s prime location on the Ohio River gives them the advantage of transporting the oil on barges.

Ohio Oil Gathering Corp

After a break for lunch (and a perfect photo-op), the teachers headed to Dominion Ludlow Compressor Station to learn what happens to most of southeast Ohio’s natural gas before it is sent to market.  The station moves five million cubic feet  of natural gas per day.  Marty Miller of Alliance Petroleum put that in perspective by pointing out that the approximately 500 wells, like those feeding into this station, produce around the same amount of natural gas as one Utica Shale well.  This means more production and less surface impact while creating jobs and cheaper energy sources for Ohioans.

Dominion Ludlow Compressor Station

The last stop won’t be easy for the teachers to forget.  The group was led far into the woods to a near 100-year-old cable tool rig.  You read that correctly – one-hundred years old!

The rig powered three wells around the area using a big wheel (featured below) and is started by actual manpower.  Teachers gathered around as crude oil started to come out of the ground and into a container in front of them.  OOGEEP’s Rhonda Reda mentioned that Ohio is coming up on its 200 year anniversary of the state’s first oil rig and hopes that seeing a structure like this will show people how far the industry and the amazing technology it utilizes has come.

Crude Oil from Cable Tool Rig

During the field trip, EID-O had a chance to speak to some of the teachers in attendance and pique their interest.  Kathy Duckworth of Marietta City Schools came because an email from administrator sparked her interest.

Today tied it all together. We actually saw the pipelines, pieces being made, the wells and the distribution centers. So you get to see the entire thing from beginning to end.—Kathy Duckworth (:21)

Heather Hesson, a life sciences teacher at Caldwell High School told us about the necessity of the process and her realization of it all happening in her backyard:

I’m locally from this area and didn’t realize that it’s in my backyard.  I have family that does and have worked in the business in different aspects of it and I never fully understood it until today—Heather Hesson (:46)

Coleman McCoy, an Energy Sciences and Physical Sciences teacher at New Lexington High School, heard about the workshop when he was inquiring about a petroleum engineering program at Zane State College.  He emphasized the opportunities for his students that the program highlighted:

I think the best thing I’m going to take away is just the amount of jobs that I can hopefully take back to these students.  We saw the supply line, we saw production, we saw them actually out on the field, we saw a pump processing plant, so I think being able to take all that back and show these kids the vast avenues and gainful employment hopefully they can get—Coleman McCoy (1:22)

Hesson echoed McCoy, emphasizing the opportunities for students who choose to go on to college or take the vocational route:

From the petroleum engineering, for the kids that are really superb in their math and science skills, to the technician jobs that they are really looking for right now for kids that are going the vocational route, there are a lot of job opportunities there.  There’s a lot we can take back to our kids, career-wise, that they’re looking for right now, which is great—Heather Hesson (1:44)

Like Hesson and McCoy, many of the workshop’s teachers realized the opportunities that will be available for their students because of shale development.  OOGEEP has compiled lists, categories, and qualifications for plenty of jobs in the industry.  With growing energy needs and new avenues to fill them, today’s students will fill tomorrow’s jobs and Ohio will be a huge part of that.  Three more workshops will be held in Ohio before September and they couldn’t come at a more important time in Ohio’s history.  It is important for Ohioans to be educated on the oil and gas industry to ensure safe and successful development as technology continues to provide opportunities.  Marty Miller said it best on the bus ride home:

“We’re sitting on it, and this technology is changing the game.”

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