Seneca Resources Company LLC, has donated equipment to the petroleum technology program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford that will give students hands-on experience.
Dr. Ovidiu Frantescu, assistant professor of petroleum technology and director of the program, said that Seneca Resources provided a pump jack, a separator, a heater treater and a storage unit that will allow Pitt-Bradford to build a mock oil production pad on campus. Seneca Resources is the exploration and production segment of National Fuel Gas Company.
Victoria Cooper, representative, stakeholder relations for Seneca Resources, said, “Providing a realistic job preview is an important component of Seneca Resources’ outreach efforts and is why we give tours of our Pennsylvania operations to so many colleges. By donating this decommissioned equipment to Pitt-Bradford, we are bringing that reality to the doorstep of the classroom.”
Frantescu said that the mock pad should be set up on the western end of campus by late spring, and he hopes to be able to have students using it by the end of the semester.
“This will give students hands-on experience from the safety of campus,” he said. “And we can have access to it 24-7. Students can see it as many times as they want. And they can go back on their own as well.”
Although the pad will not actually pump oil or have it flowing through its system, Frantescu plans to install sensors to simulate real situations that students might run into in the field.
A-N-O Oilfield Services delivered the equipment last month. Frantescu explained what each of the components does – pumping oil from the ground, separating it from water, heating it to speed the separation of oil and water, and storing the oil.
Pitt-Bradford’s Associate of Science in petroleum technology was one of the university’s first degree-granting programs. The university stopped offering the program during the 1980s when low oil prices and declining U.S. production resulted in a decreased demand for petroleum workers. In the 2000s, the local petroleum industry asked Pitt-Bradford to restart the program to provide workers for the Marcellus Shale gas field.
Pennsylvania General Energy Co. of Warren, Universal Well Services and American Refining Group have all recruited graduates of the program, one of only a few in the northeast. Students learn about the petroleum industry, environmental and safety regulations, monitoring systems, the physics and mechanics of drilling and processing, and the chemistry and geology of hydrocarbons.
Seneca Resources explores for and develops natural gas and oil reserves in California and Appalachia, including the Marcellus and Utica shales, and has provided Pennsylvania energy and jobs for more than 100 years. Additional information about Seneca Resources is available at www.nationalfuelgas.com.