University of Wyoming offers new energy course

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LARAMIE, Wyo - Wyoming’s stature among energy-producing states in the U.S. is a lofty one, and a new course within the University of Wyoming’s Summer High School Institute (HSI) will help students understand why that is important.

Tawfik Elshehabi, a UW Department of Petroleum Engineering associate lecturer, will present “Wyoming Energy 4 You” during the summer session of HSI, which takes place June 10-30. Since 1985, Wyoming's rising junior students have had the opportunity to have their first taste of college life while attending the program. HSI offers courses in the science fields, as well as the humanities, and UW will host 97 scholars for the summer program.

Elshehabi, who began as an instructor at UW in fall 2017, recently taught a course called “Fundamentals of Petroleum Engineering” to students in the department. The curriculum covers all facets of oil and gas exploration, production and completion, using resources like the Shell 3-D Visualization Laboratory and the WPX Drilling Simulator Teaching Laboratory. The feedback from students was very positive, so he had the idea to introduce the class concepts to high school students. It represents the first time that a petroleum engineering curriculum has been a significant part of HSI.

“The state has many energy resources, including coal, wind and solar, but this class will focus on how Wyoming has some of the most accessible and abundant energy in the world in its oil and gas fields,” Elshehabi says. “The potential of Wyoming and its students will be tapped, using some of the most advanced teaching tools available.”

Much of Elshehabi’s experience comes from his time teaching at West Virginia University. He has experience working with student groups in various competitions for organizations like the Society of Petroleum Engineers and American Association of Drilling Engineers.

The HSI course will introduce the history of Wyoming oil and natural gas, where it started and where it is going. Topics of oil and gas generation, exploration, drilling, production and processing will be introduced, and will feature hands-on activities such as measuring reservoir rock properties; testing drilling fluids properties; and drilling a well on a full-sized drilling rig simulator. It also will include a field trip to the HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refinery.