Over 35,000 petroleum engineers work in the United States each year.
They work at drilling sites under the hot desert sun, in the cool air of the Arctic, and up against waves in the high seas.
They're also in laboratories doing research and conducting experiments to ensure petroleum consumption demands are met.
Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition (LAGCOE) is working to educate K-12 students on petroleum engineering.
The non-profit energy organization is setting up a petroleum exhibit to educate students. LAGCOE is collaborating with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette School of Geology Department and the Lafayette Science Museum.
LAGCOE's first official meeting took place in the parking lot of The Oil Center building in 1953. 62 years later, the group still cultivates economic growth and awareness in the energy industry.
The final form of a product derived from petroleum is just the tip of the iceberg.
As a consumer, access to petroleum products is simple. You put toothpaste on your toothbrush in the morning and fill your gas tank on your commute to work. Most people are aware that the process is complicated, but may not know how much subject knowledge is required to get the job done.
Petroleum engineering depends on physics, chemistry, geology, statistics, economics, geophysics, reservoir engineering and knowledge of artificial lift systems. It can extend even more in special circumstances.
For pre-collegiate education, information about the petroleum industry as a whole is not usually a part of the curriculum.
Young Professionals of LAGCOE
The company also established a program known as Young Professionals of LAGCOE (YPL). Their mission is to raise money for the LAGCOE Education Fund and contribute to the next generation of energy industry leaders.
YPL participates in networking events. These allow students to meet with leaders of the oil industry. Such programs can be effective for students to inspire a career path and give them long-term professional goals.
Resources available to YPL includes access to LAGCOE technical and international presentations. Participating in these quarterly events helps to bring the community closer together, a goal of the Petroleum Exhibit.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects have become more popular for students to study. Teaching the subjects cohesively makes way for real-world practice. LAGCOE has also given five students $43,000 in Future Energy Professional scholarships.
Petroleum has a place in pharmaceuticals.
In recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has promoted STEM subjects as well. The industry employs approximately 854,000 people a year but is expecting a deficit over the next decade.
Products such as aspirin and penicillin are made through petrochemical engineering. The LAGCOE event will raise awareness for STEM topics, and possibly spark a student's interest in applying skills to the healthcare industry.
LAGCOE's Petroleum Exhibit will open in Fall 2017. In addition to providing information for K-12 students, the exhibit will aim to educate oilfield families and the greater Lafayette community.
The exhibit will consist of four units; each will form part of a story explaining the process oil undergoes from its geological origination to the products we know and use. The first segment will present the petroleum system of hydrocarbon formation. The second unit will explain the history of petroleum with a focus on Lafayette and Louisiana. The final units will show the importance of petroleum and explain the consumption side.
Facilitators of the exhibit are looking to expand it even further. They hope to include a model of an onshore or offshore rig, as well as a pipeline route map. Including a simulator is also a priority to better explain how the remote-operated vehicles specifically work.
The exhibit is set to be open for at least one year but may extend beyond that depending on visitor interest.