This upcoming fall semester, students enrolled in the College of Engineering at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will be able to pursue the only Smart Oilfield concentration in the nation. The announcement of this ground-breaking concentration is according to a news release from the school, where courses are set to begin this fall for the new concentration.
Specifically, the Smart Oilfield concentration is a pathway from ULL’s College of Engineering that is designed for petroleum engineering majors who are preparing for a career in the oil and gas industry, one that involves an increasing reliance on ever-evolving technology for efficient, safe, and environmentally-sound and stable exploration and production.
According to the Dean of the University’s College of Engineering, Dr. Ahmed Khattab, the new Smart Oilfield concentration is the only program of its kind in the entirety of the United States of America. Dr. Khattab commented on the necessity of establishing such a concentration by saying, “its addition is part of our comprehensive plan to address conventional and renewable energy by providing cutting-edge degree programs, minors, and concentrations that augment our traditional energy base and meet industry and community needs.”
According to Dr. Khattab, the new concentration will be able to integrate the College of Engineering’s current petroleum engineering degree program’s sub-surface expertise with data analytics, machine learning, and smart drilling. The concentration will also reportedly feature a combined blend of both traditional courses and interactive labs that will focus on automation, carbon capture, coding, computational fluid dynamics, machine learning, predictive capabilities, smart drilling, statistics, and the economic feasibility of exploration in specific locations.
According to Dr. Rafael Hernandez, the Interim Department Head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering, the curriculum for the Smart Oilfield concentration was developed based on extensive, data-driven research. The concentration was created in conjunction with input from professionals who work in the oil and gas industry, an entire field that has, according to Dr. Hernandez, “undergone a significant transformation in recent years.”
Dr. Hernandez continued to underline the necessity of evolving their program by continuing to outline the Oil and Gas industry by saying, “it now relies on a system of sensors, networks, and integrated operations that generate and communicate field and data analyses to ensure more environmentally friendly, safe and cost-efficient oil exploration, production and management.”
Outside of the new Smart Oilfield concentration, ULL’s College of Engineering has added eight other concentrations in the last two years in order to address recent trends in the industry and needs in fields that have been growing faster than the national average. For instance, employment opportunities for petroleum engineers are projected to increase by 8% through 2029, and employment opportunities for engineers are projected to increase 6% through 2029, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to Dr. Khattab, the total 9 concentrations that have been added by the College of Engineering have been added for a variety of well-informed reasons. Dr. Khattab said, “These are strategic additions implemented to ensure we continually give our graduates the knowledge and skills they will need for the jobs they want, and that will position them to thrive and advance in their careers.
Besides the Smart Oilfield concentration, the other 8 new concentrations are: autonomous and robotic systems; bioengineering; computer engineering; engineering management; power and sustainable energy; secure smart systems; sustainable energy systems; and water resources and environmental engineering.
According to the Department of Petroleum Engineering, the above new concentrations are made all-the-more valuable as the “UL Lafayette Petroleum Engineering (PETE) program ranks among the top in the nation and is recognized across the globe. It is the only academic program in the U.S. providing education and training for students to demonstrate compliance with the International Association of Drilling Contractors’ Well Sharp Certification, an industry-standard credential that ensures knowledge of cost and efficiency optimization and risk minimization during drilling operations.”
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