A course in petroleum studies teaches students the various aspects of drilling for and processing natural oil and gas. Students learn about the whole process from exploration and drilling, drilling technology and systems, reservoir management, and storage and transportation of petroleum products. They also learn about relevant management aspects such as project management, proper maintenance of petroleum equipment and assets, and petroleum economics. Students learn through a combination of taught subjects, field projects and individual research projects. The primary degree offered by universities in petroleum studies is an undergraduate or master’s degree in petroleum engineering.
Geology is a core subject in petroleum studies because it teaches students about rock formation and properties in a particular location and how to extract the hydrocarbons that form petroleum from the surface and subsurface of the earth. Students also learn other related courses such as reservoir simulation and reservoir engineering, which equip them with knowledge about the flow of petroleum fluids in the reservoir and how to predict their behavior, especially during drilling.
Petroleum engineers work on site at oil and gas wells, and it is their duty to guide the technicians on how to drill, so students of petroleum studies take drilling engineering as one of their core subjects. The course teaches students about safe construction of exploration and development of oil wells. Students learn through a combination of taught subjects and individual and group projects where they have the opportunity to design a project, and they also attend drilling sites to see how such designs are practically implemented.
Production technology is an essential subject in petroleum studies because it equips students with knowledge on the productivity of oil and gas wells. Students learn how to design, install and operate down-hole and surface systems to recover crude oil and gas that can be easily and safely transported through the pipelines. It is also within this course that students learn about safety and environmental concerns that arise as a result of drilling for oil and gas both on-shore and off-shore.
Petroleum exploration and drilling is done through designated projects that have defined timelines and specific resources. Therefore, petroleum studies also include lessons on how to manage the allocated time, financial and physical resources to complete projects on schedule and within budget. Management courses also cover petroleum economics where students learn about the downstream activities of petroleum distribution and sale and how to meet company requirements, particularly with regard to profit margins. Students also learn how to use statistics on trends and usage to project future petroleum needs.
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