Jul 22, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, B.S.

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Department Contact:

Chair: Dr. Rachel Wagner, rwagner@francis.edu, 814-471-1215
Coordinator: Dr. Qin He, qhe@francis.edu, 814-472-3095

Program Description:

Saint Francis University (SFU) offers a four-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (PNGE). Our PNGE program incorporates a Franciscan approach with real world experience as an integral component of learning coupled with a vital liberal arts education. Small size classes and strong relationships with faculty are signature advantages of the learning environments established for undergraduate students at SFU. Our students develop a wide variety of skills required to be successful in this rapidly growing field of engineering through classroom learning, field trips, lab operation, academic and industrial research project activities, leadership in professional student chapters, and more.

What is Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering?

The central job of a petroleum and natural gas engineer is to safely and effectively extract oil and gas from deep subsurface rock formations, which is known as a reservoir. To achieve that, petroleum and natural gas engineers need to characterize or describe the reservoir properties, design the well trajectory and the drilling process, and manage well production. With a PNGE bachelor’s degree, graduates are able to work in each of these three areas as: reservoir engineer, drilling engineer, and production engineer.

Reservoir Engineers utilize computer modeling techniques and specialized calculations to evaluate the reserve of oil and gas in the subsurface, the 3-D distribution of recoverable oil and gas before and after production, and the best way to extract it. Reservoir engineers work closely with petroleum geologists, geophysicists, and other types of engineers (e.g., drilling engineers and production engineers) to make short-term and long-term plans for maximizing the value of both exploration and production properties.

Drilling Engineers work on drilling oil/gas rigs with tasks that include everything from designing the well, to choosing the drilling muds, operating the drilling process, to the completion of the well. Drilling engineers work as a part of a multi-disciplinary team and are responsible to ensure that the drilling operations are safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient.

Production Engineers take over the well site after the drilling operations are accomplished. They handle the daily management of oil/gas production wells with techniques such as production monitoring, production rate control, water injection, well stimulation, etc. Their primary goal  is to design the most effective and safe plan to produce oil and gas based on the subsurface geological properties, oil/gas production history, and the recovering techniques.

Job Types for Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineers

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineers find excellent careers in the following sectors:

  • Government positions such as in the Department of Energy and national labs
  • Oil and gas operating companies
  • Oil and gas service companies
  • Academic and research institutes such as universities
  • Others

As a petroleum and natural gas engineer you can experience a variety of work environments: data analysis, design and modeling in an office; drilling and production operation in the field;  drilling and production monitoring in the office and even from your own home;  education at a university or in training companies; and others including management, marketing and consulting. In addition, you could even find yourself designing new equipment or developing new techniques resulting in your own small business in the petroleum and natural gas industry. Furthermore your workplace could be most anywhere of the world.  To the well qualified petroleum and natural gas engineer opportunities abound.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering at Saint Francis University:

Our Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (PNGE) program is a rigorous engineering program enhanced by a foundation of environmental stewardship. As Catholic Franciscans, we care deeply for the health and safety of all species, and environmental sustainability is one of our core values. Over the years, we have built a strong educational curriculum that excels in preparing our students for careers that enable them to protect the public’s health, heal the sick, and repair our damaged environment.

Our vision is to serve our society in the best way by preparing a body of Petroleum Engineers who can help to enhance the quality of life through professional service and research for safe, reliable, and affordable energy production and environmental protection.

Our mission is to educate the next generation of qualified petroleum engineers who can combine analytical skills with a Franciscan approach in order to find safer and better ways to supply the energy needs of the state, country, and world.

Why study Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering at Saint Francis University?

This four-year degree program prepares our students to be engaged and diligent leaders in the energy industry through:

  • A Franciscan approach to engineering with a strong stewardship component
  • Small class size and individual instruction that assures the quality required for learning
  • A focus on undergraduate research experience with our faculty·   
  • Tailored classroom and lab spaces in our new 70,000 sq. ft. Center
  • Individualized instruction from passionate faculty dedicated to both teaching and research
  • Taste of diversity with students from multiple continents
  • Solid grounding in the liberal arts to develop critical skills in ethics and communications
  • A deep care of the environment and public health

The PNGE curriculum (provided in the following) at Saint Francis University trains the students for a challenging and rewarding career through five major curricular means:

  • Vibrant General Education program, a keystone of Saint Francis University
  • Robust foundation in mathematics and the basic sciences including physics and geology
  • Well-founded core of engineering theory and practice
  • Specialized sequence of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering courses and laboratory work emphasizing Reservoir Engineering, Drilling Engineering, and Production Engineering.
  • Significant Capstone Design Project for Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineers.
Local opportunity with a global market:

The first oil well was drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania (1859), initiating the huge and prosperous oil and gas industry in the United States. Many core techniques in petroleum industry, such as water flooding, were born in Pennsylvania. Before the major oil boom in Texas (1901), Pennsylvania was leading in oil production in the country and the world. According to the data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (2015), Pennsylvania produced 4.2 trillion cubic feet natural gas during the year of 2014. This figure makes Pennsylvania responsible for generating twenty percent of the nation’s natural gas supply and ranking it the second largest producer of natural gas behind Texas. This means that a large number of jobs are available in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states, such as Ohio, West Virginia and New York. Other active areas in the U.S. include Texas, Oklahoma, California, Colorado, Louisiana, etc. As one of the most important international commodities, there is high possibility for petroleum engineers to work and travel around the world.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Each student will have demonstrated the proficiency in the following outcomes upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering:

  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics;
  • an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors;
  • an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
  • an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts;
  • an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives;
  • an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions;
  • an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Accreditation Statement:

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering program at Saint Francis University is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Estimated Completion Time:

Typically 4 years of full-time study

Capstone Requirement:

The courses include: PNGE 497  Senior Project Proposal and PNGE 498  Senior Capstone Design. 

The PNGE Capstone Design Project should be finished in two semesters, and all seniors will be grouped to work as one or several teams. In the fall semester of senior level, a one-credit course named Senior Project Proposal is designed to mainly collect data (including geology, production, drilling, completion, etc.) from oil companies as well as studying project management and teamwork ethics. In the following spring semester, seniors should finish a three-credit course in which seniors are required to design a new well pad between two existing well pads through geological modeling, reservoir simulation, decline curve analysis, economic analysis, stimulation simulation, etc. The seniors should finish at least two technical presentations to the oil company who offers the field data and one non-technical presentation to public community.

Total Credits Required:

135 credits minimum

Courses Required for the Major: (96 credits)

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