May 23, 2024  
2014-2015 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
    
2014-2015 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, B.S.


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Chair: Dr. John Harris

One of our newest additions to Saint Francis’ quality educational programs is a major in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. Petroleum engineers design, test, and implement methods to extract natural gas and oil in the most cost-effective and environmentally conscious way possible. Petroleum and Natural Gas engineers are involved in:

  • Resource discovery and assessment of potential by coordinating with geologists to determine the rocks’ geological formation and properties and determine resource quantity
  • Designing equipment and processes that perform optimal extraction
  • Monitoring drilling and production seeking to maximize recovery
  • Overseeing the removal and processing of the petroleum
  • Using computer models to simulate reservoir performance.

Petroleum engineers are continually perfecting their oil- and gas-recovery techniques and are continuously researching and developing new technologies. Some of the hottest issues in this field include creating more eco-friendly drilling methods and the environmental impact of new extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing. There is a growing awareness that the quality of life must be balanced by the conservation of these resources and the protection of the environment. Petroleum engineers understand this balance and seek to harness our limited energy resources in an environmentally friendly manner.

Field work and travel are both usually necessary for this profession, as much of the job may need to be completed on-site at remote oil and gas repositories that are located in many different regions and countries. Job requirements will vary depending on the company and individual position, and some work may be completed in an office or laboratory environment. Engineers also work in academia, teaching university classes and conducting research on new methods to locate and remove petroleum products.

Graduates of petroleum and natural gas engineering programs work as petroleum engineers, mining and geological engineers, environmental engineers, and geoscientists with median annual salaries ranging from $78,470 to $114,080 according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS projects healthy growth rates in all four occupations through 2020 both in Pennsylvania and nationally, according to the newly released 2010 to 2020 occupational projections.
The development of the Marcellus Shale (natural gas producing) region is having a positive impact on the job opportunities for professional engineers and related professions with the BLS projecting a 75 percent increase in demand for petroleum engineers in Pennsylvania alone.

An Overview of the Major:

Virtually every component of our modern society requires energy and we depend on a complex array of energy sources including renewable (wind, solar) and non-renewable sources (coal, oil, shale gas) to fuel that worldwide demand. At Saint Francis University, we are committed to researching the most balanced and responsible ways to approach resource extraction and energy production and as such environmental stewardship is a core component in our Petroleum and Natural Gas program.

Consistent with our already established ABET accredited Environmental Engineering program, our Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering 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 goal with this program is to create the next generation of qualified engineers who can combine analytical skills with a Franciscan approach in order to find safer and better ways to supply our planet’s energy needs.

Our four (4) year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program prepares our students to be engaged, conscientious leaders in the energy industry through:

  • A Franciscan approach to engineering with a strong stewardship component
  • An integrated curriculum that taps into the expertise of our entire School of Sciences
  • Tailored classroom and lab spaces in our new 70,000 sq. ft. Center
  • A “classrooms without walls” philosophy with hands-on experience and service-learning work
  • Individualized instruction from passionate faculty dedicated to both teaching and research
  • A grounded arts education to develop critical skills in areas such as ethics and communications.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering curriculum at Saint Francis University prepares the student 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 course and laboratory work emphasizing reservoir engineering, drilling and production.
  • Significant Petroleum Engineering Design capstone.

Saint Francis University has a unique General Education program core that seeks to develop the whole person. Since a major goal of engineering is to contribute to the welfare of society, students are better prepared to meet such expectations when they have a broad liberal arts education that helps the student develop an understanding of world history; political and economic systems; the ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity of the peoples of the earth, as well as provide them excellent skills in written communication and public speaking.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering curriculum is built on a solid foundation of basic mathematics and science mainly taken in the first two years at the University. The course work provides the student with the breath necessary to solve the multidisciplinary problems faced every day in the life of a Petroleum Engineer. Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Programming are some of the basic science classes. Most of these have laboratories where students develop and hone their data gathering and analysis skills. In addition students take Ordinary Differential Equations, Statistics and three semesters of Calculus to provide the mathematical underpinnings necessary to be successful and to handle the rigors of the engineering discipline.

The specific coursework in Petroleum Engineering will be developed during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years and will be offered to students as soon as it is available. Coursework in Petroleum engineering will begin as early as the student’s sophomore year after the necessary foundation in mathematics, basic sciences and fundamental engineering coursework has been achieved.

Engineering design is emphasized in each engineering course. Most of the upper level courses in Petroleum Engineering will include a design project. The culmination of the students’ design experience is a capstone design course in which students draw upon various aspects of their previous engineering science and design knowledge to address a meaningful real life design problem.

Major Requirements


As the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Major is being develop, the following is a preliminary curriculum:

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