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ShellTwo recent field trips to Shell's Robert facility were designed to give students hands on experience with the upstream oil and gas sector. About an hour north of New Orleans, the Robert facility is used by Shell to train and orient their personnel to a wide range of upstream exploration and production activities. They also provide courses for non Shell personnel including financial analysts and institutional investors.

shellOver a seven hour period, our students went through the steps involved in drilling wells both onshore and offshore. Class room lectures were interspersed with walking tours of the site that exposed them to the actual equipment used in drilling and completing wells.

The high point of each trip, other than an excellent hot lunch, was when a team of students actually took over drilling operations using a drilling simulator. While drilling was proceeding, the "virtual" well hit a gas pocket that had the potential to develop into a full scale blow out. The team succeeded in shutting the well down quickly in a safe and expedient manner.

shellAfter the simulation we walked outside and examined the remnants of equipment from an offshore well that was not so fortunate. In fact, uncontrolled gas and sand under high pressure had sliced through 8 inches of steel like the proverbial knife through hot butter! Needless to say that the actual well and rig were a total loss.

We enjoyed the day with the Shell personnel and hope to repeat the program on an annual basis.

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Last Updated 08/09/11

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