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J-W Power Company Aids Panola College in Establishing Petroleum Technology Degree

Posted: Jul 16, 2007

With the stamp of approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in Austin, Panola College will begin offering an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Petroleum Technology.  Classes will be scheduled on the main campus in Carthage, TX and at the Shelby Regional Training Center in Center Texas.  Panola College is gearing up for its role in a business venture that could pump millions of dollars into the state's economy.  The Texas Higher Education Coordination Board gave the green light to begin offering the Associate of Applied Science Degree beginning in the Fall Semester 2007. 

"Panola College received approval from the State Board beginning in January 2007 to offer Certificates of Proficiency in Petroleum Technology and the enrollments have exceeded our expectations," said Dr. Joe F. Shannon, Dean of Instruction for Panola College.  The Panola College Board of Trustees approved expanding the Petroleum Technology program from its off campus site in Shelby County to the main campus in Carthage, Texas, beginning in the Fall Semester 2007.  The curriculum was developed in consultation with representatives from the oil and gas industry including J-W Power Company, Samson Lonestar L.P., Hanover, Valerus Compression, Devon Energy, Chevron, BP, and Universal Compression.  

The Associate of Applied Science degree in petroleum technology will consist of 72 credit hours, including 15 hours of general education courses and 57 hours of technical courses.  One exciting aspect of our Associate Degree is the Summer Internship program with the various oil and gas industry partners.  For students to participate in the summer internship they must have attended and completed two semesters of the Petroleum program and be recommend by their professors.  A special career fair with the oil and gas industry will be planned with students in the program where they interview with each company.  As an end result companies offer students internships and the students choose which company they want to work with over the next ten weeks. 

Petroleum and technical courses required for the degree include Introduction to the Petroleum Industry, Drilling Operations, Completion Operations, Production Operations, Health/Safety, Hydraulics and Pneumatics, Introduction to Digital Systems, Motors and System Controls, and Welding Safety and Equipment.

Panola College recently announced a fund raising project to develop a Skills Training Center for Petroleum, Electrical, and Welding Technology due to the shortage of skilled laborers in these areas.  The driving force of the success of the Petroleum Technology Program at Panola College has been the Petroleum Technology Advisory Board.  These key individuals meet monthly to offer guidance in curriculum development, internships, and fundraising opportunities. 

Plans for the petroleum technology degree began when Panola College was approached by representatives of the oil and gas industry regarding the development of credit and non-credit training to prepare students for the employment wave expected to accompany the expanded gas exploration and drilling. After consulting with the industry representatives, Panola College administrators reviewed similar programs at Odessa College-Texas, Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Training Center-Wyoming, and the visited the OSU Technical Campus in Oklahoma.  

Personnel that will benefit from the formal training program at Panola College Petroleum Technology program include roustabouts, field operators, foremen, compressor and measurement technicians, floorhands, drillers, and rig managers. Salaries for these positions range from $27,000 up to $92,500 annually.

Panola College is in the process of developing short-term, non-credit courses for the current employees working in the field including health, safety, and environmental training for new employees and basic knowledge and skills training related to drilling operations.

The surge in oil exploration and drilling operations will not only create a host of new jobs but should also expand educational opportunities throughout the area. Employment needs in the area are projected to range from 200 to 300 initially with a continuing need for additionally trained employees within the next several years.

Mr. Gary Hughes, Division Director of Applied Studies said, "The positive collaboration between the college and representatives of the oil and gas industry is creating a synergy that should lead to significant economic growth for the area. The college is proud to be part of an endeavor that will have tremendous benefits for the citizens of East Texas."

In preparation for this new degree offering, Panola College in Carthage is currently remodeling part of its Technology Building, creating classroom and lab space.

Students are now being accepted into the Petroleum Technology program at the Carthage campus location and the Shelby Regional Training Center in Center, Texas.  Due to the interests in Petroleum Technology program space is limited.  To learn more about either program location contact 936-591-9075 as ask for Dr. Joe Shannon, Dean of Instruction or Mr. Gary Hughes, Division Director of Applied Studies.

For more information contact:

Dr. Joe F. Shannon
Dean of Instruction
Panola College
678 Roughrider Drive
Center, Texas 75935
936-591-9075 Office
936-591-9056 Fax