Geology class learns at natural gas drilling site

Geology class learns at natural gas drilling site

Students in Dr. Scott Severance's Geology class recently gained front-row exposure to the Marcellus Shale natural gas fields in northeastern Pennsylvania, with the BBC group learning a range of aspects about drilling and exploring for the resource.

Fifteen students, faculty, and staff members traveled to the Chesapeake Energy Corp. office in Towanda, PA. A presentation detailed the process of drilling and hydraulic fracturing used to collect the natural gas that is trapped in the shale formation.

"The students gained first-hand knowledge," Dr. Severance said. "Because they got on site, it was a great experience. The presentation was really good. They talked about a lot of things we've gone over in class."

Pictures from the day can be viewed here.

A Unique Classroom
The formation, which stretches primarily from New York through Pennsylvania and into West Virginia, is estimated to hold the second-largest natural gas reserve in the United States.

In the presentation, students learned how a drilling location is selected, ways a site is set up, and the equipment used. They also learned about the process of fracturing, also known as fracking, and what is required to collect the natural gas trapped in the formation.

The use of chemicals in the fracking process, as well as the treatment and disposal of the massive amounts of water needed, have raised concerns of some area residents, environmentalists, and others. Industry officials say they work within regulatory guidelines in extracting the resource.

Justine Triunfo, a senior in the Secondary English Education program from Oradell, NJ , appreciated learning directly about the shale formation and drilling.

"I loved the day," she said. "It's a fascinating process and I would like to learn more about it. It's definitely something I will keep tabs on."

On Location
Following the presentation, hard hats, jackets, and safety glasses were donned for a trip to an active site, where students were able to see the equipment used for drilling through the shale formation up close.

The typical length of a well is 8,000 feet, leading into the horizontal drilling required for the fracturing process. Special drills and other equipment used were displayed and discussed.

The tour led students through the process of drilling and fracturing, allowing them to watch some of the work being done and ask questions.

"It was really interesting to be able to walk around here and learn about the different processes they use and what they have to do to drill down so far," said Chelsea Hoover, a junior in the Specialized Ministries program from Mansfield, PA. "I would like to study it and learn more about how the process works."

Hands-On Experiences
Real life experiences play a vital part in the education students receive at BBC&S.

Internships, practicum, projects, special field trips, and other many other opportunities for students to get first hand learning and practical knowledge are offered in many programs.

Learn more about BBC's Secondary Education Science program here.

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to learn and serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 4/25/2011 4:00:51 PM

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