Penn State Society of Petroleum Engineers visits ExxonMobil Houston campus

Students from Penn State's chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and ExxonMobil employees touring the on-site lab at ExxonMobil's Houston campus.  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) recently had an opportunity to visit ExxonMobil’s campus in Spring, Texas. SPE students were in Houston attending a conference sponsored by SPE International and were fortunate enough to get to visit ExxonMobil’s facility as part of their visit to the area.

Jordan Shelton, technical manager for ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited’s Neptun Deep Project, and a Penn State alumnus, hosted the students.

“It’s not every day that a group of Penn State students are in Texas. We were excited to give the students the opportunity for this type of a positive learning experience,” said Shelton, who earned his bachelor of science in 2006 and master of science in 2010, both in industrial engineering.

While on their visit, students were able to engage with more than 20 ExxonMobil employees, almost all of whom are Penn State alumni.

“The most important part of the visit was the discussion panel with the ExxonMobil employees," said Matt Watson, a senior majoring in petroleum and natural gas engineering, minoring in energy business and finance and Penn State SPE president. "The panel consisted of a wide-range of employees varying across disciplines and experiences, each offering their own unique insight into ExxonMobil and the oil and gas industry as whole.”

In addition to talking with ExxonMobil employees, students had the opportunity to tour the facility and explore many of the unique parts of the campus, including a 3D Visualization Room used to engage with an immersive 3D reservoir simulation model. While there, students were able to learn about modeling technologies. Students were also able to visit ExxonMobil’s Digital Garage to learn about the latest technologies ExxonMobil is exploring for business optimization and safety enhancement, including robotic applications, virtual-reality environments for safety and job training, and internet of things (IoT) and augmented-reality applications for facility sensing.

Members of Penn State's student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers visiting the Energy Cube at ExxonMobil's Houston campus.  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

“I hope the students learned how an international corporation and leader in the energy field operates on a day-to-day basis and how creating an atmosphere conductive to productivity is very important. I also hope they learned that technology and innovation never stop advancing. We can never stop trying to develop the next great thing,” said Watson.

The ExxonMobil Houston campus has more than 10,000 employees representing upstream, downstream and chemicals businesses — as well as all supporting departments — making it the largest work location for ExxonMobil employees globally. ExxonMobil actively recruits Penn State students in the fields of engineering, geosciences, business and procurement, and information technology.

“I would hope their visit reinforced the students’ excitement and passion for opportunities in the oil and gas industry, opened the students’ eyes to real-life applications of their classroom learning, provided a forum for their questions, and highlighted ExxonMobil’s position as an employer of choice in the industry,” said Shelton.

Last Updated March 20, 2019