RPSEA fellowship/scholarship program spotlight on WVU

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29 July 2009 –

Morgantown, W.Va. – NRCCE coordinates WVU’s participation in the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America or RPSEA. RPSEA, whose members are from industry and academia, is a non-profit corporation established to help meet the nation’s growing need for hydrocarbon resources, especially oil and gas produced from reservoirs in America. One of the benefits of the partnership is fellowships for students, as described in the interview below, which appeared in the RPSEA Resource, an online newsletter for members.

Ross Schwietzer, RPSEA fellowship recipient, graduated from the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources this past spring.

The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, or RPSEA, created the

Ross Schwietzer graduated from the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Ross Schwietzer graduated from the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Fellowship/Scholarship Program to establish long-term industry/education partnerships. RPSEA members Schlumberger and Strata Production designate financial resources through RPSEA to award multiple scholarships to the following member universities: Colorado School of Mines, Louisiana State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Oklahoma and West Virginia University. The most promising students with studies relevant to the oil and gas industry are awarded fellowships to help with their education and/or research activities. Through private funding from these two members, $240,000 is established for these member universities to provide much needed support for 16 students per year for three years.

West Virginia University graduate Ross Schweitzer was awarded a fellowship through the Fellowship/Scholarship Program for the 2008-09 school year. RPSEA spotlights Schweitzer this month in the following interview, while wishing him success in his new position with RPSEA member Devon Energy Corporation.

1. What was the title of your dissertation?
A Study of the Effects of Well and Fracture Design in a Typical Marcellus Shale Well

2. Where did your project take place?
Morgantown, West Virginia

3. What school were you attending during the fellowship?
West Virginia University

4. What was your degree and major while working on the fellowship?
Master of Science in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

5. What was the time frame spent on the entire project?
The total time was two years from the start of graduate school, from 08/07 to 05/09.

6. Why did you pick this focus for your project?
Initially, I was planning on doing a re-fracture study with data from the company where I had been interning. However, due to restricted information of the newly developing Marcellus formation and the difficultly in modeling re-fractures in shale, that study was unable to happen. Therefore, since I was already working in the Marcellus, I conducted simulations using Schlumberger’s Eclipse software. Many runs were conducted with varying well design and fracture types in the Marcellus, followed by an economic analysis.

7. What were the major accomplishments of your project?
The project as a whole was a great accomplishment, but the results were the most interesting. It was found that the horizontal wells were more economical than vertical wells in the play as expected, along with fracture half length being a key parameter in the economic analysis. It was shown that the more money spent up front in larger fracture half lengths and longer laterals created a more economical well in the long run.

8. How did RPSEA help you achieve your project goals?
RPSEA helped me out tremendously; I cannot express my appreciation enough. The funding through RPSEA allowed me to further my education, without any strain to my finances. The opportunity allowed me to earn my master’s in PNGE and move into the energy industry.

9. How have you grown both personally and professionally from your fellowship with RPSEA?
RPSEA has allowed me to grow through its generous contributions to further my education and better myself in my life and in my career. The opportunities for my professional growth and personal well being are going to be from the start that RPSEA has given me. Hopefully, I will be working in the energy business for the rest of my life.

10. What is your role today?
I just started working for Devon Energy as a drilling engineer, working in the Barnett Shale. I also plan to continue my education and work towards a master’s in business administration.

Posted July 29, 2009