MOUNT VERNON —Southeastern Illinois oil industry professionals recently led the Illinois Petroleum Resources Board’s 10th Annual Summer Teachers Program.

Pioneer Oil Co. geologist and Lawrence County resident Bill Bandy served as a learning station instructor during the program and also made presentations on careers in geology, geology ideas for the classroom and Illinois seismicity.

Carmi-based drilling contractors Bob Wilson of Les Wilson, Inc., and Chris Mitchell of Geo. N. Mitchell Drilling Co. took teachers on a tour of Les Wilson, Inc.’s facilities in Carmi, including a drilling rig demonstration and tour.

Olney-based petroleum engineer David Britton conducted a learning station on drill stem testing, while Mt. Carmel native and Fairfield-based Podolsky Oil Co. geologist Stephanie Storckman conducted a learning station on viewing rock cuttings for shows of oil.

Mt. Carmel native J. Roy Dee of Dee Drilling Co. conducted a presentation on the oil prospecting and development process, and David Simmons of Locust Street Co. in Lawrence County served as a tour guide during visits to Shakespeare Oil’s facilities near Salem, Les Wilson Drilling in Carmi and the CountryMark refinery in Mt. Vernon, Indiana.

Jerry Robinson of Franklin Well Service conducted a learning station on hydraulic fracturing fluid and also conducted a presentation on well services, while Jeff Hoy of JLH Geologic Consulting in Evansville, Indiana, conducted a presentation on geophysical logging.

“The real-world knowledge these industry professionals shared with the teachers who attended this year’s IPRB summer program greatly enhanced the overall educational experience,” said IPRB Executive Director Seth Whitehead. “The participation of these southeast Illinois industry professionals, along with several other industry professionals from throughout the Illinois Basin, was a huge reason the program was once again a tremendous success.”

Teachers who completed the program earn either seven and a half professional development hours and two graduate course credits from Illinois State University or 37 ½ professional development hours. Teachers also received a classroom-ready lab kit worth hundreds of dollars.

The first day of the program involved hands-on classroom workshops where teachers experienced classroom-ready curriculum, materials and equipment pertaining to the math and science fundamentals used by oil industry professionals.

During the next two days, participants were involved in several hands-on activities, presentations and learning stations, engaging directly with industry experts to learn more about geology, geophysics and engineering including on-site tours of drilling, production and storage facilities throughout the Illinois Basin.

A northern tour bus traveled to the massive Patoka tank farm, where Marathon Petroleum personnel took teachers on a tour of the second-largest crude oil storage facility in the United States and explained how crude oil is safely transported from the hub throughout the country.

From Patoka, the tour continued to Petco Petroleum Co., located in the historic Louden oilfield in Fayette County. At Petco, teachers observed one of the largest waterflood plants in the United States and also witnessed a workover rig pulling and reinstalling pipe on a producing well. Teachers were also treated to lunch at Petco, in addition to presentations from several Petco employees and Illinois State University geology professor Dr. David Malone regarding the oil production process and geology that made the Louden field one of the most prolific in the country around the time of World War II.

The northern tour concluded with a stop at Deep Rock Energy, where teachers viewed a demonstration of an operating drilling rig and learned more about Deep Rock’s unique operations near Forbes State Park, where the largest Illinois oil discovery of the past 50-plus years was made in 2002.

The eastern tour began with a trip to Shakespeare Oil’s Tonti Field, where teachers learned about technologies used to find new drilling locations and techniques employed to revitalize older fields like the Tonti Field. The tour then stopped in Carmi to observe a Les Wilson Inc. drilling rig before heading to the CountryMark refinery in Mt. Vernon, Ind., where most Illinois Basin oil is refined. CountryMark employees explained how oil is transported to the refinery and the various stages of refining oil into countless everyday products.

More than 600 Illinois teachers from 97 different counties have attended the program since it launched in 2010.

IPRB is a non-profit organization that provides public awareness and education programs regarding the upstream Illinois oil and natural gas industry. IPRB also works to clean up and restore abandoned oilfield sites throughout the state. IPRB programs are funded solely by voluntary contributions of oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners in Illinois.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.