Energy4me: Marketing Oil and Gas Education to Future Generations

The oil and gas industry has a remarkable story to tell. SPE’s energy education public outreach program Enery4me highlights how energy works in our everyday lives to school students and teachers and promotes the career opportunities in the upstream petroleum sector.

Colin Black, an Energy4me volunteer from SPE the Aberdeen Section, assisting students in the Exploring Porosity activity.

The importance of learning and knowledge transfer is widely recognized within the oil and gas industry. In addition to the internal efforts made within the industry to meet the world’s energy needs, it is necessary to educate and inform the communities in which companies operate as community engagement can have long-lasting benefits on energy projects all over the world. Public education is also integral to forming an objective and balanced view of the energy industry. For this reason, in 2007, SPE launched an integrated energy education public outreach program called “Enery4me” to highlight how energy works in our everyday lives, and promote career opportunities in the upstream petroleum sector.

In fact, the program won top honors in the “Best Outreach Program” category at the recent World Oil Awards in Houston, Texas. The awards ceremony recognizes and honors the upstream industry’s top innovations and innovators.

In awarding the program, the World Oil Awards said that the program has “increased awareness and, through its workshops, created opportunities for students to enter the industry. The program has contributed, by using hands-on activities, to the increased interest and passion of the students, leading them to choose engineering as their career path.”

Energy4me Program Objectives

The main objectives of the program are to equip educators with information about the scientific concepts of energy and communicate the importance of energy to our modern way of life. Energy4me helps to train and educate thousands of teachers and students each year around the world in the areas of oil and gas exploration and production, sustainable energy, and technologies that allow us to harness, transport, and utilize energy. In 2015 more than 2,400 teachers and students participated in the educational programs offered.

Energy4me aims to increase the number of teachers globally who are trained to teach science-based energy lessons, engage students in the career potential of the energy industry, develop public awareness of energy issues, increase the number of professionals participating in global energy education programs through training, and gain further support from governments, education authorities, and state oil companies for programs.

Energy4me Activities and Scope

“The Energy4me global educational outreach program provides speaker programs and classrooms resources covering all energy sources for teachers to use with students of all ages,” said Liz Johnson, senior manager of public relations and outreach at SPE. The program allows educators and students to easily participate and access its online resources.  Users can request information from the website and review a wide scope of energy topics. The materials offer educators various lesson plans, interactive activities, video demonstrations, and PowerPoint presentations that can be customized by individual presenters to include a local and personal perspective. The age-appropriate curriculum allows instructors to effectively engage students in various oil- and gas-related topics. Educators can also take tours of offices, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities, and view tools and equipment used by the industry to find and extract natural resources around the globe.

While the Energy4me concept originated in the oil and gas industry, the curriculum also covers information about renewable energy resources, such as solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal. Lesson plans discuss technologies that make energy accessible and affordable, the challenges associated with all types of energy, and the importance of sustainable development to our long-term energy security. The large breadth of topics covered demonstrates to students why oil and natural gas are the most common sources of energy, and how hydrocarbon-based resources will continue to make a significant contribution to meeting the world’s energy demands well into the future.

Energy4me Volunteers

Volunteers are the driving force behind Energy4me programs. Throughout the year, volunteers help to coordinate free, one-day teacher professional development workshops and student education events at select SPE conferences. Coordinators ensure each event covers grade-specific hands-on energy lessons and activities; organize keynote speakers and technology tours; and engage other SPE members worldwide to serve as classroom speakers, science fair judges, and career fair exhibitors.

The Energy4me volunteer demographic is largely made up of young professionals and university students undertaking petroleum-related studies. Early career engineers and university students provide insight into which academic subjects their younger peers can pursue in high school and college, and discuss the industry’s vast technological opportunities and prospects. They share educational and career advice, helping to inspire students toward a career in the energy sector.

Inspiring Students and Educators: Energy4me Volunteer’s Experience

Danny Marquez, completions engineer for Nearshore Natural Gas, and Energy4me program leader for SPE Gulf Coast section

  Two teachers from Walnut Bend Elementary School in  Houston, measuring water for the Exploring Porosity activity.

Energy4me initiatives benefit volunteers, participants, and the industry at large. In the last year alone, the SPE YPs have delivered Energy4me lectures to more than 300 students around Houston on energy-related topics, engineering, career opportunities, and sustainability. We work together with teachers to craft the appropriate lecture for our audience, which ranges from interactive activities for fifth grade students to career-oriented discussions for seniors. Energy4me provides the perfect platform to provide insight into the oil and gas industry, and provides a forum for answering any questions the general public may have. Both students and teachers have enjoyed learning about different topics ranging from the life cycle of a production well to dynamic career paths available in the industry.

After serving as a leader for the program over the last year, I have developed a sense of passion and desire to empower others. I have learned that passion goes a long way in igniting students' curiosity and motivating volunteers to participate. Once a student is interested and a volunteer is motivated, SPE provides the tools necessary to achieve their common goals, and facilitates the interactions between all groups. It has been an incredible journey the past year.

Closing Remarks

The oil and gas industry has a remarkable story to tell. Public education initiatives such as Energy4me present an invaluable platform for this story to be shared with people outside the industry. The program helps in educating the students and teachers around the world, and develop a communitywide sense of recognition of the social and economic benefits of the petroleum industry. Energy4me programs effectively market energy education, inspiring the next generation of leaders and experts who may one day help to solve the world’s energy challenges.

Related Multimedia

How does the fluid flow mechanics differ between a horizontal and vertical wellbore? Play the animation games on Energy4me to see it in action.