The University of North Dakota’s Petroleum Engineering Department will host a $40 million, full-scale oil drilling simulator and lab.
The donated rig with a 26-foot-tall derrick will be housed in the former Minnkota Power Plant building in Grand Forks. It will join 10 other hands-on drilling labs at UND.
The rig "has been used by industries worldwide for research,” said Vamegh Rasouli, petroleum engineering professor and department chairman.
Petroleum engineering students will be able to simulate general drilling and deep drilling, test different rocks including shale, and simulate oil reservoir conditions, including temperature, pressure and fluid flow. The simulator also will be available to industry and other universities, and it will allow UND to apply for external research funding.
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“There are so many applications," Rasouli said. "We can serve students, perform research and help industry.”
The basic equipment was donated by Sidney Green, an entrepreneur, founder/president of Enhanced Production Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a research professor at the University of Utah.
The North Dakota Oil & Gas Research Council and the North Dakota Industrial Commission voted to approve $2.78 million in financial support over three years. Additional funds are expected from industry and governmental research to support students and lab development.
“Our mission is to educate hands-on and practical petroleum engineers who can work in the state’s oil and gas industry with a minimum of on-the-job training," Rasouli said. "We also perform practical research to help industry solve drilling problems, mainly in the Bakken.”