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PNG 301 - Introduction to Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


The first part of the course will introduce the student to the design and implementation of the systems used in the extraction of oil and gas, including terminology and basic calculations in drilling engineering, geology, production, reservoir, and facilities engineering. The course will give an initial overview of the history of the oil industry and the origins of petroleum and natural gas reservoirs, followed by a description of the conventional and unconventional reservoir types. All aspects of petroleum engineering from upstream to downstream will be included in this discussion, including transportation, marketing, and environmental impacts.

The remainder of the course will present the various key disciplines in petroleum and natural gas engineering in the chronological order of how the disciplines interact. Key problems in each of these disciplines will be reviewed and solved, using Excel and introductory statistics/computer programming (using Matlab). First, the discipline of drilling engineering will be presented. This will focus on the different types of wells, bits, casing designs, and completion techniques. Topics in the discipline of reservoir engineering will be presented next and will include basic petrophysics, reservoir types, and fluids, as well as basic extraction methods. The life cycle of a reservoir and its efficient and environmental friendly management will be discussed, including enhanced oil recovery methods, such as carbon dioxide injection and surfactant flooding. Topics in production engineering will be presented next and will center on tubing design, artificial lift, stimulation using acids and fracturing, and cased-hole logging. Topics in facility engineering, the last discipline to be discussed, will focus on surface facilities such as separators, gas and water gathering systems, pipelines, stock tanks, chokes, and recycle plants.

Finally, differences between unconventional and conventional extractions and systems will be described as this is now critical to the energy security of the United States. Focus here will be on shale properties, fluid property changes owing to tiny pores, diffusion, absorption, and hydraulic fracturing. The course will explain how fracturing in shale reservoirs differs from conventional ones. Transport of oil or gas from these tight rock matrixes by diffusion through the fracture network will be presented. Environmental considerations will also be discussed.


When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • identify the geological origins of petroleum reservoirs and reservoir fluids;
  • describe the history of the oil and gas industry;
  • explain the structure of the modern oil and gas industry;
  • list the various disciplines that make up the petroleum engineering profession;
  • illustrate the differences between conventional and unconventional reservoirs;
  • analyze rudimentary engineering methods;
  • interpret semi-log and log-log plots;
  • apply linear interpolation and regression;
  • analyze statistical descriptions of reservoir data;
  • identify and solve problems requiring simple iteration; and
  • discuss the role of environmental stewardship in the petroleum engineering profession.

Required Materials

Typically, there are no required materials for this course. If this changes, students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


Prerequisites: PHYS 211; OR PHYS 250

Concurrent Course: GEOSC 1 


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 10 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

This course will rely on a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

8 Problem Solving Sets and Quizzes (20% of total course grade)

These may include the following types of questions: calculation questions, which ask you to perform numerical operations and sometimes show your answers  in graphical form, and essay questions, which ask you to write a reasoned response to a specific question;

2 Midterm Exams (50% of total course grade)

Midterms may contain true/false, multiple choice, short answer, and/or problem-solving questions.

1 Final Exam (30% of total course grade)

The final exam will be comprehensive and may contain true/false, multiple choice, short answer, and/or problem-solving questions.

Course Schedule

Course Schedule

Lesson 1: Introduction to Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

  • Course Orientation
  • Course Overview
  • Overview of the Oil and Gas Industry
  • Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods
No graded assignments

Lesson 2: Origin and Occurrence of Hydrocarbons

  • Basic Earth Geology
  • Rock Types and the Rock Cycle
  • Basic Petroleum Geology
  • Origins of Oil and Gas
  • Hydrocarbon Types
  • Gibbs Phase Rule
  • Reservoir Types
Lesson 2 Quiz
3 & 4

Lesson 3: Reservoir Engineering: Rock and Fluid Properties

  • Oilfield Measures and Units
  • Reservoir Rock Properties
  • Reservoir Fluid Properties
  • Reservoir Rock-Fluid Interaction Properties
Lesson 3 Problem Set
5 & 6

Lesson 4: Reservoir Engineering for Oil Reservoirs

  • Estimation of In-Place Oil, STOOIP
  • Drive Mechanisms in Oil Reservoirs
  • Well Performance in Oil Reservoirs
  • Material Balance for Oil Reservoirs
Lesson 4 Problem Set
7Exam 1Exam 1

Lesson 5: Reservoir Engineering: Gas Reservoirs

  • Estimation of the Original Gas In-Place, OGIP
  • Drive Mechanisms in Gas Reservoirs
  • Well Performance in Gas Reservoirs
  • Material Balance for Gas Reservoirs
Lesson 5 Problem Set
9 & 10

Lesson 6: Production Engineering: Flow in Well Tubing

  • Components of Pressure Drop in Well Tubing
  • Factor Impacting Flow of Fluids in Tubing
  • Pressure Losses in Tubing for Single-Phase Liquid Flow
  • Pressure Losses in Tubing for Single-Phase Gas Flow
  • Pressure Losses in Tubing for Multi-Phase Flow
  • Pressure Traverse and Nodal Analysis Calculations
  • Artificial Lift
Lesson 6 Quiz
11 & 12

Lesson 7: Production Engineering: Well Intervention

  • Well Equipment
  • Well Stimulation
  • Well Workovers
Lesson 7 Quiz

Lesson 8: Drilling Engineering - Drilling Contracts, The Rig Crew, and Drilling Rigs

  • The Rig Crew
  • Drilling Rig Types
  • Components of a Drilling Rig
  • Drilling Equipment
  • The Drilling Process

Exam 2

Lesson 8 Quiz


Lesson 9: Drilling Engineering - Drilling Rig Systems and the Drilling Process

  • Fluid Separation
  • Fluid Treatment
  • Fluid Metering
  • Fluid Disposal
  • Pumps
  • Compressors
Lesson 9 Quiz
Final Exam