OSUIT Opens Compressor Training Center
US$5 million facility will enable enrollment to double
This operating compression skid was repainted in the orange and black school colors of Oklahoma State University.
By Brent Haight
The Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) has completed its US$5 million Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center.
OSUIT has offered a natural gas compression training curriculum since 1974 and made it an independent program in 1999. The 23,920 sq.ft. (2222 m2) center will allow the program to expand from the current 65 students to more than 160 students by 2015.
“We built this center to address the lack of technicians in the industry,” said Roy Achemire, Division Program Chair for the Heavy Equipment & Vehicle Institute at OSUIT. “Companies need more people. Our original facility was a little over 8000 sq.ft. (743 m2). We’d max out with a class of 20 sophomores and 20 freshmen. We were eventually able to get another facility that fit 40 freshman and 40 sophomores and reached the point where we were graduating 30 to 35 students a year. It still wasn’t enough to meet the needs of the industry. With the new training center we can accommodate 80 freshmen students each year.”
Chesapeake Energy Corp. was the lead donor on the project, contributing US$2 million. Other supporters included Devon Energy Corp., ONEOK Inc. and Texas-based pipeline operator Energy Transfer.
“The natural gas compression program began as an elective class,” Achemire said. “Most of the training was directed toward truck technicians. Instead of taking an air brake course, people took a compressor course. There are a lot of people in the field today who only took one or two natural gas compression courses as electives and are managers now. They are on our advisory board and have been very active in hiring graduates. That’s how Chesapeake got involved with us. They have a lot of employees that have graduated from here and they recognize the value of what we offer.”
The training center features four full-time classrooms, eight faculty offices, a large classroom for incumbent training and 11,760 sq.ft. (1092 m2) of dedicated shop space complete with the two operating compressor skids, six small skids that are used to ...