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The new Data Analytics for Petroleum Industry Certificate is ideal for students from a variety of majors wishing to develop machine-learning skills and teamwork problem-solving abilities. | Image: Getty images

In August 2021, the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University launched a new certificate program training undergraduate students to excel in data science skills and practical interdisciplinary understanding so they can solve global challenges faced by the petroleum industry.

Funded by a $1 million gift from ConocoPhillips that will be spread out over 5 years, the interdisciplinary Data Analytics for Petroleum Industry Certificate program was developed jointly with the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science (TAMIDS), the College of Engineering, the College of Science, the College of Geosciences and the Mays Business School into a program ideal for students eager to gain experience in a growing field of study. The program also supports course development, capstone teaching, graduate assistants, and undergraduate scholarships.

Dr. Siddharth Misra, smiling and seated in an office chair
Dr. Siddharth Misra is the certificate program coordinator. | Image: Nancy Luedke/Texas A&M Engineering

"Several students signed up for fall enrollment in the program," said Dr. Siddharth Misra, associate professor and Douglas Von Gonten Faculty Fellow in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. "The enrollment window is opening again for spring, and we want students to know ConocoPhillips scholarships for students are still available."

Students in the certificate program need to complete 13 hours of coursework chosen from electives such as statistical computing, reservoir modeling and computational data science. The program is suited for geology, geophysics, petroleum engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, statistics and business majors. Skills gained will prepare graduates for integrated data science and analytical roles in the petroleum industry, ranging from exploration and production to transport, refining and marketing.

The industry currently provides most of the world's energy needs, yet today's unconventional reservoirs are not easy to produce or manage. Multiple technologies are used to gather data during subsurface exploration, drilling and production processes in order to research and develop better methods, but the feedback is intensive. Analytical data management is needed to find critical answers for improving reservoir characterization and simulation, reducing time and resource waste, optimizing performance, increasing safety and improving asset management. ConocoPhillips funded this program to create graduates with these computation and machine-learning skills.

Misra is the program coordinator for the certificate, managed by TAMIS and housed in the petroleum engineering department, and he is both honored and excited to be a part of such an exceptional opportunity for students.

"A petroleum engineer cannot solve all the problems the industry faces," Misra said. "No one discipline can. But, by bringing all these students from various diverse backgrounds together, we can solve these challenges and more through interdisciplinary thinking."

Interested students should contact Jake Williams, assistant director for undergraduate advising services in the petroleum engineering department.