‘Energy Interns’ get crash-course in Permian Basin’s oil and gas industry

‘Energy Interns’ get crash-course in Permian Basin’s oil and gas industry

From touring Chevron’s Integrated Operations Control Center in Midland, which closely monitors the company’s Permian Basin operations, to checking out the restaurant, arcade games and other amenities that offer Chevron employees work-life balance, 18 Energy Interns from high schools in Southeastern New Mexico got an immersive view into the day-in-the-life of a Chevron worker on June 15.

The students also attended panel discussions that featured career opportunities locally and internationally, met with Ryder Booth, VP of Chevron’s Mid-Continent Business Unit and were treated to a drone demonstration and drone group photo. They capped off their day with a trip to the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, courtesy of the museum.

It was just one day of an action-packed, two-week summer internship that began June 12 during which local high school students participated in intimate tours and intensive trainings with industry instructors and professionals from oil and gas companies operating in the Permian Basin. The Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP), a coalition of 20 energy companies that invests in initiatives aiming to improve quality of life in the region, partnered with nine Southeast New Mexico school districts to send 18 high school students to Hobbs for the summer energy internship. This year is the second iteration of the summer internship, according to the PSP.

The Career and Technical Education Center of Hobbs (CTECH) provided daily reports on the students’ activities on Facebook. Interns from Roswell, Carlsbad, Loving, Jal, Denver City, and Hobbs stayed in dorms at New Mexico Junior College, where on the first day they met and learned from a mobile oil learning unit presented by Becca Meyers of Coterra Energy, according to CTECH.

The following day, Energy Interns reportedly learned the basics of the oil and gas industry from NMJC Oil and Gas Instructor Kelly Tooker, took a bus ride to the NMJC oilfield on-site lab, and stopped off at the NMJC CDL Trucking School and the NMJC Instruments and Automation labs. That afternoon, XTO Energy petroleum engineers discussed career opportunities and their operations with the interns, CTECH said.

On Day 3, the interns boarded the bus for a tour and instruction at CTECH, and spent part of the day learning from Devon Energy employees about the oil and gas industry.

In the days after their daylong visit to Chevron, also called “Chevron Day,” the Energy Interns were trained in welding and not just how to fly drones, but how to write code to fly them, stated CTECH. They also toured RMS Foods in Hobbs, which manufactures Boca Burgers, to view the complex operations of the factory and agriculture in general. They later learned more about the oil and gas industry from Coterra Energy, and spent a day on the rig in the Delaware Basin with ConocoPhillips.

Amidst all of the trainings and learnings were plenty of fun bonding activities, as well. During the internship, the students partnered on a community service project with United Way of Lea County and Habitat For Humanity of Hobbs, according to CTECH. They “put their skills to work and built beds, night stands, dressers, TV stands and bathroom shelving for the transitional home,” CTECH stated. Their efforts were rewarded with ice cream and snow cones from Black Gold Treats.

Having the Energy Interns visit was a treat in and of itself, said Jonathan Harshman, public and government affairs advisor for Chevron’s Mid-Continent Business Unit.

“They’re impressive people!,” Harshman stated on behalf of Chevron in a Facebook post. “Hopefully some of them will become our colleagues in the future.”

In a statement, the PSP said the summer internship program serves to educate students on the region’s “highest-impact industry sector and the variety of career opportunities that our industry offers.”

“The second iteration of our summer energy internship program equips students with new skills and gives them access to opportunities they may not have had access to otherwise,” said Tracee Bentley, President and CEO of the Permian Strategic Partnership.