Wesleyan College offers natural gas degree - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Wesleyan College offers natural gas degree

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With the increasing demand for oil and natural gas employees in the Mountain State, West Virginia Wesleyan College is looking to expand on the potential possibilities.

Beginning in August, the college will offer a bachelor of science in petroleum and natural gas geophysics, due to innovations in recent years that have fundamentally changed how natural resources are discovered and produced.

Petroleum and natural gas geophysicists can specialize in acquiring, processing or interpreting seismic data and frequently collaborate with geologists and engineers. Foundation courses for the degree will include physics, mathematics and advanced courses in geophysics. The entire program will have a hands-on emphasis.

“We are delighted to contribute to this rapidly-growing regional industry,” said Bert Popson, chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering.

On the journey toward the new bachelor of science degree, students will learn methods of measuring underground rock properties to local hydrocarbon reservoirs. Currently, the seismic method is the most commonly used. It entails shock waves that are set off at the surface and penetrate the earth, similar to sonar waves. The returning echo can then be used to tell what is below. The three–dimensional seismic survey has resulted in advances in successfully finding oil and natural gas.