Energy Resource Management and Development Students Visit WOGCC

students posing in front of the wogcc bench

Students in the Energy Resource Management and Development (ERMD) degree program at the School of Energy Resources (SER) traveled to Casper on Tuesday to visit the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC).

The annual trip coordinated with the commission allows ERMD students in the Professional Land Management (PLM) concentration and the Energy and Environmental Systems concentration to attend a full day of activities including examiner hearings, a tour of the facilities, and an opportunity to view the full commission deliberate over issues related to oil and gas development in the state.

“This is a great opportunity for students to see how topics they are learning in class relate to the real world,” says SER academic director Kami Danaei. “Students are able to see professionals in the industry work through land issues and navigate rules in oil and gas development. In addition to observing various regulatory issues on the docket, they are also able to make valuable connections with the people they are poised to work with in their future careers.”

In years past, the trip to the WOGCC has been tied to courses in the PLM program. This year, the student club – the Student Chapter of Energy Resources (SCER) – organized the trip as one of its monthly activities, expanding the opportunity to all ERMD students.

The trip to the WOGCC has always been touted as a very enlightening experience for ERMD students,” says junior PLM student and president of SCER, Eli Vigil. “We felt that it was important the trips to the commission continued, but also felt that this was a good opportunity for students to take the lead in an active role to engage with professionals in the industry.”

The WOGCC has been incredibly supportive of the SER academic program and students at UW wishing to pursue a career in energy development. Even throughout the pandemic, the WOGCC offered ample opportunities for students to attend virtual hearings and ask questions to gain a better understanding of regulatory procedures in the industry.

Prior to this most recent trip, commissioners met with a group of PLM students via zoom to demonstrate their show cause process and offer advice and suggestions on how to hopefully avoid the process.

“The commissioners were extremely generous to take the time to talk to us in advance of our visit,” comments Vigil. “It provided great insights to a process that helps round out our academic experience and knowledge within the industry on top of our already one-of-a-kind education.”

The involvement from the commission in the education of future land professionals is mutually beneficial.

“Having students visit a Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission monthly hearing is an extremely valuable exercise as it provides them with a perspective on the procedural and substantive issues that they will encounter in their careers,” says Kimberly Mazza, Sr. Public Relations Specialist at the WOGCC. “We are pleased to have the students back in person and look forward to continued visits in the future.”

The PLM program at SER equips students for a career addressing the business and legal challenges within the industry and is one of only ten undergraduate programs accredited nationally by the American Association of Professional Landmen.

Traditionally tied to the oil and gas industry, a career as a professional landman has evolved and expanded to include development issues in other energy sectors. Students at UW are trained for long-term success in addressing matters related to title, ownership, and rights-of-way, as well as a proficiency in building successful relationships between landowners and industry operators. Enhanced learning opportunities such as the visit to the WOGCC account for much of the program’s success.

“The trip to the monthly hearing did not disappoint,” adds Vigil. “We listened to discussions on relevant topics including flaring, and in a special hearing we even got to hear our professor, Kris Koski, raise a motion to dismiss an item on the docket before the commission on a settled issue. The experience definitely gives me confidence in the education that I am receiving at SER and I feel prepared and excited for my career.”

ermd students visiting the wogcc

(Front row) SER Academic Director Kami Danaei, Emily Latiegne, SER Student Relations Representative Karolina Klatka, Kendall Klos, Caleb Bowen, Caleb Durgen, (back row) Eli Vigil, Montgomery Hughes, Kieran McMullen, Hunter Lee, Michael Fenton, Micah Brandt, Shane Heavin, and PLM Director Kris Koski. 


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