FARMINGTON — After 10 days of hands-on experience with oil field equipment, students from a Mexico university wrapped up their trip to San Juan College on Wednesday.
Ten petroleum engineering students from Universidad Autónoma del Carmen, located in Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, arrived in Farmington on July 22 for a program that provides training with oil field equipment and instruction from college instructors.
This is the program's second year, said San Juan College's coordinator of international exchange, Judith Palier. Pailer worked with the School of Energy to organize the program.
Some of the topics covered included well control and natural gas compression, as well as training in the Industrial Process Operator and Instrumentation and Controls technology programs.
"Engineering students in most places, in the U.S. as well as Mexico, study a lot of theory in books but don't get a lot of hands-on experience," Pailer said. "The hands-on part of (the program) is what we do best."
San Juan College Associate Professor Vernon Willie spent part of Wednesday morning teaching students about the Navajo Nation. Field trips led students to the Enterprise Chaco gas plant in Bloomfield, the Public Service Company of New Mexico San Juan Generating Station and San Juan Mine.
Third-year student Mirna Vinajera said the oil drilling in Ciudad del Carmen is conducted off-shore in the Gulf of Mexico. The equipment, she said, is similar but drilling on the main land is different than drilling off-shore.
"We came here to learn about well control, instrumentation, all these kind of things," Vinajera said.
Pailer said the 10 students were selected through a combination of academic performance in drilling and engineering classes, along with an exam to determine their proficiency in English.
Last year, the program had 16 students and ran a full two weeks. But Pailer said the group was more difficult to manage, and condensing the program saved students money. Students pay for their own expenses, including airfare, food and lodging.
Third-year student Abraham Licona said he enjoyed the training.
"Here we learn about some specific (information) about wellhead installations," Licona said.