Petroleum Engineering for Non-Engineers

Jennifer L. Miskimins


This short course provides a broad, basic understanding of various petroleum engineering topics for non-petroleum engineers. The focus of the course is placed on the design, construction, stimulation, and production of wells, both vertical and horizontal. Specific topics discussed include reservoir properties, fluid flow behavior, the drilling of wells, rig types, wellbore integrity and design, completion types, downhole tools such as packers, formation damage, stimulation including hydraulic fracturing, and artificial lift techniques. As the title implies, the course is designed for those who work in the oil and gas industry but do not have a technical background in subsurface topics.


2 days

Intended Audience

Previous attendees that have found the course useful include geologists, geophysicists, landmen, technicians, accountants, financiers, lawyers and field personnel.

Prerequisites (Knowledge/Experience/Education required)

Some level of exposure to the oil and gas industry is recommended.

Who should attend?

The course is designed specifically for non-engineering disciplines who work with petroleum engineers or who are active in the completion, stimulation, and production of oil and gas reservoirs. All levels of experience have benefited during past courses.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Rock and Fluid Properties
    1. Porosity
    2. Permeability
    3. Water saturation
  3. Drilling
    1. Rigs types
    2. Equipment
  4. Logging
  5. Completion Types
    1. Open hole
    2. Cased hole
  6. Tubulars
  7. Completion Equipment
    1. Packers
    2. Bridge plugs
    3. Seating nipples
    4. Sliding sleeves
  8. Perforating
    1. Process
    2. Types
    3. Methods
  9. Formation Damage
  10. Acidizing
    1. Types
    2. Selection
    3. Procedures
  11. Hydraulic Fracturing
    1. Rock mechanics
    2. Stresses
    3. Fracturing fluids
    4. Proppants
    5. Conductivity
    6. Execution
  12. Artificial Lift
    1. Rod pumps
    2. Electrical submersible pumps
    3. Gas lift

Learner Outcomes

  1. Define the practice of petroleum engineering; describe the properties of porosity, permeability and saturation
  2. Explain how wells are drilled and completed. Identify and different types of completions
  3. Compare and contrast different types of well completions. Explain how packers, bridge plugs and other downhole tools work
  4. Describe what formation damage is. Summarize the practice of acidizing. Describe the process of hydraulic fracturing and identify different fluids and proppants
  5. Recognize different types of artificial life and under what conditions they are used


Jennifer L. Miskimins is a professor and the Department Head of the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines, where she holds the F.H. Mick Merelli/Cimarex Energy Distinguished Department Head Chair. Miskimins holds a BS from the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, and MS and PhD degrees from the Colorado School of Mines, all in petroleum engineering. She has more than 30 years of experience in the petroleum industry, starting with Marathon Oil Company as a production and completions engineer and production foreman. Miskimins started teaching at Mines in 2002 and has held various appointments since then.

Miskimins specializes in well completions, stimulation, hydraulic fracturing, and associated production issues. She is the founder and Director of the Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology (FAST) Consortium. Miskimins served as the first Completions Technical Director on the SPE International Board of Directors from 2015-2018 and was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2010-2011 and 2013-2014. In 2014, she was awarded the SPE International Completions Optimization and Technology Award. She was the Editor-in-Chief for the recent SPE Monograph update Hydraulic Fracturing: Fundamentals and Advancements.