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$4 million equipment donation fuels process tech program


Fairbanks, Alaska—A $4 million equipment donation from BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. has made the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College one of only a few programs in the nation to offer a working wellhead in a classroom environment.

“The wellhead and equipment gives students in our process technology program the opportunity to train on the same equipment in a classroom environment they will encounter in the field,” said Brian Ellingson, coordinator for the CTC process technology program. “It gives process technology and engineering students the ability to learn crucial safety standards and procedures that will make them smarter, safer, and more efficient operators at oil and gas production facilities.”

"This wellhead and process technology equipment will provide hands-on experience for UAF engineering and process technology students. Training and hiring qualified Alaskans is critical to our business and we believe this investment will help the excellent program at UAF be even better." said John Mingé, President BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.

The majority of the equipment came from the former BP Gas to Liquids plant in Kenai.  Ellingson said the miscellaneous equipment made its way to Fairbanks over a span of several months, beginning last November. The refurbished wellhead, which had been fully operational on Alaska’s North Slope, arrived in Fairbanks in July.

The wellhead is the only working model located in a classroom environment in Alaska and one of only a few in the country. It functions as a wellhead does in the field, with production flow out and gas injection capabilities. Pressures have been reduced for safety precautions in a classroom environment.

“Our longtime partnership with BP Alaska has impacted almost every area of the university,” said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers. “This generous gift to the Community and Technical College will ensure our students have the tools and training they need to enter a successful career after graduation and clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the future of this industry and to the quality education of Alaska’s workforce.”

The process technology program at UAF’s Community and Technical College offers a two-year associate degree that prepares graduates for employment in the areas of oil and gas production, mining and milling, transportation, refining, utilities, wastewater treatment and facilities maintenance. In addition, the program offers one-year certificates in power generation, safety, health and environmental awareness, and instrumentation technology.

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