Cockrell becomes new home to Petroleum Extension program

Emily O'Toole

The Cockrell School of Engineering recently announced that Petroleum Extension, PETEX, a self-funded training organization, will be incorporated into the school’s continuing education program for alumni in the oil and gas industry.

PETEX director Coy Wilcox said the organization aims to maximize connections between the oil and gas industry and those currently in the work force. In the past, PETEX was part of Extended Campus, a program of technical classes for those not enrolled at UT, but it is now part of Cockrell’s continuing education program, Texas Engineering Executive Education, TXEEE.

“We focus on providing the practical information needed to supplement and prepare these same individuals to become more productive assets for the industry and for the organizations they are employed by,” Wilcox said in an email.

The courses PETEX offers are operated as e-Learning modules or led by an instructor at the PETEX Houston Training Center, Wilcox said. He said PETEX is focused on improving oil and gas industry employees’ technical capabilities to be suitable on an international scale. 

TXEEE executive director Eric Roe said there are programs like PETEX within other colleges to benefit alumni.

“The bigger message for the UT-Austin community is the fact that there are many continuing and professional education programs on campus,” Roe said in an email. “Our schools and colleges have programs to stay connected with alumni to serve their lifelong learning needs.”

PETEX provides unique benefits such as widespread access to online education, industry-standard publications and face-to-face training — all influenced by feedback from an advisory board with direct connections to the industry, such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Schlumberger. Alumni and advisors are consulted before pursuing a certain program or pieces of equipment in order to keep up with the industry’s needs, Roe said.

“We’re working with PETEX right now to revamp their online education,” Roe said in an email. “They’re a global training provider. In that process, we will not only consider the needs of incumbent workers in industry but also how the curriculum and training systems can benefit current students through international standards, alumni feedback and program alignment.”

Shanik Bhatte, a petroleum engineering and finance senior who interns with ConocoPhillips, said in an email he thinks PETEX could be a valuable asset for oil and gas companies.

“Personally, I believe it is in the company’s best interest to keep their employees well trained by providing resources for training,” Bhatte said. “I would look at PETEX as an option for employers to use.”