PNG 301
Introduction to Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering



PNG 301: Introduction to Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
(Spring 2024)

This syllabus is divided into several sections. You can read it sequentially by scrolling down the length of the document.  It is essential that you read the entire document as well as material covered in the Course Orientation. Together these serve as our course "contract."


photograph of Gregory King

Dr. Gregory King

Professor of Practice, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

  • Phone: 814-867-3547
  • Email: Please use the Canvas course email system.
  • Office Hours: By appointment (please contact me via Canvas to request an appointment).

NOTE: I will read and respond to email and discussion forums at least once per day during the work week (Monday through Friday). You may see me online occasionally on the weekends, but please don't count on it!

Course Overview


The first part of the course will introduce the student to the design and implementation of the systems used in the extraction of oil and gas, including terminology and basic calculations in drilling engineering, geology, production, reservoir, and facilities engineering. The course will give an initial overview of the history of the oil industry and the origins of petroleum and natural gas reservoirs, followed by a description of the conventional and unconventional reservoir types. All aspects of petroleum engineering from upstream to downstream will be included in this discussion, including transportation, marketing, and environmental impacts.

The remainder of the course will present the various key disciplines in petroleum and natural gas engineering in the chronological order of how the disciplines interact. Key problems in each of these disciplines will be reviewed and solved, using Excel and introductory statistics/computer programming (using Matlab). First, the discipline of drilling engineering will be presented. This will focus on the different types of wells, bits, casing designs, and completion techniques. Topics in the discipline of reservoir engineering will be presented next and will include basic petrophysics, reservoir types, and fluids, as well as basic extraction methods. The life cycle of a reservoir and its efficient and environmental friendly management will be discussed, including enhanced oil recovery methods, such as carbon dioxide injection and surfactant flooding. Topics in production engineering will be presented next and will center on tubing design, artificial lift, stimulation using acids and fracturing, and cased-hole logging. Topics in facility engineering, the last discipline to be discussed, will focus on surface facilities such as separators, gas and water gathering systems, pipelines, stock tanks, chokes, and recycle plants.

Finally, differences between unconventional and conventional extractions and systems will be described as this is now critical to the energy security of the United States. Focus here will be on shale properties, fluid property changes owing to tiny pores, diffusion, absorption, and hydraulic fracturing. The course will explain how fracturing in shale reservoirs differs from conventional ones. Transport of oil or gas from these tight rock matrixes by diffusion through the fracture network will be presented. Environmental considerations will also be discussed.

Prerequisites and concurrent courses:

Prerequisites: (PHYS 211; OR PHYS 250) Concurrent Courses: GEOSC 1 .

Students who do not meet these prerequisites may be disenrolled according to Administrative Policy C-5;if they do not have the proper prerequisite override. If you have not completed the listed prerequisites, then promptly consult with the instructor if you have not done so already. Students who add the course after being disenrolled, according to this policy, are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Course Objectives:

When you successfully complete this course, you will be prepared to:

  • identify the geological origins of petroleum reservoirs and reservoir fluids;
  • describe the history of the oil and gas industry;
  • explain the structure of the modern oil and gas industry;
  • list the various disciplines that make up the petroleum engineering profession;
  • illustrate the differences between conventional and unconventional reservoirs;
  • analyze rudimentary engineering methods;
  • interpret semi-log and log-log plots;
  • apply linear interpolation and regression;
  • analyze statistical descriptions of reservoir data;
  • identify and solve problems requiring simple iteration; and
  • discuss the role of environmental stewardship in the petroleum engineering profession.


On average, most students spend eight to ten hours per week working on course assignments. Your workload may be more or less depending on your study habits.

I have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. The Internet may still be a novel learning environment for you, but in one sense it is no different from a traditional college class: how much and how well you learn is ultimately up to you. You will succeed if you are diligent about keeping up with the class schedule and if you take advantage of opportunities to communicate with me as well as with your fellow students.

Specific learning objectives for each lesson and project are detailed within each lesson. The class schedule is published below and in Canvas (the course management system used for this course).

Required Course Materials

Required textbook

This class does not require a textbook.

Online lesson content

All materials needed for this course are presented online through our course website and in Canvas. In order to access the online materials, you need to have an active Penn State Access Account user ID and password (used to access the online course resources). If you have any questions about obtaining or activating your Penn State Access Account, please contact the World Campus Helpdesk.

Reserve materials

This course may use library Electronic Reserves (E-Reserves). More information about how to access this content is available in the course orientation.


This course will rely on a variety of methods to assess and evaluate student learning, including:

  • Problem Solving Sets and Quizzes which may include the following types of questions:
    • calculation questions, which ask you to perform numerical operations and sometimes show your answers in graphical form, and
    • essay questions, which ask you to write a reasoned response to a specific question;
  • Midterm Exams which may contain true/false, multiple choice, short answer, and/or problem-solving questions.
  • Final Exam will be comprehensive and may contain true/false, multiple choice, short answer, and/or problem-solving questions.

It is important that your work is submitted in the proper format to the appropriate Canvas Assignment by the designated due date. I strongly advise that you not wait until the last minute to complete these assignments—give yourself time to ask questions, think things over, and chat with others. You'll learn more, do better...and be happier!

Due dates for all assignments are posted on the syllabus and course calendar in Canvas.


Breakdown of each assignment's value as a percentage of the total course grade.
Assignment Percent of Grade

Problem Sets (Assignments) and/or Quizzes

  • Lessons 2 - 9 will each have either an assignment or a quiz.
  • 8 total assignments/quizzes
  • You will be allowed to drop the lowest 2 assignment/quiz grade.
  • Each assignment/quiz will count as 3.33% of your final grade.
Midterm Exams (2 x 25% each) 50%
Final Exam 30%

I will use the Canvas gradebook to keep track of your grades. You can see your grades in the gradebook, too. Overall course grades will be determined as follows. Percentages refer to the proportion of all possible points earned.

Letter Grade and Corresponding Percentage
Letter Grade Percentages
A 93 - 100 %
A- 90 - 92.99 %
B+ 87 - 89.99 %
B 83 - 86.99 %
B- 80 - 82.99 %
C+ 77 - 79.99 %
C 70 - 76.99 %
D 60 - 69.99 %
F < 60 %

Unsatisfactory (student did not participate)


I generally do not curve grades, however, because this is the first offering of PNG 301 (Spring 2019), I might curve the final grades based on a statistical evaluation of the overall performance of the class.

Late Policy

Generally, late assignments will be assessed a penalty of at least 10% per day and will not be accepted more than five days after the original due date.

Make-up Exam Policy

Make-up exams will only be granted through the approval of the course instructor for legitimate and excused absences. Prior notification and approval for a make-up exam must be obtained by the student at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled exam. Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

PNG 301: Course Schedule

imagePrintable Schedule

Below you will find a summary of the primary learning activities for this course and the associated time frames. This course is 12 lessons in length (12 weeks), with an orientation preceding the official start of the course. Each lesson is either one or two weeks long. See our Syllabus/Calendar in Canvas for specific lesson time frames and assignment due dates.

Weekly schedule: Lessons open on Monday and should be completed on Sunday. I expect you to participate in the online discussion forums at least 3 times per week, etc.

NOTE: See the Canvas Syllabus or Calendar for a full semester calendar of events.

Lesson 1:  Introduction to Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering
Week 1: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates

Course Orientation
Course Overview
Overview of the Oil and Gas Industry
Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods

Readings: Read through the online orientation and lesson 1 material

Lesson 1 has no graded assignments but you must complete the course orientation material to unlock the remaining lesson modules.

  • Academic Integrity & Plagiarism Statement Quiz
  • Orientation Knowledge Quiz

Lesson 2: Origin and Occurrence of Hydrocarbons
Week 2: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Basic Earth Geology
Rock Types and the Rock Cycle
Basic Petroleum Geology
Origins of Oil and Gas
Hydrocarbon Types
Gibbs Phase Rule
Reservoir Types
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 2 Quiz

Lesson 3: Reservoir Engineering: Rock and Fluid Properties
Weeks 3 & 4: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Oilfield Measures and Units
Reservoir Rock Properties
Reservoir Fluid Properties
Reservoir Rock-Fluid Interaction Properties
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 3 Problem Set

Lesson 4: Reservoir Engineering for Oil Reservoirs
Weeks 5 & 6: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Estimation of In-Place Oil, STOOIP
Drive Mechanisms in Oil Reservoirs
Well Performance in Oil Reservoirs
Material Balance for Oil Reservoirs
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 4 Problem Set

Exam 1
Week 7: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Covers material form Lessons 1 through 4
Assignments: Exam 1

Lesson 5: Reservoir Engineering: Gas Reservoirs
Week 8: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Estimation of the Original Gas In-Place, OGIP
Drive Mechanisms in Gas Reservoirs
Well Performance in Gas Reservoirs
Material Balance for Gas Reservoirs
Readings: Read through the online course material

Lesson 5 Problem Set

Lesson 6: Production Engineering: Flow in Well Tubing
Weeks 9 & 10: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Components of Pressure Drop in Well Tubing
Factor Impacting Flow of Fluids in Tubing
Pressure Losses in Tubing for Single-Phase Liquid Flow
Pressure Losses in Tubing for Single-Phase Gas Flow
Pressure Losses in Tubing for Multi-Phase Flow
Pressure Traverse and Nodal Analysis Calculations
Artificial Lift
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 6 Quiz

Lesson 7: Production Engineering: Well Intervention
Weeks 11 & 12: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Well Equipment
Well Stimulation
Well Workovers
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 7 Quiz

Exam 2
Week 13: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Covers material form Lessons 5 through 7
Assignments: Exam 2

Lesson 8: Drilling Engineering - Drilling Contracts, The Rig Crew, and Drilling Rigs
Week 13: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: The Rig Crew
Drilling Rig Types
Components of a Drilling Rig
Drilling Equipment
The Drilling Process
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 8 Quiz

Lesson 9: Drilling Engineering - Drilling Rig Systems and the Drilling Process
Week 14: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Fluid Separation
Fluid Treatment
Fluid Metering
Fluid Disposal
Readings: Read through the online course material
Assignments: Lesson 9 Quiz

Final Exam
Final Week: Check the course calendar in Canvas for specific dates
Topics: Study for the Final Exam.
Readings: No readings
Assignments: Final Exam

Class Support Services

Penn State Online offers online tutoring to World Campus students in math, writing, and some business classes. Tutoring and guided study groups for residential students are available through Penn State Learning.

Course Policies

Technical Requirements

For this course, we recommend the minimum technical requirements outlined on the World Campus Technical Requirements page, including the requirements listed for same-time, synchronous communications. If you need technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the IT Service Desk (for World Campus students) or Penn State's IT Help Portal (for students at all other campus locations).

Internet Connection

Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.

Mixed Content

This site is considered a secure web site, which means that your connection is encrypted. We do, however, link to content that isn't necessarily encrypted. This is called mixed content. By default, mixed content is blocked in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. This may result in a blank page or a message saying that only secure content is displayed. Follow the directions on our Technical Requirements page to view the mixed content.


This course must be viewed using the latest version of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported. If you use any other browser, or if you are not using the latest version of your browser, some pages containing equations may not render properly. In addition, javascript must be enabled for equations to render properly. If you have any issues with equations not rendering properly, please update your browser to the latest version or try using a different browser. If you need additional technical assistance at any point during the course, please contact the HelpDesk (for World Campus students) or the IT Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Academic Integrity

This course follows the procedures for academic integrity of Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Penn State defines academic integrity as "the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner." Academic integrity includes "a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception." In particular, the University defines plagiarism as "the fabrication of information and citations; submitting others' work from professional journals, books, articles, and papers; submission of other students' papers, lab results or project reports and representing the work as one's own." Penalties for violations of academic integrity may include course failure. To learn more, see Penn State's Academic Integrity Training for Students

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for Campus Disability Coordinators at every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Office for Student Disability Resources website.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled. You will participate in an intake interview and provide documentation. See documentation guidelines at Applying for Services from Student Disability Resources. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Change in Normal Campus Operations

In case of weather-related delays or other emergency campus disruptions or closures at the University, this online course will proceed as planned. Your instructor will inform you if there are any extenuating circumstances regarding content or activity due dates in the course due to these delays or closures. If you are affected by a weather-related emergency, please contact your instructor at the earliest possible time to make special arrangements.

Reporting Educational Equity Concerns

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated (Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance) and can be reported through Educational Equity via Report Bias.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.  Services include the following:

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Counseling Services at Commonwealth Campuses
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Connect Online with Caution

Penn State is committed to educational access for all. Our students come from all walks of life and have diverse life experiences. As with any other online community, the lack of physical interaction in an online classroom can create a false sense of anonymity and security. While one can make new friends online, digital relationships can also be misleading. Good judgment and decision-making are critical when choosing to disclose personal information to others whom you do not know.

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time for reasons that are beyond your control, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor, following Penn State Deferred Grade Policy 48-40. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to the instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. Non-emergency permission for filing a deferred grade must be requested before the beginning of the final examination period.  It is up to the instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If permission is granted, you will work with the instructor to establish a communication plan and a clear schedule for completion within policy.  If, for any reason, the coursework for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.


This course will be conducted entirely online. There will be no set class meeting times, but you will be required to complete weekly assignments with specific due dates. Many of the assignments are open for multiple days, so it is your responsibility to complete the work early if you plan to travel or participate in national holidays, religious observances or University approved activities.

If you need to request an exception due to a personal or medical emergency, contact the instructor directly as soon as you are able. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming, and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.

For additional information, see:

Mandated Reporting Statement

Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework. For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response website.

Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.


Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. All changes will be communicated to you via e-mail, course announcement and/or course discussion forum.