Is Black the New Gold?

The aroma of oil being pumped from the ground fills the wind as it carries across the cotton fields. This is what Lubbock, Texas is known for. Almost everyone who has driven through Lubbock knows this smell, and little do people know, it is what sustains and this “little big” town of Lubbock.

The oil and gas industry has profited towns, both big and small, as a trade in the agricultural industry. In 1945, an oil field was found in Levelland, Texas that would put the Lubbock area on the map for Texas oil production. Texas Tech University took this opportunity to branch their education system to new heights. This soon established the first functioning oil rig for a college campus, right here in Lubbock.

Located only 15 minutes away from the main Texas Tech campus, the Oilfield Technology Center is an easily accessible educational facility to students and faculty. Donated and funded by the Texas Tech alumni, the support, both financially and beyond, was a critical piece in making this opportunity for students successful as well as safe.

One major component while imagining and constructing the rig was the safety of students. The average time to construct an oil rig is only a few days. However, Texas Tech took two years to evaluate every aspect of the rig to ensure that it was up to code. It is no tall tale that working on a functioning drilling rig has its risks, but Texas Tech uses this opportunity to practice practical safety techniques as a teaching tool for students going into the workforce.

The Oilfield Technology Center is just one of the hands-on opportunities given to students at Texas Tech. This gives students the opportunity to pull what they learned in textbooks and apply it to their hands to explore the wonders of the oil industry. Texas Tech sure knows how to strike “black gold” for their students.