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Action-Based Learning

We offer industry-relevant programs taught by highly qualified industry-trained faculty and our state of the art labs allow students to learn in facilities that replicate the real world, giving them a clear competitive advantage.

Donor contributions

Rance Fisher Wellsite Production Education Centre

Rance Fisher Wellsite Production Education Centre

The Rance Fisher Wellsite Production Education Centre is widely used by all MacPhail School of Energy students as well as our many industrial clients. In addition to extensive drilling, service, processing and control equipment, the Wellsite is also home to a modern 37-seat classroom. This $3.5 million facility was built with funding and support from the Alberta oil industry and the Provincial Government and includes a:

  • 757 metre directionally drilled wellbore complete with a service rig donated by Stewart & Stevenson (formerly Crown Energy Technologies Inc.)

Our completely functional oil battery includes:

  • Well Makeup Unit to simulate crude emulsion and associated gas production
  • Three Phase Test Separator to separate, test, and measure oil well productions
  • Heated Group Treater
  • Oil and water storage tank
  • Gas and liquid measurement throughout
  • LACT (Lease Automatic Custody Transfer) unit

Our Gas Plant Simulator includes:

  • Three-phase Inlet Separator
  • Two-stage, double-acting, reciprocating gas compressor with a Micro-Guard control system
  • Glycol reboiler gas dehydration system
  • Gas refrigeration system
  • Gas measurement throughout

Several control systems monitor and control plant operation:

  • Allen Bradley programmable logic controller (PLC) Control Panel
  • Motor Control Center (MCC)
Ramsey Centre for Petroleum Engineering Technology

Ramsay Centre for Petroleum Engineering Technology

Kick-started by a $3 million donation from Doug and Susan Ramsay, the Ramsay Centre for Petroleum Engineering provides training focused on upstream oil and gas technology, representing conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon extraction. The Centre has dedicated spaces to study petroleum geology, reservoir development, drilling and completion techniques, production methods and optimization: the four primary disciplines covered by our Petroleum Engineering Technology program.

Perhaps the most stunning new addition is the Mathison Drilling and Geoscience Lab Suite, named for a $1 million donation by Ron Mathison. The Lab Suite will be furnished with a one-of-a-kind drilling simulator, which makes use of advanced software and 3D graphics to create immersive visualizations of downhole drilling dynamics. This and other cutting-edge training equipment allows us to run alongside industry as new technologies emerge, helping to ensure a steady stream of savvy graduates who are well versed in the most current oil sands and SAGD processes.

The expansion of the labs and classrooms in the Ramsay Centre, including the Mathison Drilling and Geoscience Lab Suite, has enabled the MacPhail School of Energy to increase the enrolment capacity of its existing Petroleum-related offerings and to add several new ones. Among the new offerings are a variety of distance education options that incorporate lab-based components and soon-to-be-unveiled courses in oil sands mining.

Below is a list of each of the labs in the Centre and some of the equipment that students work within each:

Mathison Drilling and Geoscience Lab Suite 

  • Drilling Simulator
  • Viscometre
  • Drill bits
  • Directional Drilling Software
  • Rock samples
  • Fishing tools
  • Mud balance
  • Minerals 
  • Logging tools
  • Geology software

Process Energy Reservoir Lab

  • Permeametre
  • Porosimetre
  • PVT cell
  • Viscometre
  • Reservoir engineering software

Process Energy Production Lab

  • Downhole tools
  • Instrumentation
  • Christmas Tree
  • Wellhead
  • Sucker rod pumps
TransAlta epiCentre

TransAlta epiCentre

The TransAlta Electrical Power Industry Centre (TransAlta epiCentre) represents the future of electrical power-one of the world's most critical industries. The epiCentre is a leading world centre for advanced technology development and training excellence in conventional and alternative sources of power. The centre has further enhanced MacPhail School of Energy's Electrical Engineering Technology and Power Engineering Technology programs and lab facilities. 

Encana Environmental Technology Centre

Encana Environmental Technology Centre

Each day, the oil and gas sector deals with environmental issues concerning air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, deregulation of industry standards and practices, consumer advocacy groups, and achieving Voluntary Challenge goals. To address these issues, companies must have skilled environmental technical specialists. The Encana Environmental Technology Centre responds to industry needs by offering environmental training programs. This $3.7 million Centre provides MacPhail School of Energy students with a solid foundation in environmental work, both in field operations and in the lab. Industry personnel also have the opportunity to upgrade and expand their current skills using state-of-the-practice technology. This Centre opened in 2000 and was spearheaded by Encana and supported by other industry partners.

BP Control Engineering Technology Centre

BP Control Engineering Technology Centre

The $9-million BP Control Engineering Technology Centre opened in 1996 to meet industry demand for skilled networking and industrial control workers. Today the Centre is a high-tech, applied learning environment for MacPhail's engineering diploma and degree programs. Our industry partners also use these labs for showcasing the new technology, developing and testing applications, and training personnel.

There are six labs in the multi-disciplinary BP Centre:

  • BP Engineering Applications Lab (simulation and process control)
  • International Society for Measurement and Control (ISA) Measurement Lab (pneumatic, electronic, analog and digital instrumentation)
  • NOVA Corporation Networking Lab (networking hardware and software systems)
  • Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley PLC Lab (programmable logic controls)
  • Fisher Rosemount Analyzer Lab (analyzers for the composition of gases and liquids)
  • Spartan Controls and Emerson Process Management Applied Control Systems Lab (project managing, modelling and design)

Thanks to the Centre's success, SAIT and partners BP Canada, Spartan Controls, AspenTech, Fluke Electronics Canada, Emerson Process Management, G.E. Harris and other companies have developed additional facilities and programs. This expansion doubled the Centre's size and provides state-of-the-art systems software and technology focused on automated controls, process simulation, SCADA and Fieldbus.

Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Excellence

Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Excellence

Made possible by a $2-million donation from Spartan Controls, the Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Excellence integrates the Process Lab, Distributed Control System Lab, Instrumentation Workshop, and Spartan Control Analyzer Labs to ensure that Instrumentation students continue to enjoy a world-class educational experience.

Students working in the Distributed Control System Lab will get a hands-on introduction to some of the communication techniques used by devices in the industry. They will have opportunities to configure and analyze modular control strategies and software applications using state-of-the-art DCS technology and, in more advanced courses, to design an operator interface to monitor and control simulated process operations. The new Analyzer Lab provides a dedicated space for students to test instruments that measure parameters like humidity, turbidity, and gas composition that influence product quality in many industrial processes. The Instrumentation Workshop provides students with the opportunity to hone their maintenance skills using specialized hand tools and power equipment. The fourth and final lab of the Spartan Centre is the Process Lab, which has recently been outfitted with two new Advanced Compressor Control training systems. These training systems make use of patented Alberta technology to teach students strategies to help achieve greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

As well, within the Centre is the Endress + Hauser Instrumentation Engineering Technology Process Lab. This lab is outfitted with the latest flow and interface measurement technologies as well as guided-wave radar instruments and nuclear density profiling systems.

Ultimately the new centre ensures that graduates are ready to apply their knowledge of leading-edge Smart Instrumentation and Control Systems, Networked & Wireless Communications, and Advanced Optimization software to help meet industries' toughest automation challenges from day one of their new careers.

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