Top Energy Training

Education designed specifically for oil and gas regulators and policymakers

Comprehensive and innovative oil and gas education and training

Stay on top of rapidly innovating technical tools and processes with a program that provides comprehensive, practical training taught by world-renown scientists and academics.

TOPCORP is a comprehensive, practical training program for state and federal regulators, field inspectors, and policymakers to understand better the technologies employed in conventional and shale oil and gas field operations.

TOPCORP is a unique opportunity to advance practical knowledge and education, there is no other forum, gathering, or system providing this information to oil and gas regulators and inspectors in the United States.

Our mission is to provide trusted, high-quality, interactive education and training about the rapidly evolving oil & gas industry. And our vision is a sustainable energy future where professionals, policymakers, and stakeholders engaged with oil & gas operations are educated in the latest technical developments and practices. If you have similar goals, we can help.

Close the gap between private and public training opportunities

Innovation is a core principle in the energy industry. New processes and technologies are continuously developed to improve efficiency and safety while maximizing output from conventional and shale oil and gas wells worldwide. Process improvements, specifically around increasing shale gas production, increase every day.

State and federal agencies need to keep pace with private industry.

Private industry has the resources to invest in training its engineers and field operators to learn and manage new field technologies and processes, but state and federal government agencies don’t have the funding or capacity to provide comparable training.

As a result, there’s a knowledge gap between the people who run and manage oil and gas operations and those responsible for monitoring and regulating them on behalf of the public. TOPCORP is closing this gap.

TOPCORP helps oil and gas regulators, inspectors and policymakers stay current with the rapidly innovating and highly technical industry tools and processes.

Create continuity and connectivity among all leaders in the industry

Participants deepen their understanding of the science and latest technologies used in oil and gas extraction and better engage with industry experts when monitoring facilities. They also better interpret and translate work for the public citizens they represent.

Participants complete TOPCORP with:

  • Fact-based information related to core job responsibilities from unbiased subject-matter experts in academia
  • A network of peers to engage for input and counsel—which did not exist for regulators until TOPCORP was established.

Since 2012, hundreds of attendees from 37 different U.S. state, U.S. federal, and Canadian provincial regulatory agencies have logged ~ 52,000 contact hours as part of the TOPCORP training program.

Program Details

Participants will take three workshops:

  • Petroleum Geology and Engineering & Petroleum Technology
  • Environmental Management & Stewardship
  • Emerging Trends & Communications

Each workshop is held for three days at a partnering university and includes classroom, lab, and field activities.

TOP Energy Training rises to the challenge

To address the challenge that the surge in unconventional resource technology created, ExxonMobil and General Electric approached three universities, The University of Texas at Austin, Penn State, and the Colorado School of Mines, with seed money to develop and teach a technical training program for oil and gas inspectors.

The three schools agreed to collaborate on curriculum and methodology to create their flagship training program, TOPCORP.

The universities surveyed state agencies to uncover any existing training available, preferred training methods, and available time for training. In response, TOP Energy Training designed the TOPCORP program to include a set of online prerequisite courses followed by in-person workshops at each of the three schools.

A blended approach to learning

TOP Energy Training rolled out its first TOPCORP workshop to oil and gas inspectors in 2013. Since then, UT Austin, PSU, and MINES collaborated to host three annual workshops for oil and gas inspectors to enhance the assigned online coursework. The blended educational approach allows field inspectors to receive online updates from a wide range of technical experts, develop new skills in the classroom, and expand their knowledge and network base through well-site visits and peer-to-peer interaction.

Top-notch inspection corps remains essential for good environmental outcomes

TOP Energy Training is proud to contribute to this critical work. TOPCORP has provided over 52,000 hours of technical instruction to U.S. and Canadian inspectors from 37 local, state, provincial, and federal agencies.

TOP Energy Training leadership recognized that the online curriculum content developed for TOPCORP could have value to a broader audience than just the regulatory community. 

For example, technical and non-technical industry professionals, lawyers, teachers, students, journalists, landowners, municipal staff, and consultants must stay up to date with ever-evolving oil and gas technology trends to be effective in their jobs and careers. As a result, TOP Energy Training online content is now available to these audiences, accessible through this website.

Upcoming TOPCORP Workshops

TOPCORP workshops have a prerequisite series of self-paced, online lessons.

The prerequisite lessons provide an overview of the concepts applied in oil and gas field technologies, preparing participants to receive the most from the hands-on experiences during the immersive lab and field sessions. In addition, lab activities and site visits during the workshops allow the participants to experience cutting-edge engineering applied to oil and gas field operations.

The training and technical knowledge provided in TOPCORP courses can be used to satisfy any continuing education requirements.

Sponsor funding enables TOPCORP to provide participants with access to secure online lessons, travel and accommodations for the lab and field immersive workshops, and a completion ceremony with a certificate.

For inquiries about our TOPCORP program, please contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.

Sponsors

Founding Sponsors

Past Partners and Sponsors

Anadarko

Apache

Clean Earth

CalFrac Well Services

Chevron

Civitas

Core Lab

Digital Oil and Gas Podcast

Encana

Ensign

EOG Resources

Environmental Defense Fund

EVX

Halliburton

Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission

Mitchell Foundation

New Pig Energy

Noble Energy

Oil and Gas HSE Podcast

PDC Energy

Penn Energy Resources 

Precision Drilling

Remote Intelligence

Sage Geosystems

Seneca Resources

Shell

TerrAqua Resource Management

The Mineral Rights Podcast

Trican

Western Midstream Partners, LP

Frequently Asked Questions

For sponsored participants, there are no charges to attend one of the regularly scheduled in-person workshops. The pre-requisite online courses for each workshop are also free for sponsored attendees. Participants from the continental U.S. also have your meals, lodging, and travel covered. If your agency is required to pay your lodging and / or travel, just let us know, and you can make those arrangements yourself. If you are interested in sponsoring a workshop for a group of personnel hosted at a different location, please contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.

Nominees for our TOPCORP in-person workshops should be sent to Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu. Once your nomination has been processed, you will be contacted with information on your acceptance status, including an online registration document if your nomination is accepted.

The final online course assessment in advance of the in-person workshop will test your knowledge of the material covered in each course. You will need to answer all of the questions on the final assessment correctly to pass the course. You will be able to make several attempts to complete the final assessment.

At the end of each lesson, there will be a few ungraded self-check questions to help you gauge your understanding of the content. These self-check questions will prepare you for the final assessment.

The TOPCORP in-person workshops consist of classroom, field, and lab experiences. Successful completion of the pre-requisite online course assessment is required to attend the in-person workshop. Once you answer all of the questions correctly, you will be able to print a course completion certificate verifying your mastery of the online materials.

The workshops are held at different times throughout the year and are announced on our TOPCORP workshop webpage. Notices are sent to state and provincial regulatory agencies across the U.S. and Canada, as well as to U.S. federal agencies. The workshops are hosted by one of the three university consortium members: MINES (Golden, CO), PSU (Pittsburgh, PA), and UT Austin (Austin, TX). For specific information on the schedule of workshops, please contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.

Your travel and hotel will be booked and paid for through our centralized travel at The University of Texas at Austin. Contact Dori Coy: dcoy at mail.utexas.edu.

The program is led by a principal investigator at each of the three universities:

  • Dr. Hilary Olson, Executive Director (The University of Texas at Austin)
  • Dr. Linda Battalora (Colorado School of Mines)
  • Jim Ladlee (Penn State)

The initial development of the training program was funded by a gift from ExxonMobil and General Electric to Colorado School of Mines, The Pennsylvania State University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Ongoing development and implementation funding is provided by gifts to the three universities from ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes General Electric, the Environmental Defense Fund, American Petroleum Institute, Apache, Chevron, Encana, Noble, Occidental, Seneca, and the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation. The three universities designate a ‘gift’ when there are no specific required deliverables, no memoranda of agreement, nor any contracts as part of the funds transferred to the university.

The online and workshop curriculum is chosen by university faculty and researchers at the three different universities, including those with expertise in environmental sciences, groundwater and surface water management, hydrogeology, structural geology, geomechanics, petroleum geology, reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, geophysics, and technical communications. Through a nationwide survey of oil and gas regulatory agency personnel and intensive evaluation of pilot classes, we have been able to focus on the information most needed by both new and seasoned state oil and gas regulators.

None. The detailed workshop curriculum is at the sole discretion of the three universities (principal investigators and instructors).

The Leadership Team makes these decisions in conjunction with regulatory agency supervisors.

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) works with us to ensure our training meets the needs of state regulatory agencies who oversee oil and gas operations throughout the United States, as well as their sister provincial agencies in Canada. By partnering with the IOGCC we are moving towards a nationwide best-practice standard in oil and gas regulatory performance.