- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is adding a minor in petroleum systems as part of a broader initiative to focus on the booming energy industry.

“The energy industry is rapidly growing in our region. Many of our graduates are already hired into the industry and we are well-positioned to expand both teaching and research in this field,” school President Heather Wilson said in a statement.

The Rapid City school is equidistant from three of the largest energy-producing regions in the country: the Williston Basin to the north, the Powder River Basin to the northwest and the Denver Basin directly south. The college announced in April that it was launching a Shale Research Institute with the help of Rapid City-based engineering consultant RESPEC. Shale formations, such as the Bakken in North Dakota, hold oil.

The new minor in petroleum systems will be available to all Mines and Technology students beginning in the fall, pending approval from the state Board of Regents. Coursework will include drilling and production engineering, fluid mechanics and a field course.

The school said it likely will add a staff member to support the program, and is looking for someone “renowned throughout industry and higher education.”

The school also is developing a graduate certificate in petroleum systems, which will be open to both graduate students and professionals.

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