Department of Physics and Engineering

West Virginia Wesleyan College

Denny Vincent


April 28 2012 016Natural Gas Employment

Denny Vincent (2012) works as a field engineer for Weatherford in Weston.


Denny’s Email

My employer asked me to attend a 12-week program in Ft. Worth, Texas. And they promoted me to the position of Certified Field Engineer.”


2010 NASA Summer Internship

The Marcellus Shale formation is a layer of natural gas filled rock underlying a large portion of the Appalachian Basin, including much of West Virginia.  New technology has created an economic boom.  The main issue with the rock is the complexity of retrieving the natural gas, which lies 1-2 miles below the Earth’s surface. A new process, known as fracking, has been developed to help overcome the difficulties.


068I had the opportunity to visit a drilling site near my house and talk to geologist and engineer on the site. They let me take pictures of the site and gave me a sample of the shale brought up with the flow-back fluid.


067Fracking is the process that allows the gas to be released from the high-density shale. Millions of gallons of high-pressure water are forces down the shaft, which creates small fractures in the shale.







Picture1 (2)The flow rate of the fluids must be just right to efficiently retrieve the gas. The gas industry is actively researching the most effective fluids and flow rate combinations, thus leading to advancements in the drilling capabilities in the future. My research explores three variables: fluids, flow rates, and the composition of different types of shale.


Horizontal drilling technology was developed to economically collect natural gas from the Marcellus formation. A single drilling rig will drill downward about 6000 ft and then make a 90-degree horizontal turn for about a mile.


073I simulated the flow conditions in the petroleum industry using water flowing through a horizontal section of clear PVC pipe. I compared my results to the prediction from the Navier-Stokes equation.