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Expanded natural gas compression training center opens in Okmulgee

The new Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center officially opened its doors Wednesday at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: September 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm •  Published: September 26, 2013

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology President Bill Path acknowledged Wednesday the newest building on campus isn't much to look at.

The Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center is a massive metal warehouse.

“It's practical. It's functional. It's safe. It's efficient,” Path said. “Personally I think it's absolutely beautiful.”

The nearly $5 million training center is the first of its kind in the energy industry, allowing OSU's Institute of Technology to train twice as many students to diagnose, service and maintain gas compression equipment.

Officials celebrated the opening of the new center Wednesday.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. was the lead donor on the project, contributing $2 million. Other supporters included Devon Energy Corp., ONEOK Inc. and Texas-based pipeline operator Energy Transfer.

Chesapeake Oilfield Service CEO Jerry Winchester said he is excited about the new training center.

“We have hired a tremendous number of people from this program,” he said. “We will continue to hire more.”

Winchester said the Chesapeake subsidiary needs people to maintain the production equipment at well sites throughout its operating area to keep oil and natural gas flowing.

“When the compressor shuts down, the production shuts down,” he said.

Roy Achemire, head of the institute's heavy equipment and vehicle institute, said compressor training has been part of the school's curriculum since 1974, when students were trained to work on an engine built in 1951.

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