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Nov 14, 2012 - The Associated Press

G&F warns of nets in Flaming Gorge

GREEN RIVER -- The Wyoming Department of Game and Fish is warning anglers not to disturb any nets they may find in Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Researchers with Utah State University are working with the game department to conduct a research project on the presence of burbot, an exotic fish species, in Flaming Gorge Reservoir this winter. Burbot were illegally stocked in the Green River drainage in recent years, raising concern that they will harm the trout population.

Craig Amadio is fisheries biologist with the game department in Green River. He says anglers may observe nets in the water until the reservoir freezes. He says the research project could help the game department learn more about how to deal with the burbot population.

UW sees increase in energy majors

CHEYENNE -- An increase in domestic oil and gas production along with growing numbers of oil and gas drilling experts approaching retirement age have been accompanied by a surge in petroleum engineering majors at the University of Wyoming.

Petroleum engineering enrollment at UW this fall is 219 students. That's up more than 50 percent from last year's enrollment, 144 students, and by far the most petroleum engineering students since UW revived its petroleum engineering major in 2006.

"It's not going to abate any time soon," Mark Northam, director of the UW School of Energy Resources, said Tuesday. "We've kind of got the perfect storm for rapidly increasing enrollment. Less expensive than elsewhere, high demand, good reputation. I believe it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future."

Enrolling in the program is relatively easy. Graduating is something else.

About 60 to 70 percent of students who enroll in petroleum engineering complete the program, a rate similar to other engineering majors, said David Bagley, head of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

"Of course, to graduate, they have to meet our requirements. It is strenuous," Bagley said.

Required coursework includes calculus, chemistry, physics, geology and thermodynamics. Students who can hack it are rewarded with plenty of job openings, salaries that can approach $100,000 for recent graduates, and the opportunity to live abroad.

"A lot of companies are looking for engineers for the North Dakota stuff. The Bakken is going crazy," said Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.

Drilling offshore and into the Bakken Shale formation in western North Dakota are largely responsible for increased domestic oil production four years running. Domestic gas drilling has meanwhile been a victim of its own success, with oversupply driving down prices.

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