"We depend so heavily on crude oil," Program Associate of NEED, Melanie Harper, said. "The average American has no clue what is going on in the industry and how it plays a part in their lives."

When you think of balloons, do you also think about crude oil?

Through fractional distillation of crude oil, we get a petroleum based product. Without this, we wouldn't have many things like balloons, bandages, candles, lipstick, or even deodorant. Those are just a couple examples of how they distillation of crude oil plays a bigger part in our lives.

Shell Oil Company partnered with The NEED Project to host an Energy Workshop on October 25 at the Clarion Inn in Gonzales. The NEED Project puts energy into education and gives teachers the opportunity to learn about energy so that they may take it back to the classroom and present it to their students.

"We depend so heavily on crude oil," Program Associate of NEED, Melanie Harper, said. "The average American has no clue what is going on in the industry and how it plays a part in their lives. We want teachers to share what they learn here to their students, and help show them why fossil fuels are not going away."

Fourth through Twelfth grade teachers were encouraged to attend, as well as Math, CTE, and Social Sciences teachers. The workshop was free, with breakfast and lunch provided. For teachers that attended, Shell provided substitute reimbursement for them.

After lunch, teachers got to do some demonstrations. One was called "Getting the Oil Out." This involved engineering a pipeline with eight straws, which would help them extract two different types of oils. The most efficient crude oil was represented by a soda. This represented intermediate crude oil that is runny, effective money-wise, and has a low sulfur content.

"Intermediate crude oil can be mixed with Canadian tar sands, for example, to create more product out of it," Harper said.

Hershey's syrup represented tar sands, because it has a high viscosity. It is usually imported from Canada, has a high sulfur content, stinks, and is sludgy.

By the end of the event, teachers were able to choose one kit that they liked most to bring back to the classroom and educate their students with some hands-on learning.

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