Mobile Energy Learning Unit to Visit 5 Elementary Schools in El Paso This Week

November 1, 2022

Sponsored by Marathon Petroleum and the Texas Oil and Gas Association, the $1.2 million MELU is a hands-on, interactive learning exhibit

El Paso – The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) has partnered with Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s El Paso Refinery to bring the Mobile Energy Learning Unit (MELU) to five schools in El Paso this week, providing hundreds of elementary students a unique opportunity to learn about STEM education and careers in energy through the hands-on, interactive learning exhibit.

The MELU is a $1.2 million exhibit that features six self-contained learning stations with TEKS curriculum-based, hands-on activities about the energy, technologies and sciences involved with the oil and natural gas industry. TXOGA and Marathon Petroleum has teamed up with the Oilfield Energy Center to promote STEM education and careers in the oil and natural gas industry.

Yesterday the MELU was at Hawkins Elementary School, where local elected officials, education and business leaders, and Marathon Petroleum employees volunteering at the school were on hand to see the MELU and watch 4th and 5th grade students interact with the learning stations. In attendance at the Hawkins Elementary MELU stop were El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego and El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, among others.

“TXOGA is proud to partner with Marathon Petroleum and schools across El Paso and throughout Texas to bring high-quality, innovative, interactive, hands-on educational opportunities like the MELU directly to Texas’ next generation of innovators,” said TXOGA President Todd Staples. “The Texas oil and natural gas industry is committed to being a trusted partner in ensuring a cleaner, stronger and better future for Texas, and through programs like the MELU, we are working to provide even more young Texans with the opportunity to work in an industry that is growing our economy, securing our future, and making life better for people here in Texas and across the world.”

“Marathon Petroleum is fortunate to have this opportunity to host the MELU and provide El Paso students with such a unique learning opportunity,” said VJ Smith, Principal ESG and Stakeholder Engagement Representative at Marathon Petroleum. “Through this partnership with TXOGA, students in our community are able to learn first-hand about STEM education and diverse career opportunities in a fun and interactive way.” Marathon Petroleum has over two dozen employees volunteering at the five El Paso area schools the MELU is visiting this week, which are Hawkins Elementary, Del Valle Middle School, Riverside Middle School, Ross Middle School and Ramona Elementary.

The Texas oil and natural gas industry has for decades played a meaningful role in the state’s public education system. Oil and natural gas activity generates billions of dollars for Texas’ Permanent School Fund and Permanent University Fund, and the industry pays billions in property taxes to ISDs. This is money used to enhance learning, upgrade technology and safety equipment, and hire and retain the best teachers. All sectors of the industry, including upstream, midstream and downstream, have a prolifically positive impact on the Texas economy directly employing over 422,000 Texans. According to data from the Texas Comptroller’s Office, in fiscal year 2022, which ended August 31, the industry paid over $10 billion in oil and natural gas production taxes for the first time in history, with a significant portion of that going towards public education. Beyond the dollars, the Texas oil and natural gas industry is investing untold time, talent and treasure in Texas schools and their students and teachers through innovative education programs and productive partnerships aimed at providing a state-of-the-art education for the next generation of Texans.

“Our state’s oil and gas industry is vital to the success of our public education system, contributing billions of dollars in education funding and providing meaningful STEM learning opportunities like this week’s MELU visit to El Paso elementary schools,” Staples continued.

To learn more about the MELU and TXOGA’s efforts to bring the MELU to schools across Texas to provide students with information on STEM education and careers in energy through a hands-on, interactive learning exhibit, and the many ways the Texas oil and natural gas industry is fueling education in Texas, visit


Founded in 1919, TXOGA is the oldest and largest trade association in the state representing every facet of the Texas oil and gas industry.

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