The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
spcr
 

July 2015

The Bureau of Economic Geology has tremendous partnerships with industry. Various companies serve as members of the Bureau’s industrial consortia, sponsor research efforts, and hire its students. However, not as well known is that companies’ donations of licenses for their sophisticated geological and geophysical software over the years have made a huge impact on Bureau science and on the technical skills of its researchers and graduate students.

Landmark (a division of Halliburton), Schlumberger (which markets the Petrel software line), IHS Global, CGG, and other companies together provided 94 software licenses for Bureau use this year. The various software packages allow researchers to map faults in three dimensions, characterize subsurface reservoirs, simulate fluid flow, predict possible hydrocarbon-rich zones, and utilize data in ways that would not otherwise be possible. In fact, the Bureau’s software databases now have a catalog of over 150 subsurface projects from around the globe dating from 1992 that can be accessed by researchers and students, allowing observations to evolve with new interpretations and geological understanding. Thanks to these annual licenses, researchers can focus on scientific analysis and problem-solving without being hampered by computationally aging tools.

The Bureau has 50 computer workstations capable of running the donated software, and those computers are continually in use. The licenses also enable the Bureau to provide classes to undergraduate and graduate students in Seismic Processing, Seismic Interpretation, Mineralogy, and Hydrocarbon Field Potential and Evaluation.

The Bureau of Economic Geology is very grateful to Landmark, Schlumberger, IHS Global, CGG, and other industry partners for their generous donations of software licenses—licenses that provide for the most cutting-edge geological and geophysical modeling and data analysis possible today.

Postdoctoral fellow Maggie Ellis will be working with the Bureau’s Applied Geodynamics Laboratory (AGL) on a series of regional structural restorations across the Gulf of Mexico basin. She recently earned her PhD in geology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, after receiving her MS in geology at The University of Texas at Austin in 2009. Dr. Ellis’s research interests include models for the growth and evolution of faults and fault systems, active tectonics, landscape evolution, low-temperature thermochronology, spatio-temporal evolution of geologic structures, and basin development and salt tectonics.

Postdoctoral fellow Frank Male received bachelor's degrees in physics and political science in 2009 from Kansas State University and was a research intern at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Goettingen, Germany, before coming to The University of Texas at Austin for graduate studies in physics. Dr. Male was awarded his PhD from UT in 2015; his doctoral research focused on characterizing and predicting performance from shale gas wells. He coauthored a paper with his supervisors, Michael Marder and Tad Patzek, that received the Cozzarelli Prize for the best engineering paper published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences in 2013. Dr. Male’s research at the Bureau will include reservoir engineering, decline analysis, and flow in porous media.

Sara Elliott joins the Bureau as a Research Scientist Associate II, working with the Fracture Research and Application Consortium (FRAC). Her research employs scanning electron microscopy to investigate diagenesis and fluid-flow properties of deformation bands in sandstone reservoirs of the southwestern United States, as well as to study pre-, syn-, and post-kinematic fracturing and cementation in both clastics and carbonates. She will also run, maintain, and train graduate students and outside researchers on FRAC’s Zeiss SIGMA Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope. Elliott received her BS in geological sciences and biology from the University of Miami in 2010 and earned her MS in geosciences from Pennsylvania State University in 2012.


Tim Dooley (left), Martin Jackson, and Michael Hudec in AGL's physical modeling laboratory Founded in 1988, the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory (AGL) is one of the Bureau’s oldest and most successful Industrial Associates programs. Using physical modeling, geological modeling, and finite-element studies, AGL is working to develop a conceptual framework for the full range of salt tectonics, and to disseminate complex technical information to a constantly changing group of industrial supporters. Perhaps no consortium better exemplifies the value of academia-industry collaboration. Not only do industry partners suggest areas and topics of research, they also provide much of the crucial high-resolution data—typically proprietary and worth millions of dollars—that are needed to complete the studies. Research results are voluminous and real. The Salt Mine, the creation of PI's Michael Hudec and Martin P. A. Jackson, began as an interactive digital atlas of salt tectonics and evolved into one of the Bureau’s best-selling hardbound publications. A textbook on salt tectonics authored by Jackson and Hudec will soon be published by Cambridge University Press. AGL member organizations are able to review and access research results each year, including results from AGL’s innovative and unique physical modeling laboratory run by structural geologist Tim Dooley. Future studies, including finite-element studies on the evolution of stresses and fluid pressures near salt structures, and a series of regional structural restorations across the Gulf of Mexico basin, are equally promising. To learn more about AGL membership, resources, and future research, click here.


Director Scott W. Tinker (sitting, third from left) at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency MOU signing event

Director Scott W. Tinker represented the Bureau of Economic Geology in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) event in June, signing a memorandum of understanding with business and academic representatives from China to forge a partnership in the development of offshore carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). With leadership from Susan Hovorka, Tip Meckel, Jiemin Lu, and Associate Director Michael Young, the Bureau’s Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) has become a world leader in developing technologies with which to implement CCUS worldwide and has been key in developing important technical partnerships with Chinese counterparts. The collaborative Sino-American event included opening remarks from the two co-chairs of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, China Special Representative for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua and U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz gave keynote remarks underscoring the substantial bilateral work being done by the governments, business, and academia following the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change. USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak then moderated an industry panel highlighting innovative American technologies to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and develop CCUS technologies. See the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue Climate Change Fact Sheet for more information. A video celebrating U.S.-China collaboration in combating climate change, including much of the USTDA's work, can be viewed here.





 
Department of Geological Sciences
Institute for Geophysics
search BEG
 
News Archives
 
2015
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
 
2014
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2013
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2012
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2011
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2010
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2009
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2008
    January
    February
    May
    November
    December
 
2007
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2006
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2005
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2004
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2003
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2002
    January
    February
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2001
    March
    April
    May
    June
    July
    August
    September
    October
    November
    December
 
2000
    October
spcr
©2015 Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin