The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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April 2011

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On Friday, April 1st, the Bureau hosted a group of ExxonMobil geologists and engineers, all participants in a week-long company internship program in unconventional resources. The group attended a morning of lectures at the Bureau, which were related to research areas of the ongoing ExxonMobil/Bureau of Economic Geology Unconventional Reservoirs Research project. The afternoon was devoted to a core workshop on gas shale and fractured tight gas sandstones, as well as tours of the laboratory facilities at the Bureau's Core Research Center. ExxonMobil hosted a dinner on Friday night, and Bureau researchers Kitty Milliken and Tongwei Zhang accompanied the group on their field trip to the Barnett Shale quarry in San Saba on Saturday.


Dr. Alex Sun Dr. Alex Sun has recently joined the Bureau as a Research Scientist in the Environmental Systems Division. Previously Dr. Sun was Principal Research Engineer at the Southwest Research Institute. He has an outstanding academic and professional background, with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UCLA and UC Berkeley, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Water Resources from UC Berkeley in 2000. His research interests include developing decision support systems for regional water-resource and water-quality management, data fusion, multiscale numerical modeling and data assimilation for improving water-availability assessment, environmental remediation and CO2 sequestration monitoring, and developing computational and stochastic techniques to quantify hydrologic model uncertainty and risks. Dr. Sun has worked in research and industry for 10 years since completing his Ph.D. degree and has nearly 20 peer reviewed articles, and on many of these he was lead author. Dr. Sun will provide research support for the Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC) in geologic sequestration of CO2 and related groundwater issues.

artist rendering of BEG's solar array: click for full image
The Bureau will feature one of two new solar-panel arrays being constructed on UT-Austin's PRC campus. Scheduled to go online mid-June, the Bureau array will be placed on top of a newly constructed carport on the building's west side. The project is being funded by an 80% matching grant as part of a federal stimulus program to encourage development of renewable energy sources. The array will be able to generate 27,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, supplying up to 6% of the Bureau’s energy requirements. Not only will the system provide long-term energy savings, it will also reduce the annual discharge of carbon into the atmosphere by more than 6 metric tons.

cover art: click to see full imageThe 2011 meeting of the Mudrock Systems Research Laboratory was held March 9-10 at the Commons building on the Pickle Campus. More than 100 industry geologists representing 25 member companies attended the meeting, which included a workshop, 24 oral presentations and 15 core and poster presentations. Presenters included 19 Bureau researchers (Steve Ruppel PI, Bob Loucks, Ursula Hammes, Robert Baumgardner, Ray Eastwood, Greg Frebourg, Scott Hamlin, Ryan Harbor, Tucker Hentz, David Hull, Farzam Javapour, Kitty Milliken, Seay Nance, Chris Ogiesoba, Ryan Phelps, Eric Potter, Rob Reed, Fred Wang, Tongwei Zhang) as well as Harry Rowe (and 8 students from UT Arlington) and Dan Jarvie (Worldwide Geochemistry). Sammy Jacobo, Nate Ivicic, Kenneth Edwards, and Cathy Brown also played key roles in the success of the meeting, handling all organization and logistic issues.

Robert BaumgardnerRobert Baumgardner recently returned to the Bureau as a Research Engineering/Scientist IV in the Energy Division. After receiving his Master's degree in Geology from The University of Texas at Austin, Robert was employed by the Bureau during the 1980's and 1990's. He has been involved in Quaternary geology, geologic mapping, geophysical well log interpretation, and stratigraphy and has published more than 60 technical and scientific research articles and reports. Robert will be part of Steve Ruppel's Mudrocks group.

cover art: click to see full image Bureau Research Scientist Bill Ambrose and David Williams from Arizona State University are co-editors of GSA Special Paper 477 "Recent Advances and Current Research Issues in Lunar Stratigraphy." The volume features a variety of articles on stratigraphy of lunar mare basalts, recently recognized large-impact basins including South-Pole Aitken and Schrödinger, and lunar volcanogenic terrains.

Dr. Stephen Hasiotis
Twenty-five lucky attendees are participating in a 2-day Ichnology Short Course at the Bureau. The course covers continental and marine trace fossils and is being taught by Dr. Stephen Hasiotis (University of Kansas). Steve is an incredibly enthusiastic geologist who just returned from Antarctica where he was working with the Bureau's Dr. Pete Flaig. Steve brought 50 pounds of rocks with him--teaching specimens for hands-on learning. The course, sponsored by the AAPG Student Chapter and the Jackson School of Geosciences, was coordinated by Ph.D. student Dolores van der Kolk.

EGL Sponsors Meeting 2011
The Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL) convened its 2011 Annual Sponsors Meeting at the Bureau on April 19. Representatives from the consortium's more than 20 industry and government partners saw presentations on topics ranging from elastic wavefield seismic stratigraphy to geothermal energy. Among those presenting were BEG's Bob Hardage, Michael DeAngelo, and Donald Wagoner.
 
Dr. Gurcan GullenOn April 26, CEE's Gurcan Gulen presented a paper at an event of the Professional Risk Managers' International Association titled "Uncertainties Associated with Predicting the Price of Natural Gas." On the 13th, his presentation was on the critical role of natural gas in the U.S. energy portfolio, which was made at the 25th Annual Spring Conference & Exhibition of the Gulf Coast Power Association. On the 12th at the AAPG 2011 Annual Convention & Exhibition, Dr. Gurcan made two presentations. The first was on the economics of carbon capture and sequestration, which was a summary of early results of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center research. The second dealt with developments in the global LNG scene.

Kurtus Woolf, QCL (center): click to see full image
Kurtus Woolf, (center), a Ph.D. Graduate Researcher with the Quantitative Clastics Laboratory (QCL) IA, received second place in the AAPG 2011 Student Poster Awards in Houston in April. Kurtus's poster topic, "Sequence to Architectural Element Framework of the Tuscaloosa Massive Sandstone, Eastern Gulf of Mexico Province, USA," is part of a larger research program in Jurassic to Cretaceous strata in the Gulf of Mexico.
 
Steve Laubach, Julia Gale, and Director Scott Tinker
The Bureau's 2011 Author Achievement Awards Dinner was held on Thursday, May 5. The 2011 Publication of the Year Award went to Julia Gale, Rob Reed, and Steve Laubach for their 2010 publication, "Modeling Fracture Porosity Evolution in Dolostone," published in the Journal of Structural Geology. This well-rounded paper combines careful microstructural observations with numerical modeling to improve fundamental understanding of natural fracture processes in dolostone reservoirs. This past year was a banner year for Bureau publishing: 36 research and technical staffers were acknowledged as first author of one or more peer-reviewed publications issued in 2010. Bill Ambrose, Ruarri Day-Stirrat, Michael DeAngelo, Dallas Dunlap, Shirley Dutton, Peter Eichhubl, Sergey Fomel, Greg Frebourg, Julia Gale, Bob Hardage, Tucker Hentz, Seyyed Hosseini, Martin Jackson, Xavier Janson, Steve Laubach, Bob Loucks, Jiemin Lu, Jerry Lucia, Gang Luo, Sojan Mathew, Tip Meckel, Kitty Milliken, Lorena Moscardelli, JP Nicot, Chris Ogiesoba, Jeff Paine, Diana Sava, Bridget Scanlon, Dmitry Volkov, Fred Wang, Tobias Weisenberger, Lesli Wood, Michael Young, Khandaker Zahid, Chris Zahm, and Hongliu Zeng were recognized for their publications. This year also marked the inauguration of the Tinker Family Publisher of the Year Award, which gives each BEG author a financial award, in addition to receiving a framed certificate and having their names added to a plaque in the Bureau's lobby.

Dr. Scott TinkerOn Tuesday, April 26, Bureau Director Scott Tinker traveled to Chicago to participate in DOE’s Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR) Alternative Fuels Workshop, hosted by Dr. Steven E. Koonin, U.S. Under Secretary for Science. This workshop was one in a series tasked by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in November 2010 with improving long-term planning and effectiveness of the United States energy policy implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy. Detailed information about the workshop can be found online here.  Earlier, on April 20, Dr. Tinker participated in The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST’s) Texas Energy Summit in College Station, Texas. Scott spoke on renewable energy options in the Electrical Power Generation session. Other participants at the event included Michael Ming, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy; the Honorable Bill Flores of the U.S. Congress; and Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Opening remarks were made by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas  and by 2011 TAMEST President Stephen Holditch

 

 

 

 

 
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