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

AEC's David Chapman hosted the first of 13 presentations in the Bureau's Fall Seminar Series. UTIG's Dr. John Snedden was the inaugural speaker in the series, which offers a wide range of topics presented by leading researchers from academe and industry. The list of future speakers currently includes Dr. Peter Malin of the University of Auckland, Dr. Alex Athey of UT's Applied Research Laboratories, Dr. John Ullo of Schlumberger, and Dr. Martin Jackson, Bruce Cutright, Dr. Seay Nance, Dr. Lorena Moscardelli, Dr. Farzam Javadpour, Vanessa Nunez-Lopez, Dr. Zahra Mohammadi, Dr. Jiemin Lu, and Rebecca Smyth, all Bureau scientists. Chapman is serving as coordinator and host of the fall series, now in its 13th year, which is designed to increase awareness of current research and improve interdisciplinary collaboration. The seminars, held Friday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in the Bureau's Main Conference Room, are frequently webcast. For a current listing of scheduled speakers, abstracts, and webcast links, click here.


TinkerTwo long-time members of the Bureau family retired this week, and another received an important promotion. George Bush, who served 24 years with UT and BEG, providing field support at the Devine Test Site and managing the Bureau's facilities and Core Research Centers, said his good-byes first. Before taking over as Facilities Manager, George served as CRC curator and oversaw the BEG repository of more than 500,000 boxes of core and cuttings from wells worldwide. Sally MacCrae, who served for 15 years as receptionist and administrative assistant, was the next to say farewell. She was the go-to person for office locations, phone service, and Friday seminars. Sally was the first to master our new phone system, and her friendly Scottish brogue and cheery demeanor at the front desk will be missed. It was also announced that Kenneth Edwards was promoted to oversee the Bureau facilities, effective September 1. Kenneth will be following in the footsteps of George, after a stint as Stores Clerk at the CRC.

On September 19, international energy company Statoil and The University of Texas at Austin (UT) signed an energy partnership agreement providing UT with annual funding of $1 million for 5 years. The comprehensive research agreement is Statoil's largest outside Norway, and UT has been chosen as the company's pilot university in the United States. Bureau Director and acting Associate Dean Scott Tinker will sit on the strategic board to direct the program and will also serve as co-PI of its research efforts. "Statoil is a world-class energy company with a commitment to research and education, and we look forward to working with them in the years to come to develop talented young people who will become the energy leaders of tomorrow," said Tinker.
from left to right: Tad Patzak, Dept. of Petroleum Engineering, Gregory Fenves, Cockrell School of Engineering, Statoil NA VP Bill Maloney, JSG Dean Sharon Mosher, BEG Director Scott Tinker
from left to right: Tad Patzak, Dept. of Petroleum Engineering, Gregory Fenves, Cockrell School of Engineering, Statoil NA VP Bill Maloney, JSG Dean Sharon Mosher, and BEG Director Scott Tinker


After conducting its own internal search of universities in the U.S., Statoil made UT its first choice. "We are very pleased to enter into this agreement with UT, a world-class academic institution, renowned for its leading research and education within several important areas for us," said Bill Maloney, executive vice president for Statoil in North America. "Universities and academic institutions in North America represent important arenas for Statoil in research and competence development, both on a regional and global level." UT and the Bureau have been important partners with Statoil for many years, especially in the areas of geology, geophysics, and petroleum engineering. The new agreement will direct research in four strategic areas: integration of geological, geophysical, and petrophysical data in Earth models; trap integrity in salt basins; drainage of deep-marine reservoirs; and development of unconventional hydrocarbons. For more information, read the stories in the Wall Street Journal and Austin American Statesman.


Bob Hardage, EGLBureau scientist Bob Hardage was interviewed by the Oil & Gas Journal in a piece titled "Point of View: Multicomponent Seismic Work Seen at Crossroads." Bob, new president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, sat down with Bob Tippee, editor of the journal, for the interview. "We are at this crossroads because a few accepted the technology too fast, did poor implementation, and discouraged others," Bob is quoted as saying. But as the head of the Exploration Geophysics Laboratory, Bob goes on to say that "we are making progress." To read the whole interview, which covers setbacks and breakthroughs, click here.


Katherine Romanak (pictured at left), Brad Wolaver, and Changbing Yang are members of a Bureau team that conducted research last week at the Kerr Farm, 100 miles southeast of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The group is one of several international teams investigating claims by the Kerr family that CO2 injection used for enhanced oil recovery has contaminated their land, killed wildlife and polluted groundwater. As a leader in both groundwater and subsurface CO2 injection, the Bureau was chosen to provide clarity to a complex problem. "Our goal here is to reduce uncertainty as to the origin of the CO2 on the Kerr property because there are allegations that the CO2 is coming from the injection into the reservoir," Romanak said. "But we also know that CO2 occurs naturally in the near-surface environment. And it's extremely variable," she added. The Bureau team is also using a different approach in its investigation: sampling soil gas at several depths to determine the concentrations of certain gases in relation to other gases. Romanak explained: "We're using a method where we compare the concentration of co-existing gases and, by looking at these relationships, we can tell if it's a naturally occurring signal or if it's a signal produced by a leak." Results of the Bureau research will be available in a December report to be issued by IPAC-CO2, the Canadian-based research institute overseeing the project. To learn more, read the stories in the Regina Leader-Post and Weyburn Review newspapers.

From August 15 through 17, CEE's Dr. Gurcan Gulen taught a course titled "Energy Economics" to a group of 25 midlevel downstream executives from Sinopec (China), who are preparing to lead company operations around the world. The program is a 21-week-long Sinopec Refinery Executive Education Leadership program developed by UT McCombs School of Business, Executive Education.



 

 

 
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