The Bureau's Center for Energy Economics (CEE) had a decidedly international presence during August and September. On August 6 in San Francisco, Dr. Michelle Michot Foss presented on natural gas market developments at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Summer Conference, themed "Innovations for Future Generations." On August 30, Dr. Foss served as the energy expert for the 9th ParlAmericas Assembly in Panama City, Panama. On September 7, Dr. Foss participated in an industry/government roundtable discussion on natural gas for UK Trade & Investment organized by the British Consulate in Houston, and on September 13, she served as the natural gas expert for the government-to-government meetings of the 12th U.S.-China Oil & Gas Industry Forum organized by the U.S. Department of Energy in San Antonio. On August 8, Dr. Gürcan Gülen presented on Barnett production outlook at the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia. On September 12, Dr. Gülen presented on energy-sector developments and implications for the steel industry at the Steel Tank Institute Fall Conference in Houston, and the next day he presented on gas-power linkages and environmental considerations at the Gulf Coast Environmental Affairs Group meeting in Houston.
|Bruce Cutright was the subject of an interview that aired on NPR's Marketplace Morning Report on September 18. The segment, titled "Some See Energy in Abandoned Wells," focused on exploratory efforts to utilize networks of previously drilled oil and gas wells for production of geothermal energy. Cutright has done extensive studies on the potential—and potential obstacles—in employing Texas' more than 1 million wells for geothermal-energy production. To read or hear the complete interview, click here.
On September 21, Svetlana Ikonnikova ( above left), a co-PI on the Sloan Project studying the Big Five shale plays in the U.S., was interviewed at the Bureau by television networks Russia 1 and Russia 24. Russia 1, a state-owned Russian network with nationwide coverage, was investigating the effects that shale gas may have on the world gas market and on the European natural gas market in particular, in which Russian energy giant Gazprom holds a nearly 25% share. Because shale gas is a relatively new phenomenon and the Russian public is largely unaware or skeptical about its potential, questions involved the nature of shale production, recovery costs, environmental objections, and how these will affect the competitiveness of shale gas in the market place. Analyses performed as part of the Sloan study allowed Ikonnikova to explain in simple terms that, although drilling activity depends on key factors such as technology and natural gas prices, shale gas will continue to significantly contribute to US natural gas production.
|On September 13, Bruce Cutright presented "The Renewable Energy Resource Assessment" to the Gulf Coast Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Association, and, on September 17, "Renewable Energy from the Petroleum Industry" to the Hill Country Geoscientists Association. Both talks discussed exploratory efforts to develop geothermal energy in conjunction with oil and gas production, as well as in the transition of hydrofractured reservoirs.
The 13th Annual Austin Earth Science Week (ESW) Career Fair
at the Commons Learning Center played to a full house on Friday, October 5—300 middle school students, 15 middle school science teachers, 17 exhibitors, 14 presenters, 15 tour guides, and a host of behind-the-scenes volunteers. Students learned about careers in (1) petroleum from Bureau scientists, (2) solar energy from students at the UT Electrical Engineering Department and Austin Energy, (3) industrial mining resources, (4) surface and groundwater water resources, (5) weather and climate, (6) archeology, (7) astronomy from the Austin mobile planetarium, (8) measuring Earth's gravity while in space, and (9) science lab technology.
The Austin Earth Science Week thanks its sponsors, who provide financial support for this event, including Anvil Energy LLC, Austin Geological Society, Border to Border Exploration LLC, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, Excaliber E&P LLC, Lower Colorado River Authority, Texas Space Grant Consortium, and the Subsurface Library of Midland. Thanks also to those organizations that provide in-kind contributions, including the American Geological Institute, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, UT Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Commons Learning Center, UT Jackson School of Geosciences, and UT Texas Natural Science Center.
Although the number of volunteers is large from Austin ESW event planners' perspectives, a relatively small group of 48 volunteers coordinated, worked as a team, and spent a day away from their jobs to provide students with a first-rate educational experience about careers in the earth sciences. Stay tuned for the 14th Annual Career Fair in October 2013!
The Bureau's new Chiroptera
instrument, an airborne topographic and bathymetric lidar and imaging system, has arrived in Austin and has already been used to acquire high-resolution images of the Austin area during recent training flights (including the above sample from the UT campus). Representatives from Airborne Hydrography AB and IGI were in Austin in early October to train Bureau and Applied Research Laboratories staff in mission planning, instrument operation, and data processing. Before arrival of the new Chiroptera instrument in Austin, the first test survey with the new system was flown over the Alaskan North Slope in August. Data from that survey are part of a Bureau-led goal to use lidar and simultaneously acquired high-resolution imagery for mapping wetland environments and determine depths and volumes of shallow North Slope lakes.