The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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March 2013
Bill MullicanOn March 22, Industry Day 2013 showcased the Bureau's researchers, students, and facilities at the Core Research Center (CRC). More than 100 invited guests, including industry and government leaders and decision makers, toured the facilities, saw poster presentations covering the breadth of Bureau research, and met with student researchers. Bureau Director Scott Tinker delivered the luncheon keynote address highlighting the uniqueness of the Bureau, and visitors heard talks by Bill Mullican (pictured right, water resource management) and Gregg Robertson (exploration of the Eagle Ford Shale Formation). Associate Director Michael Young, J.-P. Nicot, and Bridget Scanlon hosted a discussion exploring the potential for a new and timely Water-Energy Consortium. This year's theme was "The Confluence of Energy and Environmental Research," and participants were able to glean information from all of the Bureau's industrial consortia and key programs. Initial feedback suggests that the Bureau's guests at Industry Day will be pursuing a number of exciting new partnerships to better engage with our programs and research.
Gregg Robertson, second from left, examines cuttings from a 1952 well that led to his exploration of the Eagle Ford play, with James Donnelly (far left), Scott Tinker and Eric Potter.
Gregg Robertson, second from left, examines cuttings from a 1952 well that led to his exploration of the Eagle Ford play, with James Donnelly (far left), Scott Tinker and Eric Potter.

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The Bureau's Mudrock Systems Research Laboratory (MSRL) consortium held its annual sponsors review meeting March 4–6. Meetings in Austin included a premeeting workshop by Kitty Milliken, 29 oral and poster presentations, and core-workshop presentations on 9 of the major mudrock successions in North America. Attendees included 104 geologists, geophysicists, and engineers from 26 member companies. Bureau presenters included Associate Director Eric Potter, Program Director Steve Ruppel, Robert Baumgardner, Ray Eastwood, Greg Frebourg, Ursula Hammes, Farzam Javadpour, Lucy Ko, Bob Loucks, Jiemin Lu, Kitty Milliken, Seay Nance, Rob Reed, Xun Sun, Fred Wang, Stephanie Wood, and Tongwei Zhang. Four graduate students from UT Arlington also presented posters. The meeting was followed by a 2-day field trip to Eagle-Ford-equivalent Boquillas outcrops around Comstock, Texas, which was attended by 28 sponsors, MSRL staff, and BEG staff. Key logistical support for the meeting was provided by Sammy Jacobo, the entire BEG graphics staff (led by Cathy Brown), the CRC staff (led by James Donnelly and Nathan Ivicic), Chuck Garza, Reuben Reyes, and Scott Rodgers.
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Martin P.A. JacksonThe Geological Society of London, the world's oldest and one of its most prestigious geological organizations, has announced it will award medals to two scientists working at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Martin P. A. Jackson (left), senior research scientist, and Christopher Jackson(below right), senior research fellow. Martin Jackson will receive the William Smith Medal, presented for excellence in contributions to applied and economic aspects of geoscience. Candidates must have initiated significant contributions to the field—contributions evidenced in Christopher JacksonJackson's broad and impressive portfolio of geologic accolades, publications, and service. Christopher Jackson, working at the Bureau on sabbatical this year in its Applied Geodynamics Laboratory, will receive the Bigsby Medal, awarded biennially as an acknowledgement of eminent service in any area of geology, irrespective of the receiver's country. Targeted toward younger researchers, the Bigsby Medal is only given to researchers who have less than 20 years in full time geoscience research. "These renowned researchers bring honor to themselves and to the Bureau of Economic Geology," says Scott Tinker, director. "I'm delighted that the esteemed Geological Society of London will recognize their extensive contributions to geologic research by the award of these important medals." The Smith and Bigsby medals will be presented to the researchers in a ceremony in London June 5.

Robert G. LoucksSenior Research Scientist Robert G. Loucks has been selected by the Board of Directors of the Karst Waters Institute to receive the 2014 KWI Karst Award. First awarded in 1999, the KWI Karst Award recognizes individuals who have had a considerable impact on karst science and research and seeks to further the fundamental understanding of karst systems through sound scientific research. The Board's selection recognized Louck's research in the relationship between paleokarst and hydrocarbon reservoirs, and the application of karst processes in reservoir settings. Loucks will present an invited talk at the group's award banquet in Houston in March 2014.
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The UT GeoFluids Consortium convened its 2013 Review Meeting February 21 and 22 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the UT Austin campus. The meeting was attended by approximately 90 representatives from 11 different companies. There were 26 presentations during the 2-day meeting, followed by lively discussions and recommendations for future work. Highlights from the meeting included evolutionary geomechanical models of salt-dome growth coupled with sedimentation; a synthesis of the group's pore-pressure study at Mad Dog field; presentations from two industry members; presentations on advances in the consortium's measurements of permeability, velocity, and resistivity in mudrocks; and an exploration of the effect of mudrock permeability on centroid position.

Khushboo Arora (left) and Menal GuptaOn March 5th, Khushboo Arora (GRA with QCL) and Menal Gupta (GRA with EGL) placed first in the SEG Gulf Coast Challenge Bowl in Houston, which is held in conjunction with the Geophysical Society of Houston Spring Symposium. The SEG Challenge Bowl is an international contest testing students' breadth and depth of knowledge about the geosciences. The quiz-show format features intense competition as the contestants attempt to buzz in first with answers to challenging geoscience questions. Four other teams competed—one from Rice University, one from The University of Texas at San Antonio, and two teams from the University of Houston. Khushboo was the top-scoring participant among all competing. Congratulations Khushboo and Minal! Hook 'em Horns!

SloanAn article in the Wall Street Journal generated intense interest in energy studies being conducted by the Bureau and funded by the Sloan Foundation. The article, titled "Gas Boom Projected to Grow for Decades," references a press release issued February 28 by The University of Texas at Austin on the ongoing energy studies. The press release, though not a "report" as characterized in the article, does summarize findings that profile production results of the Barnett Shale play to date and project the natural gas production potential well into the future. The study examines more than 15,000 wells drilled predominantly during the past decade and was noted as the "most exhaustive study to date of a key natural gas field in Texas." The Bureau's Sloan studies will result in a series of peer-reviewed manuscripts to be published in coming years. To read the full UT press release, click here. To read the FAQ regarding the research, including full documentation of the researchers and funding sources of the Sloan Foundation study, click here. Members of the Wall Street Journal online edition can read the full article here.

Michael Hudec (left) and Robert ReedMichael Hudec has been selected from more than 100 authors and presenters to receive the 2012 AAPG A. I. Levorsen Memorial Award and the First Place Thomas A. Philpott Excellence of Presentation Award for his paper, “Explanation for Differences in Deepwater Salt Tectonics between the North-Central and Northwestern Gulf of Mexico,” presented at the 2012 GCAGS Convention in Austin, Texas. Rob Reed has been selected to receive the Third Place Gordon I. Atwater Award for his poster, “Pore Morphology and Distribution in the Cretaceous Eagle Ford Shale, South Texas, USA.” The Levorsen Award recognizes the best paper presented at each AAPG Section meeting, with particular emphasis on creative thinking toward new ideas in exploration, and the Philpott Award is conferred by the GCAGS section for the best oral presentation.
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