Ph.D. Student Ramos Captures Caudle Energy Concepts Prize

March 2, 2017
Matt Ramos
Simple Energy Concepts

A model of Matt Ramos' award-winning concept, combining the use of electrical resistivity to determine subsurface fluid content and hydraulic fracturing to enhance flow through tight rocks.

Bureau Ph.D. student Matt Ramos was the first-place award winner of the 5th Ben Caudle Simple Energy Concepts Contest sponsored by the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE) at The University of Texas at Austin. Matt’s winning topic was “Electrical resistivity visualization for identifying subsurface fluids.”

The Ben Caudle Simple Energy Concepts Contest, which honors former PGE Professor Emeritus Caudle, seeks to develop ideas that convey complex geologic flow-related topics using simple concepts. Winners receive funding from the department to construct a demonstration of the concept and present it at various venues. This year, Ramos will present his winning demonstration at “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” and “Explore UT.”

“The idea I won with is actually two simple concepts combined into the same model,” said Ramos. “One is the use of electrical resistivity (or conductivity) to determine subsurface fluid content—oil or water—and the second is the use of hydraulic fracturing to enhance flow through tight rocks. The two simple concepts are combined in a larger subsurface model.”

Ramos’s Ph.D. dissertation—supervised by Stephen Laubach, Bureau senior research scientist and FRAC consortium principle investigator, and Nicholas Espinoza of the PGE—pertains to laboratory characterization of shale anisotropy and natural fracturing through combined triaxial stress testing and ultrasonic wave propagation. Ramos’s research is supported by a Statoil Fellowship. Said Laubach, “Matt is one of that rare breed—completely at home in the quantitative world of engineering but fully comfortable dealing with the complexities that real rocks present to geoscientists.”

Ramos, a native of the Boston area, completed undergraduate studies in geology and physics at Bowdoin College, then earned an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering at Tufts University. He completed another M.S. at UT-Austin in petroleum engineering and is currently completing his Ph.D. studies in the Jackson School of Geosciences. He is the recipient of the Statoil Graduate Research Fellowship (2014–18), the Dow Chemical Co. Research Excellence Award (2016), the GAIN Research Poster Competition (2016), and the ExxonMobil Gran Estudiante Award and Scholarship (2013). Ramos’s areas of academic interest are primarily geomechanics, rock physics, and petrophysics.