Associate Professor Emeritus, Petroleum Engineering


Dr. Eustes is a retired associate professor within the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines. He has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University (1978), a M.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder (1989), and a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines (1996). Dr. Eustes is a registered Professional Engineer with the state of Colorado (P.E. # 27526).  He specializes in wellbore construction engineering and operations as well as experimental and modeling research.

Dr. Eustes has forty-four plus years of drilling, completion, workover, and production engineering and operations experience. At the beginning of his career, he was a field engineer with ARCO Oil and Gas Company (AOGC) where he designed and supervised the drilling of petroleum wells in all over the Mid-continent, Gulf Coast, Permian, and Appalachia.  He supervised the engineering of an early 80’s high-tech 24,001-foot Oklahoma well that required the use of the industry’s most advanced equipment and drilling processes as well as high pressure Texas Gulf Coast wells (~13,000 foot).  He still consults in industry with examples including companies such as planning deep gas salt wells with Sklar Exploration, North Slope casing design review with BP Alaska, and Honeybee Robotics.  He also has consulted with the Bureau of Reclamation on deep disposal wells, the Chemical Safety Board with an accident investigation, NASA with astrobiological peer reviews, and the DOE’s Geothermal Technology Office with technology peer reviewing.

His research efforts at the Colorado School of Mines and AOGC have involved him in drilling operations throughout the United States as well as the Middle East and North Africa.  His environmental drilling experiences include reverse circulation air coring and drilling at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and resonant sonic drilling at Hanford, Washington.  His completion and workover experience parallel his drilling experience and include a North Texas oxygen combustion project, two Oklahoma Carbon Dioxide tertiary injection projects, and multiple million pound plus sand fracturing stimulations in East Texas when that process was being developed.

Dr. Eustes’ academic and field education and training give him the experience and knowledge to solve practical field problems with both theoretical and experimental techniques. His training in mechanics and math gives him the insight to develop new drilling models that, in the past, significantly decreased rig time trial and error solutions.  Dr. Eustes’ doctoral dissertation concerns the analysis of wave propagation in drill strings for efficiently generating jarring forces. In it, he uses spectral analysis and finite element methods to derive a practical jarring model that accurately and quickly predicts jarring forces.  Other examples include a rigid bow centralizer design for deploying downhole thermocouples, vibration models (including bit vibration analysis) for dual wall drilling at the Yucca Mountain Project, sonic drilling model for Hanford, and jarring models.

Other research activities include research with the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the development of a robotic drill for Martian deployment and more recently, the use of real-time operational drilling data for determining the volatile content of lunar regolith in an Early Stage Innovation project.  He has also worked with the NSF’s Ice Drilling Program on the development of multiple next-generation ice-coring rigs for Arctic and Antarctic mobilization.   In addition, there is ongoing research using finite element modeling of casing/cement/rock systems for drilling operations, lost circulation material performance, specialized tools for Enhanced Geothermal Systems (Utah FORGE), and the use of “big data” from drilling operational parameters and vibration measurements to improve drilling performance and lithological determination using a specialize coring rig at Mines’ Edgar Experimental Mine.

Dr. Eustes also has considerable teaching and speaking experience. He has taught undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate university classes for over twenty-five years and has presented numerous engineering papers and research projects in various settings.  He helped create and set up Mines undergraduate Petroleum Data Analytics minor as well as the Graduate Petroleum Data Analytics Certificate Program.  He continues to work with continuing education opportunities with the Colorado School of Mines, TOPCORP program for regulators and others, the US Department of State’s UGTEP program, and others.

He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Drilling Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Geothermal Rising.  He was a SPE Distinguished Lecturer for the 2013-14 season.  He was awarded the 2020 SPE Rocky Mountain North America Regional Petroleum Engineering Faculty Award, the 2019 SPE Rocky Mountain North America Regional Drilling Engineer Award, and the 2017 ASME Petroleum Division’s Ross Kastor Educator’s Award.


B.S.M.E., Louisiana Tech University

M.S.M.E., University of Colorado

Ph.D. P.E. Colorado School of Mines 



Contact Information 

Room 213 Marquez Hall
Golden, Colorado 80401 USA
Phone: (303) 273-3745
FAX: (303) 273-3189