Petroleum Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series

The Petroleum Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series brings in innovators and leaders from industry and academia. Seminars are bi-weekly, Mondays at 4 pm in Marquez 204. The fall series begins on 8/30/2021 and ends on 11/22/2021.


Fall 2021 Semester Speakers

August 30 - Mr. Larry Kennedy Jr., PG&E

Larry Kennedy HeadshotUnderground Storage Technology and R&D

The storage of natural gas in underground formations has played a key role in providing a reliable and affordable source of gas to meet the demands for electric generation and heating.  Over the two decades R&D and application of the resulting technology has played a key role in providing a safe, reliable, and affordable source of gas supply.  The discussions and presentation will cover what is technology, why the importance, societal influence and importance, and the future of technology in underground storage whether natural gas, hydrogen, air, or sequestration.

Event flyer with bio.


September 13 - Dr. Siddharth Misra, Texas A&M

Sid Headshot

Characterizing and Controlling the Propagation of Mechanical Discontinuity Using Unsupervised, Supervised and Reinforcement Learning Techniques

The talk will present the research findings of an ongoing project aimed at characterizing and controlling the propagation of mechanical discontinuity in crustal earth materials. In the first case study, unsupervised manifold-learning method is used to process triggers isolated from the continuous signals measured by the accelerometer array in the enhanced geothermal system (EGS) collab testbed. Second case study achieves accurate mapping of the spatiotemporal evolution of mechanical discontinuity (crack) in a simple 2D material irrespective of its dimension and composition. This requires efficient feature extraction, supervised learning and causal discovery. In the third case study, deep deterministic policy gradient algorithm is used to train four neural networks within a reinforcement learning framework to control the propagation of mechanical discontinuity in a simple 2D material. A well-designed reward function is essential for the robust control of the crack propagation.

Event flyer with bio

October 4 - Mr. Zach Warren, Velocity Insight

Warren Headshot

Fitting Square Pegs into Square Holes: Petrotechnical Data Analytics into the Upstream Value Chain

Talk about O&G applications for AI, machine learning, big data and the rest gets louder by the year. Where is the value coming from? How do the petrotechnical functions like geoscience and petroleum engineering fit in? This presentation will discuss promising areas of analytics across all the petrotechnical functions, how they integrate with other upstream disciplines, and real-world factors in adoption.

Event flyer with bio

October 11 - Mr. Shane Siebenaler, Southwest Resarch Institute (SwRI)

Siebenaler Headshot

Research Headwinds: Navigating R&D When Priorities Change

As our climate continues to be stressed, there are almost daily headlines focusing on the future of the oil and gas industry. In this landscape where there is an emerging and perhaps accelerating movement away from fossil fuels, how can petroleum researchers continue to innovate and explore new areas of discovery while maintaining job security in their field? The answer lies in the nature of the problems that petroleum engineers are tasked with exploring. This talk will make the case that the very skills used in petroleum engineering can be uniquely leveraged to solve a wide range of critical challenges facing the world today. Several case studies will be used to illustrate this alignment within the realm of fluids research and development.

Event flyer with bio

October 25 - Dr. Gustavo Ugueto, Shell

Ugueto HeadshotWell Intrumentation and Fiber Optics – Critical Information to Understand the Interplay Between: Well, Stimulation and Subsurface.

Monitoring the creation and geometry of hydraulically induced fractures using a variety of diagnostic tools is a relatively expensive but necessary step to achieve the successful development of unconventional reservoirs. In recent years, downhole instrumentation using a combination of Fiber Optics (FO) and other diagnostic tools is providing new and detailed information about well construction and hydraulic fracturing not available before. This evolving “tool-kit” primarily developed for unconventionals is also having a direct application in new-energy projects such as CO2 sequestration and in the monitoring of Enhance Geothermal Systems (EGS). This presentation shows several examples on how a variety FO and other downhole measurements are helping us to understand the interplay between well, completion-stimulation and subsurface.

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November 8 - Dr. Rajesh J. Pawar, Los Alamos National Lab

CCUS – The need for it and its current status 

Capture of Carbon dioxide (CO2) and its storage or utilization (CCUS) is one of the technologies that will be part of the portfolio of solutions needed to reduce anthropogenic emissions of CO2 in response to climate change. There have been extensive research, development and demonstration (RD&D) efforts to facilitate its large scale deployment. Globally, multiple commercial scale CCUS projects are currently in operations and multiple are in the planning stages. During this talk I will provide an overview of CCUS and its current deployment status. I will introduce some of past R&D efforts relevant to various aspects of geologic CO2 storage and future R&D needs. I will also highlight my past and ongoing collaborations with the Mines faculty over last two decades focused on different aspects of geologic CO2 storage.  

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November 22 - Dr. J. Fred McLaughlin, School of Energy Resources at University of Wyoming

Research and Opportunities for CCUS in Wyoming

The energy industry is transitioning to low-carbon energy fuels and technologies. Undoubtedly, Wyoming, the largest fossil energy producing state within the Rockies, will experience large impacts during the low-carbon energy transition. These impacts, though, could be as positive in the long term for Wyoming. One of the most probable low-carbon energy transitions opportunities is developing a commercial-scale carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) industry, and the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources has positioned itself to be a regional leader in carbon management research and technologies. The CCUS opportunity is supported by the formalization of tax credits, the State receiving primacy to permit carbon injection wells, supportive CCUS legislation, an educated population, and over a decade’s worth of research through case studies. This presentation will introduce the University of Wyoming’s research efforts to advance CCUS with a focus on the challenges surrounding subsurface assessment for project development. This presentation includes work supported by the Department of Energy under Award Numbers DE-FE0029302 and DE-FE0031624.

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Spring 2021 Semester Speakers


Current trends in Flow Assurance: from R&D to Applications

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Dr. Roland Horne, Stanford

Big Data and Machine Learning in Reservoir Analysis

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Dr. Ding Zhu

Using Downhole Fiberoptic Sensing Technology to Monitor, Control and Improve Well Performance

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Dr. Junjing (ZJ) Zhang

Mitigating Production Degradation Due to Frac Hits in Unconventional Reservoirs

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Mr. Kyle Haustveit

Making Decisions Using Completions Diagnostic Tools in Unconventional Reservoirs

Dr. Abbas Firoozabadi

Molecular Structure, Functional Molecules, Molecule Simulations and Classical Thermodynamics in Relation to Efficient Hydrocarbon Energy Production and Stewardship of the Environment