Fall 2022 Semester Speakers

October 10 - George Moridis, Texas A&M

Numerical Simulations: Support of a Long-Term Test of Gas Production From Hydrate Accumulations on Alaska North Slope


We investigate by means of numerical simulation a planned year-long field test of depressurization-induced production from a permafrost-associated hydrate reservoir on the Alaska North Slope at the site of the recently-drilled Hydrate-01 Stratigraphic Test Well. The main objectives of this study are (a) to assess quantitatively the impact of temporary interruptions (well shut-ins) on the expected fluid production performance from the B1 Sand of the stratigraphic Unit B during controlled depressurization over different time scales, as well as on other relevant aspects of the system response that have the potential to significantly affect the design of the field test, and (b) to investigate possible methods to control water production. The study confirmed the superiority of multi-step depressurization methods as the most effective strategies for hydrate dissociation and gas production, and showed that two observation wells (located at distances of 30 m and 50 m from the production well) are appropriately positioned and both able to capture the P, T and SG behavior during the fluid production and shut-ins in any of the eight cases we investigated.

October 24 - Masha Prodanovic, University of Texas Austin

Predicting porous media flow and transport coefficients: open data, simulation, and machine learning

Computing properties such as (relative) permeability, diffusion coefficients or electrical resistivity of rocks based on images (e.g. X-ray or scanning electron microscopy) of their microstructure has recently been a popular, alas computationally intensive, framework for data-based upscaling of such properties that complement and explain lab results. However, employing them efficiently on a large number of samples, such as those acquired in an exploration well, and in sufficient number of scenarios, in order to assess uncertainty or explore parameter space, depends on the ability to cut down the computational time. We have made a significant progress in employing scientific machine/deep learning algorithms and have cut down permeability estimation from 8+ hours down to seconds. We further present the latest work on estimating electrical properties as well as diffusion coefficients in reactive flow (Marcato et al. submitted) using similar approaches. In combination with data hosted in Digital Rocks Portal and open source code, this research paves the way to an environment that directly links data (often indeed big data on small scales), high performance computing simulation, deep learning prediction as well as automated collection of the data into a searchable library. Last but not the least, the concepts are applicable beyond rocks to estimating properties of other complex/porous structures such as foams, batteries or fuel cells, and micro-vascular networks.


Maša Prodanović is a Frank W. Jessen Professor in Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (PGE), The University of Texas at Austin. She is an applied mathematician-turned-engineer and has expertise in direct simulation of flow and particulate transport in porous and fractured media, porous media characterization especially based on 2D and 3D images of rock microstructure, unconventional resources and data curation. She is a recipient of multiple awards such as InterPore Medal for Porous Media Research in 2022, SPE Distinguished Member Award in 2021, EAGE Alfred Wegener Award in 2021, SPE Formation Evaluation regional award for development of Digital Rocks Portal in 2019, Texas 10 (top faculty) and Stony Brook 40 Under Forty awards in 2017, SPE Faculty Innovative Teaching Award in 2014 and Interpore Procter & Gamble Research Award for Porous Media Research in 2014. She was elected Interpore Society Council member & SIAM Geosciences Program Director 2021-23.


November 7 - Marc Hesse, UT Austin

Information coming soon!

November 21 - Eric van Oort, UT Austin

Information coming soon!

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 spring series begins on 1/31/2022 and ends on 4/25/2022. Contact Dr. Yilin Fan if you are interested in being one of our seminar speakers for AY 2022-2023. 

Spring 2022 Semester Speakers

January 31 - Dominic Spencer, Bowline Energy

Micrometer, Chalk, Chainsaw: Real World Petroleum Engineering Applications

Not all of us will land engineering roles in an R&D department, in fact most will land roles where we must find a balance between engineering precision, real world application, and capital discipline. Knowing when and how to utilize and apply precise engineering, in light of the multitude of variables that will affect your data, analysis, and results, all while delivering a return on invested capital is a delicate balance. How we, as practical engineers, must consider capital stewardship in an evolving industry.


Prior to Bowline Energy, Dominic Spencer served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bowline Energy’s predecessor company, Nine Point Energy. Before Nine Point, Mr. Spencer served as the President and COO of Triangle USA, where he was promoted from its Executive Vice President of Operations and various drilling and operational roles since joining the Company in July 2011. Mr. Spencer’s efforts and expertise significantly aided Triangle USA’s successful transition from a non-op business to a full-scale Williston Basin operator. Before joining Triangle USA, he worked for eight years with Bill Barrett Corporation as Operations Manager and in various other roles on numerous assets. Mr. Spencer graduated from Colorado School of Mines in 2003 with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering.


February 28 - Osman Apaydin, KODA

Capital Considerations in Oil & Gas Industry with Today’s Golden ESG Standards

Oil and Gas industry is going through an enormous transition after the recent collapse of the commodity prices due to COVID 19.  Massive consolidation in the industry will inevitably lead to cost control but the industry still needs new capital to maintain or grow its businesses. During this downtime, capital market’s desire to support Oil and Gas industry have changed dramatically as well. The investment community have lost faith in industry’s capability of generating returns and with the concerns over the climate change taking center stage, there is strong demand for capital programs that can sustain and grow businesses with golden ESG standards in mind.


Osman Apaydin is the President and CEO of KODA Resources. KODA Resources is an established company with 65 employees focused on the responsible production of hydrocarbons in the Rockies region with existing operations in the Uinta Basin (natural gas focused) and the Williston Basin (oil focused). Dr. Apaydin previously served as the Denver Division Engineering and Regulatory Manager at EOG Resources where he played an instrumental role in the exploration and development of assets in Uinta, Williston, Powder River, and DJ Basins. He oversaw the planning, forecasting, and A&D efforts of the division. Dr. Apaydin holds PhD degree from Colorado School of Mines (2012), MS degree from Stanford University (1998), a and a BS degree from Istanbul Technical University (1995), all in petroleum.


March 7 - Dr. Eric Van Oort, The University of Texas at Austin

The Future of Drilling: Advancing Drilling Automation, Data Analytics, Machine Learning and AI

This seminar will be on zoom.

It is an exciting time in the Drilling discipline. Novel advancements in systems automation are making well construction not only more reliable and efficient, but also safer. At the same time, activity is exploding in the drilling data analysis arena, with the advent of new high-frequency sensor data as well as more advanced analysis methods that exploit the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence routines. This will benefit all global well construction, whether it involves oil and gas wells, geothermal wells, wells used for CO2 storage, etc. The RAPID (Rig Automation and Performance Improvement in Drilling) industry affiliate program at the University of Texas at Austin is working on many new automation and data-analytics efforts. In the presentation, Dr. van Oort will provide an overview of the ongoing work, highlighting such innovative projects as automated fluid monitoring and maintenance, hole cleaning automation, automated data analysis for drilling optimization through connection recipes and real-time bit damage forensics, and the newly developed methods for combined physics-based and data-driven hybrid modeling.

Bio: Dr. Eric van Oort became Professor in Petroleum Engineering and J.J. King Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012, after a 20-year industry career with Shell Oil Company. He holds a PhD degree in Chemical Physics from the University of Amsterdam. He has (co-)authored more than 200 technical papers, holds 15 patents, is a former SPE Distinguished Lecturer, a SPE Distinguished Member, and the 2017 winner of the prestigious international SPE Drilling Engineering Award. At UT Austin, he directs drilling-related R&D in two industry consortia (RAPID and CODA) with over 25 industry company sponsors, covering drilling automation & control, sensor design, big data analytics, complex well construction challenges, and well abandonment & decommissioning. More recently, he has become involved in solving the technical and economic challenges associated with deep geothermal drilling. In addition, he is the co-founder of 3 start-up companies, including SPYDR Automation dedicated to drilling automation, and is the CEO of his own consulting company, EVO Energy Consulting

March 14 - Oliver C. Mullins, Schlumberger

Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics: A Fundamentally New Approach to Reservoir Evaluation

There has been a large gap in the modeling and understanding of reservoir fluids; this deficiency has led to major inefficiencies in field development planning. Petroleum system modeling provides the timing, type and volume of fluids entering the reservoir (among other things). However, reservoir fluid compositional redistributions and phase changes during and post charge to present day have been underappreciated. Nevertheless, these in-reservoir fluid redistributions and tar formation can impact production in major ways. A new technical discipline resolves this concern; “Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics” (RFG)which is treated in detail in the new book “Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics and Reservoir Evaluation” authored by the speaker. RFG provides the 1st-principles description of the dynamics of reservoir fluids in geologic time. Key enabling advances include: 1) asphaltene thermodynamics to address evolution of reservoir fluids over geologic time, 2) wireline Downhole Fluid Analysis (DFA) providing measurements of reservoir fluid gradients that are key for thermodynamic evaluation, and 3) 70 oilfield case studies treated within an RFG construct. RFG is fundamentally a thermodynamic approach and is complemented very well by geochemistry. The first successful application of RFG is the now ubiquitous practice of examining reservoir connectivity via DFA-measured asphaltene equilibration; this approach is shown to work for light oils, black oils and heavy oils. The role of maturity variation in a simple charge is shown. RFG studies are revealing the sequence of events in multiple charging of reservoirs with fault block migration. Gas charge into oil with concomitant tar mat formation is shown. Viscosity gradients especially in heavy oil are treated from a thermodynamic perspective; one reservoir study shows an excellent match with no adjustable parameters of a heavy oil column with a 10x gradient of asphaltenes (and 1000x gradient in viscosity) over a 100 kilometer rim of a 4-way sealing anticline. Biodegradation can result in large in-reservoir gradients at and near the OWC, large in-reservoir gradients at the top of the column, or small in-reservoir gradients depending on the specifics of the RFG processes as shown in multiple case studies. Reservoir fluid geodynamics is finally enabled, is easy to employ using a ‘universal workflow’ and greatly improves reservoir evaluation.

Bio: Dr. Oliver C. Mullins is a Schlumberger Fellow and member, U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He is leading the new discipline, “reservoir fluid geodynamics” (RFG), which accounts for fluid compositional redistribution and phase change during and post charge over geologic time. RFG is focused on reservoir evaluation and utilizes Downhole Fluid Analysis which he initiated and asphaltene thermodynamics which his team developed. He wrote 2 books, coauthored ~300 other publications and coinvented 138 allowed US patents with 24,000 citations on google scholar. He has received six international awards four organizations (ACS, SPE, SPWLA, ADIPEC) including the George A. Olah Award from the American Chemical Society and the 2021 Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal.

March 28 - Dave Cramer, Conocophilips

Integrating Multiple Diagnostic Methods to Determine Limited Entry Treatment Effectiveness

This presentation covers the essential elements of limited entry treatment design and reviews a case study of plug-and-perf horizontal well treatments in an unconventional shale play. In the case study, various diagnostic methods were used to better understand and quantify the factors determining limited entry effectiveness. Three diagnostic methods were implemented: 1.) injection step-down tests and pressure analysis of the fracturing treatments, 2.) video-based perforation imaging and 3.) distributed acoustic sensing (DAS).

In-situ stress variation and perforation erosion were determined to have significant impacts on treatment allocation among perforation clusters. Other undesirable effects such as heel-side flow preference were also observed. Camera images confirmed proppant-induced erosion at the scale of individual perforations. Measurements from the digital images provided comparison points for predictive software using surface pressure measurements. DAS results provided cluster level proppant distribution values. Correlations were also observed between treatment allocation values from DAS data and values derived from perforation friction calculated from Bernoulli’s equation using the image-based entry hole diameter data.

The results of the case study indicated that a staggered perforation design using more gradual changes among clusters would lead to a more balanced treatment. This scenario was evaluated along with a job design featuring high excess perforation friction and an equal number of perforations in each cluster. Fracture-simulation runs indicated that both tactics are likely to improve slurry allocation.

Bio: Dave Cramer is a Senior Engineering Fellow on the ConocoPhillips Global Completions Engineering staff in Houston, TX and specializes in hydraulic fracturing applications and pressure analysis.  He has published 69 technical papers and holds two U.S. patents and one provisional U.S. patent. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado. Dave has been selected as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer on two occasions, in 2003-2004 and for the current 2021-2022 campaign. He was the SPE Region Director for the U.S. and Canada Rocky Mountain region from 2004-2007. His industry recognitions include the SPE International Cedric K. Ferguson Certificate (2020), SPE International Distinguished Member Award (2019), SPE International Completions Optimization and Technologies Award (2011), and SPE Denver Section Henry Mattson Technical Achievement Award (1993).

April 4 - David D. Faulder, Cyrq Energy

Geothermal development in the United States Past, Present, and Future: A personal perspective

The presentation will review United States geothermal development over the last forty years. This will cover the first development at The Geysers steam field in the 1960’s through today, on a decade-by-decade basis. The author started working in the geothermal industry in 1985 and has experience with most projects in the United States. The several major development projects and their contribution to the growth in installed generation capacity will be discussed. Current challenges and state of the industry will be reviewed, and future challenges and opportunities presented.

Bio: Dr. Faulder is a Director Reservoir Engineering for Cyrq Energy, a geothermal power producer and is responsible for the company’s six fields in the western US. He has an unconventional career with over 40-years’ experience in both hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoir engineering. During this time, he has worked on many geothermal reservoirs in the United States, as well as reservoir engineer for Rocky Mountain oil fields including Rangely and the DJ Basin horizontal wells.  He is a registered Petroleum Engineer in California and Colorado and has degrees in Petroleum Engineering; University of Wyoming in 1981, 1996 and 2008 from Colorado School of Mines. His research interests include geothermal reservoir engineering, unconventional reservoir enhanced oil recovery (two patents), and reservoir modeling. He is a native of Beatrice, Nebraska where he currently resides on the family farm with his son and chihuahua.

April 11 - Kan Wu, Texas A&M

Hydraulic Fracture Geometry Characterization in Unconventional Reservoirs: Numerical Modeling and Data Interpretation

Multi-stage hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling is a key technique to economically unlock hydrocarbon in unconventional reservoirs. Despite their successful applications, accurate characterization of the complex hydraulic fracture geometry that is created in unconventional reservoirs remains challenging due to the complexities of stress shadow effects and hydraulic fractures interacting with the rock fabric, as well as heterogeneities of rock properties and stress state. The hydraulic fracture geometry significantly influences the stimulated well performance, and a better understanding of its geometry is crucial for the optimization of completion designs. Hence, a better understanding of the multiple hydraulic fracturing propagation process and the generated fracture geometry is of critical importance in unconventional reservoir development. Numerical modeling is one of the primary methods that are frequently applied to understand and characterize fracture geometries. Low Frequency Distributed Acoustic Sensing (LF DAS) is a promising fracture diagnostic technique to measure strain change induced by fracture opening and monitor fracture propagation. In this presentation, I will overview our numerical modeling work and introduce a new algorithm for data interpretation of LF DAS. In our group, we have developed a high-fidelity model to simulate 3D hydraulic fracture propagation and test different coupling algorithms for accurately solving the multi-physics problem. Besides, to efficiently simulate field cases, a pseudo-3D simulator has been developed to model multiple fracture propagation considering stress shadow effects, hydraulic fractures interacting with natural fractures, stress heterogeneities, and limit entry. Following that, leading-edge work will be introduced to quantitatively interpret measured data of LF DAS. A novel Green’s function-based inversion model will be discussed to calculate fracture width and height from measured strain data. The presentation will be concluded with a field case study in an unconventional oil reservoir to illustrate the workflow of quantitative data interpretation.

Bio: Dr. Kan Wu is an associate Professor and Class of ’75 DVG Career Development Professor in Harold Vance department of petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include modeling and optimization of hydraulic fracturing, multi-scale and multi-physics modeling, and data interpretation and geomechanics modeling of distributed fiber optic strain measurements. Wu has authored or co-authored more than 90 technical papers, which have been cited about 3490 times and more than 3160 times over the past five years (Source: Google Scholar). Kan holds a Ph.D. degree in petroleum engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She is an associate editor for the SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering Journal and the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering.

April 25 - Patrick F. Dobson, LBNL

Geothermal Energy: Current Uses and New Possibilities

With the current transition in energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable energy to address the world’s climate change crisis, new attention is being paid to the uses and potential of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy has been used by humankind for millennia, but it has been overshadowed by faster growing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. There are abundant geothermal resources throughout the US, but geothermal energy currently only provides a small fraction of the energy used in this country. This presentation will provide an introduction to geothermal energy, highlight its potential as an energy source, describe the techniques used for geothermal exploration, discuss some of the technical challenges that need to be overcome to make it more competitive, and explore some of the diverse applications for geothermal resources, including mineral recovery from geothermal brines.

Bio: Patrick Dobson is a geological staff scientist and the lead for the Geothermal Systems program at the Energy Geosciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), in Berkeley, CA, USA. He obtained his MS and PhD in Geology from Stanford University. After postdoctoral stints at Caltech and UC Santa Barbara, he worked for Unocal Corporation for ten years as a geologist for their research laboratory and geothermal group. Dr. Dobson joined LBNL in 2000, where he currently works on a variety of geologic and geochemical research projects associated with geothermal energy and geologic nuclear waste disposal. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America.

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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