Holditch appointed to committee by U.S. Energy Secretary

Photo of Dr. Steve HolditchDr. Stephen A. Holditch, Noble Chair and head of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been appointed to a group of environmental, industry and state regulatory experts to recommend best practices for safe, responsible development of the nation's onshore natural gas resources.

Holditch, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a renowned expert in the petroleum industry, is the director of the Energy Engineering Institute at Texas A&M. He serves on the Boards of Directors of Triangle Petroleum Corp. and Matador Resources Corp. Texas. In 1977, Holditch founded S.A. Holditch & Associates, a petroleum technology consulting firm that provided analysis of low-permeability gas reservoirs and designed hydraulic fracture treatments. He served as president of the company until it was bought by Schlumberger in 1997. Holditch has worked for Schlumberger, Shell Oil Co. and Pan American Petroleum Corp.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced May 5 that the committee had been formed to make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, thereby harnessing a vital domestic energy resource while ensuring the safety of drinking water and the health of the environment.

A group of highly respected experts with experience in industry, environmental groups and state regulatory agencies will form a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board to conduct the review, and will work to identify any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing. They will also develop consensus recommended advice to the agencies on practices for shale extraction to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.

President Obama directed Secretary Chu to convene this group as part of the President's "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future," a comprehensive plan to reduce the country's oil dependence, save consumers money and make the U.S. the leader in clean energy industries.

"America's vast natural gas resources can generate many new jobs and provide significant environmental benefits, but we need to ensure we harness these resources safely," Secretary Chu said. "I am looking forward to hearing from this diverse, respected group of experts on best practices for safe and responsible natural gas production."

Other members of the group include:

  • John Deutch (Chair), Institute Professor at MIT
  • Stephen Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Kathleen McGinty, Former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Susan Tierney, Managing Principal, Analysis Group
  • Daniel Yergin, Chairman, IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates
  • Mark Zoback, Professor of Geophysics, Stanford University

A copy of the subcommittee charge is available online.