Texas A&M University well represented at annual Society of Petroleum Engineers international conference

Faculty, staff, advisory board members and students of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M won several awards, volunteered time and effort, and presented academic papers at the recent Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) held Sept 26-28 in Dubai. The conference is an annual gathering of the international members of SPE, celebrating the dedication, distinction, service and endeavors of those who strive to promote petroleum engineering both in academia and industry. Recognition is given during the SPE Annual Awards Banquet at the conference.

2016 SPE ATCE distinguished members

Professor of Engineering Practice Fred Dupriest, Professor John Killough, and Professor Jenn-Tai Liang (shown above) were all awarded Distinguished Member status. Established in 1983, this award recognizes SPE members who achieve distinction deemed worthy of special recognition. In the past few years, Dupriest has received several awards for engineering and teaching, Killough has received recognition for his distinguished reservoir simulation research and Liang has received honors for his research endeavors with nanotechnology.

“SPE Distinguished Members represent less than 1 percent of the current SPE professional membership of about 80,000, so this is truly a distinction,” said Dan Hill, head of the petroleum engineering department. “Their receipt of this award brings the total number of our faculty who are SPE Distinguished Members to 18, which is more than any other petroleum engineering department in the world.”


Professor Ding Zhu received the SPE Completions Optimization and Technology Award. The award honors her many contributions to well completion technology, including her outstanding research in horizontal and multilateral well completion design, and intelligent completion application of downhole monitoring and control.

image of Makogon, Yuri

Dr. Yuri Makogon, retired TEES Research Engineer with the department, received the Robert Earll McConnell Award. This achievement recognizes beneficial service to mankind by engineers through significant contributions that advance a nation’s standard of living or replenish its natural resource base. Makogon’s career spans nearly 60 years and includes significant discoveries and research involving gas hydrates.

2016 SPE ATCE awards TAMU-SPE outstanding chapter award

The Texas A&M student chapter of SPE won the Outstanding Student Chapter Award for the second year in a row. This prestigious award recognizes SPE student chapters with exceptional programs in industry engagement, operations and planning, community involvement, professional development and innovation.  The Texas A&M chapter is the second largest student chapter in the world. The 2016 officers accepting the award in photo are (from left to right) Jordan Argamany, Hanyu Li, Alex Lambros, Benjamin Bates, and Courtney Walker.

2016 SPE ATCE awards international paper contest students

Three students from Texas A&M participated in the international student paper contest. This competition pits regional winners from around the world in undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. divisions against each other in a display of research and presentation skills. This is the first time all three Texas A&M students placed. 

  • Melissa LeRoy (right in photo) – second place, undergraduate division (Adviser – Terri Smith)
  • Hanyu Li (middle in photo) – first place, Masters division (Adviser – Mike King)
  • Karin Gonzalez (left in photo) – third place, Ph.D. division (Adviser – Maria Barrufet)

The SPE ATCE is the world’s foremost technical conference in oil and gas drilling and production. This year over five hundred technical papers were presented. Several people from petroleum engineering at Texas A&M volunteered their time, effort and research to help make this possible.

  • TEES Research Engineer Frank Platt, who works with the Global Petroleum Research Institute housed within the department, served as the management and information specialty coordinator for the event.
  • Former student and Industry Board member Janeen Judah, the incoming 2017 president for SPE, was a featured speaker for the sessions the Value of Gender Diversity in Leadership and Managing the Oil Industry Cycles – Employee, Students, and Employer Perspective. She also served as moderator for the session: Early Identification of Future Leaders.
  • Professor Tom Blasingame was a featured speaker and moderator for the session The Way to Move Forward is to Look Back.
  • Professor A. Dan Hill was a featured speaker for the session Managing the Oil Industry Cycles – Employee, Students, and Employer Perspective.
  • Assistant Professor Sam Noynaert was a featured speaker for the session How is Academia Managing in a Cyclic Environment.
  • Adjunct Professor Oliver Mullins was a featured speaker for the session Getting the Most from Mature Fields.
  • Professors Hisham Nasr-El-Din and Ding Zhu served as technical session chairpersons.
  • Associate Professor I. Yucel Akkutlu, Professor Maria Barrufet, University Distinguished Professor Akhil Datta-Gupta, Assistant Professor Berna Hascakir, Professor A. Dan Hill, Professor John Killough, Professor W. John Lee, Professor Duane McVay, Professor George Moridis, Professor Nobuo Morita, Professor Hisham Nasr-El-Din, Associate Professor David Schechter, and Professor Ding Zhu were authors of papers presented in technical sessions.