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Society of Petroleum Engineers international award winners (from left) Dr. Yucel Akkutlu, Dr. Dan Hill, Dr. Marcelo Laprea-Bigott and Dr. Hisham Nasr-El-Din. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Four faculty members of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University were recently recognized with international awards from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

Dr. Dan Hill, Regents Professor and Noble Chair, was awarded honorary membership, the highest honor given by the SPE, for a lifetime of technical and service contributions.

"It is particularly humbling to receive this award in light of the company in our department I am joining," said Hill, referring to colleagues Dr. W. John Lee, Dr. Akhil Datta-Gupta, Dr. Thomas Blasingame and Dr. Jeff Spath, who also hold honorary memberships.

Dr. Hisham Nasr-El-Din was awarded the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal for his distinguished achievement in the identification and development of new technology and concepts. The award comes with an automatic distinguished membership.

Dr. Yucel Akkutlu, professor and Rob L. Adams '40 Professor in Petroleum Engineering, will receive the Lester C. Uren Award. This honor recognizes his high achievements in petroleum engineering technology. He will also receive distinguished membership jointly with the award.

"It is truly a privilege," said Akkutlu. "This puts me on a shortlist of names with significant technical contributions to our field. I feel in debt to my department, my former academic supervisors and all my students for supporting me."

Dr. Marcelo Laprea-Bigott, professor of engineering practice, will receive distinguished membership due to his distinctive achievements in both the petroleum industry and the academic community.

“I'm very grateful for my rewarding career and feel fortunate to be part of this fantastic department at Texas A&M," said Laprea-Bigott. "We push each other to perform and work toward achieving excellence together."

"These are all very significant achievements," said Dr. Jeff Spath, department head. "I'm very proud of each of them, and I'm proud to be part of such a distinguished and recognized faculty."

The recipients will be recognized during the SPE Annual Technical Meeting and Conference, held virtually in October 2020. Because Nasr-El-Din passed away on July 3, his award will be accepted posthumously by his family.