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Berg-Hughes Center Awarded More Than $1 Million For Multidisciplinary Research

Faculty in the Colleges of Geosciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, and Science will contribute to the two large research projects, both managed by the Berg-Hughes Center.

Oct 12, 2020

Director of the Berg-Hughes Center Dr. Mukul Bhatia.
Director of the Berg-Hughes Center Dr. Mukul Bhatia.
The Michel T. Halbouty Building, home of the Berg-Hughes Center.
The Michel T. Halbouty Building, home of the Berg-Hughes Center.

This year, the Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University has begun two major new multidisciplinary research projects, totaling more than $1 million in recent research funding.

The center integrates geosciences, engineering and other disciplines to collaborate with industry and others to advance research and education in petroleum studies. Working alongside faculty from Texas A&M’s College of Geosciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, and Science, the center has embarked on the two new major projects in 2020.

“We need to look holistic, integrated and life-cycle projects, as industry’s needs and problems change over time. Our students get the best perspective of understanding the various facets and complexity of industry and society while working in multi-disciplinary teams in industry-sponsored projects ,” said Berg-Hughes Center Director Dr. Mukul R. Bhatia. The Berg-Hughes Center provides full and partial financial support to some 21 graduate students within Texas A&M.

An executive professor in the Texas A&M Department of Geology and Geophysics, Bhatia has led the center since 2017 and holds the Dan A. Hughes '51 Chair in the College of Geosciences.

Bhatia is leading a multidisciplinary project titled “Forecasting oil and gas production volumes in the unconventional reservoirs,” funded by a $300,000 per-year grant from Shell, YPF and Vista Oil and Gas Companies of Argentina. The consortium will examine methods of predicting the oil and gas rates and volume in the Permian Basin of West Texas and Vaca Muerta of Argentina.

The study will support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and it will include Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering faculty Dr. John Lee, Dr. Tom Blasingame, and Dr. Akkutlu, as well as Dr. Alan Yu and Dr. Cameron Manche from the Department of Geology and Geophysics. 

“This project will develop reliable forecasts based on geological and fluid history, flow regimes, characteristic declines and fracture geometry between parent and child wells,” Bhatia explained.

Bhatia is also leading the “Permian water management and value creation” research project, a three-year effort funded by University Lands with a $771,500 grant. University Lands manages the surface and mineral interests of 2.1 million acres in West Texas for the benefit of the state of Texas’ Permanent University Fund, an endowment which benefits both The Texas A&M University System and the University of Texas System.

“The objective of this project is to deliver to University Lands a comprehensive and integrated plan of water management which addresses the current problem of supplying appropriate quality of water for field development, both from surface supply and subsurface aquifer resources,” he said. “It will also look at the cutting-edge technology needed to convert produced water into useable water for hydraulic fracturing and to assess the environmental and economic implications associated with various options.” 

This multi-disciplinary project will include Dr. Peter Knappett, Department of Geology and Geophysics; Dr. Berna Hascakir and Dr. David Schechter, Department of Petroleum Engineering; Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee, Department of Chemistry; and Dr. Bruce McCarl, Department of Agriculture Economics.  

By Leslie Lee ’09

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