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Austin, TX :: BP, UT Team Up in O&G Research Projects

BP announced it will commit $4 million to launch a new strategic partnership with The University of Texas at Austin to support several leading-edge oil and gas industry research projects, with the potential for increased contributions as new studies are identified in the future.

The unique collaboration between the two institutions, which highlights BP’s ongoing commitment to higher education and research, aims to develop real-world solutions to a number of technical challenges facing the global oil and gas industry, both onshore and offshore.

One initial area of focus is related to Project 20K™, a multi-year initiative announced by BP in early 2012 that seeks to develop next-generation systems and tools to help unlock the next frontier of deepwater oil and gas resources, currently beyond the reach of today’s technology. Accessing these resources is a key part of BP’s commitment to U.S. energy security.

The University of Texas’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will work with the Project 20K™ team to study the impact of “human factors” on the drilling process and the potential for new systems that can enhance safety and efficiency. A second area of activity will be to develop a reliability assessment process for BP’s project team to use in quantifying the “system-level reliability” of Project 20K™ concepts.

Other joint research projects include one that seeks to improve recoveries from shale gas and oil formations through a deep investigation of fracturing fluids’ impact on well productivity. Another focuses on enhancing early detection of “kicks” – the sudden influx of hydrocarbons into a well – by using real-time well data and predictive models to better inform operational decisions, in support of BP’s commitment to safe and reliable operations.

“This is not just theoretical research,” said James Dupree, BP’s Chief Operating Officer, Reservoir Development & Technology. “Under this partnership, we are tackling real-world challenges that, if better understood, could have far-reaching impacts not only on BP but on the future of global energy development.”

Administered by a joint governance board, the program has established a rigorous process for selecting research projects that play to the university’s world-class strengths in engineering and geosciences as well as meet BP’s strategic business needs.

BP is funding research in the Cockrell School’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

“This partnership allows our faculty and graduate students to solve challenging, relevant problems in global energy development, to work collaboratively with leading scientists and engineers from BP, and to see how their solutions are implemented in a real-world setting,” said John Ekerdt, associate dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We look forward to the new interdisciplinary opportunities our researchers will have to develop technologies that will have a far-reaching societal benefit.”

While the agreement is initially focused on several specific research projects, the intent is to establish a long-term partnership between BP and the University of Texas that is beneficial to both and that could later result in increased funding. Successes in early projects will help build the basis for future collaboration, with the ultimate goal of taking the research and technologies developed through the program from the lab and into the field.

Press Release, November 01, 2013

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University of Texas Oil Connections

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This is a picture of the Santa Rita in the early 1920′s.

In 1883, the year UT was opened, an endowment was established by the state of Texas that donated 2.1 million acres in West Texas to help UT. Not much was expected of the desolate land besides to perhaps develop it for real estate. In the 1920′s curious men acquired drilling permits from UT, hoping to strike it rich. There were in fact huge oil discoveries. Oil from the Permian Basin has generously provided for the UT system. The PUF continues to receive royalties from oil and gas production in West Texas while the AUF, Available University Fund, continues to receive all surface lease income. Surface lease usually entails “grazing and easements for power lines and pipelines.”1

Big Lake Oilfield and Santa Rita #1 Oil Well

In 1919, Rupert P. Ricker started advertising the land given to UT for oil exploration. The UT alum had utilized a law passed two years earlier permitting state land to be chartered for oil exploration. Having trouble making the sale of 431,360 acres, Ricker turned to an army buddy, Frank T. Pickrell. The original price of the permits for the land and other processing fees was approximately $41,136; however Pickrell paid only $2,500 due to the approaching thirty day deadline for Ricker to make the sale. In 1921, Pickrell started making his runs desperately searching for Texas Tea.

Much to his delight, the Santa Rita #1 oil well produced oil on the final day before the permit expired. A group of Catholic women had large investments in the exploration; when they heard all of this, they wanted it called Santa Rita (“Patron of the Impossible”). But on May 25, 1923, Cromwell, with fellow worker Dee Locklin, decided to “shut down the well to keep reports tight while they leased surrounding acreage for themselves.”2

The oil well was a part of the Big Lake Oilfield. By 1926, the oilfield had already contributed $4 million to the PUF. In the beginning, the single oil well was producing around 3,000 barrels of oil daily. Different wells in the field also had success early on; “the No. 9 well’s initial daily production was 1,400 barrels, on June 24, 1924. The No. 10 came in with 1,840 barrels on July 11. But the No. 11, which began producing 3,600 barrels daily on July 31, proved the field’s productivity.”1

The Santa Rita had served its purpose to the UT system in its sixty-seven years. In 1990, the plug was pulled. The Texas State Historical Association had the original Santa Rita #1 rig moved to the UT campus, and it can be seen next to MLK Blvd between Trinity and San Jacinto streets.

Yates Oil Field

is one of the richest oil fields in the United States; it is rated in the top ten for overall production and second for reserves. Much like the Big Lake Oilfield, permits were granted by UT, and in turn, the school received royalties from the drilling in West Texas.

According to the DrillingInfo website, Yates has over 1 billion barrels left in reserves, which is the largest amount of reserves in the entire nation with the exception of the mammoth Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. It continues to produce around 20,000 barrels of oil per day and around 85,000 MCF (thousand cubic feet) of gas daily. In 1998, it was reported that a research team named Golder Associates of Redmond, Washington was attempting to discover ways to maximize production using natural drainage systems. “Very effective gravity drainage, combined with a secondary gas-cap expansion drive is responsible for the estimated ultimate recovery of 50 percent of the original oil in place.”3 The oil field is so well maintained since it contributes so much to the University.

Bibliography

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Kyle Bass Explains Why He Had The University Of Texas Take Physical Delivery Of $1 Billion In Solid Gold

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Linette Lopez | Mar. 12, 2012

We already know that Hayman Capital’s Kyle Bass is getting ready for the worst. Case in point, he keeps all kinds of weapons on his Texas compound and he’s buying up nickels because he believes the coins will eventually be worth more than 5 cents.

He’s also bullish on gold, and he reminded CNBC why in an interview today:

“The pattern is set, we’re going to continue to monetize fiscal deficits by expanding central bank balance sheets… I call it creating money out of thin air.”

He believes this so fully that while he was on the board of the University of Texas, he had them take physical delivery of $1 billion in gold. You can watch him explain why in the video below (via CNBC), but in a nutshell, he figured out that it would be much cheaper to store it.

And for the record, Bass doesn’t advocate going back to the gold standard, he thinks that’s impractical. Instead, he believes our economy should be tied to a basket of goods and services.

Read more: BI

Americans dissatisfied with direction on energy issues

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by Simone Sebastian

Americans are cynical about energy companies’ control over pricing, think government is failing on energy issues, and believe the environment should take a backseat in energy concerns that spur economic growth.

Those are among the results of a new poll from the University of Texas-Austin targeting consumers’ views on energy issues, including dependency on foreign oil and development of renewable energy.

Overall, Americans think the country is on a bad path when it comes to energy. More than 43 percent said the nation is heading in the wrong direction in dealing with energy issues. Just 14 percent we’re heading in the right direction.

The nationally representative survey of 3,400 adults was developed by the Energy Management and Innovation Center at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and its results were released this week.

Americans praised their own households’ handling of energy issues, but thought government and big businesses are falling far short on their responsibilities. Among the respondents, 71 percent said they were dissatisfied with how congress has addressed energy concerns and 54 percent were critical of President Obama on the issue.  Oil and gas companies, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Department of Energy all fell to the bottom of the pack, too.

Yet, 57 percent said they were satisfied with how they’ve handled energy in their own homes.

“This survey shows that the public craves leadership on energy issues,” said UT-Austin President Bill Powers in a written statement.

When asked to identify the most powerful factor in the cost of energy, Americans pointed to energy companies and utilities. Thirty-six percent of the respondents said energy businesses have primary control over the price of energy. By comparison, 21 percent said global politics made the biggest impact and 18 percent pointed to government regulations. Just 15 percent said consumer demand was the biggest factor.

In energy policies, respondents gave economic growth greater importance than environmental concerns, a result the researchers linked to atough economy. While 37 percent responded that economic growth should be given priority, 33 percent gave more weight to environmental concerns. The rest believed the issues should be balanced.

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