The oil industry is a gigantic global enterprise engaged in exploration, extraction, refining, transportation and marketing of petroleum products. In addition to transportation fuels and lubricants petroleum is the raw material for a host of products including pharmaceuticals, plastics, solvents, fertilizers and pesticides. The industry employs vast numbers in just about any discipline you can name including large numbers of physicists. Because many experienced workers are now retiring and there is a generation gap due to a hiring lull during the 1980s oil bust the industry is scrambling to find workers for "the great crew change" currently underway.
The presentation will describe how and where petroleum is formed, how it is discovered, how potential reservoirs are evaluated and how it is produced. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of physicists in seismic exploration and well logging. The latter can be described as conducting sensitive physics experiments on the end of a 20,000 or so foot long cable in a high temperature and high pressure environment. Examples from the speaker’s own experience will be used to show how these logging tools are developed, tested, interpreted and finally placed into commercial service.
Bio: John Smaardyk is currently Technology Development Manager for GE Oil & Gas Logging Services in Houston. He earned a PhD degree in physics from UIUC under the direction of Prof. Jack Mochel. His experience includes developing nuclear propulsion systems while an officer in the U. S Navy and conducting reactor safety research for the NRC at Sandia National Labs. His oil industry experience began with Gulf R & D Company researching seismic acquisition methods in difficult seismic areas.
Since then he has had extensive experience developing open hole logging tools for Schlumberger, logging while drilling tools for Sperry-Sun and cased hole logging tools for GE Oil & Gas Logging Services. He has expertise in electromagnetic, NMR and nuclear logging tools. He has a number of issued and pending US and foreign patents in oil well logging technology, hydrogen combustion and chemicals manufacturing.
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