SPE Honors 2020 International Award Recipients During Annual Meeting
The SPE International Awards honor members whose outstanding contributions to SPE and the petroleum industry merit special distinction. Recipients of the 2020 International Awards will be recognized during the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
Each year during its Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE), SPE honors members whose outstanding contributions to SPE and the petroleum industry merit special distinction. Recipients of the 2020 International Awards will be recognized during the 2020 ATCE in October.
Honorary Membership is the highest honor SPE confers upon an individual. It is limited to 0.1% of SPE’s total membership and is conferred on individuals for outstanding service to SPE or in recognition of distinguished scientific or engineering achievement in fields encompassed in SPE’s technical scope.
Tayfun Babadagli is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department in the School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Alberta, where he holds an NSERC-Industrial Research Chair in Unconventional Oil Recovery. He previously served on the faculty at Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, and at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
Babadagli was an executive editor for SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering. He received Outstanding Technical Editor Awards and an Outstanding Service Award as associate editor for SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering Journal. He is currently a member of the JPT Editorial Committee and has served on numerous other SPE educational and research-related committees as well as conference/workshop/forum programming and organizing committees. Babadagli received SPE’s A Peer Apart Award and was named an SPE Distinguished Member and Distinguished Lecturer. He is also the recipient of the SPE International Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award. Babadagli holds one patent and has authored three book chapters and more than 470 technical papers, of which more than 250 appeared in referred journals.
Babadagli holds BS and MS degrees from Istanbul Technical University and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Southern California, all in petroleum engineering.
Dan Hill is a professor and holder of the Noble Endowed Chair in Petroleum Engineering in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University. Hill joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2004. Previously, he taught for 22 years at The University of Texas at Austin and worked for 5 years before that in industry.
He is the author of the SPE monograph Production Logging: Theoretical and Interpretive Elements; coauthor of the textbook Petroleum Production Systems; coauthor of the SPE book Multilateral Wells; and author of more than 200 technical papers and five patents.
Hill has been an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and was the founding chairman of the Austin SPE Section. He was named a Distinguished Member of SPE and received the SPE Production and Operations Award, the SPE Regional Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty for the Gulf Coast North America Region, and the SPE John Franklin Carll Award. In 2012, he was one of two winners of the inaugural SPE PhD Pipeline Award, which recognizes faculty who have a proven track record in, or unique methods of, encouraging petroleum engineering students to enter academia. From 2014 to 2017, he was a member of the SPE Board of Directors.
He holds a BS degree from Texas A&M University and MS and PhD degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, all in chemical engineering.
Ronald Hinn is the executive vice president of PetroSkills, based in Houston. His 40-plus year career has spanned numerous roles including staff engineering, engineering supervision, corporate benchmarking, knowledge management, and technical staff competency development. Before PetroSkills, he was employed at Mobil Oil, Amoco Production Co., Altura Energy, and Oxy Oil and Gas and was inducted into Tulsa’s Engineering Hall of Fame in 2004.
Hinn has served at multiple levels within SPE International. His section service culminated in the chairmanship of the Gulf Coast Section. He served as the Gulf Coast Regional Director on the SPE Board and received the SPE Outstanding Young Member Service Award, the SPE Distinguished Service Award, and the SPE Distinguished Member Award.
Hinn holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from The University of Tulsa.
D. Nathan Meehan is president of CMG Petroleum Consulting and senior adviser to Petro.ai, a petroleum analytics company. He was formerly president of Gaffney, Cline & Associates and a vice president at Baker Hughes. Previously, he was vice president of engineering for Occidental Oil and Gas and general manager, Exploration and Production Services, for Union Pacific Resources. He has extensive board experience with oilfield service companies, operators, and software firms.
Meehan served as the 2016 SPE president. He is an SPE Distinguished Member and the recipient of SPE’s Lester C. Uren Award for Distinguished Achievement in Petroleum Engineering, the DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal, and the SPE Public Service Award. He also served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer on horizontal wells.
He holds a BS degree in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, an MS degree in petroleum engineering from The University of Oklahoma, and a PhD degree in petroleum engineering from Stanford University. Meehan is a licensed Professional Engineer in four states.
Hemanta Sarma is a professor of oil and gas engineering at the University of Calgary. Formerly, he was chairman of the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, and the inaugural Reg Sprigg Chair professor in Petroleum Engineering at The University of Adelaide’s Australian School of Petroleum, where he was also the founding director of its Centre for Improved Petroleum Recovery. Before his work in academia, he held senior research positions at the Alberta Research Council in Canada, served as an invited research adviser at the Japan National Oil Corp. for its domestic and international R&D and field EOR projects, and worked as a reservoir engineer in India’s two national oil companies.
An active SPE member for almost 4 decades, Sarma received the SPE Distinguished Membership Award, Distinguished Service Award, and the DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal. He was also recognized as an Outstanding Associate Editor of SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering and has served on several key technical and societal program committees and editorial boards.
Sarma holds a BTech degree with first-class honors in petroleum engineering from the Indian School of Mines, an MS degree in chemical engineering with specialization in reservoir engineering from the University of Calgary, and a PhD degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Alberta.
Mukul Sharma has been a professor for 35 years at The University of Texas at Austin where he holds the “Tex” Moncrief Chair in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. He served as chairman of the department from 2001 to 2005. He has published more than 450 journal articles and conference proceedings and holds 21 patents. He founded Austin Geotech Services, an E&P consulting company, in 1996. He also cofounded Layline Petroleum in 2006 and Navidad Energy in 2017.
He is the recipient of the John Franklin Carll Award and the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal. He also received the SPE Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award, the Lester C. Uren Award, and the SPE Formation Evaluation Award. He was named an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and has served on the editorial boards of many journals. Sharma is also a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.
Sharma holds a BTech degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and MS and PhD degrees in chemical and petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California.
Jun Yao is vice president of China University of Petroleum (East China), director of the Center of Multiphase Flow in Porous Media, head of the Chinese Chapter of the International Society for Porous Media (InterPore), member of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, chairman of the Chinese Society for Fluid Flow in Porous Media, head of the Cheung Kong Scholars research team named by the National Ministry of Education, and a member of the New Century National Talent Project and the Taishan Scholar Climbing Program of the Shandong province.
Yao is the principal investigator of the National 863 Program, the 973 Program, the National Natural Science Foundation, and the major national oil and gas projects. He has published more than 240 journal articles in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Water Resources Research, SPE Journal, Journal of Computational Physics, and others.
Yao holds BASc, MASc, and PhD degrees, all in reservoir engineering, from the China University of Petroleum.
In March, the SPE Board of Directors established the first SPE major award in more than 50 years. The Stephen A. Holditch Visionary Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have devoted significant time, effort, thought, and action to SPE or the oil and gas industry and who have demonstrated exceptional visionary leadership resulting in a lasting and momentous impact.
The award will be fully established by recognizing Stephen A. Holditch as the inaugural recipient this year. Holditch served as SPE president in 2002, as vice president–finance, and as a member of the SPE Board of Directors from 1998 to 2003. He was named an SPE Honorary Member in 2006 and received all three of SPE’s highest technical awards: the Lester C. Uren Award, the John Franklin Carll Award, and the Anthony F. Lucas Medal. Holditch passed away on 9 August 2019. This major international award will cement his legacy as one of the most influential leaders in the history of SPE
Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal
The Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal recognizes achievement in improving techniques and practices of finding and producing petroleum.
Hisham Nasr-El-Din was a professor of petroleum engineering at Texas A&M University, where he held the John Edgar Holt Endowed Chair. Previously, he worked for 15 years as principal professional and leader of the Stimulation Research and Technology team at Saudi Aramco. He also worked as a researcher at the Petroleum Recovery Institute in Calgary and at the Canadian universities of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ottawa. Nasr-El-Din held more than 30 patents, wrote 17 technical book chapters, and published and presented more than 720 technical papers.
Nasr-El-Din was a review chairperson for the SPE Journal and a technical editor for SPE Production and Operations and SPE Drilling and Completions. He was an SPE Distinguished Member and received the regional and international SPE Production and Operations Award, the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty, two SPE Outstanding Associate Editor awards, an SPE Outstanding Technical Editor Award, and the SPE A Peer Apart Award.
Nasr-El-Din held BS and MS degrees from Cairo University and a PhD degree from the University of Saskatchewan, all in chemical engineering.
Hisham A. Nasr-El-Din passed away on 3 July 2020. He had been selected for the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal prior to his death.
John Franklin Carll Award
The John Franklin Carll Award recognizes contributions of technical application and professionalism in petroleum development and recovery.
John Ely started his career in 1965 with Halliburton, where he was instrumental in the development of several fracturing fluids, including high-temperature systems and nonaqueous energized systems. As technical adviser, International Operations, he was based in Duncan, Oklahoma, where he coordinated research with international field operations. Ely joined Nowsco Services in 1980 and provided oversight to chemical and mechanical research and coordinated training for field engineers. In 1985, he joined S.A. Holditch and Associates as vice president of stimulation technology. In 1991, Ely with three partners founded Ely & Associates Inc. to provide expertise on well completion, stimulation fluids and equipment, and reservoir analysis.
Ely holds more than 80 patents and publications, including Stimulation Treatment Handbook: An Engineer’s Guide to Quality Control. He is also a contributing author to two SPE monographs on hydraulic fracturing. He has taught hundreds of fracturing courses, given more than 50 presentations to local SPE chapters, and designed and supervised thousands of fracturing treatments.
He holds a BA degree in chemistry from Oklahoma State University.
DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal
The DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal recognizes distinguished and outstanding service to SPE, to the professions of engineering or geology, and to the petroleum industry.
Anil Ambastha leads the gas EOR and EOR simulation and modeling teams at Chevron Energy Technology Company in Houston. Before joining Chevron, Ambastha was a faculty member in petroleum engineering at the University of Alberta and a staff reservoir engineer at Shell Canada Limited.
Ambastha has coauthored more than 80 papers in reservoir engineering, pressure-transient analysis, and improved/enhanced oil recovery. He was the program chairperson and chairperson of the SPE Edmonton Section, director of the SPE San Joaquin Valley Section, and Technical Director of the SPE Sumatra Section. Since 1992, he has been a technical editor for SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering (SPEREE) and its predecessor journal and was executive editor for SPEREE.
He received the Outstanding Technical Editor Award 12 times since 1994. Ambastha was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2015–2016 and the principal editor for the two-volume Heavy Oil Recovery Reprint Series No. 61 from 2005–2007. He received the SPE A Peer Apart Award, the Lester C. Uren Award, Distinguished Member Award, Distinguished Service Award, and IOR Pioneer Award.
Ambastha holds a BTech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian School of Mines; an MS degree from The University of Tulsa; and a PhD degree from Stanford University, all in petroleum engineering. He also holds an MS degree in operations research from Stanford University.
Lester C. Uren Award
The Lester C. Uren Award recognizes distinguished achievement in petroleum engineering technology by a member who made the contribution before age 45.
I. Yucel Akkutlu is a professor in petroleum engineering and William Keeler faculty fellow at Texas A&M University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in petroleum reservoir engineering. He previously worked as faculty for The University of Oklahoma and University of Alberta. Akkutlu has written more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and six book chapters. He holds four patents and has received more than $6 million in external research funding in the past 10 years. Akkutlu is a team leader in developing NaSh, a reservoir flow simulation software for applications in petroleum production from source rocks with nanoscale pore structure.
Akkutlu is a Distinguished Member of SPE who served as executive editor of SPE Journal and as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer.
He holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, a graduate degree in petroleum engineering, and a PhD degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Robert Earll McConnell Award
The Robert Earll McConnell Award recognizes beneficial service to humanity by engineers through significant contributions that tend to advance a nation’s standard of living or replenish its natural resources base.
Hamdi Tchelepi is professor and chairperson of the Energy Resources Engineering Department at Stanford University. He worked for a decade as a research scientist in the reservoir simulation research team at Chevron Energy Technology. In 2003,
Tchelepi joined the Stanford faculty, where he codirects the Industrial Consortium for Reservoir Simulation Research. He was chairperson of the 2014 Gordon Research Conference on Fluid Flow in Permeable Media. His areas of research interest include the design and development of advanced reservoir simulators for modeling oil/gas recovery processes and subsurface sequestration of carbon dioxide.
Tchelepi has been involved with the intersect reservoir simulator since its inception.
He has published more than 200 articles in computational science and geoscience journals and has advised more than 40 PhDs and 30 postdoctoral scholars on reservoir simulation research topics.
He has served on the Organizing Committee of the SPE Reservoir Simulation Symposium for more than a decade and was chairperson of the committee in 2011.
Tchelepi holds BS and MS degrees from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and a PhD degree from Stanford University, all in petroleum engineering.
Charles F. Rand Memorial Award
The Charles F. Rand Memorial Award recognizes distinguished achievement in mining administration, including metallurgy and petroleum.
Donald Paul is the executive director of the Energy Institute and holds the William M. Keck Chair of Energy Resources at the University of Southern California. Paul retired from Chevron in 2008 as corporate vice president and chief technology officer after a 33-year career. Since 2009, Paul has been an appointee of the US Secretary of Energy to serve on the National Petroleum Council, and he is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. Since 2019, he has been a member of the board of directors of the Berry Corp. (formerly Berry Petroleum Corp.).
Paul has been involved in SPE activities throughout his career, including the development of initiatives in the digital transformation of the industry as a founding member of the Digital Energy Technical Section and with his contributions to the advancement of petroleum engineering education. He has been recognized by the society with the International Management and Information Award and the Distinguished Member Award. His local recognition by the SPE Western North American Region includes the Regional Service Award and the Health, Safety, and Environmental Award.
Paul holds a BS degree in applied mathematics, an MS degree in geology and geophysics, and a PhD degree in geophysics, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Public Service Award
The SPE Public Service Award recognizes distinguished public service to a country, state, community, or the public through excellence in leadership, service, or humanitarianism, provided the service is above the requirements of employment.
William Haskett is the managing director of the Haskett Consulting International companies in Canada and the US. He was previously chairman and senior principal for energy strategy at Decision Strategies and senior exploration adviser for Unocal Worldwide New Ventures. Having spent 40 years in the energy, infrastructure development, LNG, and mining industries, he provides strategy, training, and project decision support to countries, companies, and teams worldwide.
Haskett is a life member of SPE and has participated in or led several committees, including Management and Awards, as well as workshops on economics, unconventional resources, and risk/decision-making. He is a frequent speaker and the author of several papers, including manuscripts on the assessment and development of unconventional plays. In 2012, he received the International Technical Award for Management and Information for his thought leadership in unconventional resources.
He holds a BS degree in geology from McMaster University in Canada, and an MBA degree with concentrations in finance and organizational development from the Haskanye School of Business at the University of Calgary. Haskett is also a Decision Professional and a Certified Petroleum Geologist.
Distinguished Service Award
The SPE Distinguished Service Award recognizes exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought, and action to the society that sets them apart from other contributions.
Hernán Buijs is Wintershall Dea hydraulic fracturing subject-matter expert (SME). He has worked on multiple projects across the South America, Europe, North Sea, Middle East, and Russia regions. He developed and taught custom courses on hydraulic fracturing and reservoir characterization as a university professor, invited speaker, and company in-house SME.
Buijs has organized more than 100 different events for SPE on the local, regional, and international level and served as invited keynote speaker, discussion leader, workshop facilitator, and webinar moderator for numerous SPE events. He served on the SPE Young Professionals Coordinating Committee; Student Development, Production and Operations Advisory Committee; Forum Series Implementation Committee—Eastern Hemisphere; Completions Committee; and the Business, Management, and Leadership Committee. In 2018, he chaired the SPE Business, Management, and Leadership Committee. Buijs was the recipient of the SPE Young Member Outstanding Service Award, the SPE Service Award, and the SPE Completions Optimization and Technology Award for the south, central, and east Europe regions.
Buijs holds advanced degrees in industrial engineering and petroleum engineering from the Institute of Technology of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Carlos A. Chalbaud works as business development manager for Storengy, a subsidiary of Engie Group, in the areas of natural gas, geothermal energy, and biogas. Before holding this position, he worked for more than 12 years in technical and managerial roles in oil and gas exploration and production, based in France and the UK.
Chalbaud was a member of the SPE Board of Directors from 2013 to 2016, representing the North Sea region. He served on the board of the SPE London and France sections, on the editorial board of The Way Ahead, and in several other volunteer roles. He is a recipient of the SPE Young Member Outstanding Service Award and the London Section Award.
He holds a BS degree in chemical engineering from Simon Bolivar University; an MS degree in petroleum engineering and a PhD degree in engineering, both from the IFP School; and an MBA degree from the IE Business School.
Michael Eberhard retired in January 2020 from SRC Energy, where he was chief operating officer and executive vice president. He joined SRC in 2015 after working 5 years for Anadarko Petroleum as the Wattenberg completion manager. Eberhard started his 40-year oil-industry career as a field engineer for Halliburton Services. He went on to become the Rocky Mountain technology manager, where he led a multidisciplined team focused on unconventional resources completions and optimization.
Eberhard joined SPE in 1982 and is a life member. He started his SPE volunteerism as a San Joaquin Valley Section officer. Twice he served as chairman of the Denver Section, which received the President’s Award for Section Excellence during his first term. Eberhard was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and served as the Rocky Mountain Regional Director and as a committee member or chairman for numerous ATWs and regional meetings.
Eberhard holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Montana State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado.
George Koperna Jr. is Advanced Resources International’s vice president of engineering. He has held numerous SPE volunteer positions, including serving on the board of directors as the Northeastern North American Regional Director and chairperson of the Audit Committee. He participated on the SPE Distinguished Lecturer Selection Committee, the SPE Reservoir Award Committee, the Reservoir Technical Director Advisory Committee, and as an officer on the Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration Technical Section, serving as chairman from 2015 to 2017. Additionally, he has spent the past 8 years as SPE’s representative to AIME on the Hoover Board of Awards and has chaired or participated on program committees for numerous SPE technical meetings, forums, and workshops over the course of his 25-year membership. Koperna continues to support the SPE National Capital Section, having held a number of elected positions.
He holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering from West Virginia University.
Cedric K. Ferguson Medal
The Cedric K. Ferguson Medal is presented to young professional authors of an SPE peer-approved technical paper who are members of SPE and are 35 or younger on the date of peer approval. Coauthors 36 or older who were SPE members on the date of peer approval receive the Cedric K. Ferguson Certificate. The 2020 medals and certificate are awarded for the paper “Use of Far-Field Diverters To Mitigate Parent- and Infill-Well-Fracture Interactions in Shale Formations” published in SPE Production and Operations in May 2020.
Junjing Zhang is a staff completion engineer in the global wells organization at ConocoPhillips. He supports completion and hydraulic fracturing across ConocoPhillips assets in the US Lower 48, Alaska, China, Canada, and Australia. Zhang is the recipient of the ConocoPhillips Outstanding Early Career Technologist Award. He has 14 years of research and industry experience and has authored 11 journal publications.
He is a 2020–2021 SPE Distinguished Lecturer and has received five SPE awards, including the first-place award for the 2014 SPE International Student Paper Contest (PhD group). He served as program committee member and session chair for the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference and Exhibition from 2017 to 2020.
Zhang is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Texas. He holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering from the University of Petroleum (Beijing) and a PhD degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University.
Jamie McEwen, reservoir engineer at ConocoPhillips, is currently the company subsurface lead for the Eagle Ford refracturing program and base production optimization. He began his career in Aberdeen with ConocoPhillips, working on offshore sour-gas well abandonments. In his 10 years with ConocoPhillips, he has worked in multiple operational and subsurface roles in different US basins. He has coauthored three SPE technical papers and presented at the SPE Refrac Workshop in 2019.
McEwen holds an MS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, which he earned while also serving with the UK Royal Marines.
Kevin Bjornen retired in 2018 after 10 years as a completion fluid specialist at the ConocoPhillips research facility in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Previously, he worked for Schlumberger for 17 years as a stimulation engineer.
A 39-year SPE Life Member, he was a member of the SPE Production Operations Symposium and Mid-Continent Operations Symposium and served as section director for the Hobbs Petroleum Section and as Membership chairperson for the Oklahoma City Section. He has authored eight technical manuscripts.
Bjornen holds a BS degree in geological engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MS degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He is a licensed Professional Engineer.
David Cramer is a senior engineering fellow on the ConocoPhillips Global Completions engineering staff in Houston, specializing in hydraulic-fracturing applications.
Cramer has published 58 technical papers and holds two US patents. He has lectured at SPE and other industry technical functions on 190 occasions. Cramer was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and the SPE Region Director for the US and Canada Rocky Mountain Region. He coauthored the SPE textbook Hydraulic Fracturing: Fundamentals and Advancements.
He has received the SPE International Distinguished Member Award; SPE International Completions Optimization and Technologies Award; Best Paper Award, SPE/ICoTA Coiled Tubing and Well Intervention Conference and Exhibition; SPE Denver Section Service Award; and the SPE Henry Mattson Technical Achievement Award from the Denver Petroleum Section.
Cramer has been the SPE Region director, Rocky Mountain North America Region; a member of the SPE International Board of Directors; session chairperson of the Fracturing Roundtable on Re-Fracturing; chairperson for the SPE Workshop on Diagnostic Fracture Injection Test: Processes and Applications; and chairperson for the SPE Workshop on Unconventional Reservoirs Diagnostics: Technology Applications, Field Studies and Best Practices.
Cramer holds a BA degree from Rutgers University, receiving high honors and departmental distinction in economics. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado.
Matt White is a staff completion engineer on the global completions and intervention team at ConocoPhillips. He spent the past 14 years supporting drilling, completion, and intervention activities. He also worked as senior completion engineer in the south and west Texas business units, where he continued to develop key completion and intervention skill sets.
White started his career as a field engineer in south Texas for Baker Hughes and spent 6 years serving in multiple roles across the US Lower 48. During his tenure, White trained as a field engineer and progressed through the ranks to region engineering manager.
He is an active member of the SPE Gulf Coast Section and has authored two SPE papers.
He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University.
Young Member Outstanding Service Awards
The Young Member Outstanding Service Award recognizes contributions to and leadership in the public and community arenas and SPE, the profession, and the industry by a member younger than 36.
Meshal Al-Amri oversees operational excellence and compliance endeavors for Saudi Aramco’s Northern Area Well Completion Operations Department, in addition to leading well completion engineering support. He has 9 years of experience in offshore production engineering, reservoir management, intelligent field technologies, and surface facilities engineering.
Al-Amri has received numerous awards and recognition for his services, including the SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award and the SPE Century Club Award. He also served as the Executive Board chairperson for Student Outreach and Electronic Media and Publicity for the Saudi Arabia Section, and won the first SPE-KSA Young Professional Paper Contest. He has authored or coauthored 14 technical peer-reviewed and conference papers.
Al-Amri holds BS and MS degrees, both with honors and in petroleum engineering, from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia, and an MBA degree from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Jessica Iriarte Lopez manages the research and development team at Well Data Labs, serving as a subject-matter expert to bridge the technical gap between engineers and data scientists. She is responsible for the team’s design, prototyping, testing, and deployment of models that automate event recognition in time-series data. Before holding this role, Iriarte Lopez worked in the field as a fracture engineer in offshore and onshore Venezuela and Ecuador and in completions design and project management in offshore Italy and onshore Croatia. She has 9 years of experience with well completions, research, and data analytics and has published 11 papers that describe the integration of multivariate data sets and the applications of machine learning to time-series fracture data.
Iriarte Lopez is the SPE Denver Section chairperson and previously held Treasurer and Young Professional chair positions. She serves on the SPE Data Science and Engineering Analytics Advisory Board and on the Hydraulic Fracturing Technical Conference Program Committee and has co-chaired SPE workshops and meetings focused on unconventional development and applied data science. She received the 2019 SPE Rocky Mountain Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award.
Iriarte Lopez holds a BS degree from the Universidad del Zulia and an MS degree in petroleum engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.
Maxim Kotenev is a senior geoscientist with Sasol and previously worked with Rosneft and Robertson CGG.
Kotenev serves as the chair for the SPE London Section and also led the Young Professionals part of the SPE London community.
He is the past chair of the Young Member Engagement Committee. For several years, Kotenev has been involved with The Way Ahead and has received the Outstanding Lead Editor Award. In 2020, Kotenev received a North Sea Region Young Member Outstanding Service Award. He has coauthored 25 technical papers and volunteers with SPE e-mentoring, the Student Paper Contest, and the PetroBowl competition.
Kotenev holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from Ufa State Petroleum University (Russia), an MS degree in petroleum geoscience from the University of Manchester, and a PhD degree in petroleum geoscience from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Guillaume Navez is a drilling manager at Total, working on high-profile, ultradeepwater exploration in Namibia. For the last 11 years, he has held various positions as drilling supervisor and drilling engineer, working on exploration, appraisal, and development projects in seven different countries.
Navez has served SPE in multiple ways and locations. With SPE France, he has been student chapter president, student chapter liaison officer, Young Professionals chairperson, and Awards chairperson and currently is administrator. He has also been active internationally in countries where he was expatriated, for example, as co-organizer of the first SPE oil and gas conference in the East Mediterranean, which led to the creation of the SPE Cyprus Section. He was a founder and leader of the Beyond the Borders Young Professionals initiative, which gathers 13 SPE sections around a series of coordinated technical and networking events throughout Europe and Russia. In 2020, Navez was elected Energy Influencer by The Way Ahead and received the Young Member Outstanding Service award both at the regional (Europe) and international levels.
He holds BS and MS degrees in mining engineering from the École Polytechnique de Mons, an MS degree in petroleum engineering from the IFP School, and an MS degree in international management from the University of Liverpool.
Ifeanyi Ndukwe has more than 10 years of experience in surface facilities management and pipeline engineering design in the upstream sector. He works for the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd., a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., as the senior facilities engineer responsible for engineering, procurement, and construction projects associated with surface facilities, process-condition monitoring, and equipment reliability and maintenance. He was previously the pipeline design engineer at DeltaAfrik Engineering Ltd., a subsidiary of Worley Parsons Ltd.
In 2014, he joined SPE as a Young Professional member at the Benin City Section and became actively involved with the ambassador lecturing programs, Energy4me activities, technical meetings, technical symposiums, professional events, and community outreaches. In 2018, he received the Young Professionals Ambassador Lecturer Program Performance Award, the Annual Technical Symposium-Service Award, and the Young Professionals Award of Excellence. He was elected the 2018–2019 Young Professional chairperson for the Benin Section, and was the Planning subcommittee chairperson at the 2019 Nigerian Annual International Conference and Exhibition, where he was awarded the 2019 National Top Young Professional Award. As the Young Professionals chairperson, Ndukwe initiated the Premier Career Pathway Fair and the Post-Graduation Torch-Bearers Scheme. He is currently the Secretary, Benin Section, and a member of the West Africa Energy Education Advisory Team.
Ndukwe holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nigeria.
Laura Weeden is the vice president of operations at CanWhite Sands working on the design and innovation of a new mining methodology for a tier-1 fracture sand and high-purity silica sand mine being constructed in Canada. Weeden’s work has led to the development of a sand-mining method with no open pit or truck traffic, making it one of the most environmentally friendly sand mines. Her prior experience includes technical, field, and leadership roles at Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and Pomerleau with expertise in directional drilling, cementing, project management, design, and construction.
Weeden is the Calgary Section chair for the 2019–2020 year. She began her SPE involvement with the Young Professionals, first as Events lead and then as Young Professionals chairperson, where she led the expansion and development of the section’s Energy Literacy Program. She is entering her seventh year volunteering for the section, leading the Growth and Development team to further enhance the section’s Energy Literacy Program. She received the Young Women in Energy Award, SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award, and SPE Calgary Section Outstanding Young Professional Award.
Weeden is a Professional Engineer and holds a BS degree in civil engineering from Dalhousie University, Canada. She is currently pursuing a Project Management certificate at the University of Calgary.
Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty
This award recognizes superior teaching, excellence in research, significant contributions to the petroleum engineering profession, or special effectiveness in advising and guiding students.
Kamy Sepehrnoori is a professor in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin where he holds the Texaco Centennial Chair in petroleum engineering. His research interests and teaching include computational methods, reservoir simulation, enhanced-oil-recovery modeling, flow-assurance modeling, naturally fractured reservoirs, high-performance computing, and CO2 sequestration. He has been teaching at the university for more than 30 years and has supervised more than 200 MS and PhD students, mainly in the areas of reservoir simulation and enhanced-oil-recovery modeling. Sepehrnoori’s research team and his colleagues have led the development of several compositional reservoir simulators. He has published more than 600 articles in journals and conference proceedings and coauthored three books published by Elsevier. Sepehrnoori is director of the Reservoir Simulation Joint Industry Project in the Center for Subsurface Energy and the Environment.
He received SPE’s Distinguished Membership Award and Faculty Recruitment Award. He also served on the SPE Program Committee for Reservoir Simulation.
He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering, an MS degree in aerospace engineering, and a PhD degree in petroleum engineering, all from The University of Texas at Austin.