2016 SPE President Visits ANPERC, Students

03 December, 2015


Dr. Nathan Meehan, the 2016 President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE International), visited KAUST on December 3rd 2015, bringing with him a simple message:  scientists and engineers will play a critical role in not only the immediate future of the oil and gas industry, but of the long-term challenges facing energy sustainability. 

During his campus visit, Meehan spoke with members of KAUST’s SPE student chapter, sharing insights into the current state of the oil and gas industry, and the increasing importance of innovative and disruptive research in petroleum engineering and geosciences.  In addition to touring the campus, Meehan visited with university leaders and ANPERC faculty and researcher teams to learn more about the center’s projects and goals.

“During times of high oil prices approached problems focused on keeping up with rigs and our costs escalated rapidly,” said Meehan. “In a low oil price environment we must innovate to lower costs, increase recovery and minimize environmental impacts. Every aspect of quality of life depends on safe, affordable energy and as pressure mounts to decrease the world's total carb emissions technological innovation becomes ever more critical.”   

He also expressed optimism for those thinking about the future of the industry and their role in it.  “During the long period of low oil prices beginning in the mid-1980s our industry developed and commercialized geosteering, slickwater fracturing, modern horizontal drilling, SAGD and many deepwater technologies that drove activities over the following decades. The technologies we commercialize and expand during this downturn, whether nanotechnology, big data, in situ molecular manipulation, CCS or others, are the opportunities for future petroleum engineers, geoscientists, and other researchers to push forward when they graduate in a few years." 

Meehan is a Senior Executive Advisor at Baker Hughes, where he advises executive management on reservoir and geoscience issues.  Previously, he served as the president of CMG Petroleum Consulting, Vice President of Engineering at Occidental Petroleum, and General Manager of Exploration and Production at Union Pacific Resources.  Meehan, who holds BS Physics from Georgia Institute of Technology, MS in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and PhD in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University, said during his visit that KAUST is “doing something really special.” 

“When I met with the students and faculty, the amazing laboratories, observed the climate of collaboration and energy levels I felt a real buzz,” wrote Meehan after his visit. “I travel to many universities around the world and what is going on here is tangible, invigorating and powerful. I am confident that KAUST will become one of the premier global centers of research excellence; its importance will be hard to overstate. I am really looking forward to it!”