Tadeusz W. Patzek, Ph.D.


​Center ​Director, Professor Chemical & Petroleum Engineering - Energy Geosystems Research group


Research Interests

Professor Tad Patzek's research involves mathematical (analytic and numerical) modeling of earth systems with emphasis on multiphase fluid flow physics and rock mechanics. He also works on smart, process-based control of very large waterfloods in unconventional, low-permeability formations, and on the productivity and mechanics of hydrocarbon bearing shales.

Patzek has co-designed and evaluated 7 field pilots of various oil recovery processes from waterflood, to steam and steam foam injection. More recently, Patzek got involved in human-machine interactions and safety culture in the offshore environment.

In a broader context, Patzek works on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival and energy supply schemes for humanity. He has participated in the global debate on energy supply schemes by giving hundreds of press interviews and appearing on the BBC, PBS, CBS, CNBC, ABC, NPR, etc., and giving invited lectures around the world.


Dr. Patzek leads the Energy Geosystems research group.

Selected Publications

  • Gas production in the Barnett Shale obeys a simple scaling theory
    Patzek, T. W., Male, F. and Marder M.
    PNAS, 110, 19731-19736, (2013)
  • A Probabilistic Analysis of the Switchgrass Ethanol Cycle
    Patzek, T. W.
    Sustainability Journal 2, pp. 3158-3194, (2010)
  • A Global Coal Production Forecast with Multi-Hubbert Cycle Analysis
    Patzek T. W. and Croft, G.
    Energy, doi:10.1016/j.energy.2010.02.009, 35; pp 3109-3122, (2010)
  • Pore space morphology analysis using maximal inscribed spheres
    Silin, D. B. and Patzek, T.W.
    Physica A, 371(2) p. 336-360, (2006)
  • Verification of a Complete Pore Network Model of Drainage and Imbibition
    Patzek, T. W.
    SPE 71310, SPEJ, 6 2 144-156, (June 2001)


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemical Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 1981-1983
  • Fulbright Fellow, Chemical Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 1978
  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Silesian Technical University, Poland, 1979
  • M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Silesian Technical University, Poland, 1974​​

Professional Profile

  • ​2014- Present: Director of the Ali I Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center and Professor of Petroleum and Chemical Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
  • 2008-2014: Chairman of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at University of Texas, Austin
  • 1990-2008: Professor of Geoengineering at University of California, Berkeley

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • ​Society of Petroleum Engineers, Distinguished Member
  • Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee for the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
  • Polish Academy of Sciences.


  • 2020 EAGE Desiderius Erasmus Award for outstanding and lasting achievements in the field of resource exploration and development
  • ​2014 Cozzarelli Prize for best paper in engineering: "Gas Production in the Barnett Shale Obeys a Simple Scaling Law"

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center (ANPERC)
  • Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE)