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Petroleum Engineering

Brian Toelle

Brian Toelle

Professor of Practice

E-mail: | Phone: 307-766-6780

Office Location: Room 4044, Engineering Building

Dept. 3295, 1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071


  • Ph.D. Geology (emphasis on Applied Geophysics), 2013, West Virginia University
  • M.S. Natural Science (emphasis on Structural Geology), 1981, Stephen F. Austin State University
  • B.S. Geology, 1978, Texas A & M University

Research Interests:

COVID-19 Protection for Airline Passengers
Dr. Toelle recently received a provisional patent for a respiratory protection device for passengers aboard commercial aircraft. This device connects directly to the aircraft's own air handling system to supply virus free air directly to the passenger. This device is known as V-ClearAir and is currently available for licensing from the University of Wyoming.
Produced Natural Gas Flaring Mitigation
Dr. Toelle has recently been awarded a provisional patent on a methodology designed to mitigate the flaring of natural gas at oil well sites. During oil production in some geologic plays, the oil produced has a high volatile content and gas comes out of solution when the oil comes to the surface due to the release of pressure. Dr. Toelle and his co-inventor, Dr. Maohong Fan, have developed a new method for capturing this gas which is referred to as "FlareNitro".
Wyoming Petroleum Systems
During his employment with Texaco, Dr. Toelle performed a number of basin analyses in offshore California. While at the University of Wyoming, he has obtained access to a state-of-the-art, full 3-D petroleum systems modeling program, which his team has used to develop a complete petroleum model of the Bighorn Basin. Recently, Dr. Toelle presented some of the results of this work at the AAPG's Regional Conference in Cheyenne. This work received the Steve Champlin Memorial Award for the best poster presentation. Work is continuing on selected basins within Wyoming through his Wyoming Petroleum Systems Research Group in order to identify petroleum potential with them.
Seismic-Based Porosity / Fracture Detection
Since 2001, Dr. Toelle has investigated the use of various seismic attributes for the detection of open fracture systems. This research was conducted during consulting projects for various Schlumberger clients. As a result of some of this research, Dr. Toelle obtained a patent for Schlumberger in 2005 (Patent No. 6,941,228). He is currently continuing his research in this field.
Wildfire Suppression
Dr. Toelle recognized the potential of re-purposing certain oil and gas industry components for fighting wildfires, which he named "NitroTube". Dr. Toelle formed a research group in this area and, with the help of his co-inventors, Dr. Suresh Muknahallipatna and Dr. Robert Kubichek, obtained a provisional patent on the technology.
4D Seismic Analysis and Reservoir Monitoring
Dr. Toelle's Ph.D. research included the monitoring of injected CO2 within a subsurface reservoir for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery. During this research, Dr. Toelle used 4-D seismic difference mapping to identify where within a carbonate reservoir, Silurian aged pinnacle reef in the northern Michigan basin, CO2 flowed following injection at a particular well location. This research was funded by the US Department of Energy (DE-FC26-04NT15425) and has implications with regard to CO2 sequestration. (DOE brochure, p.18)
Azimuthal Seismic
In addition to the enhanced oil recovery project mentioned above, Dr. Toelle's PhD research also investigated the interpretation of Azimuthal Seismic volumes for discriminating between matrix porosity and fracture systems within carbonate reservoirs. This on-going research has significant implications with regard to the characterization of reservoirs with respect to their development, particularly during the enhanced oil recovery phase. Additionally, this is proving to be of significance with regard to production from shale oil reservoirs, as knowing where open, natural fracture systems exist within these reservoirs is important to economic production.
Tectonic Inheritance
In addition to those research topics mentioned above Dr. Toelle is currently researching the concept of Tectonic Inheritance.


  • “Method and system and program storage device for analyzing compressional 2D seismic data to identify zones of open natural fractures within rock formations”, patent no. 6941228,
  • “NitroTube” – Non-provisional application filed, March 4, 2020.  Serial No.  16/810,255
  • “FlareNitro” – Provisional application filed December 18, 2019.  Serial No. 62/949,814
  • “V-Clear Air” – Provisional application filed July 30, 2020.  Serial No. 63/059,016
Contact Us

Petroleum Engineering

EN 4015

Dept. 3295

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071


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1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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