UW Receives Historic Software Donation from Schlumberger

March 13, 2008

Students, faculty and researchers at the University of Wyoming now have access to the same exploration and production modeling software used by the oil and gas industry, thanks to a historic $26.6 million software gift from Schlumberger, the world's leading oilfield service company.

"We are tremendously grateful for this donation, the largest such gift in the history of the university," says UW President Tom Buchanan. "It gives our students a tool to use to gain invaluable experience and it allows UW to expand its efforts as a national leader in energy research and education."

The gift includes 30 licenses of ECLIPSE Parallel, a leading-edge software product created by Schlumberger to help simplify oil and gas reservoir simulation, a mathematically complex and computationally intensive enterprise.

The software licenses can be run simultaneously for big reservoir projects, which will help the Wyoming Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI) and graduate and undergraduate students in various disciplines across campus -- including petroleum engineering, geology and geophysics, and mathematics. Schlumberger donated the licenses to EORI.

EORI Director Jim Steidtmann says understanding oil and gas reservoirs is a fundamental area of knowledge and research for students.

"Familiarizing them with industry tools and in the interdisciplinary way that they are used better prepares them for careers," he says. "For teaching and research, the faculty also must be familiar."

The ECLIPSE package allows the scientists and engineers at the EORI to conduct studies of Wyoming oil fields that provide the necessary information to produce a well-designed enhanced oil recovery project.

Efficient management of a reservoir is a team effort involving engineers, geoscientists, and economic analysts, all of whom need to view a simulation of how the reservoir might function under changing conditions, Steidtmann says. The work forms the foundation for making business decisions.

So far, 12 undergraduate students majoring in petroleum engineering have used ECLIPSE in their senior design projects. Additionally, undergraduate students in petroleum engineering have used PVTi, an equation of state based pre-processing program for ECLIPSE, in their rock and fluid properties class, and petroleum engineering graduate students are using ECLIPSE for their thesis research.

"This gift is significant because UW students can have hands-on knowledge of one of the best industrial standard reservoir simulators," says Shaochang Wo, a senior research scientist at the EORI. "It makes the advanced parallel computing of reservoir simulation accessible to UW students, faculty, and researchers."

Schlumberger donated the software to UW as part of an effort to increase industry-standard geology and geophysics software knowledge for students. This preparation will broaden the skill sets of university geoscience and petroleum engineering graduates, making them more attractive in the job market.

"Without this donation from Schlumberger, we could not simulate full-field reservoir models or various enhanced oil recovery schemes," Wo says. "We are grateful because we could simply not afford this software without Schlumberger's help."

Adds Ben Blalock, president of the UW Foundation, "Schlumberger's generous support is allowing UW to take its energy teaching curriculum and research to new levels. Indeed, this gift is historic. Even more important is the partnership that UW is developing with Schlumberger. Key Schlumberger executives, researchers and trainers are in direct contact with UW. Schlumberger is building relationships with our faculty and students. It is impossible to overstate the impact that Schlumberger's partnership with UW will have on the university's energy programs for years to come."

For more information, contact Steidtmann at (307) 766-2791 or e-mail steidt@uwyo.edu.

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