UW Celebrates Opening of Encana Integrated Simulation Data Center

October 13, 2010
Man speaking
Eric Marsh, vice president for Encana's Natural Gas Economy team, demonstrates some of the new laboratory's reservoir simulation capabilities.

The newest laboratory in the University of Wyoming's College of Engineering and Applied Science was funded through a generous gift from Encana Oil & Gas USA.

It's only fitting, then, that the center has the look and feel of a facility Encana would build to suit its own research needs.

The new Encana Integrated Simulation Data Center, designed to resemble a professional industry data room, officially opened Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Encana and university officials who touted the lab's many attributes, including its abundance of work space and audio-visual capabilities.

"This lab will not only provide our students with tremendous team-building opportunities but allow them to work in a facility that has the look and feel of industry," says Vladimir Alvarado, an assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering who led a committee charged with designing the center. "My thinking was that we should avoid having rows of computers as in a traditional computer lab and instead provide a comfortable space to promote collaborative work.

"I believe this room will set a good standard for something vital to engineering and other areas of research: Teamwork."

One of three labs funded through a $2 million gift from Encana in 2006 and supplemented by a matching gift from the State of Wyoming, the 30-seat center will provide undergraduate students with the rare opportunity to experience advanced simulation technology within the petroleum engineering discipline. The center will also allow for collaborative work between students and faculty and serve as an ideal location for workshops.

The center will not only provide a professional atmosphere for research but a variety of "software suites that are used routinely by industry," says Alvarado.

Thanks to donations from Halliburton and Schlumberger - the world's two largest oilfield service companies -- the center will offer access to exploration and production modeling software used by oil and gas professionals globally.

"The Encana Integrated Simulation Data Center, also known as the Reservoir Simulation Lab, is a remarkable facility that enables the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering to teach a series of cutting-edge courses on gas and oil reservoir behavior, drilling and production," says Rob Ettema, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. "The layout of the lab, and its use of sophisticated software packages from Halliburton and Schlumberger, places students in real-world situations of reservoir operation."

The center is located on the fourth floor of the Engineering Building.

Encana's gift also facilitated the opening, in 2008, of UW's Three-Phase Flow Laboratory, a world-class research facility designed to identify flow characteristics of oil, gas and water in rock cores under reservoir conditions.

Encana USA is an exploration and production subsidiary of the Encana Corporation, based in Calgary, Alberta. With headquarters in Denver, Encana explores for and produces oil and gas in Colorado, Texas and Wyoming, including Jonah Field and the Wind River and Green River basins.

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