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SWLGS Luncheon Topic

April, 2004

The Energy Institute at UL: Major Technological Incubator for Lafayete.
Robert V. Schneider, ULL Energy Institute, Lafayette, LA


Abstract Summary: The Energy Institute (EI) is a research program created by the University of Lousiiana at Lafayette. Its' original mission was "To support the E&P industry". In 2002, we started a strategic plan to accomplish that mission. Special lecture series, continuing education courses, and collaboration with local and national socieities has led to a multifold incrrease in the number of people served at Abdallia Hall.

Concurrently, a major effort was undertaken to bring new technology to Lafayette to support the efforts of local E&P companies. The most visible plan was to construct an immersive 3-D environment which would create opportunities to understand the subsurface. Partnering with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA), UL-Lafayette, local industry, and state officials, funds were granted by the state to construct the Acadiana Technology Immersion Center (ATIC). The ATIC is well-placed to create an entirely new interpretation and production experience for local professionals.

The research mission of the Energy Institute has changed in anticipation of the ATIC. EI now has two specific purposes for its existence: first, to support local industry by making the immersiive labs available for public use; and second, to initiate research projects which will use the immersive environment to accomplish their goals. As the EI is still in its infancy, only one or two consortia can be supported at this time. We have chosen two areas which will be critical to the state's future: Coal bed methane deposits in north central Louisiana; and a major effort into understanding the growth fault tectonic setting of the Gulf Coast and Gulf of Mexico Shelf. Implications for the former study include a complete understanding of a fuel source which has been heretofore largely overlooked. Implications for the latter study range from fault movement effects on petroleum well planning and pipeline architecture to coastal subsidence. For both of these efforts to work, close collaboration with industry professionals will be needed.

The Energy Institute is poised to become a major supporter of the E&P community in coming years. We have acquired the computer hardware and software resources to assist industry personnel understand their challenges, we have made expert staff available for research and professional partnership, and we anticipate opening a worldclass immersive visualization center for petroleum's needs in October, 2005. We invite community members to join us in our research efforts and to bring other timely challenges as needed.

Biographical Sketch: Robert V. Schneider is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He received his M.S. in Geophysics and D.Sc. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso. His doctoral thesis was awarded the "best Dissertation" by the univsersity.

Robert started his career with Amoco Production Company in 1990. He worked in exploration in Houiston, production in New Orleans, and research in Tulsa. He joined GX Technology in 1998, a firm specializing in pre-stack imaging of seismic data. He served as a geophysicist, and was subsequently promoted to project manager. In 2000, Robert joined Spectrum Energy and Information Technology in Houston as its Chief Geophysicist. Robert was named Director of the Energy Institute in 2002, and has been working to increase its role within the professional community since taking this position. As well as his role as director, Robert holds the position of Associate Professor of Geology at UL-Lafayette, and is a consultant to the taskgroup currently preparing for the upcoming construction of the Acadiana Technology Immersion Center. He is also tasked with mentorship of graduate students, and in personal research for ULL. Not the least, he is a husband and father of two daughers.

Robert has served several organizations in various capacities throughout his career. He has served on the technical committee for several Society of Exploration Geophysicists meetings. He continues as a member of SEG's Student Section/ Academic Liaison Committee. He has authored and co-authored articles in local, regional, and international journals, and made many presentations at conferences and workshops. He is an active member of several national and local societies.

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