Petroleum Geology

KU Geology's petroleum geology and geophysics programs are on the leading edge, providing diverse training in theory and practice and concentrating on both academic and applied research as well as maintaining a strong presence in industry. At AAPG, for example, faculty, students, and staff from KU make numerous presentations and author dozens of abstracts every year. KU has maintained close connections with the energy industry over the years and has trained many of its leaders. The list of KU Geology alumni includes four presidents of AAPG (Pratt, Haas, Fisher, and Foster), four presidents of SEPM (Franseen, Croneis, G. Dallas Hanna, and Marcus A. Hanna), and executives at numerous energy companies like ExxonMobil, Phillips, and Gulf, among many others. In 2015, KU Geology is breaking ground on The Earth, Energy and Environment Center, a new facility that will bring research, industry and academics closer together.

Many researchers are involved with studies directly relating to petroleum geology, including Evan Franseen and Bob Goldstein, who work extensively in carbonate reservoir systems, Lynn Watney (KGS), an expert on the subsurface of Kansas, Tony Walton and Diane Kamola, who specialize in sandstone reservoirs, and John Doveton (KGS), who is an expert in petrophysics. Many projects within the Department are done in conjunction with geologists at the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) and Tertiary Oil Recovery Program in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

  • Ritchie Distinguished Professor Michael D. Blum - In 2014, Dr. Blum joined the KU Geology faculty, coming directly from ExxonMobil's Upstream Research Company where he worked as a Research Adviser. Dr. Blum is interested in surface processes and the stratigraphic record, fluvial and coastal sedimentology, source-to-sink sediment dispersal, and sequence stratigraphy. ”
  • Associate Professor Tony Walton - Dr. Walton works with the Kansas oil industry, the Kansas Geological Survey, and petroleum engineers from KU's unique Tertiary Oil Recovery Program on projects related to reservoir characterization and improved oil production. This effort includes unique opportunities to get practical experience in petroleum geology as well as conducting scientific research. Current projects include attempts to develop better methods of reservoir characterization and of exploration for field extensions and new deposits using the extensive data already available from the subsurface of eastern Kansas.
  • Professor Evan Franseen - Much of Dr. Franseen’s research has application to the petroleum industry through development of new approaches to the study of carbonate strata that can benefit understanding of carbonate reservoirs. He has also been involved directly in Kansas reservoir and reservoir analog studies. Recent projects involve important Ordovician carbonate and Mississippian carbonate and chert reservoirs associated with major karstic unconformities. Other work is using Pennsylvanian outcrops for reservoir analog studies.
  • Associate Dean and Haas Distinguished Professor Bob Goldstein - Dr. Goldstein's work in petroleum geology typically focuses on the integration of geochemistry, diagenesis, and fluid migration. He uses petrographic and geochemical techniques to relate diagenesis and porosity evolution to tectonic and stratigraphic mechanisms of fluid flow, and especially, applies fluid inclusion techniques to evaluate thermal history and history of petroleum migration in sedimentary basins.
  • Hubert H. and Kathleen M. Hall Professor Gene Rankey - Dr. Rankey focuses on fundamental controls on the nature and variability of carbonate sedimentary, geomorphic, and stratigraphic systems, using Holocene systems to develop predictive understanding of carbonates in the stratigraphic record.
  • KGS Senior Scientific Fellow John Doveton - Application of wireline petrophysical logs to both the identification of lithologies and interpretation of depositional and diagenetic histories is the focus of his research along with elucidation of hydrocarbon reservoir microarchitecture of pore-throat and pore-body facies from integrated core and wireline petrophysical data, and mathematical methods for analyzing petrophysical data as inputs for subsurface geological models in time and space at a variety of scales.
  • Senior Scientific Fellow Lynn Watney - Petroleum geology and the subsurface of Kansas.
  • Associate Scientist Diane Kamola - Dr. Kamola's work in petroleum geology is in the area of sequence stratigraphy, facies relations and continuity and geometries of sandstone bodies. Recent work includes the application of high resolution sequence stratigraphy to the prediction of sandstone body architecture and permeability barrier distribution in fluvial and shallow marine reservoirs through integrated outcrop and borehole study.

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Millions in grants and contracts for research
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Research projects that stretch to Antarctica, Greenland, and numerous points in between
Birthplace and home of Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology
A thriving field program that sends undergraduate and graduate students throughout the world
Industry recruiters who visit annually to hire KU Geology's graduating students
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