Articles tagged as: Qatar

October 29, 2014

Texas A&M University at Qatar research could lead to safer, greener wells


Dr. Mahmood Amani

A research project led by a Texas A&M University at Qatar petroleum engineering faculty member could lead to safer, more environmentally friendly wells for the oil and gas industry.

Dr. Mahmood Amani, associate professor in the Petroleum Engineering Program, says that a new testing procedure he and his colleagues developed could help the petroleum industry ensure the safety of their wells and to make sure the wells don’t leak chemicals into groundwater.

Funded by a Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), the researchers investigated the integrity of concrete used in wells when subjected to cyclic loadings — repeated cycles of high temperatures or pressures.

When a new well is drilled, it must be drilled through thousands of feet of rock and dirt. A steel pipe called a casing goes into the well to keep the well open so it doesn’t collapse. But there’s a gap between the outside of the casing and the rock and dirt surrounding the pipe. This gap must be cemented completely to fill so that there are no cracks, voids or other channels in the rock.

“We want the oil or gas to come up through the casing, not the gap,” Amani says, “because we can control the fluids coming up through the pipe. If the oil or gas comes up through the gap between the rock and casing, then we lose some of those resources that we’re trying to get out. It can also cause corrosion behind the pipe or, if it travels up to the surface, it can cause a fire or a blowout, which could lead to loss of life or property, or environmental damage.”

Amani says another concern is the oil or gas traveling up through the gap and making its way into groundwater. This is a big worry to environmentalists concerned about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which oil or gas is recovered from shale and other rock and sand formations.

Shale is a type of very tight rock. The oil and gas are trapped in this tight rock and doesn’t flow freely. With hydraulic fracturing high-pressure water containing chemical polymers is pumped into a well. This fluid causes fractures in the rock, forcing the oil or gas into the well.

Amani wanted to know, What if pumping high-pressure fluids into the well causes cracks in the cement? Fluctuations in temperature and pressure in the well could cause the metal casing to shrink or expand, causing minor fractures in the cement or even cause the cement to separate from the casing. Repeating the cycle many times over through the life of the well can worsen the damage and cause the cracks to propagate.

His research team designed special cells in which to test cement using a high-temperature, high-pressure viscometer for drilling fluids. These cement cells were bonded to steel, the type of metal that would be used as a well casing. The cement and steel were subjected to pressures and temperatures in a variety of scenarios, and then the cycles were repeated. The team observed when — after how many cycles — did the cracks initiate and then propagate.

The result of the experiments is a new testing procedure to ensure the safety of the wells and that groundwater would not be contaminated. The team has filed a patent disclosure on the process and it’s now under review. 

“There’s no test now for integrity of cement and its bond to casing under these cyclic loadings subjected to high temperatures and pressures,” Amani said. “If we can make sure the cement we use in our wells could withstand these conditions, or even be self-healing with the right additives, then we can use the right recipe for applications in oil wells.

“This would assure the public that the water and the wells are safe, and oil companies and environmental protection agencies can adopt this as an additional testing procedure.

Amani has a long record of research success at Texas A&M at Qatar, having received five QNRF NPRP awards. He’s also shepherded 38 undergraduates through eight QNRF Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) projects, even garnering recognition for two: In 2013 one of his UREPs was singled out as the best of the 88 projects completed in the previous year — a first for any Texas A&M at Qatar UREP — and in 2014 another project won third place (first among engineering projects) of the 87 total projects that were completed in 2013.

Amani says he particularly enjoys working with undergraduate researchers.

“The students that have worked on these projects have learned so much, from designing and conducting an experiment, to writing reports and presentations,” Amani says. “I take a lot of pride in my UREP activities because my number-one responsibility is to be a good educator for our students. Good teaching is the most important contribution, and undergraduate research complements this education because the students apply what they’ve learned in class and then go one step further.”


Nehal Maher, Texas A&M University at Qatar, at


+974.4423.0540   +974.5542.8289


October 28, 2014

Texas A&M University at Qatar receives cutaway Rolls Royce Avon industrial gas turbine

Texas A&M University at Qatar recognized close partner, Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO), on 27 October for its donation of a cutaway gas turbine. The turbine has been designed for teaching purposes and will benefit engineering students with hands-on learning of turbine technology. The turbine is located in Texas A&M at Qatar’s research atrium and can be seen by students, employees and visitors.

“QAFCO offers tremendous support to Texas A&M at Qatar’s students and programs, and we are grateful for yet another notable contribution,” said Dr. Mark H. Weichold, Texas A&M at Qatar dean and CEO.

He continued, “QAFCO has been a longtime supporter of Texas A&M at Qatar and, like us, QAFCO recognizes the importance of hands-on learning as essential to a well-rounded education. We thank them today for the donation of the Rolls Royce Avon industrial gas turbine. This engine will give students first-hand experience with turbine technology and help them prepare for industry’s needs once they graduate. QAFCO custom prepared the engine for Texas A&M at Qatar, and we are incredibly grateful for this donation of an engine not frequently seen in university environments. We appreciate this unique opportunity QAFCO is providing our students.”

In addition to its on-of-a-kind turbine donation, QAFCO announced at the recognition event that it will sponsor 10 students from Texas A&M at Qatar to receive theoretical and practical training at the Turbine Services and Solutions workshop in Abu Dhabi, which is licensed by Rolls Royce to carry out complete overhauls for such engines QAFCO will also arrange to conduct an in-house training for twenty students on gas turbine technologies.

“Today it gives me great pleasure to present the QAFCO turbine to Texas A&M at Qatar as a token of our appreciation for the relationship with the branch campus. As part of QAFCO’s commitment to Qatar National Vision 2030 and as essential part of our corporate responsibility, QAFCO continues to focus on preparing our people for the future. Our people are our greatest asset. Training and professional development of young Qatari people are one of our key concerns,” Mr. Khalifa Al-Sowaidi, QAFCO vice chairman and CEO said.

“With this turbine we intend to give engineering students a first-hand experience of one of the most renowned and admired turbines produced by Rolls-Royce. The Rolls Royce Avon Gas turbine has become one of the most successful gas turbine engines with applications in military and civilian aircrafts, as well as in industrial applications,” he said.

The provision of the turbine to Texas A&M at Qatar primarily aims to provide engineering students with the highest quality training to balance the theoretical principles they learn in the classroom, make them productive engineers, maintain a high standard of professionalism, and have the vision to solve problems of today and the future.

This donation will be a continuation of QAFCO’s longterm support and efforts to open more communication channels with students at Texas A&M at Qatar, giving them a better understanding of their processes. This will help Qatar’s new generation of engineering leaders prepare for various industry roles as they take on new careers.

The Rolls-Royce Avon gas turbine was the first axial flow jet engine produced by Rolls-Royce and is one of the most successful gas turbine engines. It is used in a wide variety of aircraft, both military and civilian, as well as an industrial version. The turbine is used principally in the oil and gas industry to drive pumps and gas compressors with a smaller number used for electrical power generation and within the process industry. It was introduced to Qatar in QAFCO 1 in 1972. QAFCO achieved a world record for continuous operation, which still stands today, operating an Avon non-stop for 476 days (11,424 hours).

Nehal Maher Texas A&M University at Qatar



May 28, 2014

Texas A&M at Qatar Receives $31.7 Million in Research Awards

Texas A&M at Qatar has been awarded Exceptional Proposal recognition by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) at QNRF sixth annual Research Forum.

Texas A&M at Qatar received 38 awards out of 118 proposals submitted — a 32 percent success rate — totaling $31.7 million in research funding.

Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “It is fundamental to Texas A&M at Qatar’s mission to lead efforts that build research capacity in Qatar and contribute to Qatar’s goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy. Our success in this recent NPRP cycle of awards supports our mission to be a valued resource to the State of Qatar. I am tremendously proud that our faculty compete so well on a global scale and do so much to foster collaboration with experts in Qatar and around the world.”

Dr. Kenneth Hall, associate dean of research and graduate studies, said, “This significant funding from the QNRF NPRP program allows our faculty members and researchers to continue their relevant, real-world research for the benefit of Qatar. Fundamental research leads to technological and economic development, and our researchers have a proven record of garnering the funding and results needed to drive change. We are delighted and pleased with these awards, and we are deeply grateful to QNRF.”

In addition to this remarkable achievement, the team led by Texas A&M at Qatar’s Dr. Milivoj Belic, a physics professor in the Science Program, and his research team were named the outstanding research team.

Belic’s team research focuses on photonics, the science of harnessing light. Photonics plays a major role in driving economic growth and employment throughout the world, while solving important societal challenges in information and consumer technologies, renewable energy, health, manufacturing and security. The support of essential fundamental and applied research in photonics will place Qatar in a leading position globally in this high-impact, multidisciplinary field, Belic said.

Belic said, “In terms of outcomes, the team has been highly successful. We generated about 100 papers published in highly reputed, peer-reviewed journals in physics, such as Physical Review A&E, Optics Letters, Optics Express and Laser Photonics Reviews. In three years since publication, these papers have attracted a few hundred citations and the number is rapidly rising. Based on the fact that many of these papers have already been cited more than dozen times, it is clear that they will produce a considerable impact on the field of photonics — in particular on the formation of light bullets in media with varying nonlinearity, Anderson localization of light in optical lattices and the nonlinear Talbot effect of optical rogue waves, among other.”

Contact: Nehal Maher, Texas A&M University at Qatar,, +974.4423.0540, +974.5542.8289


April 3, 2014

Texas A&M at Qatar hosts industry recruiters at annual Careers for Engineers event

Texas A&M University at Qatar hosted its eighths annual Careers for Engineers event at the Texas A&M Engineering Building19 March. More than 50 companies and organizations participated including the University’s strategic industry partners.

As one of the main activities of the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC), the Careers for Engineers event fosters valuable connections between industry recruiters and students. Both continuing students and upcoming graduates can showcase their qualifications for internships and full-time employment opportunities.

“I am proud of the success of this year’s event,” said Dr. Todd Kent, assistant dean for academic affairs. “Thanks to our industry partners, the University hosted representatives from leading companies in Qatar and the region, which gave our students the opportunity to meet industry leaders and learn more about engineering careers in the region. The event, promoting Qatar’s young engineering professionals, is contributing to the development of the State of Qatar’s workforce, which is key to enrich the country’s human capital. Both our students and graduates showed industry leaders how they can contribute to Qatar’s future development and growth.

“The Student Engineers’ Council had great contributions to the event as it served industry participants, created a professional atmosphere, and made huge efforts to make the event a success,” he added.

Students from the University’s four engineering programs — chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering — attended the fair and discussed their skills and applied for positions with interested industry leaders.

About Texas A&M University at Qatar

Texas A&M University, recognized as having one of the premier engineering programs in the world, has offered undergraduate degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering at Qatar Foundation’s Education City campus since 2003, and graduate courses in chemical engineering since fall 2011. Over 400 engineers have graduated from Texas A&M at Qatar since 2007. In addition to engineering courses, Texas A&M at Qatar provides classes in science, mathematics, liberal arts and the humanities. All four of the engineering programs offered at Texas A&M at Qatar are accredited by ABET. The curricula offered at Texas A&M at Qatar are materially identical to those offered at the main campus in College Station, Texas, and courses are taught in English in a co-educational setting. The reputation for excellence is the same, as is the commitment to equip engineers to lead the next generation of engineering advancement. Faculty from around the world are attracted to Texas A&M at Qatar to provide this educational experience and to participate in research activities now valued at over $159 million, and that address issues important to the State of Qatar. Visit

December 18, 2013

Texas A&M University at Qatar hosts Fall 2013 Recognition Ceremony

Texas A&M University at Qatar honored its fall degree candidates and summer graduates at a recognition ceremony on 16 December at the Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center at Education City.

This year’s annual fall graduate recognition celebrated 18 University graduates and degree candidates since the official Spring commencement ceremony in May 2013.

The ceremony recognized nine graduates from August and nine degree candidates from this December.

Opening the event, Dr. Hamid Parsaei, associate dean for Academic Affairs at Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “This December marks one more momentous moment in Texas A&M at Qatar’s bright history where we recognize and celebrate 18 of our new Aggie engineers who have successfully completed their remarkable academic journey and received their degree from one the finest engineering institutions in the world.”

The ceremony and reception offered an opportunity for graduating students to reflect on their achievements during undergraduate studies and future career prospects.

Batool Hashim Al-Sayed , electrical engineering summer graduate, said, “This honor is the motivation for new start. I have very much enjoyed my time at Texas A&M at Qatar and this is one of the most memorable moments of my life.”

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