Articles tagged as: Terry Engelder

January 12, 2012

‘Top Global Thinker’ Terry Engelder To Speak Jan. 20

Terry Engelder

Terry Engelder

Terry Engelder, professor of geosciences at Penn State University who earned his doctorate at Texas A&M University and recently was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” will speak at Texas A&M Jan. 20 during a special lecture presentation.

Engelder’s topic will be “George Mitchell and Me: The Confluence of Geopolitics and Science of Texas-Style Gas Production in the State of Pennsylvania” and will be held at 3 p.m. in Stephen W. Hawking Auditorium in the George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Physics and Astronomy. His lecture is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Center for Tectonophysics and Department of Geology and Geophysics.

George P. Mitchell, a 1940 Texas A&M petroleum engineering graduate who went on to have a legendary career in the energy business, also was named along with Engelder as one of the magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” They share the No. 36 spot.

Engelder earned his Ph.D. in geology from Texas A&M in 1973.

Both Mitchell and Engelder are considered experts on fracking, the process of breaking up shale containing natural gas deposits, “a development that led to releasing vast reserves of natural gas and reordered the global balance of energy and the political power that comes with it,” according to the magazine.

They were joined in sharing the 36th place with Gary Lash, a professor of geosciences at State University of New York-Fredonia.

Mitchell was a pioneer of horizontal drilling, and it took him 17 years of experimentation to demonstrate his approach to extracting gas from shale formations was economically feasible. His newfound technology has opened up immense gas reserves, among them the Marcellus Shale formation in the Northeast that Engelder estimated in 2009 to be the world’s largest at more than 500 trillion cubic feet.

In 1983, inspired by Mitchell’s groundbreaking work, Engelder received a National Science Foundation grant to investigate fracking further, and he and Lash began mapping the Marcellus Shale and other formations in the Appalachian basin.

Their work helped to recover gas more economically and efficiently, leading to the production of more than 4.8 trillion cubic feet between 2006 and 2010, almost quintupling previous U.S. shale gas production and accounting for almost one-fourth of U.S. natural gas production for that period.

“Terry Engelder is one of several distinguished scientists  who conducted graduate student research during the early years of the Center for Tectonophysics and who completed their doctorates in the Departments of Geology and Geophysics,” says Fred Chester, Texas A&M geology professor who has known Engelder for many years

“After leaving A&M, in the early 1970s, Terry began a career of basic research of the tectonic stresses and fluid pressures that cause natural fracturing in shale and other rock formations. Of his many contributions, his pioneering work using mechanics principles and sound geological field studies to understand natural fracturing set the stage for his later outstanding contributions towards application of fracking technology.”

Mitchell, a longtime benefactor of Texas A&M, has contributed millions of dollars to the school and has committed $35.5 million toward construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope in his personal quest to see his alma mater become an international leader in physics and astronomy.

Currently on the faculty of Penn State, Engelder has previously served on the staffs of Texaco, the U.S. Geological Survey and Columbia University. He has also served as a visiting professor at Graz University in Austria and the University of Perugia in Italy. He has written more than 150 research papers, many of them focused on Appalachia.

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Contact: Karen Riedel, College of Geosciences, at (979) 845-0910 or Keith Randall, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4644

December 6, 2011

George Mitchell And Former Texas A&M Grad Student Cited Among “Top 100 Global Thinkers”

George Mitchell

George Mitchell

Texas A&M University figures prominently in Foreign Policy magazine’s just-announced list of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” for 2011, with George P. Mitchell, a 1940 Texas A&M distinguished petroleum engineering graduate, and Terry Engelder, who earned a Ph.D. in geology at Texas A&M in 1973,  included “for upending the geopolitics of energy.” They were specifically cited for their key roles that led to the process of fracking — breaking up shale containing natural gas deposits, a development that led to releasing vast reserves of natural gas and “reordered the global balance of energy and the political power that comes with it,” according to the editors of the magazine.

Mitchell is a legendary independent oil-and-gas operator based in Houston, and Engelder has served since 1985 as a professor of geosciences at Penn State. They were joined in sharing the 36th place among the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Gary Lash, professor of geosciences at State University of New York, Fredonia.

Mitchell, the undisputed father of the Barnett Shale, was the pioneer of horizontal drilling with a light sand frack. It took him 17 years of experimentation to demonstrate that this approach to extracting gas from shale formations was economically viable. The exploitation of this technology has opened up huge, global-energy-map-changing natural gas reserves, including the Marcellus Shale formation in the United States Northeast, estimated by Engelder in 2009 to be the world’s largest at nearly 500 trillion cubic feet.

In 1983, fueled by Mitchell’s breakthrough technique and a National Science Foundation grant, Engelder began investigating natural fracking to generate fractures in gas shale, subsequently mapping the process along with Lash in the Marcellus Shale and other gas shale formations of the Appalachian basin. The development, coupled with their suggestion of horizontal drilling, enabled companies like Mitchell Energy — one of the largest independent gas and oil producers in the nation which merged with Devon Energy in 2002 — to recover the gas more economically and efficiently, to the tune of 4.8 trillion cubic feet between 2006 and 2010, nearly quintupling previous U.S. shale gas production numbers and accounting for almost a quarter of U.S. natural gas production for that period.

Terry Engelder

Terry Engelder, photo courtesy of Penn State

Mitchell has for decades been widely viewed as an idealist and visionary in circles eclipsing energy and industry. In addition to parlaying his Texas A&M studies in petroleum engineering and geology into highly successful oil and gas operations, he developed The Woodlands, the highly acclaimed planned town north of Houston. His business and financial successes also paved the way for him and his late wife, Cynthia Mitchell, to become major philanthropists whose gifts have benefited numerous endeavors and organizations, including Texas A&M. In recognition of their multi-million dollar gifts made over several decades in support of a variety of academic and other programs, two state-of-the-art physics and astronomy buildings and the tennis complex bear the Mitchell name. Mitchell’s most recent financial support has been in the form of multi-million dollar funding on Texas A&M’s behalf in the quest to build the Giant Magellan Telescope, for which the world’s physics and astronomy communities hold great hope for more fully understanding the outer reaches of the universe — underscoring Mitchell’s long-standing reputation as a big-picture thinker and doer.

Mitchell and Engelder will be honored along with the rest of the Global Thinkers at a gala hosted by Washington Post Company CEO Don Graham. Foreign Policy magazine is an award-winning magazine of global politics, economics and ideas published by the Slate Group, a division of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC.

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Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services at (979) 845-4662

 

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