Schlumberger Donates Software to U Chemical Engineers

Thanks to a donation from Schlumberger Ltd., a leading provider of technology and information systems for the oil and gas industries, University of Utah engineering students and faculty have free access to multi-million-dollar simulation software that can help researchers better analyze oil reservoirs and figure out where they might be located.

The generous donation is worth $105 million in software, technical support and training and includes multiple licenses for Schlumberger’s three main software packages for oil production and geology simulations. The computer software includes “Eclipse,” a series of reservoir simulation programs for managing oil and gas fields; “Petrel,” which uses geological data to create computer models; and “Petromod,” exploration tools that analyze the history of a reservoir over millions of years. The university can use the software free of charge for three years, and it is available for classroom use and for faculty and students doing research on oil and gas systems.

“It opens up a whole new world for our students when we teach courses,” said Milind Deo, chair of the University of Utah’s chemical engineering department. “For our students who are doing research in these areas, it helps benchmark their work. We now have state-of-the-art software. It’s extremely valuable.”

The donation to the university was possible in part because the U is a “Schlumberger Ambassador University,” a designation bestowed by the company to establish a collaboration between the company and a college. It also highlights the strength of that school’s research and education program in oil and gas exploration. The U is the only Utah university and one of only 60 colleges in the world with this designation.

“They [Schlumberger] would like to recruit at universities like ours to get high-quality students,” Deo said. “They would like to establish research collaborations between faculty at these universities, and they like to support these universities through software grants and other types of exchanges.”

The software, which was given to the university last year, also came the same time the College of Engineering had initiated its new Petroleum Engineering master’s program, a 11-course curriculum that began in 2013.

“We offer this master’s program because of the extent of growth in the petroleum industry in the United States,” Deo said. “It has significantly reduced our dependence on foreign oil. U.S. oil production is on target to be the highest in 30 years in 2015.”

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