Allegheny College’s geology students will benefit from two in-kind donations of software totaling $9.4 million from oilfield services company Schlumberger, a worldwide provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry.
The company has agreed to grant a request from Assistant Professor of Geology Kathryn Tamulonis to enable access to its Petrel E&P* software platform and a request from Visiting Assistant Professor Matt Carter for the Techlog* wellbore software platform. The Petrel and Techlog platforms enable geologic subsurface interpretation and modeling and are used extensively by the oil and gas industry.
“I will use the Petrel software platform as a teaching and research tool,” Tamulonis said. “Petrel will be used in undergraduate geology classes, including sedimentology, stratigraphy and field geology, and also in topical seminars when I introduce subsurface data-collection techniques, sedimentary rock correlation, and the application of resource-evaluation techniques.
“Petrel will provide a foundation for my research program, which is focused on understanding how unconventional shale resources change throughout portions of the Appalachian basin,” Tamulonis said. “My students and I will use this software to map subsurface variations of unconventional shale formations. Then, we will use Petrel to visualize the variations in three dimensions and statistically predict geologic trends in areas with little or no data.”
“I intend to use the Techlog software platform for its borehole image interpretation capabilities to enable hands-on examples in the classroom and group projects as well as for my personal research,” said Carter.
Going thousands of feet underground, the surrounding temperature and pressure is too great for a camera, so oilfield service companies run special tools that provide electronic borehole images, Carter explained. These images form a “pinprick” into the Earth to provide the best “outcrop view” researchers have of the subsurface, he said.
“As a geologist, observations are key in better understanding the evolution of natural systems, and these images will help us to glean a lot of data,” Carter said. “I envision future projects may involve investigating fracture patterns in both oil and gas and geothermal reservoirs to better understand modern and past stress regimes and the current fluids-flow pathways.
Projects may also focus on the evolution of mountain uplift and contemporaneous sediment deposition that may improve our understanding of plate tectonic uplift and/or changes in Earth’s climate. With this software, students have the capability of studying datasets from all over the world.”
By providing students with this hands-on software experience, Allegheny is taking another step in helping its future job candidates to blend their geology expertise with the latest technology.
About Allegheny College
One of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Allegheny College celebrated its bicentennial in 2015. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives. Allegheny College is known nationally as a place where students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel. In its 2019 rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Allegheny among the top 30 most innovative national liberal arts colleges in the country.
*Mark of Schlumberger