Researchers exploring unconventional oil and gas extraction at the University of Wyoming will get a $4.4 million cash infusion to support their efforts.
With the donation, Hess Corp. will support UW's Center for Advanced Oil and Gas Technologies Nano Resolution Imaging Laboratory to study rock and core samples at nano-resolution. Hess' investment will support the acquisition of highly-advanced equipment required for the Nano Resolution Imaging Laboratory.
Gov. Matt Mead and UW President Tom Buchanan announced the pledge at a press conference held at the Wyoming capitol building today.
"We're fortunate in Wyoming that we have a tremendously strong energy industry," Mead said. "Energy plays such a key role in Wyoming and in this country. We have the resources and a university with the energy technology and research capabilities; and we have some brilliant minds that work at UW."
Mead said that Hess' donation will be doubled to $8.8 million by the state of Wyoming's matching fund program designated for UW's energy programs.
"This is our largest cumulative announcement to date," UW Foundation President Ben Blalock said.
"We're really pleased to support students and faculty at UW in furthering this research in unconventional gas," said UW alumnus Greg Hill, now president of worldwide exploration and production at Hess. "Solving the world's energy needs is a daunting task. UW is at the forefront of doing that."
The Nano Resolution Imaging Laboratory is run by Mohammad Piri, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at UW and leader of the Piri Research Group (PRG). PRG investigates the flow of oil and gas through tight shale and sandstone at macro-, micro- and nano-scales.
"You may find universities that have pieces of the labs that we have, but UW has all three pieces," Piri said.
He said having the equipment to study at all three scales will enable UW to attract more first-rate research scientists and graduate students to study unconventional oil and gas recovery technologies.
"A big part of what we do is to generate an energy workforce, an extremely highly-trained energy workforce with skills that are very valuable in the corporate and oil and gas sector," he said. "They won't be learning these skills anywhere else."
Today's press conference also included news that UW has made progress on a campaign to fund the construction of a modern UW Energy Engineering Research Facility (EERF). The campaign has raised $10.9 million in corporate partnerships doubled to $21.8 million by the state’s matching fund program.
The EERF campaign goal is $30 million: $15 million in corporate funding, and $15 million in state matching funds.
"The energy facility will foster innovative work for the state of Wyoming and the industries that support us," Buchanan said.
Construction of the 81,000-square-foot EERF facility could begin fall of 2014 and be completed by spring 2016.
Blalock said there will be other corporate energy partners to announce in the near future. And this announcement came only days after the announcement of a $2 million pledge from Ultra Petroleum to support the EERF.
For more Daily news click here and look under 'Breaking News'