While the geological features being explored by oil and gas drillers and operators are hundreds of millions of years old, the advances made by petroleum engineering research make up an ever-evolving science. 

The technology used by petroleum engineering consultants does not exist in a static environment. Petroleum engineering research institutes and laboratories make some of the most important contributions to the advancement of the science of petroleum engineering and other geological fields of study.

Texas A&M University

The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University names among its chief goals the introduction of up to 200 highly-qualified U.S. and international engineers to entry-level industry positions or graduate programs. The program’s curriculum gives every student a solid foundation in petroleum engineering fundamentals, with an eye on gaining practical industry experience. Graduates of the program enter the industry ready to be productive contributors and understand the need to continue to learn and improve their skills throughout their careers. A&M partnered with Chevron to develop the Chevron Drilling and Completions Laboratory, which has a drilling cementing and stimulation measurement equipment as well as a drilling rig simulator and software. The lab simulates a realistic rig floor using a drilling simulator and they hydraulic tubing tongs currently used for research and other equipment typically found on a rig floor. 

The Hascakir Research Group

Hascakir Research Group is affiliated with the petroleum engineering program at Texas A&M University. Its work focuses on heavy oiloil shalesoil sands and carbonate analysis and recovery methods (HOCAM). Its main goals include finding solutions for the recovery of unconventional oil resources with very low API gravity and finding environmentally friendly and economic production solutions for challenging reservoirs using enhanced oil recovery methods.

University of Oklahoma

The Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering at the University of Oklahoma offers renowned teaching and research to prepare students for engineering careers and lead innovation in the industry. OU’s research centers include:

Colorado School of Mines

The Colorado School of Mines has several leading research projects and laboratories, such as:

  • The Center for Earth Materials, Mechanics, and Characterization manages research in a variety of areas including rock mechanics, earth systems, and nontraditional characterization.
  • The Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology (FAST) Consortium is a joint industry/university research consortium that performs research in all areas of stimulation of oil and gas wells.
  • The Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute offers a platform for multidisciplinary research in all areas of unconventional natural gas and oil exploration and development.
  • The Marathon Center of Excellence for Reservoir Studies investigates a wide spectrum of reservoir problems with emphasis on field applications.
  • The Energy Modeling Group‘s mission is to develop state-of-the-art reservoir modeling technology and advanced simulation tools for research, teaching and field application in subsurface energy and natural resources.
  • The Unconventional Reservoir Engineering Project is designed to focus on the unconventional aspects of unconventional reservoirs.
  • The Physics of Organics, Carbonates, Clays, Sands and Shales (unconventional mudrock and shale reservoir) Consortium is a joint industry–academia project that investigates fundamental shale and shale-fluid interactions to understand physics and mechanics of complex reservoir systems.
  • The Multiphase Fluid Dynamics and Fluid Properties research group studies multiphase flows such as particle-laden flow and flow through porous media, and conducts research into reservoir fluid properties.

Lousiana State University

The Louisiana State University Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory (PERTT Lab or The Well Facility) provides a versatile research environment for performing multiphase flow experiments on field scale tubulars at high pressures. Since its development in the early 1980s, this facility represents a multi-million dollar investment by industrial and governmental interests. A full-time laboratory support staff maintains their offices at the site. In addition, the PERTT Lab employs student workers for routine maintenance work and research support. 

University of Texas

In the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering is the research center produces innovative faculty and student research in 12 main areas: geologic carbon storage, drilling and completions, enhanced oil recovery, formation evaluation, integrated reservoir characterization, hydraulic fracturing and reservoir geomechanics, production engineering, reservoir engineering, unconventional resources, petrophysics and pore-scale processes, reservoir simulation and natural gas engineering.

University of Southern California

The USC Mork Family Department of Engineering and Materials Science supports a diverse research portfolio that includes a strategic partnership with Kuwait Oil Company, a Subsurface Energy and Environmental Systems lab, a Geosystems Engineering and Multiphysics Lab and the Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies, a USC-Chevron Center of Excellence for research and academic training. 

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Research laboratories in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette include: 

  • Material Testing Lab designed for hands-on rock strength and constitutive properties testing
  • Production Engineering Lab that provides materials to investigate produced fluid treatment and separation problems
  • Reservoir Engineering Lab that is primarily a design laboratory for producing detailed studies
  • Reservoir Mechanics Lab that offers hands-on analysis for core and reservoir analysis
  • 3-D Visualization Lab with a computer that leverages atomic forces to align a three-dimensional space
  • Improved Oil Recovery Lab with instrumentation for specialized analysis and testing

Texas Tech University

The Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas Tech University is home to the Terry Fuller Petroleum Engineering Research Building, which is a 42,000 square-foot modern classroom and research space. The facility is designed to integrate formal teaching environments with hands-on practical applications using cutting-edge research facilities and techniques.