Oil, Alabama and Aggies – A Winning Combination

Producing oil is a highly desirable activity for any state, and that holds true for Texas and Alabama ““ and for certain faculty members of Texas A&M University and the University of Alabama.

Thomas Blasingame, professor of petroleum engineering at Texas A&M, has worked with UA faculty such as Ernest Mancini, Charles Haynes, Juan Carlos Llinas, Joe Benson and Brian Panetta on devising ways of extracting oil from fields in Alabama. The UA group was associated with the Center for Sedimentary Basin Studies at the University of Alabama.

The team members worked on trying to get more oil from producing wells at a site called the Womack Hill field, discovered in southwest Alabama in 1970. For several reasons, oil was being trapped and was not coming up from wells very efficiently.

“We studied the area and did quite a bit of work, complete with charts and modeling, reservoir simulations and other data,” Blasingame says of the project.

Thomas Blasingame

Thomas Blasingame

“The principal problem at the field dealt with productivity and profitability. There had been a decrease in production, and operating costs had gone up.”

Blasingame says the Womack Field in Alabama was “fairly large, but oddly shaped, almost like a long cigar. We compiled our data and made some very specific recommendations on how to increase flow from the wells.

“The people we worked with at the University of Alabama were terrific. They were extremely cooperative and gave us whatever help we needed. They treated us like royalty. It was an enjoyable experience for everyone concerned.”

The team’s work was featured in an issue of the AAPG Bulletin, a publication of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and was titled “Improving Recovery From Mature Oil Fields Producing From Carbonate Reservoirs: Upper Jurassic Smackover Formation, Womack Hill Field.”

Blasingame holds the Robert L. Whiting Professorship in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M. An internationally acclaimed scholar, his research interests include oil and natural gas reservoir engineering; reservoir evaluation and description; and technical mathematics. In addition, he is involved in continuing studies on methods for the evaluation and prediction of gas reservoir performance; field-scale programs in reservoir description and reservoir management; development and application of methods of analysis and interpretation of well tests and production data; and theoretical/computational studies of multiphase flow in porous media.


Media contact: Keith Randall, News & Information Center, (979) 845-4644

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