Jul 12, 2024  
2020-2021 General Catalog 
2020-2021 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Petroleum Engineering (Graduate Program)


For information regarding the UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM, click here.  

Program Overview

To maintain safe and efficient production, the oil and gas industry relies on engineers who understand the advanced drilling, production, and reservoir engineering practices used in modern industry. Since its inception in 1929, the Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering has earned a reputation for producing engineers who are innovative, yet practical. The current faculty has 15 faculty members whose areas of expertise include reservoir engineering, petrophysics, drilling and production systems, rock-fluids interaction, enhanced/improved oil recovery, cementing, geomechanics, fluid flow processes, computational modeling, and environmental aspects of the industry.

The undergraduate program produces approximately 70 BS engineers per year, and the graduate program has approximately 50 students enrolled at both the MS and PhD levels. The Department is also home to the Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer (PERTT) Laboratory, a field scale facility used for research, training, and testing related to drilling and production operations. It has numerous other computational and experimental research and educational laboratories.


Karsten E. Thompson, Chair
Seung I. Kam, Graduate Advisors
Janet Dugas, Graduate Coordinator
TELEPHONE 225-578-5215 
FAX 888-965-9518
WEBSITE www.lsu.edu/eng/pete


Applications and supporting materials for all graduate study must be submitted through the online application site for the LSU Graduate School. Official transcripts, official test scores, and other materials that come from third-party sources must be mailed to: LSU Office of Graduate Admissions, 114 West David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. These paper documents are stored electronically and departments have access to all materials submitted by and/or on behalf of a future student applying to graduate study.

In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the department requires the following items: three (3) letters of recommendation (no form required) and a statement of purpose. A writing sample is not required but encouraged. All these items should be submitted electronically in the Graduate School application system.  Items cannot be added or edited once you complete your application.

Applications for admission including financial support are received and evaluated by the department on a competitive basis that involves students’ academic credentials, research skills, industry experience, as well as department’s availability of funding, office/laboratory space, and faculty interest. Applications must be complete by the deadlines established by the Graduate School and the department. Department deadlines and more information on applying can be found in the graduate section of our website (www.lsu.edu/eng/pete).

Please note that meeting the minimum admission requirements established by the Graduate School does not guarantee acceptance.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to some students through the department or other units in the form of research or teaching assistantships. An applicant may contact the department faculty for more information on available assistantship positions. To ensure consideration for financial aid, all application materials should be submitted in accordance with the application deadlines above.


The department’s unique experimental facilities include the following:

  • The Petroleum Engineering Research & Technology Transfer Laboratory (PERTT Lab) is an industrial-scale facility with six (two experimental and four supporting) wells and full-scale equipment and instrumentation for teaching laboratory courses and conducting research related to borehole technology.
  • The Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Laboratory has been the center of the department’s experimental research activities in the areas of flow through porous media, fluids phase behavior, and gas injection EOR.
  • The Lou Soileau III Rock-Fluids Interactions (RFI) Laboratory houses some unique experimental apparatus and techniques to measure dynamic contact angles and oil/water/gas interfacial tensions at reservoir pressures (up to 20,000 psi) and temperatures (up to 400°F) using live crude oils to evaluate live oil spreading behavior and gas-oil miscibility. This laboratory also houses an optical cell for making dynamic contact angles and IFT measurements at ambient conditions for conducting preliminary screening tests. It is also equipped with a computerized Wilhelmy Plate apparatus (donated by BP) for studying solid-liquid-vapor and solid-liquid-liquid interactions.
  • The Chevron Reservoir Characterization Laboratory is a new state-of-the art facility for interactive visualization and modeling of reservoir problems, to be used for both research and teaching. The facility includes a high-definition video wall in addition to a variety of other wall displays. Individual workstations are available in a flexible work or seating arrangement to maximize collaboration.

Research Programs

Departmental research covers a wide range of research problems associated with drilling and production of oil and gas. Research expenditures have averaged $2.6 million annually over the past two years. Primary research projects include the following:

  • Well Control and Blowout Prevention—Development of technology for safe handling of high subsurface pressures of gas formations during drilling operations. The program encompasses topics such as dynamic kill and unloading procedures, underground blowouts, motion of gas slugs in inclined or underbalanced wellbores, drilling, dynamic and liquid-liquid lubrication, and the automation of well control.
  • Improved/Enhanced Oil Recovery—Research efforts in this area consist of a two-pronged approach to IOR. The first approach relies on the concept of altering rock wettability by using cost-effective chemical treatments; the second approach aims to develop an effective alternative to the currently practiced water-alternating-gas IOR process by making use of the gravity drainage concept in conjunction with horizontal wells. Evaluating and improving the utilization of solvents in IOR processes is another area of study. In addition to developing new concepts, techniques, and processes of improved oil recovery, efforts are also directed at field testing and commercializing promising processes in collaboration with industry.
  • Geomechanics – new research program aimed at using rock mechanics and continuum mechanics concepts to study mechanical interaction of wells with formations in drilling (wellbore stability, pore pressure predictions, well integrity), completion (hydraulic fracturing, reservoir compaction, sand production), and formation characterization (naturally fractured reservoirs).
  • Environmental Control—oilfield process improvements and/or modifications leading to pollution prevention and productivity enhancement. This approach involves modeling of the oilfield process-born mechanisms of pollution and development of new, cost-effective methods and techniques to meet environmental compliance requirements. The program encompasses research of wellbore integrity, testing and removal of sustained casing pressure, subsurface zonal isolation, sequestration of CO2, and in-situ reduction of produced water.
  • Reservoir Performance Forecast—integration of fundamental and applied reservoir engineering with numerical reservoir simulation, geostatistics, reservoir geology, geophysics, optimization, and uncertainty analysis. The program focuses on EOR processes and unconventional resources.
  • Geothermal processes – investigating the technical and economic feasibility, and environmental and social attractiveness, of a novel method of heat extraction from low enthalpy geothermal reservoirs.  The emphasis is on assessing the potential for a heat extraction method that couples forced and free convection to maximize extraction efficiency and is enhanced by considering wellbore energy conversion. The feasibility of this system depends on maintaining mechanical and hydraulic integrity of the wellbore, so the material properties of the casing-cement system are examined both experimentally and with well design calculations.  The attractiveness depends on mitigation of seismic and subsidence risks, economic performance, environmental impact, and social impact – all of which are assessed as components of this study.
  • Reservoir Rock-Fluids and Fluid-Fluid Interactions—understanding the nature of interfacial forces and devising means to unlock the trapped resources. Since much of the current understanding is from experimental research conducted at ambient conditions, these research efforts concentrate on making fluid-fluid and rock-fluids interaction measurements at realistic reservoir conditions using live fluids.
  • Well Completion Fluid Dynamics—understanding and improving fluids transfer at the well-reservoir interface. The program addresses the process of water invasion at wells and the mitigating technology of dual completions with “downhole water sink.”
  • Digital Rock Physics—computational methods designed to take advantage of new techniques for high-resolution 3D imaging of porous materials. Methods being developed include LBM, FEM, and network modeling. Applications include multiphase flow, high-rate flows, transport in propped fractures, particle transport, and formation damage.

Graduate Faculty

(check current faculty listings by department here)

Babak Akbari (6A) • Drilling engineering, managed pressure drilling, drilling and completion fluids, pluggin and abandonment, drill bits, geomechanics
Mauricio A. Almeida (3F) • Drilling engineering, managed pressure drilling – MPD / dual gradient drilling – DGD, well control and blowout prevention, deepwater drilling and completion equipment, well design
Yuanhang Chen (6A) • Transport process modeling and simulation, downhole and surface measurement, drilling fluids, drilling automation, geomechanics, UBD/MPD
Ipsita Gupta (6A) • Multiphysics modeling of fluid flow, heat flow and solute transport in porous/geologic media, numerical modeling, reservoir engineering, hydrogeology, subsurface characterization
Richard Hughes (3F) • Oil and gas reservoir engineering, CO2 EOR and sequestration, production data analysis, pore-scale processes
Seung Ihl Kam (M) • Multiphase flow in pipes and porous media, foam and surfactant applications, modeling/simulation and flow experiments
Olufemi Ololode (6A) • Multiscale modeling of coupled physical processes, uncertainty modeling, geomechanics
Jyotsna Sharma (6A) • Thermal and non-thermal EOR, data analytics and machine learning, downhole monitoring with sensors
Dandina N. Rao (M) • Reservoir engineering, enhanced/improved oil recovery, fluid-fluid and rock-fluids interactions
Karsten E. Thompson (M) • Pore-scale and multiscale modeling of transport in porous media, computational methods
Mayank Tyagi (M) • High performance computing, multiphase CFD modeling and analysis of fluid flow and heat transfer in production systems including wellbores (artificial lift techniques) and flowlines; multi-scale/multi-physics modeling of geothermal energy systems, reservoir upscaling algorithms.
Paulo Waltrich (M) • Multiphase flows in pipes; artificial lift systems; liquid loading in gas wells; production optimization; flow assurance
Wesley C. Williams (3F) • Facilities engineering, thermal-hydraulic analysis, multiphase flow
Andrzej “Andrew” K. Wojtanowicz (M) • Mechanics and hydraulics of well drilling and completion and production, design and optimization of well construction and operation, environmental control of wells - water coning/cresting, gas migration.
Mehdi Zeidouni (6A) • Flow in porous media with application to CO2 Storage/EOR and shale oil and gas, Application of inverse theory to flow-based problems. 


    Doctor of PhilosophyMaster of Science in Petroleum Engineering