LSU Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering faculty Wesley Williams and Mileva Radonjic received more than $7.5 million of the total $10.8 million awarded by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to projects that address systemic risk in offshore oil and gas operations.

Williams Wesley LSU9419 smallWilliams, a professional in residence, received $4,910,000 for his project, “Experiments on Multiphase Flow of Live Muds in a Full-Scale Wellbore With Distributed Sensing for Kick and Gas-in-Riser Detection/Mitigation.” The research is being conducted in cooperation with Texas A&M University and Weatherford.

Radonjic Mileva LSU2990 smallRadonjic, an associate professor, received $2,614,000 for her project, “Mitigating Risks to Hydrocarbon Release Through Integrative Advanced Materials for Wellbore Plugging and Remediation.” The work is being conducted in cooperation with LSU Petroleum Engineering Assistant Professor Ipsita Gupta, Andrew Bunger from the University of Pittsburgh, Raissa Feron from the University of Texas at Austin and Malin Torsater from SINTEF, a research company in Norway.

Williams’ project focuses on gaps in understanding about the behavior of riser gas under high temperature and pressure. Testing will be done using an existing well retrofitted with pressure and temperature sensors to produce data for validating and verifying riser gas models that inform design of pressure barriers and techniques for preventing uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases.

“My mission as the LSU PERTT (Petroleum Engineering Research & Technology Transfer) Lab Director was to reinvigorate faculty research in the facility, and with this project, we have, with five LSU Petroleum Engineering professors on the team – myself, Babak Akbari, Mauricio Almeida, Yuanhang Chen and Paulo Waltrich,” Williams said.

“Our goal for this project was to make a permanent piece of infrastructure that the NAS Gulf Research Program could point to as the premier place where large-scale oil and gas research will be performed well into the future. It also will provide a highly-instrumented well and support facility as a ‘playground’ for industry, government and academia to test their equipment and ideas in a safe and controlled environment, something that has rarely existed outside the auspices of large multinational oil and gas operators and service companies.”

Radonjic’s project seeks to advance capabilities for prevention and remediation of wellbore leakage in offshore hydrocarbon-producing wells. It will develop and test new materials to improve or replace current ones used in the plugging and abandonment of wells and develop new methods for placing such materials.

“We want to build the knowledge that Louisiana needs here at home and train and teach our future engineers to tackle these complex systems of energy and environment that are important for the economic development of our state,” Radonjic said. “For me, this is for the people of Louisiana who have contributed to energy production for decades and deserve that we protect the fragile offshore environment the best we can.”

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