Petroleum Geology Professor Performs Groundbreaking Research

Elizabeth Petrie smiles in the desert
Western Professor and Moncrief Petroleum Department Chair Dr. Elizabeth Petrie was an integral part of an international team performing groundbreaking geologic research to determine the feasibility of a carbon capture and storage solution (CCS) that could help meet climate change targets and benefit the whole world.

As part of her PhD and ongoing research, Western Professor and Moncrief Petroleum Department Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Petrie was an integral part of an international team performing groundbreaking geologic research in Southeastern Utah. Dr. Petrie worked alongside Utah State University Geologists, and with collaborators from England’s Cambridge University, Shell Global Solutions, Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Germany’s Jülich Center for Neutron Science. 

The team probed the Carmel caprock outside of Green River, Utah to assess the feasibility of effective carbon capture and storage (CCS) in underground reservoirs. According to the British Geological Survey, CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from large emission sources and then transporting and storing or burying it in a suitable deep geological formation. This method has been a topic of active research within the scientific community as it has important implications for addressing climate change.  The team’s findings were published in the July 28, 2016 edition of Nature Communications.

Dr. Petrie worked along side Utah State University geologist and professor, Dr. Jim Evans. The two helped to coordinate the drilling into the formation and oversee USU students, who participated in the coring and water sampling. The samples they gathered were then sent across the globe to be analyzed.

As the chair of Western’s Moncrief Petroleum Geology Department, Dr. Petrie brings a strong industry background and years of academic experience. After finishing her Masters of Science at Utah State University, Dr. Petrie spent several years working in the private sector in Houston, Texas and then Sydney, Australia. She returned to Utah State for her doctoral degree, before bringing her expertise to Western.

Dr. Petrie brings to the program a deep commitment to utilizing industry-shared technology and maintaining strong relationships with accomplished alumni in the petroleum industry. She has just demonstrated this by collaborating with her alma mater, Utah State University, and by participating in research funded by Royal Dutch Shell and the U.S. Department of Energy.

This project also illustrates Dr. Petrie’s commitment to staying informed and actively involved her field. Her published research will enable scientists to further explore the process by which CO2 emissions are collected and injected into underground reservoirs. The CCS process is one possible way to meet climate change targets and could have lasting implications for the whole world. 

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Friday, August 5, 2016 - 9:30am