oil industry

Over the next five years, UT will collaborate with two other Texas universities on offshore drilling research as a part of the new Ocean Energy Safety Institute.

The institute, funded with $5 million from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, will be geared toward information sharing in the hopes of advancing research. The institute will also work to better enable individuals in the oil industry to handle crisis situations in drilling and use proactive practices to prevent future disasters.

The University will work alongside Texas A&M University and the University of Houston in the initiative. Tad Patzek, chair of the department of petroleum and geosystems engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, said he hopes the institute will provide a non-threatening environment for cooperation.

“[The institute] will be a place to do cutting edge research,” Patzek said. “The institute will not be a brick and mortar building — it will be a virtual institute run at the universities.”

Patzek said getting the grant money for the institute was a significant achievement for Texas.

“Texas A&M, UT and the University of Houston had a joint proposal to have the institute,” Patzek said. “It was a national competition, and Texas won, [which] is a big deal.”

Patzek said he believes Texas is the best place for the institute because the state has the largest oil industry. He said the Gulf of Mexico will be the most important place institute researchers focus their efforts, but said the researchers will also examine the Arctic Ocean. 

“We cannot afford having a spill in the Arctic. It has no means of cleaning itself up like the Gulf of Mexico can,” Patzek said. “The creation of the Ocean Energy Safety Institute is critical to  preserving our water resources and meeting our nation’s energy demands.”

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center will manage the institute.

“The three partner universities represent a unique combination of capabilities and resources needed to address the needs for the Institute,” said M. Sam Mannan, the process safety center’s director, in a statement. “We applaud [the bureau] for supporting this major undertaking of national importance, that will impact ocean energy safety for the nation and world for years to come.”

Emily Mixon, a Plan II and geography senior and director of the Campus Environmental Center, said she does not support offshore drilling, but she appreciates the goal of the institute.

“I wish we had less offshore drilling, but if it’s the energy plan of the U.S. than at least they’re trying to make it safer for the environment,” Mixon said.

T. Boone Pickens, financier and chairman of BP Capital Management, spoke about his life and ambitions to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil at the Hogg Auditorium on Monday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

Although Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens made his fortune in the oil industry, he pushed for the use of alternative energy sources at an on-campus lecture Monday.

More than 1,000 students and community members attended the semester’s final event of the McCombs VIP Distinguished Speakers Series.

The oil tycoon started Mesa Petroleum in 1956, which eventually grew into one of the largest independent production companies in the world. He currently works in the investment sector and founded BP Capital, an energy investment corporation.

Pickens has a net worth of $1.4 billion, and Forbes ranked him as the 880th richest person in world. He has been a major contributor to Texas politics by donating more than $5 million to political campaigns, most of which went to special interest groups.

McComb’s Dean Thomas Gilligan interviewed Pickens, who answered questions ranging from his childhood to the importance of domestic energy sources.

During the discussion, he revealed the best advice he ever received, courtesy of his grandmother.

“She once said ‘Sonny, someday everybody has to sit on their own bottom,’” Pickens said. “At first, I didn’t know what this meant. But this has come back very clearly for me. It means that nobody can do things for you, you have to do things for yourself.”

When asked what caused him to stand out among his peers, Pickens said his work ethic was vital in his success. His first job was a paper route, earning a cent for every paper he sold.

“Work ethic is number one,” Pickens said. “My work ethic, which came from my mother’s side, made the difference in my career.”

Pickens said he is passionate about improving the United State’s usage of energy resources and utilizing oil alternatives. He released “The Pickens Plan” in 2008, a proposal to update U.S. energy resource usage. The proposal encourages the U.S. to ween itself off its dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. imports 13 million barrels of oil every day, Pickens said.

“We have to use our own resources, that’s what I want to change,” he said.

Business freshman Ricky Quach was inspired by Pickens’ values and strength of character.

“I really enjoyed how he spoke about the importance of the values he learned when he was younger,” Quach said. “It’s amazing that what he learned from his parents and grandmother still affects him today.”

Michael Walsh, vice president of marketing and social media at AtticDr.com, an energy efficiency upgrade company located in Austin, was not as impressed by Pickens’ talk.

“I think his talk was kind of folksy,” Walsh said. “I was expecting a lot more substance, maybe charts and graphs. I was hoping for more specific information about renewable initiatives and energy efficiency as part of the equation.”

More than 1,000 students and community members attended the semester’s final event of the McCombs VIP Distinguished Speakers Series.

The oil tycoon started Mesa Petroleum in 1956, which eventually grew into one of the largest independent production companies in the world. He currently works in the investment sector and founded BP Capital, an energy investment corporation.

Pickens has a net worth of $1.4 billion, and Forbes ranked him as the 880th richest person in world. He has been a major contributor to Texas politics by donating more than $5 million to political campaigns, most of which went to special interest groups.

McComb’s Dean Thomas Gilligan interviewed Pickens, who answered questions ranging from his childhood to the importance of domestic energy sources.

During the discussion, he revealed the best advice he ever received, courtesy of his grandmother.

“She once said ‘Sonny, someday everybody has to sit on their own bottom,’” Pickens said. “At first, I didn’t know what this meant. But this has come back very clearly for me. It means that nobody can do things for you, you have to do things for yourself.”

When asked what caused him to stand out among his peers, Pickens said his work ethic was vital in his success. His first job was a paper route, earning a cent for every paper he sold.

“Work ethic is number one,” Pickens said. “My work ethic, which came from my mother’s side, made the difference in my career.”

Pickens said he is passionate about improving the United State’s usage of energy resources and utilizing oil alternatives. He released “The Pickens Plan” in 2008, a proposal to update U.S. energy resource usage. The proposal encourages the U.S. to ween itself off its dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. imports 13 million barrels of oil every day, Pickens said.

“We have to use our own resources, that’s what I want to change,” he said.

Business freshman Ricky Quach was inspired by Pickens’ values and strength of character.

“I really enjoyed how he spoke about the importance of the values he learned when he was younger,” Quach said. “It’s amazing that what he learned from his parents and grandmother still affects him today.”

Michael Walsh, vice president of marketing and social media at AtticDr.com, an energy efficiency upgrade company located in Austin, was not as impressed by Pickens’ talk.

“I think his talk was kind of folksy,” Walsh said. “I was expecting a lot more substance, maybe charts and graphs. I was hoping for more specific information about renewable initiatives and energy efficiency as part of the equation.”