George Hirasaki, the A. J. Hartsook Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University, has been awarded the Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).
The medal honors Hirasakiâ€™s â€śdistinguished achievement in the identification and development of new technology and concepts that will enhance the process of finding or producing petroleum.â€ť He automatically becomes a Distinguished Member of the SPE.
After earning a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Rice in 1967, Hirasaki worked as an engineer for Shell Development and Shell Oil Companies for 26 years. His work focused on reservoir simulation, enhanced oil recovery and formation evaluation. In 2013 he retired after 20 years as a fulltime member of the Rice faculty, but continues to teach and advise Ph.D. research.
Hirasaki was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1991. In 1989 he received the Lester Uren Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He was named an Improved Oil Recovery Pioneer at the 1998 SPE/Department of Energy Improved Oil Recovery Symposium. In 2009, Hirasaki was named to the Order of the Rising Sun by the government of Japan, and in 2016 he received the Heritage Award from the Offshore Technology Conference.
Hirasakiâ€™s research interests have been in nuclear magnetic resonance well-logging, reservoir wettability, surfactant enhanced oil recovery, foam mobility control, gas hydrate recovery, asphaltene deposition and emulsion separation. He has published more than 100 papers, many devoted to fluid transport through porous media and he holds five patents.
Hirasaki will formally receive the Lucas Medal on Sept. 27 during a banquet at the annual SPE Technical Conference and Exhibition in Dubai, UAE.