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Texas Tech Petroleum Engineering Receives $1.8 Million

Various areas of new building will be named for multiple donors.

Written by Jeff Sammons

Texas Tech University officials have announced a series of gifts that total more than $1.8 million from alumni and friends of the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering. These gifts will name various areas in the new Petroleum Engineering Research Building.

“The new Petroleum Engineering Research Building would not be possible without the support of so many alumni, friends and donors of Texas Tech,” said Chancellor Kent Hance. “Our university has a strong reputation for producing top petroleum engineering graduates who become leaders in the industry, and the completion of this new facility will enable us to make an even bigger impact on education and industry operations. Thank you to all of the donors who have contributed.”

In honor of these generous gifts from the donors, the new building will include the Steve Heitzman Conference Room, Harvey L. Ratliff Jr. Department Chair Suite, the Walter Exploration Conference Room, and the David G. Wight Courtyard.

“I could not be more pleased with the outpouring of support for our efforts to fund this state-of-the-art research and educational facility,” said Al Sacco Jr., dean of the Whitacre College of Engineering. “Red Raiders, and those who hire Red Raiders, realize the importance of petroleum engineering to the state of Texas and to the nation. This building goes a long way towards helping us teach the energy leaders of tomorrow.”

The Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas Tech is one of the largest petroleum departments in the world and is staffed with industry-experienced faculty.  The curriculum of the department is focused on production, operations and completion.  This educational niche is critical, as Tech Tech is a major supplier of petroleum engineers to the Permian Basin and the energy industry worldwide.

The new Petroleum Engineering Research Building will be a $22.8 million facility with approximately 42,000 square feet of modern classroom and research space. The primary goal of the construction of the new building is to provide a facility that will integrate formal teaching environments with hands-on practical applications using cutting edge research facilities and techniques. It will set the national benchmark for petroleum educational facilities.

“Ever since 2006 when I started teaching at Tech, I have dreamed of a facility from which I can teach from a visual aspect,” said Marshall Watson, department chair.

“I wanted so much to bring to the class what I’ve done in the field for the last 30 years.  This new facility fulfills that dream.”

The new Petroleum Engineering Research Building will feature a unique cluster of laboratories, including the Pioneer Pressure Volume Temperature Laboratory. Through a tight integration of these laboratories, a systems approach will be taken in petroleum engineering education that covers the entire spectrum of exploration and production, including business profitability analysis. Key courses in the new facility will address responsible and efficient use of water, the region and the world’s most precious resource.

“Through good times and bad, living and working in several cities and countries around the globe, every day my wife and I are able to “be a Red Raider,” hold our heads high and drill ahead, said Steve Heitzman. “We were exceptionally pleased that Tech thought of us when it came to support of Petroleum Engineering, the discipline that has been my life’s work. Without hesitation we wanted to effect the department in a meaningful way, one that would make a difference.”

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CONTACT: Jeff Sammons, director of marketing, Whitacre College of Engineering, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3451, or jeff.sammons@ttu.edu.

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Marshall Watson

Marshall Watson is department chair in the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering in the Whitacre College of Engineering.

View his profile in our online Expert Profile.