EGI Welcomes New Staff and Affiliate Scientists, Student Research Intern


New Senior Research Scientist – W. Lansing Taylor

EGI is excited to announce that W. Lansing (Lans) Taylor Ph.D. joined EGI as a Senior Research Scientist and Advisor. He has seventeen years of experience in the oil and gas industry working for Anadarko Petroleum, Talisman Energy, and as an independent consultant and industry instructor. Dr. Taylor has developed extensive knowledge of the tectonic and structural settings of petroleum systems across the globe. His primary areas of experience include the western cordillera of the Americas and their associated foreland basins and the Tethyan margin from North Africa through the Middle East to South East Asia. Lans has worked on hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation projects in Alaska, Canada, the US Rockies, West Texas, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina; and Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Iraq, UAE, Oman, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, PNG, and Australia.

Lans received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1999 as Phillips Fellow in the Rock Fracture Project where he specialized in quantitative structural geology, neotectonics, and geomechanics. Part of his research at EGI and much of his prior work in the industry focuses on the application of mechanical principals to structural restoration and to the prediction of natural fractures and other stress-dependent reservoir properties. Consistent with EGI’s philosophy, Lans is not just a specialist but has a passion for understanding geologic systems in their entirety and believes in the need to integrate across a wide range of scales and across multiple geologic disciplines. ‘From mantle plume to molecular cohesion’ was the theme of his opening address for the 2013 Houston Geological Society Conference ‘Geomechanics for Unconventionals,’ a biennial conference where Lans serves as chair of the organizing committee.

Lans is recognized as an outstanding teacher and field course leader for industry. He is instructor on several popular courses including ‘Structural Geology for Petroleum Exploration,’ ‘Structural Geology for Reservoir Characterization,’ and ‘Structural Styles for Seismic Interpretation.’ These courses explain the morphology and evolution of the fundamental structural forms that create hydrocarbon traps using seismic data and outcrop analogs to illustrate extensional, contractional, inverted, and strike slip deformation styles. Structural techniques such as restoration, curvature analysis, and geomechanical modeling of subsurface stress for fracture prediction are also covered. Noted as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable field guide, Lans has led more than 850 geoscientists on trips to the Basin and Range in Southern Nevada, the Northern Rockies in Montana, the Paradox Basin in Utah, the Cretaceous Platform of central Texas, the Pedernal uplift in New Mexico, the Canadian Cordillera in Alberta, and the Spanish Pyrenees. This training will be made available to EGI Corporate Associates as part of the CA Member Benefits. Contact us for details and scheduling options.

Dr. Taylor’s current research at EGI includes basin-scale petroleum systems evaluation. Lans uses seismic and well data, surface mapping, and potential fields to build the structural and stratigraphic framework necessary to predict hydrocarbon prospectivity in hydrocarbon-bearing basins and will be working as part of an integrated team of EGI scientists. Lans is also working on fundamental research in structural geology with two new projects, one for mechanical stratigraphy and one on rotation in continuum. Combining EGI’s mechanical testing facilities with numerical simulation, he will be studying the effects of mechanical stratigraphy on subsurface stress heterogeneity to improve our understanding of how natural and hydraulically stimulated fractures propagate through layered materials. The same models are used interrogate the development of bedding plane slip surfaces during the folding process and how their evolution may control hierarchical fracture systems. The second project is a combination of regional tectonic interpretation with numerical simulation and is focused on documenting the patterns, scales, and temporal evolution of rotational deformation within solid material. More details about these research proposals will be distributed to all CA members.

New Affiliate Scientist – Simon McDonald

EGI welcomes our newest Affiliate Scientist, Simon McDonald who is working closely with EGI research staff on our In Progress project Southern Papuan Basin Integrated Petroleum Systems. Simon has over 30 years of worldwide experience as an exploration geologist in the oil and gas, minerals, and seafloor minerals fields.

A significant portion of his career has been spent in Papua New Guinea where he has undertaken field exploration programs for Mobil, Louisiana Land and Energy, Oil Search, Interoil, Conoco-Philips, Santos, and Sasol among others. Simon has also explored in Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Madagascar, Ghana, and Ivory Coast, enhancing his global expertise and varied contributions to energy resources.

Simon received his B.Sc. (Honors) from the University of Sydney in 1984 and his Ph.D. from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 1993. His thesis investigated the sedimentology, stratigraphy, and structure of the Porcupine Formation within the Gunnedah Basin, a structural segment of the Permo-Triassic Sydney-Gunnedah- Bowen Basin in Eastern Australia.

Waquar Ahmed – Unconventional Petroleum Systems and Rock Mechanics

Waquar Ahmed will visit EGI as a student intern in summer 2016 to complete sample analyses in EGI’s state-of-the-art laboratories. His work involves the study of the resource potential of the Permian Barren Measures Shales and also determining their geomechanical attributes and fracturing potential. The project ultimately will have a significant impact on the future exploration of shale gas in the Indian sub-continent.

Waquar hails from a mountainous town, Doda, in the Jammu and Kashmir State of India. He earned his bachelor’s (B.Sc.) degree from the Government Gandhi Memorial Science College (Erstwhile Prince of Wales College) in 2011. He was awarded a Master of Science degree (M.Sc.) from the Post Graduate Department of Geology, University of Jammu (UoJ) in 2013. Waquar completed the prestigious national level fellowship examination conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research/University Grants Commission (CSIR/UGC) in 2012, and in 2013 he joined the UoJ as Junior Research Fellow (JRF) to pursue his Ph.D.

He is currently working on “Resource Potential and Reservoir Characterization of the Permian Shales in Damodar Basin, East India,” with the joint supervision of Professor G. M. Bhat (Institute of Energy Research & Training (IERT) Director & EGI Affiliate Scientist) and Professor John McLennan (EGI Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Utah). His work is in continuum with the two successful IERT–EGI Ph.D. projects by Naveen Hakhoo (Ph.D.) and Mateen Hafiz (Ph.D.), which contributed to “India Subcontinent Shale Resource Plays, Phase 1” project on unconventional and conventional Shale resource potential in India.

Waquar’s efforts have brought together reputed institutes including Department of Earth Sciences, University College London (UCL), London; Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai; Indian School of Mines (ISM)/ Central Institute for Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), Dhanbad; Central Mining Planning and Development Institute (CMPDI), Ranchi; National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, India. Waquar is an active member of numerous organizations, including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and Jammu University Geologists Alumni Association (JUGAA), UoJ.

Waquar has participated in and presented papers at numerous international and national conferences, including the Indian Science Congress 2014, Jammu and Kashmir Science Congress 2015, and Sustainable Resource Development in the Himalayas (SRDIH), 2014 organized jointly by the IERT, UoJ, and Geological Society of London (GSL) in Ladakh.

Waquar was an organizing committee member of the Students’ Education Programme on Energy, Environment, Climate Awareness and Natural Hazards in Leh, Nyoma, and Puga (Ladakh, India)–2014 and Argentina (South America)–2015. He also has co-authored a booklet on “Hydrocarbons, Climate Change and Global Warming” for the students.

He looks forward to his upcoming internship at EGI as an excellent opportunity to learn and gain expertise on shales gas plays in the most promising Permian shales (Barren Measures in the Damodar Basin) and apply the experience to the analogous basins in India and globally. Waqaur welcomes interaction and conversation and can be reached via his LinkedIn profile.