ribbon cutting

University of Houston opens new hydrocarbon center

UH cut the ribbon on a new hub for hydrocarbon exploration. Photo courtesy of UH

The University of Houston has officially opened the doors of a new hub for hydrocarbon exploration.

UH Energy recently unveiled its UH-DGH Center for Hydrocarbon Exploration, which is a partnership between the University of Houston and the technical arm of India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, or DGH. The collaboration was announced in February.

The center will serve as a data center focused on India’s offshore basins, and its geoscience data to investigate production data and exploration.

"We have been thinking about this for multiple years, about how to get all this fantastic data that is there in the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons of India, use the repository of information that we have got and be able to showcase it to people in the United States where they've got the approach to go in and find oil and gas and other natural resources in ways that are perhaps truly unique and Texan in origin,” says Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorthy, vice president of energy and innovation at UH during the event.

The event featured UH dignitaries, alum, and subject-matter experts like Rob Stewart, professor of geophysics, and David Hume, business development specialist and geoscience specialist, which included in-depth analysis of India basins that focused on geological and geophysical locations, physiographical and tectonic settings, the role of hydrocarbon elements, and other areas of interest.

The center is part of a five-year agreement to help generate reliable information on the energy industry with seismic, well, reservoir and production data being at the forefront.

“UH and India have been able to come together and bring this to reality, for us this is very inspirational,” says Pankaj Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India. “We think that we are actually planting a seed for something very, very good because the multiplier effects of this are going to be incredible.”

Strategically located in Houston, which many consider an “energy capital,” Jain is excited for a set of “fresh eyes” to look at the data.

“If you’re here [in Houston], you’re at the nucleus from where everything will evolve,” Jain says to the University of Houston.

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A View From HETI

The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to Rice University. Photo via Rice.edu

A team of Rice University physicists has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Physics for their work in high-energy nuclear physics and research into a new state of matter.

The five-year $15.5 million grant will go towards Rice physics and astronomy professor Wei Li's discoveries focused on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), a large, general-purpose particle physics detector built on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, a European organization for nuclear research in France and Switzerland. The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to a statement from Rice.

Li's team will work to develop an ultra-fast silicon timing detector, known as the endcap timing layer (ETL), that will provide upgrades to the CMS detector. The ETl is expected to have a time resolution of 30 picoseconds per particle, which will allow for more precise time-of-flight particle identification.

This will also help boost the performance of the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), which is scheduled to launch at CERN in 2029, allowing it to operate at about 10 times the luminosity than originally planned. The ETL also has applications for other colliders apart from the LHC, including the DOE’s electron-ion collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.

“The ETL will enable breakthrough science in the area of heavy ion collisions, allowing us to delve into the properties of a remarkable new state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma,” Li explained in a statement. “This, in turn, offers invaluable insights into the strong nuclear force that binds particles at the core of matter.”

The ETL is also expected to aid in other areas of physics, including the search for the Higgs particle and understanding the makeup of dark matter.

Li is joined on this work by co-principal investigator Frank Geurts and researchers Nicole Lewis and Mike Matveev from Rice. The team is collaborating with others from MIT, Oak Ridge National Lab, the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Kansas.

Last year, fellow Rice physicist Qimiao Si, a theoretical quantum physicist, earned the prestigious Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship grant. The five-year fellowship, with up to $3 million in funding, will go towards his work to establish an unconventional approach to create and control topological states of matter, which plays an important role in materials research and quantum computing.

Meanwhile, the DOE recently tapped three Houston universities to compete in its annual startup competition focused on "high-potential energy technologies,” including one team from Rice.

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