Recent Chair Holders
In 2011, Dr. Lesley James was appointed as the inaugural Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering.
In late 2010, Chevron Canada Limited, the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) and Memorial University announced a five-year, $1-million dollar partnership to create a chair that would strengthen the capacity for petroleum engineering research in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Chevron's contribution of $500,000 is being utilized to establish the chair position. RDC is also investing $500,000 in partnership with Chevron to increase research and development in petroleum engineering given its importance to the future of Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore petroleum industry. Its funding comes from its Collaborative R&D Program.
Dr. James has a blend of academic and industry experience. She holds a PhD in chemical engineering and has worked as a management consultant. Her research, which is largely focused on enhanced oil recovery (EOR), aims to improve the percentage of oil recovered from petroleum reservoirs. As the Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering, Dr. James will research ways to maximize the recovery of oil from offshore Newfoundland and Labrador fields based on an understanding of their fluid-fluid and rock-fluid interactions. Dr. James is also excited by the opportunity this work provides to bring locally relevant, real-world data and industry challenges into the classroom and teaching laboratory.
The Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering represents a new focus on upstream oil and gas research at Memorial University. Dr. James will be leading this effort through a world-class program of applied research. It is also a further illustration of how Memorial, in partnership with industry and the RDC, is addressing the needs of and helping to build future prosperity for our province.
In 2010, Dr. Faisal Khan, a professor of process engineering in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was appointed as the new Vale Research Chair in Process Risk and Safety Engineering.
The chair is supported by Vale, the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Associated with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the chair will expand and support the faculty’s safety and risk engineering program. The research chair will strengthen the ongoing research, teaching and training initiative in this important area. It will also provide opportunities for students and professionals to acquire knowledge and skill in the area of safety and risk engineering, which is much desired in industry and other professional institutions.
The Vale Research Chair in Process Risk and Safety Engineering will support Memorial’s long-term vision to establish a cluster of scientists and engineers focused on supporting the minerals and oil and gas industries in the province and Vale’s goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate the incidence of disabling injuries and production loss at all operations and projects.
In addition to the above, the chair will develop highly trained personnel to create expertise and knowledge in the important area of safety and risk engineering, particularly in process systems relevant to mineral extraction and oil and gas processing. It will generate new data and develop advanced methodologies and models for risk assessment and design of safety measure for processing facilities. It will also develop expert tools for fault diagnosis and accident prevention in processing facilities, develop advanced systems for risk-based integrity management and loss prevention in harsh and remote operating conditions as well as develop novel methods for inherently safer process design and operations.
With a significant research record in the area of risk assessment and an international reputation in his area of expertise, Dr. Khan brings more than 15 years of experience to his position. He is also sought after by several companies from around the world to provide support and expert advice on safety and risk assessment. His research interests include safety and risk engineering, environmental risk modeling, life cycle analysis, computer aided process plant design and inherent safety. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Dr. Khan has authored four books and more than 150 internationally referred research papers.
Dr. Shawn Kenny
In 2009, Dr. Shawn Kenny, an associate professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was appointed as the Wood Group Chair in Arctic and Harsh Environments Engineering.
The Wood Group Chair, one of the largest research chair contributions at Memorial, is sponsored by international energy services company, John Wood Group PLC. As chair, Dr. Kenny is developing cutting edge technology for use in the Arctic and cold regions for the oil and gas industry.
Dr. Kenny is leading a team to explore how geohazards in Arctic and northern cold environments, such as permafrost and ice gouging, influence pipeline structural behavior and integrity. Pipelines provide an efficient and economic way to transport hydrocarbons over long distances. For offshore pipelines, a significant issue is bottom-scouring icebergs off Labrador and Newfoundland, where the pipeline will need to be buried in trenches on the seabed. Shawn and his team are building numerical models to simulate and thus predict how icebergs will interact with the seabed. These models will be calibrated through physical testing and compared with field data. Once their accuracy is confirmed, these engineering models can be applied to solve a broader class of problems.
Dr. Kenny’s technical areas of expertise include Arctic and offshore environmental loads, onshore and offshore pipeline engineering, computational mechanics, finite element methods, structural stability, post-buckling, limit states design, risk analysis, structural dynamics and impact engineering.
He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Canadian Geotechnical Society, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador, Professional Institute of Pipeline Engineers and Society of Petroleum Engineers. Dr. Kenny is also Chair of Offshore Pipelines Subcommittee of Canadian Standards Association Z662 Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems and a member of the Canadian Advisory Committee for ISO TC 67/SC 2 Pipeline Transportation Systems.
In 2009, Dr. Ralf Bachmayer, an associate professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, was appointed as the Canada Research Chair in Ocean Technology and received the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award.
Dr. Bachmayer’s research involves using autonomous underwater vehicles to push the boundaries of oceanographic research and exploration, in particular for under-ice applications.
Dr. Bachmayer is spearheading research on autonomous underwater gliders, a type of underwater vehicle that ‘glides’ through the water column, using a change in ballast to ascend and descend and wings to develop forward motion not unlike a soaring plane in the air. Because of their ultra low power design and gentle motions, gliders can soar through the oceans for weeks or months at a time collecting invaluable data along their way.
Dr. Bachmayer received his engineering degree in electrical engineering from the Technische Universität Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany. He then worked as a visiting researcher at the Deep Submergence Laboratory of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. After he received his M.Sc. and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, he joined the Dynamical Control Systems Laboratory at Princeton University as an associate researcher. Then, he joined the National Research Council of Canada Institute for Ocean Technology in St. John's as an associate research officer where he worked until his appointment at Memorial University came into effect.
Since coming to Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, he has been establishing the Autonomous Ocean Systems Laboratory (AOSL), which was officially opened in June 2010.