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LSU Today Flagship Faculty

John Smith

John Rogers Smith

Associate Professor
Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering

What was your previous position and where?

Before coming to LSU as a graduate student in 1994, I was a senior engineering associate at a major oil company, where I worked for 23 years.

What brought you to LSU?

Several factors influenced my decision to come to LSU to pursue a Ph.D. The most important was my prior experience with the petroleum engineering faculty and their graduates. I knew that they taught engineering practice and how theory supported that practice, that they worked as a team rather than competing with each other and that they worked hard to support their studentsí success. The opportunities to be supported by a Board of Regents fellowship and stay in Louisiana were also important. My experience as an instructor while completing my Ph.D. convinced me that I should stay at LSU as a faculty member.

What is your research interest?

I am interested in a broad range of operational and engineering issues related to drilling wells to find and produce oil and gas. Prevention of oil and gas blowouts is the focus of my current research on an evolving technology described as managed pressure drilling. It is supported by the LSU Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory, which is the best full-scale research facility in North America for conducting the work. The other area that I am working on with a team of LSU faculty members is improving drill bit performance to improve the cost effectiveness of deep drilling, like that done in the Tuscaloosa trend near Baton Rouge.

What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?

My primary goal is to continue the legacy of the Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering, which is an exceptional program for developing engineering professionals, especially to work in the areas of drilling engineering, operations, research and instruction.

What do you enjoy most about LSU?

I enjoy most the many different opportunities to contribute to the current and future success of our students, LSU and the petroleum engineering profession. The range of these opportunities at LSU far exceeds what was possible in an industrial organization and is enhanced by both the autonomy and the collaboration that can be practiced here.

What are your major accomplishments?

My major accomplishments are: 1) contributing to the preparation of our graduates to begin responsible petroleum engineering careers, especially helping students practice blowout prevention using the unique field-scale facilities at the LSU Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology Transfer Laboratory; 2) being the advisor for three Ph.D. and 12 masterís graduates, who have all begun or returned to more successful careers in the oil and gas industry; and 3) contributing to the reputation of LSU as a source of practical drilling knowledge and technologies. Creating the successful LSU Managed Pressure Drilling Well Control Research Consortium, with six industry participants, has helped sustain this reputation.


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