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Christopher White

Christopher White

Associate Professor
Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering

What was your previous position and where?

Immediately after my graduation with a Ph.D., I joined Shell as a research scientist at the Bellaire Technology Center in Houston. I then joined an interdisciplinary research group at The Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin, Texas, as a research scientist.

What brought you to LSU?

I have always been interested in teaching, but wasn’t actively looking for a faculty position until Zaki Bassiouni, the former chairman of the department of petroleum engineering and dean of engineering, called me. That personal contact got my attention. After visiting, the collegial atmosphere of the department, the energy of the students and the strong support of industry left me convinced that there was a real opportunity here.

What is your current title at LSU? I am an associate professor in petroleum engineering. I also have formal appointments in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and at the Center for Computation and Technology.

What is your research interest?

My research focuses on improving the descriptions of rocks that contain oil, gas and water. These descriptions are important to plan and manage energy, water and CO2 mitigation projects. Because the rocks are usually quite deep, we have few data and so the models are very uncertain. The challenge is building realistic, efficient models that include all that we know but are free to “wiggle” a bit to reflect our uncertainty.

What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?

I want LSU to have an international reputation in building geologic models that are data-rich and useful. I’d also like to see initiatives in unconventional gas development including geothermal energy. Oftentimes, faculty measure their research accomplishments based on grant awards or publications. Those are important, but for me the real measure is whether I’ve had Ph.D. students that have taught me and who’ve gone onto good positions that they’re happy with. To me, that’s the most important part of my job. So, I want LSU, especially petroleum engineering, to be known for that sort of growth and opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about LSU?

I like the gentle climate and the beautiful campus; it’s halfway to the Caribbean.

What are your major accomplishments?

We’ve really raised the profile of the department nationally, and this is beginning to be reflected in rankings. My main contribution has been to work with other researchers around the campus, state and nation. This is allowing us to pursue new research areas and share resources more effectively. Good students make this happen. I’m very proud of my current and former students and how much they’ve helped engage petroleum engineering with the rest of the campus.


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