Shell Energy Day at Purdue shines spotlight on oil and natural gas exploration, impacts

September 19, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Shell Energy Day at Purdue University on Thursday (Sept. 22) will delve into the industry challenges, environmental impacts and student career opportunities in oil and natural gas exploration.

Shell Energy Day, sponsored this year by Discovery Park's Center for the Environment, will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Dean's Auditorium at Pfendler Hall. A poster session highlighting student interdisciplinary research projects is from 1-3:30 p.m.

The event, titled New Frontiers in Oil and Natural Gas Exploration, is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged by Tuesday (Sept. 20) because seating is limited. For a complete list of speakers and registration information, go online to

"We are building on last year's very successful Shell Energy Day to offer an impressive lineup of speakers again this year as we build the bridge to advance research from fossil fuels to the next generation of energy production," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director for the Energy Center and the Center for the Environment. "Students also are invited to interact with industry leaders and network with executives to investigate future career directions."

Shell representatives will conduct an information session during lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. Free pizza will provided to registered students.

Purdue mechanical engineering professor Steve Wereley will lead the panel discussion, Offshore Oil Spill Containment, which will run from 8:15-9:15 a.m. A second panel discussion, led by David Wolf, a structural geologist for Shell International Exploration & Production, will focus on Technical and Commercial Challenges of Ultra Deepwater Exploration from 9:15-10:15 a.m.

The morning session will wrap up with the discussion, Natural Gas and the Logistics of Changing Infrastructures, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Moderator is Srinivas Peeta, a Purdue civil engineering professor and director of NEXTRANS, an interdisciplinary research center in Discovery Park working to improve transportation efficiency and safety.

Panelists are Peter Velez, global emergency response manager for Shell Energy Resources Co.; John Casassa, principal deepwater completion and well intervention engineer for Shell International Exploration & Production; Ian Craig, business development adviser, Upstream Americas, Clean Energy and Innovation at Shell Exploration & Production; and Mark Lester, former executive vice president for exploration at Chesapeake Energy and a Purdue alumnus.

From Purdue, scheduled panelists are Chad Jafvert, professor of civil engineering; and James Ogg and William Zinsmeister, both professors of earth and atmospheric sciences.

Event sponsors are Shell Oil Co., and the Energy Center and the Center for the Environment in Purdue's Discovery Park.

Houston-based Shell Energy, a subsidiary of Shell Oil, has 93,000 employees worldwide. It operates 30 refineries and chemical plants globally, producing 3.3 million barrels of gas and oil daily. Forty-eight percent of the company's production is natural gas. Shell also has 43,000 Shell service stations worldwide.

Shell Energy Day is a prelude for Green Week 2011, which runs from Sept. 26-30. Purdue will highlight its sustainability efforts during a series of campus and community activities on the Purdue Mall, Stadium Mall and throughout Lafayette-West Lafayette. For more information, go to

Actor, author and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. will be the Discovery Lecture Series keynote speaker at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. His talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled "Live Simply So That Others Can Simply Live."

The Center for the Environment, the Global Sustainability Initiative, Discovery Park and the Lilly Endowment are sponsoring Begley's visit, his second to Purdue since 2009. Through a $1 million gift to Discovery Park from the Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the Discovery Lecture Series for bringing prominent speakers to campus.

Purdue's Center for the Environment, located in Discovery Park, is examining how to protect the environment while sustaining a global economy. Researchers are studying ways to model and predict the impact of activity on ecosystems, monitor environmental quality, manage natural resources, and develop technologies that will help create a cleaner environment.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Source: Pankaj Sharma, 765-496-7452,