Can O&G Drilling Methods Help Mars Exploration?

By Eric Haun
Friday, May 23, 2014
Alfred William Eustes III

As the search for oil and gas reserves continues, exploration and production activities are occurring in increasingly harsh environments and drilling is going deeper than ever before. An experienced petroleum engineer is set to explain exactly how far this could extend – namely to Mars - at a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Aberdeen presentation and dinner meeting this month.

Professor Alfred William Eustes III, a petroleum engineering and drilling specialist, will talk at the SPE Aberdeen monthly dinner and networking meeting on May 28. His involvement in drilling operations, coring and resonant sonic drillings across the U.S. has led to advising NASA on extra-terrestrial drilling issues and the National Science Foundation on ice coring and drilling in Antarctica and Greenland.

Ahead of the event, Professor Eustes said, “Whilst no organic life has ever been found on Mars, it is possible that a large biomass could exist under the surface, similar to Earth. To determine if this is true, drilling will be required to access the subsurface and the techniques used in oil and gas exploration activities are well suited to future exploratory missions.”

Eustes explained, “As part of my presentation, I will discuss the current plans for Martian subsurface exploration, the techniques that are required to get there and also how what we learn about drilling there could impact us here on Earth.”

Alfred William Eustes III is an associate professor in petroleum engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, where he has taught for 17 years. As well as teaching and conducting specialist drilling and completions research, he also has more than 35 years’ experience as a professional engineer.

Anthony Onukwu, chairman of SPE Aberdeen, said, “We are honored to have secured a speaker of Professor Eustes’ stature, to discuss this extremely interesting and unusual topic. This is still a relatively new area of discussion which has gained traction in recent years, with the technology advancements allowing it to become a viable concept. This is the first time that an SPE Aberdeen event will delve into the world of extra-terrestrial drilling and we look forward Professor Eustes’ presentation.”

‘Extra-terrestrial drilling: how on Earth can Martian drilling help us?’ will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28 at the Douglas Hotel, Aberdeen. The technical presentation will be following by a networking dinner.

spe-uk.org
 

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