A professor in the Cullen College of Engineering's Petroleum Engineering Department and the William A. Brookshire Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering has been recognized with the Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) Honorary Member Award.
Birol Dindoruk is the American Association of Drilling Engineers Endowed Professor of Petroleum Engineering & Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the recipient of the award from the SPE.
According to the organization, “Honorary Membership is the highest honor SPE confers upon an individual. It is limited to 0.1 percent of SPE’s total membership and is conferred on individuals for outstanding service to SPE or in recognition of distinguished scientific or engineering achievement in fields encompassed in SPE’s technical scope.”
In a speech accepting his award, Dindoruk noted that he could not have become the scientist he is today without the support he received from his SPE membership, which began almost 40 years ago in 1985.
“I was a freshman at the age of 16,” he said. “If you had asked my 16-year-old self whether I could ever been on this stage accepting this award, I would have answered that you must have lost your mind.”
He added, “My passion for research and curiosity for learning were fueled by scientific publications and interactions in workshops and meetings enabled by SPE. In my current role as a Professor of Petroleum Engineering and as well as Chemical Engineering at the University of Houston, I am sharing my experiences and knowledge with the next generation of SPE’s student members and young professionals by volunteering, teaching and mentoring, and also advocating service work for SPE and the industry as a whole.”
Dindoruk noted that while he had received lots of support from colleagues and friends at UH, Stanford and Shell over the years, there was one person that was instrumental above all others.
“I would like to thank my wife and better half Deniz, or perhaps I should say Dr. Sumnu-Dindoruk. She had to put up with my busy professional life, travels and voluntary work, and at the same raising three kids and developing a successful career for herself in our industry. I will repeat what I wrote in my thesis in 1992: 'Thank you Deniz, you never let me forget that there is more to life than a bunch of equations.'”
Dindoruk has been recognized several times in the past by the SPE and other organizations. He has earned the SPE's Lester C. Uren Award, the Cedric K. Ferguson Medal, and Distinguished Membership before this latest honor.
In 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his theoretical and practical contributions to enhanced oil recovery and CO2 sequestration. He was the SPE Data Science and Engineering Analytics Technical Director, SPE Reservoir Dynamics and Description Technical Discipline Advisory Committee member, and SPE Distinguished Lecturer.
He has also been active in various editorial positions under SPE and Elsevier and has been the only person who lead, as an editor in chief, the top three journals in the area of petroleum and gas science & engineering. He is currently the editor in chief for SPE’s peer-reviewed journals and previous editor in chief of Elsevier’s Journal of Natural Gas and Engineering.
Dindoruk earned his doctorate in petroleum engineering and mathematics from Stanford. He earned his master's degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Alabama, and his bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul. He has also earned an MBA from the University of Houston.
Dindoruk also serves as the PI for the Center for Low Carbon Energy & Subsurface Engineering at the University of Houston, running Interaction of Phase Behavior and Flow Consortium and Carbon Capture Utilization & Storage Consortium, with more than 20 industrial partners. He became a full-time faculty member at UH starting with the Fall 2020 semester, and previously, taught as an adjunct professor since 1999. He is also consulting professor at Stanford University and he taught a graduate-level course on Theory of Gas Injection Processes class from 2014 to 2016.