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Iraj Ershaghi to Receive High Honor from Society of Petroleum Engineers

The Viterbi School’s internationally known expert on petroleum technology adds another distinction to a lengthy list

July 07, 2010 —

The Viterbi School’s Omar Milligan Professor, who directs the USC Petroleum Engineering Program, will receive the SPE's John Franklin Carll Distinguished Professional Award for 2010.

Iraj Ershaghi
Iraj Ershaghi is also a professor in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Co-Executive Director of the Chevron–USC Center for Smart Oilfield Technologies at USC.

He is a longtime researcher in and teacher of advanced computer-aided techniques for ‘smart’ wells, and was creator with the school's Distance Education Network of the first online master's degree program in Smart Oilfield Technology. He was appointed by the Department of Energy to serve as the director of the West Coast Technology Transfer Council during 1996-2006.

He was informed of the Carll award in a letter from SPE President Behrooz Fattahi, noting "well-deserved recognition." The award will be presented Sept. 21, 2010 at the  Awards Banquet of SPE's Annual Technical Conference and Exposition, in Florence, Italy.

The John Franklin Carll Distinguished Professional Award is presented "for distinguished contribution in the application of engineering principles to petroleum development and recovery."

"The John Franklin Carll Award is one of the highest awards the Society bestows, and recognizes Iraj's remarkable contributions to the profession over the years," said Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. "On behalf of his faculty colleagues, I am very pleased to see that his outstanding work is being acknowledged, particularly at this critical time. Please join me in congratulating Iraj on his receipt of this important honor.

In late 2009, Ershaghi was elected unanimously to the board of directors of the non-profit Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, for "contributions to engineering education and research."

The Society of Petroleum Engineers most recent previous recognition of his achievements came in 2006, when he received the PET Education Service Award. Ershaghi's previous honors include the SPE Distinguished Faculty Award in 1983, Distinguished Member Award in 1996, and North American Western Region Distinguished Service Award in 2005; also SPE's Technology Transfer Award for Development of the Smart Oilfield Technology Curriculum in 2006, and the society’s Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award in 2007. He also served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer (September 2006 - June 2007).

Ershaghi received the USC School of Engineering Distinguished Service Award in 1996. He is a Member of the New York Academy of Sciences (2000), a Fellow of the Institute for Advancement of Engineering (2002), a recipient of the 2003 Outstanding Educator Award of the American Association for Advancement of Engineering and a recipient of Outstanding Educator Award of the Orange County Council of Engineers and Scientists in 2003. 

He completed his graduate studies at USC with an MS and PhD in petroleum engineering in 1968 and 1972, respectively. He worked for SIRIP, Signal Oil and Gas Company and California State Lands Commission, before joining the faculty at USC.

John Franklin Carll was a geologist born in1828 who developed many of the subsurface geological methods still in use today. More than a century ago, he expressed the principles of petroleum engineering and geology that established much of the framework for the development of petroleum engineering technology. Carll’s invention of the static pressure sand pump, a removable pump chamber, and an adjustable sleeve for piston rods were of significance to the petroleum industry. Present day geologists often refer to Carll’s reports for data on the early oil industry.

The SPE, founded in 1957, has as its mission “to collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence.”