Foundation CMG’s $1.25M gift establishes industrial chair in EMS

December 16, 2014

The CMG Reservoir Simulation Foundation (Foundation CMG) recently gave funds to establish a new industrial chair in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ (EMS) John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME) at Penn State. The five-year, $1.25 million gift will be used to fund the Foundation CMG Industrial Chair in Fluid Behavior and Rock Interactions.

Luis Ayala, Russell Johns, and Zuleima Karpyn have jointly been named the inaugural holders of the industrial chair. The research supported through the new chair will be primarily directed towards enhanced oil recovery, CO2 sequestration, and characterization and modeling of unconventional tight reservoirs. This research will further EME’s research and teaching programs that address the scientific, technical, business and social challenges related to energy and earth resources and systems.

“Pennsylvania recently passed Louisiana and is second in the nation after Texas in gas production,” said Turgay Ertekin, head of EME and professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering. “The Marcellus and Utica shale formations have been the most significant recent developments in this regard, but Pennsylvania has also been at the forefront of reform in electric power and renewable energy policy. Pennsylvania has become a major energy economy and one of the most vibrant places in the United States to study technical, business and policy issues related to energy resources and technologies.”

During the past five years, the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering has served to address those needs through innovative undergraduate and graduate programs and path-breaking research in a large number of energy fields. This new chair will complement the current expansion at Penn State in the area of natural gas research and engineering.

“We are delighted to have CMG Reservoir Simulation Foundation join us, as we see their generous support as a vote of confidence in our efforts,” said Ertekin.

Co-chair Luis Ayala is an associate professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, associate head for graduate education in EME, and co-director of the Unconventional Natural Resources Consortium.

“This industrial chair represents an extraordinary opportunity to deepen collaboration between industry and Penn State and provides additional momentum to our ongoing research efforts in the area of unconventional reservoir systems,” said Ayala. “We are deeply grateful to Foundation CMG for its support and look forward to a very productive partnership.”

Co-chair Russell Johns is a professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering and holder of the Victor and Anna Mae Beghini Faculty Fellowship. Johns also is the director of the Enhanced Oil Recovery Flooding Joint Industry Project and co-director of the Unconventional Natural Resources Consortium.

“We are very thankful to the Foundation CMG for selecting us for this inaugural chair,” said Johns. “This chair will allow us to develop innovative techniques for increased oil recovery in both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. Penn State has a storied history in the initial development of waterflooding, and this chair re-affirms this area of excellence.”

Co-chair Zuleima Karpyn is an associate professor and the/a Quentin E. and Louise L. Wood Endowed Faculty Fellow of petroleum and natural gas engineering.

“The Foundation CMG industrial chair is a tremendous asset to Penn State, one that will present valuable opportunities for collaboration with other Foundation CMG chair holders and leading research institutions around the world,” said Karpyn.

Founded in 1978, Foundation CMG was initially developed at the University of Calgary in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department. Focusing on reservoir simulation, Foundation CMG promotes and funds the research and development of the technology of fluid flow and biochemical reactions in porous media. For more information about Foundation CMG, visit

Organizations like Foundation CMG are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of our faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University's colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

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Last Updated December 16, 2014