Michael Economides, University of Houston (UH) professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering, passed away from a heart attack over the weekend while flying from Madrid to Chile. He was 64. He is survived by his wife, Christine, and sons John and Alexander.
Economides was widely respected as an energy expert, particularly in petroleum engineering and energy geopolitics. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1997 Production Engineering Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He received his Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University in 1984, according to his UH biography.
“He is a globally recognized expert in hydraulic fracturing, in production techniques, generally,” said Tom Holley, director of the petroleum engineering program at UH, in a press release. “Very outspoken, but well-reasoned.”
Research areas of Economides included complex well architecture in petroleum production, reservoir stimulation theory and offshore technology development in deep waters. He also developed tools to measure the near-well state of stress in elastic and plastic rocks.
“He got into the whole space of horizontal drilling,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer at UH. “How do you effectively stimulate horizontal drilling? He was a strong proponent of hydraulic fracturing. He put a lot of science behind it. He would go into the field, and things would start to happen.”
Economides was well thought of by his students, Krishnamoorti said.
“He made you think. His emotions were on his sleeve. His students absolutely loved him.”
Economides, who wrote or co-authored at least 15 books and many journal papers and journal publications, co-authored “The Color of Oil: The History, the Money and the Politics of the World’s Biggest Business” with Ronald Oligney and Armando Izquierdo.
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