Shell Appoints Three Chief Scientists

Shell today announced the appointment of three chief scientists to cover the critical industry disciplines of exploration, unconventional oil, and in-well technology. This further strengthens Shell’s existing group of six top scientific experts. Expanding its group of chief scientists underscores the importance Shell places on delivering targeted responses to the challenges of a rapidly changing energy landscape, including demand of business customers.

“These appointments further differentiate Shell as an industry leader in technology and innovation. The chief scientists are critical solution drivers for our business today and in future,” said Gerald Schotman, Chief Technology Officer for Royal Dutch Shell. ”Our chief scientists have been pivotal ambassadors for Shell’s technology, promoting thought-leadership in their specific areas of expertise and beyond amongst academia and industry. Against the backdrop of a vast energy challenge, our decision to further enhance this value-adding concept is a clear and logical step.”

The chief scientists were chosen for their strong technical capabilities, outstanding breadth and depth of expertise as well as having achieved both internal and external recognition for their contributions in the field of energy. They play an important role in Shell’s vision to become the world’s most innovative and competitive energy company. The following appointments are effective immediately.

Dirk Smit, VP of Exploration Technologies, will be Chief Scientist for Geophysics. Dirk received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands. Before he joined Shell in 1992, he taught on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley. Dirk has worked as Chief Geophysicist for Shell UK and as Technology Manager for Global Exploration. He was awarded the EAGE Ludwig Mintrop Award in Geophysics in 2002.

Outside Shell, Dirk is a Visiting Scientist at MIT and holds a Visiting Professorship in Geoscience at the Chinese University of Petroleum in Beijing. He served as a member of the U.S. National Research Council on Solid Earth Observations from 2004 - 2007 and is a member of The Netherlands’ National Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter and of the Physics branch of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

John Karanikas, Chief Subsurface Engineer in Unconventional Oil, will be Chief Scientist for Reservoir Engineering. After graduating with a Ph.D. in physics from Ohio State University, John joined Shell in 1991 and has worked as a research physicist and a reservoir engineer at Shell’s Bellaire Technology Center in Houston, Texas. He drove the development a thermal recovery method for unconventional oil, including oil shale and heavy oil, in which he holds over 70 patents.

Vianney Koelman, Team Leader of In-Well Technology, will be Chief Scientist for Petrophysics. He earned a Ph.D. in engineering sciences from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. In addition to heading Petrophysics for Europe and Africa, Vianney has held research and operational positions in the Netherlands, the UK, Nigeria, Oman, and the U.S., where he is currently stationed. From Houston, Vianney leads R&D projects on technologies enabling effective well and reservoir surveillance.


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