Legends of Artificial Lift (2018)
- Greg Stephenson (Occidental Petroleum) | Jeanne M. Perdue (Occidental Petroleum)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 44 - 47
- 2018. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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The 2018 SPE Legends of Artificial Lift Award recipients are Ken Decker, Cleon Dunham, Bill Lane, Tony Podio, and Lyle Wilson.
Ken Decker has practiced gas lift for more than 30 years and is considered an expert in the use of gas lift valve performance, design, and troubleshooting. He has served on numerous API and ISO committees writing standards for gas lift equipment design and testing, and he has written numerous SPE papers on gas lift valve performance. After earning his BS degree in 1971 from Michigan State University, he worked on gas lift projects around the world, first with Teledyne Merla, then Otis Engineering. Upon his retirement from Otis in 1993, Decker formed his consulting business, Decker Technology.
William C. “Bill” Lane
Bill Lane has worked in the oil and gas industry for 40 years, first for Otis Engineering (now Halliburton Energy Services), and more recently for Weatherford International, where he held vice president positions over artificial lift research and development, elastomer systems, PCP systems, artificial lift emerging technologies, and artificial lift training. He was a founding member of the Artificial Lift Research and Development Council (ALRDC) and served as chairperson of the R&D committee. He holds a BS in mechanical engineering and an MS in mechanical engineering design, both from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Augusto L. (Tony) Podio
Tony Podio is a petroleum engineering consultant in Austin, Texas, specializing in artificial lift. Formerly he was a professor in the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught and directed research in the areas of drilling and production. He was a visiting professor at the Norwegian Institute of Technology and at the Australian School of Petroleum at the University of Adelaide. He holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BS in mining and petroleum engineering from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.
Cleon Dunham graduated from Cornell University in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. He worked for Shell Oil Company for 36 years, the last few as coordinator of oilfield automation and artificial lift for Shell’s worldwide producing operations in the Netherlands. Shell was one of the earliest pioneers of artificial lift automation, and Dunham was the technology’s biggest cheerleader. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Shell developed automation technologies for rod pumps, ESPs, and gas lift. He was instrumental in the development of these technologies and was an ardent champion of their use. The technology evolved from vans that drove from pumping unit to pumping unit collecting dynamometer cards, to real-time surveillance systems that delivered the data directly from the well to the engineer’s desktop. In SPE paper 3967, “Bridging the Information Gap Between Operations and Engineering,” He describes that early work and the significance of automation technology in production and operations. Although the paper was written in 1973, the ideas presented are still relevant today.
B. Lyle Wilson
“In 1964 my college funding at the University of Tulsa dried up, and I entered the field of artificial lift on the night shift with Centrilift,” ESP expert Lyle Wilson recalls. “My [lack of] collegiate progress was noticed by the Selective Service system, and I was given an opportunity for training, travel, and adventure. Returning from Vietnam, I finished my BS mechanical engineering degree at University of Tulsa in 1972 and officially started my career. I worked in directional drilling, fracking, and completions before I returned to ESP artificial lift.”
Wilson spent 20 years working for Oil Dynamics (ODI), eventually reaching the position of chief engineer. He ended up back at Centrilift when ODI was purchased by Baker Hughes and merged with the Centrilift division, and he finally retired as a senior research advisor, though he continues to work with Baker Hughes as a third-party contractor.
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