UT Petroleum Engineer Appointed to National Committee Analyzing BP Spill


The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council have selected Dr. Paul Bommer, a faculty member in the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, to serve on a national committee analyzing the cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. 

“This is an important committee,” said Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering in requesting Dr. Bommer’s participation.  “The study committee will examine the probable causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire and oil spill in order to identify measures for preventing similar harm in the future.”

The committee’s project will be conducted jointly by the National Academy of Engineering, the Transportation Research Board's Studies and Special Programs Division and the Division of Life and Earth Studies' Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology.

Bommer’s appointment will be finalized after the National Research Council completes a review of the full committee’s composition and balance, and conflict-of-interest issues, and comments are received from the public through the National Academies’ website.

The National Research Council is a private, nonprofit institution that is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.  The council provides scientific and technical advice to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities.  Committee members serve as individuals who make available their personal knowledge and expertise in the national interest.

Bommer teaches courses at The University of Texas at Austin in drilling and production, drawing on his 25 years of industry experience in drilling and production operations.  He earned his Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from the university.

Bommer served as the only petroleum engineer in the federal government's Flow Rate Technical Group, estimating oil flow from the BP well.  As a member of the “plume team,” The University of Texas at Austin's Bommer provided conventional petroleum engineering calculations to estimate the escaping oil. 

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