Legislators and others gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday as University of Wyoming officials announced a $3 million donation for energy research by Halliburton.
The oil field services company employs about 1,500 people in Wyoming. The company’s chairman, president and CEO, Dave Lesar, was at the announcement, where he was personally thanked by Gov. Matt Mead. The governor flew to Houston last year with UW officials to request the donation.
A total of $2 million from Halliburton will be used to help construct a new UW energy and engineering research complex. Another $1 million from the company will help fund research into unconventional reservoirs.
The total cost of building the 81,000 square-foot High Bay Research Facility in Laramie is $30 million. Half of the money will be raised privately and matched by the state under an appropriation from the Legislature.
UW President Dick McGinity said the university is now only $2 million away from its fundraising goal, and a private donation to complete the project will be announced in the near future.
The new facility will house a digital rock physics lab, geomechanics lab, a core-flood facility and a structural engineering lab.
The Halliburton donation is another in a series of major partnerships between the university and the energy industry in recent years. The UW Energy Innovation Center (EIC), a 27,300 square-foot facility, was opened last year and houses the School of Energy Resources. The center was also funded by a combination of private and state resources.
Mead said Halliburton and other donors are “creating a brighter future” for both the state and the nation.
“We want to develop leading technologies to make energy production more efficient, safer and better for the environment,” the governor said.
Mead added that energy companies can invest their research dollars anywhere. “We thank Halliburton for being the latest company to choose UW,” he said.
Other companies involved in the EIC project include Hess, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Ultra Petroleum, Baker Hughes and Shell.
Mohammad Piri, UW associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, will collaborate with scientists and engineers from Halliburton to better understand characteristics of oil and gas reservoirs and how to effectively improve the recovery using existing processes and technology.
UW officials said the institution’s strategic plan for energy programs focuses on unconventional reservoirs, adding steps in Wyoming’s chain of natural gas and coal production to mitigate boom-and-bust cycles, and renewable resources.