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“Oil in Troubled Waters” Public Forum Examines the Cause, Consequences and Cost of Spill in the Gulf

LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings moderates discussion by University experts in petroleum engineering, geology, law, business, and environment


AUSTIN, Texas, May 13, 2010--The worsening deepwater oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico coast was the topic of a public briefing and discussion by several university experts in petroleum engineering, geology, law, business and environment Tuesday, May 18, sponsored by the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.

The briefing, titled “Oil in Troubled Waters” featured leading university experts in areas of petroleum engineering, environment, public policy, law and geosciences. It was moderated by Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.   The program addressed issues about the Deepwater Horizon disaster, including the cause, consequences and cost of the oil spill.

Speakers included David Adelman, the Harry M. Reasoner Chair in Law at the School of Law; Dr. Tadeusz W Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering No. 11 and the Lois K. and Richard D. Folger Leadership Chair in Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering; Dr. Paul Bommer, founder of the oil and gas drilling and production operation Bommer Engineering Co. and senior lecturer in petroleum engineering; Dr. Charles G. Groat, director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Programs; Dr. Sheridan Titman, the Walter W. McAllister Centennial Chair in Financial Services, Red McCombs School of Business, and Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, director of the Energy Institute.

The panelists discussed what is now known about the cause of the accident, the unique problems in controlling and plugging a well in waters 5,000 feet deep, and what needs to be done to minimize the likelihood of an accident at these depths occurring in the future. Some of the panelists have had experience in consulting and other working relationships with energy companies and/or environmental organizations.

Panelists described the environmental damage that is occurring, the potential long-term effects on ecosystems and fish populations as well as the options for mitigating damage.  Legal and financial issues were addressed, such as who is liable for the damage, liability limits and the impact of the accident on BP and other companies involved with the drilling activities at the time of the accident.

 For more information, contact Charles Cooke, Energy Institute, 512-475-6397 or


Bloomberg News - BP Spill May Be Less Than Doomsayers Think by Tadeusz Patzek - June 22, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin - Petroleum Engineering Faculty Member Aids Oil Spill Estimates - June 15, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin - Texas Marine Scientist Studies Oil Spill Effects on Oxygen Levels in the Gulf of Mexico 'Dead Zone' - June 14, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin - Tad Patzek Briefs U.S. Congress on BP Spill - June 9, 2010

Cockrell School of Engineering - UT Engineering Faculty, Researchers Consulted on Oil Spill

The University of Texas at Austin - Scientists Produce 3-D Models of Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico Using Ranger Supercomputer - June 3, 2010


The Washington Post - Each day, another way to define worst-case for oil spill - June 23, 2010

Austin American Statesman- Gulf oil spill keeping UT researchers busy - June 22, 2010

The Age-Daily News from Melbourne, Australia - Clean-up proves a cautionary tale - June 19, 2010

The Guardian - BP's Gulf well holds enough oil to spew out for two years, claims expert - June 18, 2010

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - BP plan invites skeptics - June 18, 2010

BBC News - Could explosives seal off the Gulf oil leak - June 16, 2010

NPR - Rig explosion is a by-product of complex systems - June 16, 2010

The Houston Chronicle - Interior secretary defends drilling ban - June 9, 2010

Detroit News - Oil Spill Details Murky - June 9, 2010

Associated Press - Oil spill facts seem as murky as stricken waters - June 8, 2010

Associated Press - Professor: Spill Flow May Be Higher Than Estimates - June 8, 2010

Bloomberg Business Week - BP Proposes Larger Oil-Capture Plan for Gulf Well, Allen Says - June 8, 2010

The New York Times - In Gulf, It Was Unclear Who Was in Charge of Rig - June 5, 2010

MSNBC - '79 Gulf Spill leavers sobering lessons for BP - June 4, 2010

Science Insider - Where is the Oil Headed - June 3, 2010

NPR - On Point - Drastic Measures for the Gulf - June 3, 2010

NPR - The Diane Rehm Show - Update on Gulf Oil Spill - June 1, 2010

Bloomberg Businessweek - BP Robots to Begin Next  Attempt to Curb Record Spill (Update 3) - June 1, 2010

Seattle Times - Officials: Oil Leak May Last Months - June 1, 2010

Austin American Statesman - Relief for Gulf is 2 months away with another well - May 31, 2010

Bloomberg Businessweek -BP Uses 'Junk Shot,' Calls Oil Spill a 'Catastrophe' (Update 2) - May 28, 2010

Science - How to Kill a Well with Gravity - May 27, 2010

The New York Times - BP Used Riskier Method to Seal Well Before Blast - May 26, 2010

PBS Newshour- BP Moves Ahead with Tricky 'Top Kill' Procedure to Stop Oil Leak - May 26, 2010

 Dallas Morning News - Deepwater Horizon, UT supercomputing and future problem solving - May 26, 2010

The Washington Post - BP ready to go for 'top kill' to try to plug oil well - May 26, 2010

ComputerWorld - Researchers race to produce 3D models of BP oil spill - May 26, 2010

ABC News - BP Tries to Fix Gulf Oil Leak  - May 25, 2010

KEYE-TV- Austin first to get stunning images of oil spill - May 25, 2010

Financial Times Blog - Moving in for the 'top kill' - May 25, 2010

The Houston Chronicle - Experts have their doubts on well's design - May 25, 2010

LA Times - Oil spill caused by 'a confluence of unfortunate events' - May 23, 2010

Austin American Statesman - UT academics talk about effect of Gulf oil spill - May 18, 2010

News 8 Austin - UT petroleum experts to study consequences of oil spill - May 18, 2010

KUT Radio - UT Panel Analyzes BP Oil Spill - May 18, 2010

Austin American Statesman - Learning more about the oil spill without leaving Austin - May 17. 2010