Dr. Meddaugh

Presenter: Dr. W. Scott Meddaugh, Robert L. Bolin Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Geology, Midwestern State University

Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Location: Wichita Falls Art Museum at Midwestern State University

Description: Fracking - Just the Facts, Please

Fracking, better referred to as hydraulic fracturing, has been used in the petroleum industry for many decades to enhance production from wells in conventional oil and natural gas reservoirs.  With the discovery two decades or so ago that large scale hydraulic fracturing in combination with long reach horizontal drilling could be used to economically develop the huge unconventional shale gas or shale oil reservoirs in the United States and many other countries has the term fracking entered the common language.  There is no question that fracking the unconventional oil and gas reservoirs in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states has its proponents and its detractors.   Fracking has become so controversial that separating fact from fiction, known from unknown, and reality from speculation has become difficult for the non-specialist. 

This talk will focus on what is known and unknown about fracking and its impact at several scales – from the individual land owner to the United States and to the global community.   Specific questions to be addressed include:

  • What is fracking?

  • Has fracking contaminated groundwater or surface water supplies?

  • Does fracking produce earthquakes?

  • What are the longer term societal and environmental impacts of fracking at the local, national, and international scale?

  • Is additional oversight of the fracking industry needed?  And if so, what kind of oversight?


Dr. W. Scott Meddaugh joined the Midwestern State University faculty in August 2013 as the Robert L. Bolin Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Geology.  He has over 32 years of major oil company experience with Chevron and Gulf.  His focus areas included reservoir characterization and modeling (static and dynamic), subsurface uncertainty assessment, geostatistics, and high end technical software development and deployment. His career with Chevron includes several years of supervisory and technical project management experience, including international major capital projects.  He has worked on major reservoir projects worldwide including projects in the Permian Basin, California, Louisiana, Texas, and Wyoming as well as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Argentina, and West Africa.

He received a PhD in geology from Harvard University in 1983.  He is a member of the AAPG, SPE, EAGE, and GSA.  He also serves as an Associate Editor of the SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Evaluation Journal and is a technical editor for several other industry journals.  In 2014 he received a Distinguished Technical Editor award for his work on the SPE Economics & Management Journal.   He served on the program committees for the 2011 SPE Forum on Uncertainty Management and Risk Mitigation over Asset Lifecycles, the 2012 EAGE Innovation in Reservoir Modeling Conference: Integrating Data for Optimum Reservoir Management, and the 2014 CSPG Gussow Conference on Geomodeling. He has authored or co-authored over 30 peer reviewed and SPE technical papers on industry topics ranging from reservoir characterization and modeling to oil shale characterization; from soft rock to hard rock geology and isotope geochemistry.