CITY, S.D. (Jan. 30, 2017) – Daniel J. Soeder has been hired as the
inaugural Energy Resources Initiative director, the South Dakota School of
Mines & Technology announced today. He will join SD Mines at the end of
April after departing from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
research scientist, hydrologist and geologist, Soeder has been a researcher and
technical project coordinator with the DOE National Energy Technology
Laboratory in Morgantown, W.V. since 2009, where his focus was on shale gas,
tight oil, and geological sequestration of carbon dioxide.
previously worked as a hydrologist for the United States Geological Survey at
its Maryland-Delaware-Washington, D.C., Water Science Center and at the Yucca
Mountain Project branch in Nevada. Prior to joining the USGS, he investigated
unconventional gas resources at the Gas Technology Institute in Chicago.
Mines announced plans for its Energy Resources Initiative (ERI) in 2014, when a
Petroleum Systems minor was approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents. Fundraising
efforts have since resulted in over $3 million from industry and alumni supporters.
“Dan is a great fit to lead our Energy Resources
Initiative,” said SD Mines President Heather Wilson. “Mines is committed to
working with industry in the region to prepare graduates and also to advance
knowledge about energy production.”
The Energy Resources
Initiative builds upon the university’s existing faculty research expertise in
enhanced recovery of hydrocarbons from fine-grained reservoirs, water resources
and materials development. The state of South Dakota previously funded the
university’s Shale Research Initiative, another element of the energy effort,
in which faculty and students collaborated with RESPEC. Researchers investigated
the geomechanical and hydrological properties, mineralogy and composition of
various shale units to further the scientific and engineering applications of
shale and other fine-grained rocks.
is centrally located in an energy-rich area of the country within 300 miles of
the highly oil and gas productive Williston, Denver and Powder River basins,
and in recent years nearly 20 percent of Mines graduates have gone to work in
the oil and gas industry.
and gas production is essentially an empirical activity, where successful operators
know what works, but they often don’t know why it works,” Soeder said. “For
example, oil production from the Bakken Shale is better in some areas than
others. Operators know where the line is between
marginal and good production but may
not know why the line is there. The role of scientific and
engineering research at an institution like Mines is to investigate the underlying
principles to better understand the problem. If we learn how production works
on the Bakken, that knowledge can be applied to other resources.
of the midsize companies operating in Rocky Mountain basins cannot support a
research staff to study such issues, and ERI staff will meet with them to learn
their needs and develop relevant scientific research,” he said.
Students will participate with faculty members in hands-on
projects to solve some of these real-world problems. This experience is
expected to provide students with the opportunity to better understand the
practical, day-to-day issues faced by industry, and thus make them more
marketable as job candidates.
said Mines will apply a broad range of monitoring technology to better
understand how drilling and production activities may impact the environment,
and investigate ways to improve recovery efficiencies for oil and gas. “Higher
efficiency means lower costs for operators, less wasted resources, and lower
impacts to the environment,” he said.
additional focus will be to increase communication on energy-related topics within
and across departments on campus as well as with the greater scientific community
and the public.
to find out more about the SD Mines Energy Resources Initiative.