Curtis Hays Whitson

Curtis Hays Whitson (SPE)

AIME Honorary Membership in

For his foremost technical achievement in petroleum fluid characterization, which enables compositional reservoir simulation, and for his influential consulting services, classroom and online industrial courses to share his profound knowledge and experiences with petroleum engineers.

Curtis Hays Whitson is professor of petroleum engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering. He teaches courses on petroleum phase behavior, enhanced oil recovery, well performance, gas reservoir engineering, and integrated-model optimization.  His areas of research include equations of state, heptanes-plus characterization, gas condensate reservoirs, gas injection EOR, liquid-loading gas wells, and modeling tight unconventional reservoirs and well performance.  He has co-authored the book Well Performance (2nd Ed. Prentice-Hall, 1991) and the Phase Behavior monograph volume 20 for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (2000).

Whitson was born and raised in Oklahoma, USA. He has a BSc degree in petroleum engineering from Stanford University (1978) and a PhD degree from the Norwegian Institute of Technology, NTNU (1984). He is a Distinguished Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); he twice received the SPE Cedric K. Fergusson award (as co-author with Øivind Fevang, 1997 and Lars Høier, 2001), Best Paper Award in SPE Reservoir Engineering (1996), and the AIME-SPE Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal (2011). He received the 2010 Excellence in Research Award from Statoil for his contributions to gas-based EOR and fluid characterization. Whitson was elected to the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (NTVA) in 2012.

Whitson consults extensively for the petroleum industry through Whitson AS, a specialty consulting company he founded in 1988, specializing in compositionally sensitive reservoir processes for oil companies worldwide. Whitson’s company is involved in developing cloud-based software that provides comprehensive modeling capabilities for tight unconventional reservoir and well performance. Whitson has taught hundreds of industry courses in Petroleum Engineering.

Since 2004 Whitson has recorded videos for his students and for open distribution on the internet. This includes some 100 courses (mostly full-semester university or one-week intensive industry courses). In about 2012, the YouTube channel Whitson Academy was started, making many of these videos readily accessible to the public, including pdf notes of teaching material and problem-solving files such as Excel. Whitson has a vision that industry professionals should share freely and openly video teaching material that can be readily accessed around the world by students and professionals, much like the pioneering videos provided on general topics in science, math, and other subjects by Khan Academy.