Measurement and Testing

Can fossil fuels and green energy work hand-in-hand?

Jun 29 2016

Author: Professor Gioia Falcone, on behalf of Cranfield University

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An Interview with Professor Dr. Gioia Falcone, Head of the Oil and Gas Engineering Centre at Cranfield University

Gioia Falcone is currently Professor and Head of the Oil and Gas Engineering Centre at Cranfield University. Gioia holds a Laurea Summa Cum Laude in environmental-petroleum engineering from the University Sapienza of Rome, a M.Sc. degree in petroleum engineering from Imperial College London and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Imperial College London. Prior to joining academia, she worked with ENI-Agip, Enterprise Oil UK, Shell E&P UK and TOTAL E&P UK, covering both offshore and onshore assignments.
Along with being actively engaged with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), she is also one of the 21 members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Bureau of the Expert Group on Resource Classification, and of its Renewable Reserves Taskforce. She is the appointed Leader of the International Geothermal Association (IGA)/UNECE working group for the development of geothermal specifications for the UNFC-2009.
She has co-authored over a hundred scholarly articles and one US patent, edited the 2012 Multiphase Flow Metering SPE Reprint Series “Getting up to Speed” and co-authored the 2009 book on Multiphase Flow Metering, published Elsevier.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself and your background in oil and gas.

I am a petroleum engineer by background, and by that I mean by academic training and also by industry experience. I started working in the oil and gas industry back in 1999, where I gained experience working in the North Sea, as well as onshore, with different majors. I have remained in the oil and gas sector, although I decided to move the ‘other side’, meaning academia, in 2006. Whenever people discuss oil and gas, they invariably end up talking about the United States of America. In this respect, I am no different as I headed west, to Texas, to one of the largest universities in petroleum engineering in the world (Texas A&M), and from there one thing led to another and now I am here at Cranfield University.

Q: Yes, you’ve recently been appointed head of the Oil and Gas Engineering Centre at Cranfield University – can you tell us about what you will be working on there?

I will be leading the oil and gas engineering centre, where I will lead a team of academics and specialists, ensuring that they have a platform from which to give their best. In parallel, I will be developing new research and activities in the area of petroleum engineering, and also at the interface with renewable energy resources, as I believe that’s going to be the future.
Topics that this centre has already been working on prior to my arrival, and themes which I can bring, include multiphase flow systems, flow assurance, computational fluid dynamics, and production optimisation. I want also to expand in the areas of liquid loading in gas wells, and mature fields, which are very important topics particularly in regions of advanced production, such as the North Sea. In addition, we will be working on subsea engineering, automation of sensing and instrumentation, and geothermal energy exploitation.


Q: What makes Cranfield so well-placed for this research and development?

I believe that Cranfield definitely offers something special, and I’m saying this as someone who has worked at several other universities in Europe and the USA. It’s because Cranfield is so research-focused, not just fundamental research, which is well covered of course, but more specifically applied research that serves the industry and delivers solutions. I’m an engineer, and engineers are always seeking solutions, so when I came here and saw the amazing facilities of industry scale, and saw people trained and focused on delivering, I knew straight away that Cranfield was a bit different.

Q: You have a strong background in geothermal energy systems- could you give an overview of what geothermal energy is for any readers that may be unfamiliar with this?

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