Dr. Valkó is Professor and holder of the Robert Whiting Chair in Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University. Before joining Texas A&M in 1993, he was an adjunct professor at the Mining University in Leoben, Austria, worked for the Hydrocarbon Institute of the Hungarian Oil Company (MOL) and was a faculty member at the Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Valkó’s research interests include design and evaluation of hydraulic fracture treatments, and the performance of advanced and stimulated wells. He co-authored several books (Modern Fracturing and Petroleum Well Construction, Hydraulic Fracture Mechanics and Unified Fracture Design) and published numerous research papers in prestigious journals (such as Chemical Engineering Science, Computers and Chemical Engineering, Automatica, Journal of Rheology, and others).
The TowerLab modernized with the sponsorship of Shell, Petrobras and RWE DEA AG) focuses on Liquid Loading of natural gas producing wells. Accumulation of water and condensate liquids may seriously limit the economic life-span of the well. The reliable modeling of the various phenomena linked to liquid loading is crucial in selecting mitigation strategies, scheduling unloading operations and optimizing production — especially in unconventional reservoirs.
The combination of first-hand experimental data with reservoir modeling expertise provides a unique approach to optimize the life cycle of a well, or a whole field.
The Figure shows the TowerLab, extending from the basement to the tenth story in the shaft of the Petroleum Engineering (Richardson) building in College Station. The 43 m long vertical loop allows studying the upward flow of gas-liquid mixture under conditions similar to the ones in a natural gas producing well affected by liquid loading.