Northwest Energy Association

Past Talks

April 27 , 2017 Lunch
Timothy S Collett, US Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado 
Arctic and Marine Gas Hydrate Production Testing – Lessons Learned

It has been suggested that gas hydrates may represent an important future source of energy; however, much remains to be learned about their characteristics and occurrence in nature. This lecture reviews recent successes in exploration and production of natural gas from gas hydrate accumulations. Field studies have shown that gas hydrates in both Arctic permafrost regions and deep-marine settings can occur at high concentrations in conventional sand-dominated reservoirs. These settings have been the focus of recent gas hydrate exploration and production studies in northern Alaska and Canada, in the Gulf of Mexico, off the southeastern coast of Japan, in the Ulleung Basin off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, and along the eastern margin of India. Gas hydrate in onshore Arctic environments is typically closely associated with permafrost. Two of the most studied permafrost-associated gas hydrate accumulations are those at the Mallik site in the Mackenzie River Delta of Canada and the Eileen gas hydrate accumulation on the North Slope of Alaska. The Mallik gas hydrate production research site has been the focus of three geologic and engineering field programs (1999/2002/2007‐2008 Mallik Gas Hydrate Testing Projects) and yielded the first fully integrated production test of an onshore gas hydrate accumulation. The science program in support of the 2007 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and BP-sponsored Mount Elbert gas hydrate test well project in northern Alaska generated one of the most comprehensive data sets on an Arctic gas hydrate accumulation along with critical gas hydrate reservoir engineering data. In 2011/2012, DOE partnered with ConocoPhillips and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to investigate a new production method during the Ignik Sikumi test in which carbon dioxide was injected into a gas hydrate-bearing rock unit to release methane while sequestering carbon dioxide in hydrate form. A major milestone in gas hydrate production technology evaluation was achieved in 2013 with the successful demonstration of gas production from deepwater gas hydrates in the Nankai Trough of Japan. Gas production was obtained readily upon depressurization using specially designed pumps that separated gas from water and flowed both to the surface through separate production strings.

The recent production tests in the Artic and offshore Japan have collectively shown that natural gas can be produced from gas hydrates with existing conventional oil and gas production technology. Additional gas hydrate production testing is underway in Japan and plans are being formulated for marine gas hydrate production testing in the offshore of India and China. There is also a proposal to establish a gas hydrate pilot test site in northern Alaska that will allow for extended gas hydrate production testing experiments.

Tim Collett, an internationally recognized, accomplished research geologist in gas hydrates, is chief for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program gas hydrate research efforts and an adjunct professor for the Department of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo.

Collett, an award-winning AAPG member, has been with the USGS since 1983 and has been the chief and co-chief scientist for numerous domestic and international gas hydrate scientific and industrial drilling expeditions and programs, including the India NGHP Expedition 01 and 02 gas hydrate drilling and testing projects.

He was co-chief scientist of the international cooperative gas hydrate research project, which was responsible for drilling dedicated gas hydrate production research wells in Canada’s Mackenzie Delta under the Mallik 1998 and 2002 efforts.

Collett also was the logging scientist on the Gulf of Mexico JIP Gas Hydrate Research Expedition in 2005 and the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II drilling project in 2009, and is the co-chief scientist of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 311. He sailed as a science advisor on the Korean UBGH2 Expedition in 2010.

He was the principal investigator responsible for organizing and conducting the 1995 and 2008 USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment of natural gas hydrates.

Collett’s current research efforts at the USGS deal mostly with domestic and international gas hydrate energy resource characterization studies. His ongoing gas hydrate assessment activities in Alaska are focused on assessing the energy resource potential of gas hydrates on the North Slope and supporting the domestic marine gas hydrate assessments being led by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Collett’s international gas hydrate activities include cooperative projects with research partners in India, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and Canada.

He is a recipient of the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award, the Golomb-Chilinger Medal from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Natural Resources of Canada Public Service Award. An active member in the EMD Gas Hydrates Committee, Collett also is a recipient of the EMD Frank Kottlowski Memorial Award.

He has published more than 200 research papers along with 10 books and treatises on gas hydrates and other unconventional resources, including AAPG Memoir 89: Natural Gas Hydrates — Energy Resource Potential and Associated Geologic Hazards.

March 16, 2017 Lunch

David McClain of DW McClain & Associates. 
Pacific Northwest Power Grid and Future Wind Development 

The Pacific Northwest electrical power supply is shifting from hydro- coal based generation system to a hydro-gas-renewable energy system.   This shift is driven by a multitude of policy, market, and infrastructure issues.

Between 2017 and 2040 approximately 4,000 MW of coal power in the Pacific Northwest grid will be decommissioned.   Natural gas power plants and wind energy power plants will replace those coal MW.  The majority of the new wind projects will come from Montana which has one of the largest undeveloped wind resources in the United States. Transmission line constraints and natural gas pipeline constraint will play an important role in the development of the next era of energy supply in the Pacific Northwest. Decommissioning of the coal power plants and specifically the fate of the Coal Strip Power Plant in Montana will play  a critical role in this shifting of power supply from coal to wind.  This discussion highlights some of the market and infrastructure facets that will shape the energy supply over the next 20 years. The main takeaway will be an appreciation that transmission line constraints will govern the pace of development.

David McClain recently retired as Senior Director of Development for EverPower Wind Holdings.   Mr. McClain has over 40 years of experience in developing renewable energy project, including geothermal, biomass, wind, and landfill gas projects.   Prior to joining EverPower, Mr. McClain was Senior Development Manager for MidAmerican Energy’s subsidiary California Energy Company.   Mr. McClain received his B.S. in Geology from University of Oregon and a M.S from the University of Idaho, College of Mines in Natural Resource Management.   Mr. McClain is a founding Director of Renewable Northwest and was a Board Member of Northwest Intermountain Power Producers Coalition.

February 16, 2017 NWEA Lunch

Laird Thompson, President NWEA

Microseismic Technology - the Promise of Mapping Crustal Fluid Movement: How Reliable Is It?

Hydraulic fracing has been instrumental in establishing the commerciality of shale-based reserves.  Over the past 50 years more than a million wells have been fraced – with a huge increase in recent years as the Bakken, Eagleford and Marcellus Formations have been extensively drilled for “unconventional reservoirs”.  Despite all this activity, the understanding of the mechanics involved in hydraulic fracing (and subsequently delivery of fluids to the wellbore) are still poorly documented.  One recent technology – microseismic monitoring during fracing – held the promise of being able to image the size and extent of the hydraulic fractures created during the fracing process.  Industry experience over the past 5 years or so have shown that the simple hypothesis of a single, bi-wing extensional fracture being created has not been an appropriate model despite thousands of wells monitored for hypocenter activity during hydrofracing.  An alternative microseismic technology, termed Tomographic Fracture Imaging uses a radical method of full-trace processing instead of hypocenter mapping.  This fundamental difference has been shown to create images not only of hydraulic fracture mapping but also imaging the permeability structure in producing oil and gas fields – that is, not only the fractures created during a frac job, but the producing permeability structure as wells are brought on production.
Laird B. Thompson, PhD, is an industry recognized expert in borehole imaging interpretation and in the characterization of fractured reservoirs.  During an almost 30 year career with Mobil Oil Corp, Laird managed the R&D program in fractured reservoirs from 1995 until Mobil was sold in 2000.  A respected teacher in Mobil’s training system, Laird has continued teaching classes for AAPG since 2000.  In his post-Mobil career, he has been a managing partner for UF3, Utah Faults, Fractures and Fluids, and has been teaching and consulting on fractured reservoirs, borehole imaging and microseismic analysis of permeability fields.  Laird is currently involved in microseismic R&D and application for fracing effectiveness and reservoir optimization and serves as the president of the NWEA.

Portland State University Cramer Hall 53, 11:30 AM
Incorporating Numerical Simulation Into Your Reserves Estimation Process:  A Practical Perspective

Dean Rietz
Ryder Scott Company Petroleum Consultants

Reservoir simulation is a sophisticatedtechnique of forecasting future recoverable volumes and production rates that 
is becoming commonplace in the management and development of oil and gas reservoirs, small and large.  

Calculation and estimation of reserves continues to be a necessary process to properly assess the value and manage the development of an oil and gas producer’s assets.  These methods of analysis, while generally done for different purposes, require knowledge and expertise by the analyst (typically a reservoir engineer) to arrive at meaningful and reliable results.  Increasingly, the simulation tool is being incorporated into the reserves process.  However, as with any reservoir engineering technique, certain precautions must be taken when relying on reservoir simulation as the means for estimating reserves.  This discussion highlights some of the important facets one should consider when applying numerical simulation methods to use for, or augment, reserves estimates.  The main take away will be an appreciation for the areas to focus on to arrive at meaningful and defendable estimates of reserves that are based on reservoir models.

Dean C. Rietz, P.E., President and member of the board of directors at Ryder Scott Company, has over 30 years of diverse experience in evaluating oil and gas properties, including more than 25 years applying numerical modeling approaches to these evaluations.  Prior to his current position, he managed the Ryder Scott Reservoir Simulation Group for approximately 15 years.  Before joining Ryder Scott in 1995, Rietz worked at Chevron, Gruy, and Intera.  He received a B.S.P.E. degree from the University of Oklahoma and an M.S.P.E. degree from the University of Houston.  His past teaching experience includes in-house material balance schools at Chevron and Eclipse user courses at Intera.  Currently, Rietz teaches a two-day SPE simulation course and is an adjunct professor of reservoir simulation at the University of Houston.  Rietz has published various papers related to reservoir modeling, including its application to reserves reporting.  Rietz is a registered professional engineer in Texas and serves on the Petroleum Engineering Advisory Board for the University of Houston.

November 17, 2016 NWEA Luncheon

​​Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reaction System (STARS)

Richard Zheng
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Over the past several years, researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and their collaborators – which include researchers at Oregon State University – have been developing a new form of chemical process technology that, combined with parabolic dish concentrators, has been experimentally shown to convert solar energy into chemical energy at about 70%, a world record.  The STARS system converts natural gas (or other sources of methane, such as landfill gas) and water into synthesis gas, an intermediate chemical mix that can be further converted into a variety of different products, some of which can be used as fuels (e.g., hydrogen) and some which are valuable for their chemical properties (e.g., plastics).  By combining solar energy with methane, the carbon intensity (or carbon footprint) of products from the system are substantially reduced.

Renewable liquid fuels are one of the target products as well.  The best locations for commercial applications of STARS include regions with substantial solar energy (e.g., the American Southwest but also including eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington), available water, and inexpensive transportation to markets. This presentation will discuss current testing results, the history of the technology and the plan for commercialization of STARS.

Dr. Richard Zheng has been a staff member at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for 15 years and is currently a senior engineer in the Energy & Environment Directorate at PNNL.  He has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Washington.  His research work in recent years includes CO2 capture materials and process, high pressure fluids processing, and high efficiency membrane development.  He has published over 30 journal articles, given presentations at international conferences on his research, and developed 5 patents and patent-pending applications.  He has received two R&D 100 Awards for his work in microchannel technologies for fuel processing and conversion.  He is also a contributor to another 2017 R&D 100 Award finalist technology in carbon capture simulation tool.  In the past 3 years, Dr. Zheng has been focused on developing solar thermochemical reactor systems for increasing the renewable energy content of methane-containing streams, such as natural gas and biogas.

​​October 20, 2016 NWEA Luncheon

High Impact Energy Technology Innovations: Progress and Prospects forCommercialization

B. Peter McGrail, Ph.D
Laboratory Fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

​Dr. Peter McGrail has been a staff member at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for over 32 years and has attained the

position of Laboratory Fellow, the highest level of scientific achievement at the laboratory.

Dr. McGrail spent the first half of his career addressing nuclear waste science questions, work that often took him to Europe

and Japan.  Beginning in the late 1990s, he transitioned his research work into then-emerging fields associated with gas

hydrate production on the Alaska North Slope, advanced materials for renewable energy and efficiency, and the capture and

storage of CO2 for global climate change mitigation.  Those efforts have blossomed into multiple cutting-edge research

projects, covering subjects from basic chemistry of supercritical CO2–brine mixtures to novel applications of metal-organic nanomaterials in chemical separations, heat pumps, and nanofluids.  He is the PI for the Wallula Basalt Pilot project, the

world’s first and only supercritical CO2 storage pilot in a flood basalt formation, and just received the 2014 Laboratory

Director’s Award for Exceptional Engineering Achievement for work conducted on CO2 storage in basalts.

Dr. McGrail has received four research grant awards from the DOE agency ARPA-E, more than any other researcher in the U.S.

He also recently completed the first technical and economic feasibility study of compressed air energy storage in the Pacific

Northwest to help mitigate over-generation events that are impacting electric grid stability.  He has written over 240 scientific publications, given presentations at international conferences on his research, and developed four patents and patent-pending applications.

September 15, 2016 NWEA Luncheon
​Not Just for Google: Big data tools and analyses for subsurface characterization, oil spill prevention & response, and 

assessment of energy infrastructure risks
Kelly Rose, Research Geologist, U.S. Department of Energy, National
Energy Technology Laboratory, 1450 Queen Avenue SW Albany, OR  97321

Demand for energy resources continues to rise globally as the portfolio of resource options continues to diversify. While

interest in alternative energy options grows, there remains a need for research driven solutions to address both safe and

reliable access to these resources while mitigating risks and impacts associated with them. Access to data associated with

energy, infrastructure, environmental and societal sources is increasing through open data systems. These data offer new

opportunities to inform and address science-driven questions. However, effective use of these data require new approaches

and solutions to bridge the gap between the availability of information and methods to effectively consume and analyze it.

While there are numerous big data driven solutions for marketing and business solutions, science and engineering based

systems face challenges including efficiently finding, integrating and utilizing relevant, authoritative datasets. It is also

important that as big-data science driven tools and models emerge that they become accessible for use by a wide range of


The U.S. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has been developing geo-data science methods and tools for

small and big data problems to facilitate science-based evaluations of engineered and natural systems. NETL’s Energy Data

eXchange serves as the hub for data discovery, integration, and big data analytics, incorporating tools and models (Info on

some ) to evaluate energy efficiency, resource assessments, subsurface storage potential,

geothermal resources, risks with energy infrastructure, water resource impacts, induced seismicity potential, and offshore

oil spill prevention & response. In this presentation we will explore some examples of these efforts and show how they have

been used in analyses to detect data trends, reduce uncertainty, identify knowledge gaps, and evaluate risks.

Kelly Rose is a geology-geospatial researcher with the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Office of Research & Development.  She has seventeen years of experience with subsurface characterization, geospatial analysis, and geo-data

science in industry and as a federal researcher.  Her research at NETL is focused on using geologic and geospatial science to

reduce uncertainty about, characterize andunderstand spatial relationships between energy and natural systems at a range

of scales.  Her current research projects focus on reducing impacts and risks associated with geologic carbon storage,

onshore and offshore hydrocarbon systems, offshore oil spill prevention, geothermal resources, and underground fluid

storage and disposal (e.g.
induced seismicity risks, leakage potential etc).  She also is working on new methods using conventional geologic techniques

combined with geostatistical methods to improve prediction of subsurface properties.
She serves on advisory committees including the Department of Interior’s National Geologic and Geophysical Data


Program, and the University of Southern California’s Induced Seismicity and Reservoir Monitoring Consortiums.   She is

associate editor for the Journal of Sustainable Energy Engineering which publishes peer-reviewed research seeking sustainable

methods of worldwide energy production through engineering, scientific, and technological advances.  Rose is the coordinator

and systemsintegrator for the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Data eXchange (EDX), an open-data curation, knowledge

management, and online coordination/collaboration tool developed by Rose and the EDX team.
Rose holds geology degrees from Denison University, B.S., Virginia Tech, M.S., and Oregon State University, Ph.D.

May 19, 2016 NWEA Luncheon
Initiation and subsurface dynamics of the LUSI mud eruption, East Java Indonesia
Professor Max Rudolph, Department of Geology, Portland State University
In May of 2006, a large sub-aerial mud eruption began near the city of Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia. The peak discharge

from the mud eruption, called 'LUSI' was in excess of 160,000 m^3/day, and the mud has displaced tens of thousands of

people and cost several billion dollars in economic losses. The initiation of the eruption was controversial, with some

scientists suggesting that the eruption was triggered by the Mw 6.4 Yogyakarta Earthquake, while others suggested that the

eruption was a consequence of drilling operations at the nearby Banjar-Panji 1 gas exploration well. I will discuss earthquake

triggering of mud volcanoes worldwide, and whether the LUSI eruption was likely triggered by an earthquake or by drilling. Understanding the mechanics and longevity of the eruption remains important in order to manage the response to the

disaster. I'll discuss constraints on subsurface dynamics from ground deformation mapped using L-band InSAR and inverse

modeling, which reveals distinct subsurface mud and fluid sources, and predictions of the likely future behavior of the mud


Max Rudolph is an assistant professor of Geology at Portland State University. Rudolph studies geologic processes involving

fluids, including global-scale mantle convection, heat transport by groundwater flow, and eruptive processes in mud

volcanoes, geysers, and magmatic systems. Prior to arriving at Portland State in 2014, Rudolph was a postdoctoral researcher

in the physics department of University of Colorado, Boulder and graduated with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2012. 

A complete list of publications can be found here:

April 21, 2016 NWEA Luncheon
Newberry Volcano Enhanced Geothermal System Update
Trenton Cladouhos, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at AltaRock Energy.

More than 50,000 MW of aging coal fired power generation capacity will need to be either repowered or retired between now

and 2030, much of it in the next 10 years.  Washington and Oregon are leading the nation away from coal – with firm plans to

shut down the two coal plants. While low fuel prices drive many of these plants to consider natural gas repowering as the

solution to their continued operation, renewable portfolio standards and the lack of sufficient gas supply pipeline capacity

limits this option.  Wind and solar can offset some of this power supply, but coal plants by their nature provide baseload

power. Geothermal energy is abundant in the Pacific Northwest but under-utilized. AltaRock, and Washington Division of

Geology and Earth Resources are working on a US DOE funded project to characterize three conventional geothermal sites for

potential development to replace base-load electricity formerly provided by coal plants.

It is also possible to replace coal with geothermal energy on land owned by the coal plant, leveraging the grid connection,

permitting and cooling system as well as the skilled workforce.  This solution requires development of an Enhanced

Geothermal System (EGS), which can extract heat from hot rock lacking a conventional geothermal resource.  Boardman,

Oregon is an ideal location to test the coal to geothermal energy vision. Costs remain the major issue for utility scale EGS

power generation. We are studying the impact of scaling, learning-by doing and technology improvement on the levelized

cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility scale EGS power production.  AltaRock has also been developing and testing EGS t

echnology at Newberry Volcano near Bend for 6 years and is currently competing against other teams to continue the research

for another 7 years.

Trenton Cladouhos is senior vice president of research and development at AltaRock Energy. Trenton is responsible for

developing, improving, and testing AltaRock’s technologies for improving production in EGS and conventional geothermal

reservoirs. He also manages the geologic and geophysical aspects of AltaRock EGS and stimulation projects — most recently

working as the lead geoscientist at the high-profile Newberry Volcano EGS Demonstration.

March 17, 2016 NWEA Luncheon
So You Want to be a Producing State:  Challenges of Establishing First Production
John Peiserich is Vice-President and General Counsel of Alta Mesa

Historically, exploration has occurred in Idaho in fits and starts.  The earliest drilling dates to 1903 and continued through

the late 1980s with approximately 145 wells being drilled throughout the state.  My favorite line about exploration has to

be credited to the Idaho Geological Survey’s John McLeod who quipped “The story of oil and gas exploration in Idaho is an

ongoing saga of near successes and shattered expectations.”  It rings of Dante’s Inferno - “Abandon all hope, ye who enter

here.”  Exxon, in 1982, drilled the Meyers Federal Unit No. 1 to 18,540 feet but it seems to be an exception as most wells

have been significantly shallower.  The recent drilling in Payette County, along the western border with Oregon, began in

2010 and has continued with the same fits and starts seen previously with 17 wells drilled to date.
On August 1, 2015, Idaho, for all practical purposes, became a producing state.  On January 3, 2013 a well was tested and

produced some condensate, but the production was temporary while we waited on pipe.  Idaho is the most recent addition

to the list of producing states in the U.S.  The “closest” state is Nevada where production was first established in 1954.  

Sixty years is a long time between discoveries.  During the sixty intervening years much has changed about the oil and

gas industry, even more changes have occurred in the political, regulatory and social realms. 
Politically, Idaho is considered a “Red” state.  Idaho is definitely more conservative, generally more business friendly, and

more traditional than many states including Oregon and Washington, its neighbors to the west.  As a general rule, the

Republican executive branch is pro-development and wants to be viewed as “moving at the speed of business”, however

the executive branch doesn’t exhibit strong top-down management in the majority of circumstances.  In contrast, the

Republican legislature is much more willing to be proactive to drive good policy and establish pro-development agendas.  

Because of the overwhelming Republican majority, pro-business initiatives typically find strong support.  At the local level,

good neighbor policies tend to outweigh R vs D, although Republicans dominate local politics as well.  By all outside

appearances, Idaho sets up well for oil and gas development.
As a late to the game state, Idaho’s regulatory program was essentially dormant when the industry came calling in 2010.  

Significant efforts have been undertaken, both by the state and the industry, to update the regulatory program.  Those

efforts are continuing.  Interestingly, the regulatory program and the lack of history administering the program are the

biggest single contributors to the fits and starts seen in development.  The Idaho Department of Lands ("IDL”) administers

the oil and gas permitting and regulatory scheme.  The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality oversees traditional

environmental permitting for air, water and waste discharges.  The Idaho Department of Water Resources (“IDWR”)

provides technical expertise in well casing and cementing in a collaborative roll with IDL.  IDWR will also administer

the Class II well program if Region 10 EPA ever finishes its review and approval.
The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the challenges presented in establishing production, constructing

infrastructure, and delivering product to market today in a state without any experience or understanding of the oil

and gas industry.

John Peiserich is Vice-President and General Counsel of Alta Mesa.  John has over 20 years experience in the oil and gas

industry ranging from the wellhead to the gas pump.  He is primarily responsible for Alta Mesa’s Idaho activities and

provides legal support across Alta Mesa’s project portfolio.  Prior to joining Alta Mesa full-time, John practiced law with

PPGMR Law based in Little Rock, Arkansas.  His legal practice focuses on environmental and oil and gas law managing a

legal team to provide transactional services, litigation and administrative law support.  John has been recognized in The

Best Lawyers in America since 2010 and Super Lawyers since 2008.  From time to time, he serves as an Adjunct Professor

for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Concordia University teaching Oil & Gas Law and as a guest lecturer at

the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville on environmental issues associated with the oil & gas industry.  John has been

married to Carolyn for almost 21 years and they have three daughters.

February  18, 2016 NWEA Luncheon

Earthquakes, Floods, and Volcanoes, Oh My!  How Risky Are Our Dams?
Douglas Boyer, PE, CEG
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

​​Dams are resilient structures.  They provide numerous critical benefits to society, including water, electricity, reduced

flooding, recreation, and many others.  However, these benefits don’t come without some costs and tradeoffs,

including environmental considerations, construction and maintenance costs, and others.  Dams also present risks to

those who live downstream of them and who rely on their benefits. Risks occur when an event happens that results in

adverse consequences.  Each day we are all confronted with risks.  And most of the time we’re not even aware of the

risks around us.  Often we are only reminded of risks when some event or catastrophe happens to us directly or we see

it in the news.  

People are fickle.  We’ve demonstrated that we don’t have a very good memory.  Every new generation seems to relearn

the same lessons from similar events that former generations had learned, and as history has shown, we are not very

good about learning from the past.  We continue to build houses and critical infrastructure in flood plains below dams

and we build or raise dams in areas of high hazards. 
So, how likely do you think a dam is to fail?  How safe do you want to be, realizing that to be ‘safer’ will cost more

money?  Should a dam be more or less ‘safe’ than:  An interstate bridge?  A nuclear power plant?  An airplane?  Does

your response change depending on if you do or do not live downstream of a dam?
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates approximately 2900 hydropower dams across the United

States.  FERC has recently embarked on a new risk-informed decision making (RIDM) initiative to understand and

manage the risks posed by dams, including how likely dams are to fail from various hazards, including earthquakes,

floods, and other events, and what those consequences of failure might result in, including the potential for loss of

human life, economic losses, environmental losses, and other none monetary losses.
This dam presentation will highlight some of the background into this risky endeavor with specific examples and

applications from projects and conditions in the Pacific Northwest.

Doug Boyer currently serves as the Chief, Risk-Informed Decision Making Branch for the Federal Energy Regulatory

Commission’s Division of Dam Safety and Inspections in Portland.  Doug has 30 years of experience as a civil engineer and

engineering geologist in consulting, state government, and federal government, including the Bureau of Reclamation and

Army Corps of Engineers.  His expertise includes all aspects of dam engineering and dam safety.  Since 2000 much of his

work efforts have focused on the development, implementation, and review of risk analyses for dam safety projects.   He has

conducted numerous training workshops and seminars in risk analyses, dam design and dam safety and has authored over 25

technical publications.  He is the senior editor of “Dams of the United States — A Pictorial Display of Landmark Dams” and

“Achievements and Advancements in U.S. Dam Engineering”, two publications prepared for the 2013 International

Commission on Large Dam’s meeting in Seattle.
Doug received his B.S. in Geological Sciences from Penn State (the other PSU) and M.S. in Civil Engineering from South Dakota

Schools of Mines & Technology.   He is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Engineering Geologist.  He is also a

former vice president of the United States Society on Dams.

January 21, 2016 NWEA Luncheon
Cascades Volcanic Eruptions and Energy Inftrastructure in the Pacific Northwest 
John Ewert, Cascade Volcano Observatory

​The Pacific Northwest has a dynamic landscape. The large picturesque volcanoes at the crest of the Cascade Range are an

obvious reminder to residents and visitors alike of the powerful forces that give the PNW much of its character. Over the past approximately 4000 years, Cascades volcanoes have erupted about twice per century and hazards from these volcanoes have

the potential to disrupt lives and economies in the region and far beyond the PNW.
Owing to their explosive nature, close proximity of large populations, substantial infrastructure, and heavy air traffic, the

Cascades are among the most threatening of the Nation’s approximately 170 volcanoes. Large areas of permanent snow and


provide a ready source of water that can be melted and mobilized to form lahars (volcanic debris flows) during eruptions. Past

lahars have traveled many tens of kilometers down valleys into what are now highly developed areas. Ash fall from explosive

eruptions can have disruptive and expensive impacts to communities and infrastructure hundreds of kilometers down wind.  

Numerous challenges to volcanic risk mitigation exist. These include availability of high-quality monitoring data, ensuring

good communications with stakeholders, and developing warning systems that serve communities at risk. In the long term,

reducing vulnerability and building resilience requires more than monitoring and warning systems, it requires communities

subject to

volcano hazards to recognize and maintain understanding of their exposure to the hazards over long periods between

John Ewert is a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stationed at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, WA

and specializing in volcano hazards mitigation in the United States and around the Pacific Rim. From 1980 to 1986 he worked


Mount St. Helens monitoring and researching eruptive activity there as well as working on projects at other Cascade Range

volcanoes.  He was one of the founding members in 1986 of the ongoing USAID-USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

(VDAP) and worked in VDAP from 1986-2010 responding to volcanic eruption crises and developing volcano monitoring

infrastructure in Latin America, the southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia.  In addition to responsibilities with VDAP, in 2005

Mr. Ewert was part of the team that developed the National Volcano Early Warning System (NVEWS) initiative which is being

used to guide long-term improvements to the Nation’s volcano-monitoring infrastructure operated by the USGS and affiliated

partners. From 2010 to 2015 Mr. Ewert served as the Scientist-in-Charge of the Cascades Volcano Observatory and has just

recently returned to VDAP and NVEWS projects.

November 19, 2015 NWEA Luncheon

The history of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) production is long and colorful

Paul Odaker

The Hopi Indians mined coal near Awatovi, Arizona around 1000 to 1200 AD. In 1859 the Macomb expedition with geologist

Mr. John Strong Newberry reported on the bituminous nature of rocks in the area. Conventional oil exploration in the basin

started in the 1880’s with the arrival of railroads to the region with oil production found near Pagosa Springs (1901), Colorado

and Grants (1911), New Mexico. In 1889 Professor Arthur Lakes of the Colorado School of Mines identified the Carbon Junction

gas seep in the Animas River near Durango, Colorado.   In 1924 the Tendick Coal Mine blew out as an out of control gas well

for a week near Bayfield, Colorado. In 1932 and 1933 an outcrop coal fire intersected a gas seep causing explosions and

landslides for nine months initially and mass wasting continues to the present time on Moving Mountain near Durango,

A drilling boom for coal bed methane was started in 1976 with the Amoco Cahn #1 which at that time qualified for an

unconventional production tax credit. Interest in coal bed methane sparked drilling of coal seams worldwide. Over 20,000

CBM wells have been drilled and completed with very few failures. 
In addition to creating a production history of a “reverse decline curve” for gas, CBM production is accompanied by relatively

large production of formation water. Water disposal and possible impacts on domestic wells resulted in well monitoring

regulations.  Beginning in 2014 Bp has begun drilling and completing horizontal CBM wells near Tiffany. Results are still being

Paul Oldaker has provided thirty-seven years of service to the water supply, environmental, and energy related industries for

coal hydrogeology. This has included 139 projects for the oil and gas industry with 126 coal bed methane projects and 66

coal mine projects. I have performed projects for clients in most western states, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France,

Germany, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, and Peru. He has presented 19 times on coal bed methane hydrogeology and oil and gas


October 1-3, 2015

NWEA Fall Symposium: Energy Infrastructure Preparedness for a Cascadia Mega-Earthquake

Northwest Energy Association and Pacific Northwest Section SPE

October 2-3, 2015 Hood River Inn, Hood River, Oregon.
Purpose:  Learn about the history of mega-earthquakes and their geologic cause and the preparations underway or

needed related specifically to energy infrastructure, transport corridors, storage facilities, and distribution systems

for fuels and power.

Friday 8:55 AM Greetings from Northwest Energy Association

9:00 AM  Ray Wells, USGS: Tectonic framework of the Cascadia subduction margin and its earthquake hazards

9:40 AM  Chris Goldfinger, Oregon State University, and co-authors: Northern Cascadia   integrated paleoseismic

records from onshore and offshore

10:50 AM Ray Weldon, University of Oregon: Latitudinal variations in shaking intensity, tsunami height, and potential

warning time for the NEXT Cascadia megathrust earthquake

11:30 AM Bill Steele, University of Washington, NW Seismic Network: How will ground   shaking of deep sedimentary

basins effect Puget Lowland energy   infrastructure 

12:45 PM Yumei Wang, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries: Energy infrastructure and building

susceptibility to a Magnitude 9 Cascadia   Earthquake-- How prepared is the Pacific Northwest?

2:00 PM Alan Hull, Golder Associates, Application of Probabilistic Fault Displacement Analysis to Pipeline Mitigation

Analysis and Design

2:40 PM Tammy Moore, Williams Pipeline:  Seismicity and Pipelines in the Northwest:   Concerns and Pipeline Measures

3:20 PM Leon Kempner, Jr., Bonneville Power Administration: Electrical Transmission   Power Grid Seismic Vulnerability

and Mitigation Options 

4:20 PM Laurie Holien, Oregon Office of Emergency Management: Mega-Earthquake   Response Strategies – FEMA’s

planning scenarios 

5:30 PM Reception - {Scott Burn’s wine fest}          

6:00 PM Dinner

7:15 PM Scott Burns, Portland State University: Columbia River Gorge Natural Hazard   History and Energy

Infrastructure Vulnerability

Saturday 9-5 Field Trip:  Geologic Hazards Past and Present within the Columbia River Gorge Transportation Corridor, 

lead by Scott Burns

September 17, 2015
Response and Recovery Lessons from the Christchurch Earthquake
Carmen Merlo, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

New Zealand experienced a series of devastating earthquakes between September 2010 and December 2011. While traveling

on vacation, Carmen Merlo visited the city of Christchurch, NZ in October 2014 to learn more about their recovery efforts.

Carmen's presentation will focus on lessons for the Pacific Northwest from the Christchurch earthquake. Her presentation will

cover: unreinforced masonry and other building performance, performance of underground lifeline systems, impacts from

liquefiable soils, national and local process of master planning Christchurch's recovery from the earthquake and highlight

examples of economic recovery and social resilience.  

Carmen Merlo has served as the director of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management since 2007. In her current position

she is responsible for coordinating emergency management plans, programs and systems in response to major emergencies

or disruptions to essential city services. Ms. Merlo previously worked for 10 years at the State Office of Homeland Security /

Oregon Emergency Management administering grant funds to improve local, regional and state capabilities to respond to and

recover from emergencies. She earned a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and

Policy, School of Criminal Justice in New York.  

May 21, 2015

Update of the Jordan Cove Project at Coos Bay –an overview of 
the LNG export project and gas supply strategies
Michael Hinrichs, Director of Public Affairs, Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P

Michael serves as the Director of Public Affairs for Jordan Cove LNG and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.  He covers community

outreach, coalition building, media, and local government relations throughout southern California.

Michael Hinrichs specializes in developing and executing comprehensive community outreach programs for major

infrastructure projects. With more than a decade of experience in digital and traditional media relations, coalition building,

corporate social responsibility, and local lobbying, Michael brings a unique set of skills and fresh viewpoints for neutralizing

opposition and

mobilizing supporters. He has represented Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies on major energy development projects,

energy efficiency programs, remediation and superfund site mitigation, public policy advocacy, and corporate communications.

April 16, 2015

Compressed Air Energy Storage and Other Energy Efficiency Technologies
Dr. B. Peter McGrail

​Dr. McGrail has been a staff member at PNNL for over 32 years and has attained the position of Laboratory Fellow, the highest

level of scientific achievement at the laboratory.  He spent the first half of his career addressing nuclear waste science

questions, work that often took him to Europe and Japan and even prompted a three year marginally successful study of the

Japanese language.  Beginning in the late 1990’s, Dr. McGrail transitioned his research work into then emerging fields

associated with gas hydrate production on the Alaska North slope, advanced materials for renewable energy and efficiency, and

the capture and storage of CO2 for global climate change mitigation.  Those efforts have blossomed into multiple cutting-edge

research projects covering subjects from basic chemistry of supercritical CO2–brine mixtures to novel applications of metal-

organic nanomaterials in chemical separations, heat pumps, and nanofluids. He is the PI for the Wallula Basalt Pilot project, the

world’s first and only supercritical CO2 storage pilot in a flood basalt formation and just received the 2014 Laboratory Director’s

Award for Exceptional Engineering Achievement for work conducted on CO2 storage in basalts. He has received four research

grant awards from the DOE agency ARPA-E, more than any other researcher in the U.S. He also recently completed the first

technical and economic feasibility study of compressed air energy storage in the Pacific Northwest to help mitigate over

generation events that are impacting electric grid stability.  Dr. McGrail has over 240 scientific publications and presentations at international conferences on his research as well as four patents and patent pending applications.

March 19, 2015 NWEA: 
Oregon's Preparation for a Cascadia Seismic Event
Yumei Wang, DOGAMI

February 19, 2015 NWEA

Gas Storage at Jackson Prairie, WA, the Significance for Today's Natural Gas Market
Clay Riding, Natural Gas Resource

January 15, 2015 NWEA 

A 30 Mega Watt Floating Wind Farm, offshore Coos Bay, The First Offshore Wind Project on the West Coast
​Kevin Bannister, Principal Power

Based inBased in Portland, Oregon, Kevin has 15 years experience in energy and development. He has held senior positions

with NW utilities and international renewable energy developers, and was an appointment in Oregon to develop the state’s

renewable portfolio standard. He also co-founded and was the first chair of The Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET). His

experience includes energy project development, contract negotiation, resource planning and policy at the state and national

levels. Kevin has an MSc in Economic Development from the London School of Economics, where his dissertation focused

on access to electricity and economic development in the developing world.

November 20, 2014 NWEA: Pipelines, Trains, and Automobiles: Gas

Facility Permitting in an Era of Carbon Constraints and Hysteria

Timothy L. McMahan, Partner, Stoel Rives LLP

Tim McMahan is a partner practicing in the areas of energy, land use, real estate development, and environmental and 
municipal law. He has offices in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Tim has extensive experience in representing
energy facility developers, property owners, and municipal clients in Washington and Oregon. Tim focuses his practice on
leading interdisciplinary teams advocating for and defending energy facilities facing opposition.Prior to joining Stoel Rives in
1999, Tim served as the Port Townsend City Attorney for over five years, during which he guided Port Townsend through
downtown historic district preservation strategies, Growth Management Act implementation, successfully defended the city's Comprehensive Plan and Shoreline Master Program in agency and judicial litigation, and developed innovative strategies to
protect Port Townsend's municipal water supply from spiraling demands

October 16, 2014 NWEA: What The Frac is Going On?

Laird Thompson

 Stories about fracing are common in the news and popular media.  Fracing is not new – the original patent issued just after the Civil War.  Do we need to do this?  Are we doing it in the best way possible?  He will discuss the economics of fracing in shale gas reservoirs; the geological variabilities of shale gas reservoir geology; the geomechanics of the rock volumes that drive the frac results; and the expectations and realities of what’s going 
on 12,000’ down.  Does fracing create earthquakes?  How dangerous is the technology, and are we managing these issues
Dr. Thompson is a Stanford graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas system.  He worked for Mobil Oil for about 
30 years, beginning in 1975 as a biostratigrapher working offshore Gulf of Mexico.
His publications include a SPE Primer on fractured reservoirs. His currently works with Global Geophysical Services, where he 
is part of a group applying cutting edge microseismic technology for mapping permeability systems in the crust.

September 18, 2014

Alaska’s North Slope Dave Hite, Consulting Geologist The present and future potential of Alaska’s North Slope and its significance in the framework of the Cherry Point Refinery in 
providing fuel supplies to Oregon and Washington.
Dave started his career at OSU, then went on to the University of Wisconsin to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in geology and is a
Certified Professional Geologist.  He started his career as a research geologist working for ARCO in Texas (1967 – 1974) and
then in Alaska (1974 ‑ 1992), as a Senior Exploration Geologist, District Geologist, and finally as the Manager of the ANWR
Re-evaluation Group.  Dave worked as an Independent Consulting Geologist in Anchorage (1992 ‑ 2013) and is currently an
Independent Consulting Geologist in Bend, Oregon. ​His work focus has been Alaska, with special emphasis on the North Slope
and Cook Inlet.  He is the author/coauthor of publications for the USDOE, the National Academy of Sciences, and was co-editor o
​f AAPG Memoir 104 on the Cook Inlet.