EEPS and Rice PSM adjunct faculty Faruk Omer Alpak, Ph.D. is recently honored with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Lester C. Uren Award. The award is presented at SPE’s Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, this year held from 21 – 23 September in Dubai.

The Lester C. Uren Award recognizes achievement in the technology of petroleum engineering by its members who are under the age of 45. Each year, SPE recognizes members whose efforts have advanced petroleum technology, as well as their professional achievements and contributions to the industry and the society. Recipients of this award automatically become Distinguished Members.

From the SPE press release (Contact Cynthia Thompson, SPE Awards,

Alpak is recognized for developing leading-edge methods for reservoir simulation while under the age of 45, addressing the complete pore-to-field scale spectrum that have been successfully applied in real-life projects across the entire exploration and production lifecycle. SPE serves more than 164,000 members worldwide, sharing technical knowledge for the benefit of our industry.

“It is an honor to recognize Faruk for his commitment and dedication to the oil and gas industry with the SPE Lester C Uren Award. SPE international award winners were nominated by their colleagues and selected by their peers for their achievement and contributions and it’s my pleasure to congratulate him on receiving this prestigious international award from SPE,” said Tom Blasingame, 2021 SPE President.

Alpak is the Principal Science Expert & Senior Research Reservoir Engineer for Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. He joined EEPS and the Professional Subsurface Geology Master’s program as an industry expert adjunct faculty.

Alpak brings to Rice broad expertise ranging from multiple physical disciplines including computational and applied mathematics, computational fluid dynamics and reservoir engineering to geomechanics, inverse problems, electromagnetics, and turbidite geology.

Alpak on receiving the award:

“I feel immense honor to be selected to receive the prestigious Lester C. Uren Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). SPE gave me the opportunity to learn about the works of science and engineering pioneers through its publications and conferences. It also gave me the chance to meet them in person and learn from them. This award would never be possible for me without the support and help from my industry and academic colleagues, my students, the support of both Shell and the Rice University, and my family. I sincerely express my heartiest thankfulness to all.”

ABOUT LESTER C. UREN (from the SPE awards page)

Lester C. Uren was an author, researcher, and educator at the University of California for more than 40 years. He wrote the first petroleum-engineering textbook in 1924 and founded the first curriculum for petroleum engineering in 1915. His wide recognition as a leader in petroleum engineering education is seen by the fact that schools not only in the US and Canada, but also in Europe and South America, sent students to finish or undertake graduate work under Professor Uren. He combined the theoretical and practical aspects of petroleum engineering in such a manner that his method became a trademark during his long teaching career.

He spent summers in the oil fields of California to familiarize himself with the practical working conditions of the engineer. Uren was not content to confine himself to the academic world, but demonstrated a remarkable spirit in putting the results of investigations and discussions based on both field and university work before active engineers. Professor Uren’s research activities were basic to the understanding of the science of petroleum engineering. He published more than160 articles on research, engineering applications, economics, and education in the field. An amplification of his petroleum-engineering handbook, now three volumes, is used as a standard reference work in most petroleum schools and oil companies.

The Lester C. Uren Award, established in 1963, recognizes distinguished achievement in the technology of petroleum engineering by a member who made the contribution before age 45. The candidate must be a living member of SPE.


The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is a not-for-profit professional association whose members are engaged in energy resources development and production. SPE serves more than worldwide 164,000 members. SPE is a key resource for technical knowledge related to the oil and gas exploration and production industry and provides services through its publications, events, training courses, and online resources at