Dr. Richard A. Schultz is a Subject-Matter Expert in the areas of underground natural gas storage, asset integrity and risking, subsurface containment, overburden geomechanics, structural geology, geomechanics, rock fracture mechanics, and planetary science.
As owner and principal of Orion Geomechanics, I provide technical/project-management consulting services; my current and former clients have included major subsurface engineering companies, oil and gas companies, and precious metals exploration and mining companies.
In addition to my professional activities as a Technical Consultant I can serve as an Expert Witness/Consulting Expert on geology, geomechanics, and subsurface integrity related to oil and gas fields and underground natural gas storage; please see my Activities page for details.
The author of about 128 papers, books, and chapters, 255 abstracts and contributed presentations, and 80 invited presentations, I received my B.A. degree from Rutgers University, M.S. degree from Arizona State University, and Ph.D. degree from Purdue University. To date I have mentored 4 postdoctoral scholars, 26 Ph.D. and M.S. students, and 3 Ph.D. corporate summer interns on topics including fault and fracture mechanics; analytical and numerical modeling of rock-mass deformation; deformation bands; population statistics and displacement-length scaling; rock mechanics and deformation of planetary lithospheres including Mars, the Moon, Venus, and Mercury; overburden characterization; fault stability in overburden sequences; and wastewater injection.
I am licensed and registered as a Professional Geologist (P.G.) in the State of Texas, #11755.
From September 2015 through August 2017 I was with the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) as Senior Research Scientist, adding my expertise from academia and industry to UT’s Fracture Research and Application (FRAC) industrial affiliates consortium. I also collaborated with scientists and graduate students in the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Department of Geological Sciences, UT’s Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), the State-wide Center for Integrated Seismicity Research (CISR), and BEG’s Structural Diagenesis Initiative as well as other scientists from universities and the oil and gas industry in structural geology, reservoir integrity, induced seismicity, and underground natural gas storage.
Prior to joining UT I was Principal Geomechanicist with ConocoPhillips Company in Houston, Texas. Work there focused on the characterization and geomechanics of reservoir and overburden applied to subsurface containment assurance, deepwater assets, heavy-oil fields, and subsurface integrity of conventional and unconventional petroleum fields. My management responsibilities included design and implementation of Subsurface Containment Assurance (SCA) and reservoir/overburden geomechanics programs for global exploration and production assets, which included various tools for field containment assessment and technical tools for analyses of the strength and integrity of faults and top-seal stratigraphies under active injection and production operations.
Technical project experience included fractured crystalline and chalk reservoirs, heavy oil fields, and deepwater assets including such areas as Alaska, Canada, US (Lower 48) and Gulf of Mexico, Norway/North Sea, Russia, Libya, Indonesia, and Malaysia; I also worked with diverse colleagues and groups within the company’s Geological Technology division to outline an integrated approach to deepwater reservoir and overburden characterization from a geomechanics perspective.
Before moving to industry in 2011 I enjoyed a career in academia that culminated as Foundation Professor of Geological Engineering and Geomechanics, Emeritus with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). As a faculty member at UNR I taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in structural geology, geological engineering, geomechanics, rock fracture mechanics, physical and environmental geology, and planetary science, while running the Geomechanics-Rock Fracture group which produced 5 Ph.D. and 13 M.S. students, 2 postdoctoral scholars, and an international reputation for innovative research and excellent presentations. A sustained record of fundraising through competitive Federal grants, exceeding $5 million, was instrumental in the success of these academic programs. I was a key player in supporting and promoting UNR’s ABET-accredited B.S. degree program in Geological Engineering.
Following my Ph.D. studies at Purdue I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, awarded following a nationwide competition by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, at Geodynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Maryland. There I worked with Dr. Herbert Frey and his research group applying geologic fracture mechanics to problems in continental rifting and the geodynamics of Mars, including multi-ring impact basins.