Dr. Richard A. Schultz works in the US and internationally to advance underground energy storage and the energy transition toward a sustainable and low-carbon future, specializing on subsurface hydrogen containment. He has 30+ years of experience in academia, industry, government and consulting organizations including:



  • Principal Geomechanicist, ConocoPhillips Company, Houston, Texas
  • Consultant to multiple companies in underground storage of natural gas and hydrogen

US Government

International Agencies

  • International Energy Agency (IEA), Hydrogen Technology Collaboration Programme (Hydrogen TCP), Task 42: Underground Hydrogen Storage Workplan
  • International Gas Union’s (IGU) Underground Gas Storage Working Committee (WOC2; invited US participant), Korean Triennium, China Triennium

Watch my Keynote at ARMA’s underground storage workshop in June 2022

American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA)

  • Board of Directors
  • Founding Chair, Technical Committee on Underground Storage and Utilization


  • Berkeley Law (ESG: Navigating the Board’s Role)
  • Rice (Strategic Project Management)
  • UT Austin (Human Dimensions of Organizations—with concentration in Organizational Improvement).

I own and operate Orion Geomechanics LLC that serves the energy and geomechanics sectors worldwide.

  • With Orion Geomechanics LLC I provide consulting services in geomechanics; my clients have included 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 Consulting Expert on geology, geomechanics, and subsurface integrity related to oil and gas fields and underground  hydrogen and natural gas storage; please contact me for information.

The author of about 147 papers, books, and chapters, 270 abstracts and contributed presentations, and 106 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 advised or mentored, individually or with colleagues, 5 postdoctoral scholars, 26 Ph.D. and M.S. students, and 3 Ph.D. corporate summer interns on topics including geological engineering, analytical and numerical modeling of field observations, planetary structural geology, deformation bands, fault and fracture mechanics, overburden characterization, fault stability in overburden sequences, reservoir geomechanics, and wastewater injection/induced seismicity.

I am licensed and registered as a Professional Geologist (P.G.) in the State of Texas, #11755.

I am a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

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 experience 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 InitiativeRGB_university_primary-v2 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 responsibilities included design and implementation of Subsurface Containment Assurance (SCA), as co-lead, 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, individually or with colleagues, a 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 a reputation for innovative research and excellent presentations. A sustained record of fundraising through competitive Federal grants, exceeding $5 million, individually or with colleagues, was instrumental in the success of these academic programs. I supported and promoted 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.

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