Frontier Basins: Contemporary Problems and Research

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 and
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Grand Hall of the RMC
Rice University

Speaker Biographies

photo of Dr. Kyle Straub

Kyle Straub
Assistant Professor
Ken and Ruth Arnold Early Career Endowed Professorship

Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Tulane University

Kyle received a BS degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 2002, and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. After a post-doc at the Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, he moved to an academic position at Tulane University where he is the Ken and Ruth Arnold Professor in Earth and Ecological Sciences. At Tulane, Kyle teaches introduction classes in physical geology and sedimentology and advanced classes in sediment transport and stratigraphy. His research focuses on the transport of sediment from land through the ocean and into the stratigraphic record. Scales of interest range from the interaction of turbidity currents with channel bends over minutes to the construction and preservation of deltas over millions of years. He examines the morphodynamics of these systems using a combination of remote sensing of subsurface sedimentary deposits (visualization and interpretation of seismic data), carefully designed laboratory experiments, field studies of modern and ancient sediment transport systems, and targeted numerical analysis and modeling. He is the 2013 James Lee Wilson awardee for excellence is sedimentary geology by a young scientist and a member of AAPG, SEPM, AGU, and the Geological Society of America.

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photo of Ambassador Jostein Mykletun

Ambassador Jostein Mykletun
Consul General of Norway, Houston

Ambassador Jostein Mykletun took up his position as Consul General of Norway at the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Houston, Texas, on September 1, 2010.

His previous positions include serving at Norway's Ambassador to the High North / Arctic, Deputy Director General at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Science Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C. and at Norway's Permanent Delegation to the European Union in Brussels.

During most of the 1990s Dr. Mykletun worked in the energy and environment sector, having held several executive positions, including:

  • Secretary General of the Northern Seas Foundation, ENS
  • CEO of Offshore Northern Seas Foundation, ONS
  • Secretary General of the World Petroleum Congress (WPC, Stavanger, 1994)

Dr. Mykletun's career spans science, science administration, university lecturing, government service, energy related business and industry, with a strong international orientation at the cross-roads of entrepreneurial management, innovative, targeted networking, administration and science policy. Areas of special interest include science and innovative technology as policy shapers and drivers, energy, environment, climate change, and corporate social responsibility. Broad and first-hand experience intransatlantic science and research cooperation, having held executive science management positions both in Europe and North America.

Ambassador Mykletun holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota.

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photo of Dr. Mark Serreze

Research Interests:

  • Arctic climate;
  • global implications;
  • and climate warming in the Arctic

Mark Serreze
Research Professor of Geography

Department of Geography
University of Colorado at Boulder

  • Director of NSIDC
  • Fellow of CIRES
  • Ph.D. University of Colorado at Boulder, 1989

Mark C. Serreze is the Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). While his research has encompassed all aspects of our planet's cryosphere - i.e. snow and ice cover - he has a long-standing love of the Arctic. Interests include atmosphere-sea ice interactions, synoptic climatology, boundary layer problems, and climate change. He has conducted field work in the Canadian Arctic on sea ice and icecaps, and on the Alaskan tundra. Efforts over the past ten years have increasingly focused on trying to make sense of the rapid environmental changes being observed in the Arctic.

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photo of Dr. Christopher Harrison

Christopher Harrison
Geological Survey of Canada

PhD: Rice University, 1991 (structural geology and geophysics)

  • Employment:
  • Exploration geologist, 1973-1984
  • Research scientist: Geological Survey of Canada: since 1984

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photo of Jack E. Neal

Jack E. Neal
Senior Exploration Geoscience Consultant
ExxonMobil Exploration Corporation

Born in Oklahoma, he was educated in Tulsa and Houston, gaining a B.Sc. in Geology and Geophysics from Tulsa University and a Ph.D. in Geoscience from Rice University on the Paleogene Sequence Stratigraphy of NW Europe under Peter Vail.

Following his Ph.D. in 1994, Jack joined Exxon Production Research working basin analysis and hydrocarbon source rock prediction for exploration in Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Chad, China, Malaysia, Nigeria, Angola, Trinidad, US and Canada, plus global synthesis projects. Additionally, he created and delivered a great deal of content for in-house technical training.

At the ExxonMobil merger in 2000, Jack left research to join ExxonMobil Development working the Eastern Canada Sable Island project. In 2003, he moved into a series of management assignments across the Upstream, culminating with Africa Regional Exploration Manager in 2010. From 2010-2013 Jack worked in ExxonMobil Upstream Research and Upstream Ventures to interface between Engineering and Geoscience, Research, Operations and external parties to analyse the technology landscape and communicate differentiating technical capabilities. In his current role, Jack supports the Upstream with geoscience analysis and technical/commercial integration to find quality new opportunities.

He has taught around the world, published on geology and geophysical integration in many environments, author and co-editor of the SEPM textbook “Sequence Stratigraphy of Siliciclastic Systems: The ExxonMobil Methodology”, and is a member of the SPE R&D Committee.

Jack is married to Elise, has a daughter (17) and son (15) and lives in Houston, Texas. His hobbies are golf, reading, fishing, and skiing with the family.

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photo of Jonathan H. Acton

Jonathan H. Acton
Strategic Planning Mnager
ExxonMobil Exploration Corporation

Jonathan is Strategic Planning Manager for ExxonMobil Exploration Company. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours (1979) in Geology from The Imperial College of Science & Technology, University of London, U.K. and a Master of Science Degree (1980) in Applied Geophysics from University of Birmingham, U.K. He began his career with Mobil in London that same year. Since that time he has held numerous technical, supervisory and managerial assignments for ExxonMobil. He has served in various capacities in Exploration, Development, Production and Upstream Strategic Planning while working in the United Kingdom, Austria, Australia and the United States. In 1995 he was awarded a Master of Business Administration Degree from Kingston Business School (London) in the U.K.

At the time of the Exxon Mobil merger, Jonathan was transferred to Melbourne Australia as Project Manager for the Northwest Shelf and Central Australia. His responsibilities included leading exploration and production activities for the company offshore Western Australia and in the Cooper Basin of central Australia.

In October 2002 he was assigned to ExxonMobil Development in Houston as Geoscience Project Manager for established areas. In this role he oversaw geoscience activities associated with Development Projects in the U.K., Norway, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and Chad. In February 2005 he was assigned to ExxonMobil Exploration Company as Geoscience Project Manager for the Gulf of Mexico, with responsibility for exploration activities on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf and onshore Louisiana. In March 2007 Jonathan moved to ExxonMobil Production Company as Manager Global Coordination with responsibility for global geoscience functional oversight for the Production Company reservoir management and drilling activities. In June 2010 he moved to the position of Global Opportunity Prioritization Manager, Business Development, ExxonMobil Exploration Company. In this role he managed the portfolio & prioritization of all global exploration opportunities and global thematic studies. In October 2012 he assumed his current position, where he leads a team responsible for Strategic Planning activities for ExxonMobil Exploration Company, and serves on ExxonMobil’s upstream strategy team.

Jonathan is married with two boys, Oliver age 21 and Sebastian age 12. His primary interests outside of ExxonMobil are sport and the family.

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