Petroleum Engineering Alumnus of the Month - July 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

kristian brekkeKristian Brekke was born in and grew up close to Oslo, Norway. He started tinkering with technology pretty early in life and was influenced by his very technically inclined father to apply to Mechanical Engineering at Oslo College of Engineering. Kristian spent his first working years as a design engineer. At the time, the Norwegian government was trying to stimulate the education of petroleum engineers abroad (they were sent out to find out how Americans got oil out of the ground) and offered scholarships to a select few approved Universities in the United States.

The University of Tulsa was on the list where also a good friend from Norway had started a year earlier. All information from him promised an excellent academic and social experience. Pretty soon Kristian was on the plane with a scholarship, poor English skills and a very idealized understanding of what a petroleum reservoir consisted of. He soon met up with the rest of the Norwegians at TU who had formed the Norwegian Viking Club. Their first mission was to show him the Hurricane Hut, but he soon figured out that they also were pretty serious about school, which would soon would occupy a lot of his time. After graduation, Kristian went to work for several Norwegian and American oil companies. 

He took his M.Sc. at the TU Fluid Flow Projects studying subsea separation and his Ph.D. within TU Petroleum Reservoir Exploitation Projects studying horizontal well productivity. One of the highlights of Kristian's career has so far been the time he was employed by Norsk Hydro in the North sea developing (ICD) inflow control technology for the Troll Field. The technology is now offered by all major tool manufacturers and still occupies a lot of his time. He eventually started his own business in the well technology area and has spent about 10 years performing well inflow optimization studies and technology development for petroleum companies. Kristian has made Tulsa his home, and currently works as Chief Scientist for Tejas Research and Engineering, a Houston based well technology company. He will also teach a special topic course at TU this fall.

Kristian in his own words...

Why did you choose TU?
The first time it was fairly random, but the last two times it seemed like the natural place for me to get more education. It also helped that my wife, a native Tulsan, whom I met during my undergraduate studies usually would long for warmer climates after a number of years battling the long and snowy winters of Norway.

Did TU prepare you well for your career?
This may sound pretty biased, but I cannot imagine how it would have been to perform my jobs without the solid background that TU provided. The close relations to the industry and the experienced professors provided prepared us all very well. A few of the professors were able to not only teach us the material, but to inspire you to get a real interest in petroleum technology. For me, the hands on class projects that usually required some kind of programming would be of particular help in my future assignments.

Any fond memories you would like to share?
In addition to meeting my wife at TU, some of my best friends still today are TU graduates. Several Americans were adopted by the Norwegian Viking Club after an elaborate qualification process including singing Norwegian songs and answering test questions on Norwegian culture. For me TU was almost entirely a good experience with lots of good memories. The language confusion caused several humorous, but embarrassing situations both in school and privately.

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