Professor of Subsea Engineering Recognized as Distinguished Member by Society of Petroleum Engineers

By Janet Miranda

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) recently named Phaneendra Kondapi, a professor of subsea engineering and assistant dean of engineering programs at UH Katy, as a Distinguished Member.

“This distinguished membership is the second highest award you can receive,” said Kondapi. “I am very humbled and honored to have been nominated by my peers. I want to thank my colleagues and mentors throughout my career who gave me opportunities to be involved.”

Established in the early 1900s as the American Institute of Mining Engineers, the Society of Petroleum Engineers is the largest individual-member organization serving managers, engineers and scientists along with other professionals in the upstream oil and gas industry. With more than 153,000 members in 143 countries, the Distinguished Member designation is a top achievement.

This distinguished recognition acknowledges members who have attained eminence in the petroleum industry or the academic community and who have made significant contributions to SPE, something of high interest to Kondapi.

This summer, he established an experimental course about the digitalization of the oil and gas industry called the Digital Approach to Oil and Gas Applications. The course was the first of its kind to be offered at a university.

“This is the perfect time to start this course. Due to the turmoil of the industry, the need for digitalization is more apparent,” said Kondapi. “We definitely want to promote that UH has once again taken the lead to be a step ahead in educating the next generation of engineers.”

The course is part of the Subsea Engineering program at UH. And although the course is new, Kondapi said it is not a new idea.

“This is the right time for the oil and gas industry to drive evolution in its systems,” he said. “Other industries like retail and health care have successfully migrated or have been working towards digitalization for the past few years. Many operators and service companies, including Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxon, Halliburton and Schlumberger, along with many other smaller players have started working towards digitalization now.”

Kondapi joined the UH system in 2011 and most recently was former director of the Subsea Engineering program and founding director of engineering programs at UH at Katy. Over his time at UH, he has supported other new programs, such as dual master’s degrees in subsea and mechanical engineering.

In 2019, he was honored by SPE with a Project, Facilities and Construction Award. In 2017, he received two awards – the Regional Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty, along with SPE’s Regional Projects, Facilities and Construction Award. In 2013, he won the SPE Innovative Teaching Excellence Award.

“Thank you to the SPE awards committee, and my colleagues from SPE who have nominated and supported me,” said Kondapi. “This recognition encourages me to continue to serve SPE, industry and academics further.”