Environmental Data Science

Job Type
Job Rank
Post Doc
Job Institution
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Job Description


Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), this posting seeks a post-Doctoral or post-Master's researcher to engage in projects with the Research Innovation Center (RIC) at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in the area of seismicity under the mentorship of Greg Lackey. This project will be hosted at the NETL Pittsburgh, PA campuses.

There are estimated to be more than 6 million wells in the continental United States, of which, approximately 1.16 million are abandoned. Site developers and operators of geologic storage sites are responsible for characterizing the hazard represented by legacy wells within the area of influence of their projects. Managing the risks of potential leakage from those wells during and after injection represents a technical challenge—particularly since robust methods to predict which wells present the greatest leakage risk are lacking. Developing and applying new, data-driven methods to help prioritize well remediation, plugging, and monitoring efforts has the potential benefit of efficiently and effectively managing risk.

Gaining insights into the safety and security of geologic storage requires a combination of field and laboratory experimentation, numerical simulation of system behavior, practical perspective from analogous industrial experience, and insights drawn from data. Under this project, researchers will apply artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) techniques to national-scale well characterization and integrity test datasets to yield new insights into leakage potential. It is intended that these insights will inform stakeholders’ decision making on risk management and help to ensure efficient and effective well inspection and plugging efforts. (More details about NETL’s Geologic and Environmental Systems Directorate can be found here: https://netl.doe.gov/onsite-research/geological. More details about NETL’s Advanced Carbon Storage Research and Development portfolio can be found here: https://netl.doe.gov/carbon-management/carbon-storage/advanced-storage)

The participant will: (1) learn and apply state-of-the-art methods and approaches for well characterization and integrity assessment, well log analysis, and machine learning model development to address industry-relevant applied geoengineering problems; (2) gain perspective on geologic carbon storage technology research front, key challenges, and stakeholder perspectives; (3) gain exposure to career opportunities in energy and environmental science/engineering, with particular exposure to geologic and environmental-related fields; (4) gain experience in collaborative research with interdisciplinary collaboration teams; and (5) improve technical writing and oral presentation skills.

Peer-reviewed publication is strongly encouraged and will be supported by the mentor and other collaborators, as it an important step for emerging researchers to establish themselves and contribute to the advancement of the state-of-understanding in their field of endeavor. It is not, however, a requirement for this opportunity.