Gioia Falcone is currently Professor and Head of the Oil and Gas Engineering Centre at Cranfi eld University. Gioia holds a Laurea Summa Cum Laude in environmental-petroleum engineering from the University Sapienza of Rome, a M.Sc. degree in petroleum engineering from Imperial College London and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Imperial College London. Prior to joining academia, she worked with ENI-Agip, Enterprise Oil UK, Shell E&P UK and TOTAL E&P UK, covering both offshore and onshore assignments. Along with being actively engaged with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), she is also one of the 21 members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Bureau of the Expert Group on Resource Classifi cation, and of its Renewable Reserves Taskforce. She is the appointed Leader of the International Geothermal Association (IGA)/UNECE working group for the development of geothermal specifi cations for the UNFC-2009. She has co-authored over a hundred scholarly articles and one US patent, edited the 2012 Multiphase Flow Metering SPE Reprint Series “Getting up to Speed” and co-authored the 2009 book on Multiphase Flow Metering, published Elsevier.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself and your

background in oil and gas. Rachael Simpson

I am a petroleum engineer by background, and by that I mean by academic training and also by industry experience. I started working in the oil and gas industry back in 1999, where I gained experience working in the North Sea, as well as onshore, with different majors. I have remained in the oil and gas sector, although I decided to move the ‘other side’, meaning academia, in

2006. Whenever people discuss oil and gas, they invariably end up talking about the United States of America. In this respect, I am no different as I headed west, to Texas, to one of the largest universities in petroleum engineering in the world (Texas A&M), and from there one thing led to another and now I am here at Cranfi eld University.

Q: Yes, you’ve recently been appointed head of the Oil and Gas Engineering Centre at Cranfi eld University – can you tell us about what you will be working on there?

I will be leading the oil and gas engineering centre, where I will lead a team of academics and specialists, ensuring that they have a platform from which to give their best. In parallel, I will be developing new research and activities in the area of petroleum engineering, and also at the interface with renewable energy resources, as I believe that’s going to be the future.

Topics that this centre has already been working on prior to my arrival, and themes which I can bring, include multiphase fl ow systems, fl ow assurance, computational fl uid dynamics, and production optimisation. I want also to expand in the areas of liquid loading in gas wells, and mature fi elds, which are very important topics particularly in regions of advanced production, such as the North Sea. In addition, we will be working on subsea engineering, automation of sensing and instrumentation, and geothermal energy exploitation.

Q: What makes Cranfi eld so well-placed for this research and development?

I believe that Cranfi eld defi nitely offers something special, and

I’m saying this as someone who has worked at several other universities in Europe and the USA. It’s because Cranfi eld is so research-focused, not just fundamental research, which is well covered of course, but more specifi cally applied research that serves the industry and delivers solutions. I’m an engineer, and engineers are always seeking solutions, so when I came here and saw the amazing facilities of industry scale, and saw people trained and focused on delivering, I knew straight away that Cranfi eld was a bit different.

Q: You have a strong background in geothermal energy systems– could you give an overview of what geothermal energy is for any readers that may be unfamiliar with this?

My introduction to geothermal energy was a case of ‘jumping in at the deep end’, as I’m a petroleum engineer and I was happily working for the oil and gas industry. Yet, it is normal in an academic environment to look around for topics where your skills may be applied, and at the time in question, there was a major push towards carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Also, at Texas A&M where I was working, there was a growing interest in geothermal energy engineering.

CCS and geothermal energy seemed natural areas for me


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