In Memoriam - Michael J. Economides

MICHAEL J. ECONOMIDES, SPE, died 1 December 2013. He was 64. At the time of his death he worked in several capacities, including professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston; worldwide petroleum consultant; and editor-in-chief of two energy-related publications.

Economides was born 6 September 1949 in Cyprus. A Greek national, he became a US citizen in 1982. At age 19, he came to the US as a Fulbright scholar, earning BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering at the University of Kansas.

From 1980 to 1984, he and his wife, Christine Ehlig-­Economides, SPE, designed curricula for and established a petroleum engineering program at the University of Alaska. In 1984, he received a PhD in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.

From 1984 to 1989, Economides worked at Dowell Schlumberger, then for 3 years as director of the Institute of Drilling and Production and petroleum engineering professor at Leoben Mining University in Leoben, Austria.

In 1993, Economides was principal founder of the Global Petroleum Research Institute at Texas A&M University, serving as its director and chief scientist for 5 years, while also a petroleum engineering professor at A&M. He joined the University of Houston in 1998.

Economides consulted on petroleum projects in more than 70 countries and taught more than 300 advanced petroleum-related short courses worldwide. He authored or coauthored close to 300 technical papers and several book chapters and encyclopedia entries. He edited or wrote around a dozen technical books on topics such as hydraulic fracturing and natural gas engineering. His best-known popular book, The Color of Oil: The History, the Money and the Politics of the World’s Biggest Business, co-written with R.E. Oligney, was published in 2000 and became a bestseller. Economides also coauthored several other general books centering on geopolitics and the petroleum industry.

He served SPE as session chairperson at numerous conferences and forums worldwide and member of several technical and editorial review committees. He was chosen as a Distinguished Lecturer for 1991–92.

Economides became an SPE Distinguished Member (1994) and received the SPEI Production and Operations Award (1997). The Russian Academy of Natural Sciences awarded him the Kapitsa Medal of Honor and the Albert Einstein Medal of Honor (2004). He received two honorary doctorates.

Economides is survived by his wife Christine and his sons John and Alexander.