SPE Foundation Donald G Russell Scholarship

The purpose of this Scholarship is to support and promote Undergraduate Petroleum Engineering Students attending universities in the USA. This scholarship will be awarded to those who have shown a clear pursuit of Petroleum Engineering and need help to ensure their studies can be completed. Each year two recipients will be awarded a one-time payment of USD 4,000 to help them complete their studies.


  • Be a current SPE Student Member in good standing
  • Comply with SPE sanction policy
  • Be currently enrolled in an Undergraduate Petroleum Engineering degree
  • Be resident and studying at a University based in the United States of America
  • This award is not intended for those already finishing their final year and planning to use the funds for a postgraduate degree.
  • Complete the electronic application submission process, including at least one reference.


Only applications submitted via the link provided will be accepted. Applications received in any other format will not be eligible.

To Apply

Applications open on 15 November each year, and close on 15 April. Judges review all eligible applications and winners are announced 1 August. Successful applications received payment in August intended to support the following academic term. By applying for this scholarship you are automatically considered for any SPE Scholarship or Fellowship that you meet the eligibility requirements for.

  1. Submit the online application form by noon CDT (UTC-5) on 15 April.
  2. You must submit at least one recommendation and documentation for entry exams (if applicable).

U.S. law prohibits provision of certain services to individuals residing in embargoed countries; therefore, not all applicants may be eligible to participate in Donald G Russell Scholarship program. Read more.

About Donald G Russell

Donald G Russell (1931 – 2015) made numerous contributions to the petroleum engineering discipline and the oil and gas industry during a career that spanned nearly 60 years. In his early years at Shell Oil Company, he performed research leading to advances in reservoir engineering, with special emphasis on transient pressure behavior. He was co-author, with Dr. CS Matthews, of the first SPE Monograph Series publication entitled “Pressure Build-Up and Flow Tests in Wells”, now considered a classic in the field. SPE recognized his early research accomplishments in 1962 with the Cedric K Ferguson Medal, awarded annually to promising young petroleum engineers based on outstanding papers published in SPE journals. 

Mr. Russell received SPE’s John Franklin Carll Award in 1980 and its DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal in 1987 in recognition of his engineering accomplishments, technical leadership and professional service to the petroleum industry. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1982 and was honored as a distinguished graduate of the University of Oklahoma in 1998. His career included executive leadership positions at Shell Oil Company, Sonat Exploration and the Russell Companies, which he founded in 1998.

Mr. Russell was highly involved in SPE activities during his career. He served as SPE President in 1974 and AIME President in 1990, and he was elected to SPE’s Distinguished Member Society in 1984. He was Chair of the Offshore Technology Conference in 1983 and served on numerous special committees to advance the society’s goals and mission. This scholarship in his name reflects his lifelong passion for progress in the petroleum industry and engineering profession.

This Scholarship was set up in 2019 by Mr. Russell’s wife and children to honour and continue his work to support the future of the industry.