Profile Photo for Dr. Robert Balch

Dr. Robert Balch

Petroleum Recovery Research Center - NM Tech

Department: Board

Dr. Robert Balch is the Director of the Petroleum Recovery Research Center located on the campus of New Mexico Tech. As Director, Robert has consistently grown the research portfolio of the organization to now include 29 active projects with a total active research portfolio of $227 million. During his 27 years at the PRRC he has been principal Investigator on a range of enhanced oil recovery, intelligent systems, and environmental projects, with a focus on developing and applying solutions to problems at many scales using geological, geophysical, and engineering data. Dr. Balch is the Principal Investigator of the Southwest Partnership on Carbon Sequestration, which is currently completing a DOE funded demonstration project where 1,000,000 metric tonnes of anthropogenic CO2 has been injected for combined storage and enhanced oil recovery into a mature waterflood in North Texas. He is also the Principal Investigator for the Carbon Utilization and Storage Partnership, another US DOE initiative, which is actively working with companies to commercialize CO2 Storage projects in the Western US. The CUSP has 29 commercialization projects underway including identifying CO2 storage for a coal to hydrogen power plant conversion, permitting carbon storage for a mid-stream producer in the Permian basin, an iron smelter in Utah, and carbon storage hubs throughout the western USA. In addition, he is project manager for a DOE CarbonSafe 3 project which is identifying 7 million tonnes per year of storage for a coal plants converting to Hydrogen with carbon capture in New Mexico.

During the course of his work, he has published more than 50 papers, is a frequent invited speaker, and has presented his research at more than 110 meetings or events. In 2017 he was selected as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers on the topic of CO2 storage during enhanced oil recovery. Dr. Balch has served for 6 years on the ISO TC265 world standard for geologic storage of carbon oxides, as a representative for ANSI. Dr. Balch held an appointment as an Oil Conservation Commissioner for the State of New Mexico between June of 2011 and December of 2018.