Sergio Alcocer PhotoDr. Sergio Alcocer
Under-Secretary for North American Affairs
Secretariat of Foreign Relations, Mexico

Sergio M. Alcocer is a Civil Engineer from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Since January 2013, Dr. Alcocer has served as Under-Secretary for North American Affairs at the Secretariat of Foreign Relations. In the public sector, he has previously served as Under-Secretary for Energy Planning and Technology Developments at the Secretariat of Energy, and as Research Director of the National Center for Disaster Prevention at the Secretariat of the Interior. Dr. Alcocer has also been Secretary General Provost, Coordinator for Innovation and Developments, and Director of the Insitute of Engineering of the UNAM. As an academic, Dr. Alcocer is a member to the National System of Researchers since 1994. He is the President of the Mexican Academy of Engineering and member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and various technical societies. He has received several honors and awards for academic achievement, including the National University Distinction for Young Scholars in the area of Technology Innovation and Industrial Design, and Research Award from the Mexican Academy of Sciences in the area of Technological Research (2001).


Jamie Austin

Dr. Jamie Austin
Associate Director of International Relations
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. James (Jamie) Austin is a senior researcher at the Institute for Geophysics, part of the University of Texas/Austin Jackson School of Geosciences. He also serves as the Associate Director for International Relations.

Dr. Austin uses a variety of geophysical tools to examine the stratigraphic and structural evolution of a wide range of continental margin and lake environments around the world. He has worked on many continental margins, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Dr. Austin worked with R.T. Buffler soon after he arrived at the Institute, in the late 1970s-early 1980s, on long regional seismic profiles in the Gulf of Mexico, which today still form one of the important bases for continued interpretive models of the basin’s geologic evolution. Dr. Austin holds a B.A. magna cum laude (1973) in geology from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in oceanography (1979) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Applied Ocean Sciences and Engineering.


Carlos Beltran

Mtro. Leonardo Beltran Rodriguez
Under-Secretary of Planning and Energy Transition
Secretariat of Energy, Mexico

On December 2012, Leonardo Beltrán Rodríguez was appointed as Undersecretary of Planning and Energy Transition at SENER.

Previously, he held the positions of Director of International Negotiations and Director General of Information and Energy Studies at SENER. He also coordinated the inter-sectorial working group for Carbon Capture, Use and Storage, and participated in the development of the Mexican Norm for Sustainable Buildings. He was responsible for the organization of the Energy Efficiency and Access Forum, which took place in Mexico City in 2010. He has acted as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, as well as for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.



Gerardo Carrasco

Gerardo Carrasco Nuñez
Director, Center for Geosciences
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Bio coming soon…










Elena Centeno Garcia

Dr. Elena Centeno Garcia
Director, Institute of Geology
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Bio coming soon…









Ruben Chavez Guillen

Ing. Rubén Chávez Guillén
Manager of Groundwater
Comisión Nacional del Agua, CONAGUA

Rubén Chávez Guillén earned both his BS in civil engineer and his MS in Hydraulics from the National University of Mexico (UNAM).

Since 1968 up to now, he has held different positions at the Federal Government of Mexico, all of them related to exploration, evaluation and management of ground water. Currently, he is the Head of the Groundwater Division of the National Water Commission of Mexico. He has taught several graduate-level courses, seminars and conferences on Hydrogeology and related sciences. Lately, his personal interests include impact of climate change in aquifers of Mexico, groundwater governance, and the role of aquifers in energy sources.


Gail Christeson

Dr. Gail Christeson
Senior Research Scientist
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Gail Christeson received her B.S. in geophysics from Texas A&M in 1988, and a Ph.D in geophysics from the Joint Program between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1994.

She is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. Gail specializes in using ocean bottom seismometers to constrain crustal structure of various geological environments, including the recent GUMBO survey in the northern Gulf of Mexico.





Raul Cruz Rios

Raúl Cruz Ríos
General Director
Servicio Geológico Mexicano (SGM)

Raúl Cruz Ríos has a BSc in Geological Engineering from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

He began his career in the former Consejo de Recursos Minerales of Mexico, which is now the Servicio Geológico Mexicano (SGM), where he later became an Exploration Assistant Manager. He was also a professor of the School of Engineering at UNAM, teaching a course on Minerals Exploration Geochemistry. For over a decade he was Deputy Director of Mining Promotion in the Ministry of Economic Development in the State of Mexico, where he integrated a database of mining for the state. Raul Cruz was also appointed Executive Director of the Institute of Mining Development and Geological Studies of the State of Mexico (IFOMEGEM), position that he held for over 10 years until his promotion as the Director General of the SGM in 2013.


Cecilia De La Macorra

Cecilia De La Macorra
Latin America Director for International Government Relations
ExxonMobil Corporation

Cecilia De la Macorra was appointed ExxonMobil’s international government relations director for Latin America in March 2012.

Prior to her current role she served as ExxonMobil’s public and government affairs manager in Mexico. She received a bachelor’s degree in international relations with a minor in international economics from Universidad Iberoamericana in 1999 and a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University, with focus on Latin America and communication, in 2002. She joined ExxonMobil in 2009. As international government affairs director for Latin America, Ms. De la Macorra provides strategic political analysis and advocacy for all ExxonMobil businesses and affiliates in the region, as well as for the corporation. She also represents the company with external stakeholders related to Latin America in Washington and New York City.


Richard Denne

Dr. Richard Denne
Biostratigraphy Advisor
Marathon Oil Company

Richard Denne is the biostratigraphy subject matter expert at Marathon Oil, a position he has held since 2009.

Richard is a graduate of the University of Iowa, and received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1990 studying Gulf of Mexico benthic foraminifera under the oversight of Barun Sen Gupta. He began his career as a paleontologist specializing in calcareous nannofossils at Exxon Company, USA and Exxon Exploration Company. He then consulted for 12 years with Applied Biostratigraphix before joining Marathon. He has published extensively on the paleoecology of benthic foraminifera, sequence biostratigraphy, the biostratigraphy of calcareous nannofossils, and more recently on the effects of the K-Pg boundary Chicxulub impact on the Gulf of Mexico and Eagle Ford stratigraphy.


Elva Escobar

Dr. Elva Escobar Briones
Marine and Limnology Sciences Institute, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones graduated in Hydrobiology from the Universidad Metropolitana in Mexico City in 1981 and continued her graduate studies in Biological Oceanography at the Graduate Program in Marine Sciences at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) obtaining a M. in Sc. degree in 1984 and a Ph. D. degree in 1987.

Currently she has a Full time Permanent Professor status, is a National Researcher SNI II and is in charge of the Biodiversity and Macroecology laboratory, from the Ocean and Coastal Academic Unit in the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia (ICML), Ciudad Universitaria, UNAM. She is responsible for the Comarge and Chess CoML projects in the Caribbean region. The research activities undertaken by Dr. Escobar and her students include the study of tropical deep sea benthic communities where the field work is carried on board UNAM’s Research Vessel “Justo Sierra”, or in collaboration with international institutions where sediment samples are collected to assess the community structure and function of the benthic fauna. In collaboration studies have allowed to analyze species richness and ecology aspects of seep communities the abyssal Gulf of Mexico. Her area of expertise includes systematics and biology of benthic crustaceans and community function models using stable isotopes.


Leigh Evans

Leigh Evans
Environmental Resources Management

Leigh Evans is a Partner at Environmental Resources Management (ERM) consulting firm based in Houston, Texas in the United States.

Ms. Evans has over 25 years broad experience in risk management, strategic planning, enhancing organizational efficiencies, stakeholder engagement and public advocacy, including 18+ years working for a major international oil and gas company. In that role, serving as a key external interface, she developed engagement and advocacy plans including processes to anticipate, trend and manage stakeholder inputs. With her extensive international experience, Ms. Evans is able to embrace the nuances of the various cultures and drivers of all stakeholders involved, considering not only the priorities of the foreign investor but also the viewpoints of host governments, regional thought leaders and local communities.Throughout her career, Ms. Evans has identified and presented strategies to mitigate NTRs that would present barriers to project success. This included creating strategies ranging from public advocacy to community development programs to participating in the formation of regulatory policy. Leigh has lived and/or worked in over 15 countries including Eqypt, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, Norway, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and possesses a functional knowledge of many others.


Neil Evans

Dr. Neil Evans
Senior Exploration Manager Gulf of Mexico
BHP Billiton

Neil Evans is Senior Manager for Gulf of Mexico Exploration both US and Mexico sectors based in Houston. He has worked for BHP Billiton for over 18 years and has a passion for regional studies and play based exploration. Prior to managing BHP’s Gulf of Mexico Exploration Group, Neil was Senior Manager for South East Asia with responsibility for exploration acreage in Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. He was also Manager for Regional Studies in Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago and lead regional geoscientist for West Africa.

Neil has a BSc in geology from Imperial College, London, and a PhD in structural geology from the University of Leeds in the UK. After graduating from Leeds, he undertook several Post-Doctoral Fellowships in France, Canada and London. At the Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, he studied the relationship between regional tectonics and granitoid emplacement in the Pyrenees, he did a similar study in Nova Scotia working with the University of Ottawa. Prior to joining BHP Billiton, Neil worked in the Salt Tectonics Group at Royal Holloway, University of London, undertaking field work in the Carpathians, looking at cores around salt diapirs from the North Sea and studying physical models in the laboratory.


Peter Flemings

Dr. Peter Flemings
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Flemings couples observation with theoretical analysis to study crustal fluid flow at human and geologic timescales.

He asks classical questions such as: 1) what is the relationship between faulting, pressure, and stress? 2) What is the shallow crust’s permeability and how does it vary with stress and pore pressure? 3) How is continental margin morphology controlled by fluid flow? 4) How do hydrocarbons move at both geological and production time scales? 5) What is the mechanism by which gas and oil vents form? How are methane hydrate deposits generated? He also explore practical questions such as: 1) How do we predict pore pressure in basins? 2) Under what conditions will blowouts form? 3) How can we design and drill safe and economic wells?

Dr. Flemings works closely with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), studies fluid pressure in the Nankai Accretionary Prism and helped develop a pore pressure penetrometer for ocean drilling. He leads an industry-supported research consortium (UT GeoFluids) to study pore pressure and fluid flow in basins combines geomechanical modeling, experimental analysis, and field study. He is fascinated by methane hydrates, his research group simulates them in the lab and model their formation. Most recently, Dr. Flemings is leading a new initiative to drill methane hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, his team studies the permeability and deformation of mudstones in the GeoMechanics laboratory.


Matthew Frye

Matthew Frye
Resource Evaluation Methodologies Branch, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Matthew Frye is the Chief of the Resource Evaluation Methodologies Branch at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in Herndon, VA.

Through various roles at BOEM, he has over 15 years of direct experience in oil and gas resource assessment on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. In his current capacity, he oversees the development of resource assessment methodologies and publication of the National Assessment. Matthew has led the BOEM effort for the past nine years to gain a better understanding of methane hydrate distribution on the OCS by preparing an assessment of in-place resources, participating in methane hydrate field programs, and assisting international partners with site selection efforts for major drilling programs.

Craig Fulthorpe

Dr. Craig Fulthorpe
Senior Research Scientist
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Craig Fulthorpe is a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Geophysics, the University of Texas at Austin.

Craig Fulthorpe studies the origins of the sequence stratigraphic record by evaluating how sequence architecture and timing are influenced by local and regional controls (e.g., rates of subsidence and sediment supply, isostasy, compaction, and current activity) in addition to global sea-level change. His projects have focused on passive margins in several parts of the world: offshore New Jersey, the Northwest Shelf of Australia, and the Canterbury Basin offshore New Zealand. He has also analyzed sequence stratigraphy on two active margins: the forearc basins off northern California and the Pacific margin of Nicaragua. Craig’s research has often involved the integration of seismic interpretation and scientific ocean drilling. He has sailed on four ODP/IODP expeditions and will be a co-chief scientist on IODP Expedition 356 on the Australian Northwest Shelf in September-October 2015. Since 2012, he has been involved in the Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis, a basin-scale study of the Gulf of Mexico, working with Dr. William E. Galloway on Cenozoic depositional systems.


Sean Gulick

Dr. Sean Gulick
Research Associate Professor
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Sean Gulick has been at the University of Texas at Austin since he completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Jackson School in 2001. He was co-chief scientist on the seismic imaging project of the R/V Maurice Ewing and received the Jackson School’s Research Achievement award in 2007.

Gulick’s primary scientific interest is in the examination of deformation of the Earth in convergent margins, complex transitional tectonic environments such as microplates, and the massive deformation due to bolide impacts. Current projects he is working on with his students include imaging and mapping the eroded products of the St. Elias orogen in southeast Alaska and the crustal structure and deformation of the Yakutat oceanic micro plate and internally deforming northern Pacific Plate; examining the Kumano forearm basin in Japan for the kinematic history of deformation and sedimentation; imaging and mapping the fault patterns within the 2004 rupture area offshore Sumatra; and preparing for IODP Expedition 341 to the Gulf of Alaska to examine tectonic-climate interactions.


Helge Hove Haldorson

Dr. Helge Hove Haldorsen
Director General
Statoil Mexico

Helge Hove Haldorsen holds the position of Director General Statoil Mexico in Mexico City after serving as Vice President Strategy & Portfolio Statoil North America in Houston, Texas.

Prior to his tenure at Statoil, Haldorsen worked for Norsk Hydro in various roles including Chief Reservoir Engineer, Vice President Technology and Competence, Vice President Exploration and Research, Senior Vice President International Exploration and Production, and President Hydro Gulf of Mexico. He has also held various engineering positions at British Petroleum, Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio), and ExxonMobil in Anchorage, London, San Francisco, Stavanger and Houston. He was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Norwegian Navy and Professor of Industrial Mathematics at the University of Oslo as well as a Lecturer at Stanford University in California. He has served on the Society of Petroleum Engineer’s Board of Directors for three years. He also has been an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and a Distinguished Author in JPT. He has authored numerous technical papers and articles on reservoir engineering and other E&P themes.

Haldorsen earned an MS in Petroleum Engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim and a PhD in Reservoir Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He served on the Offshore Technology Conference Board of Directors for 5 years and currently serves on the ‘OTC d5: The Next Big Thing’ Advisory Board and on the External Advisory Board for the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Haldorsen is the 2015 President of The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) with 143,000 members in 139 countries and he writes his Presidential Columns each month in the Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT) – Haldorsen was awarded the 2013 Rhodes Petroleum Industry Leadership Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) – see:


Susan Hovorka

Dr. Susan D. Hovorka
Senior Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Susan D. Hovorka is a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, at The University of Texas at Austin.

She has a BA in geology from Earlham College and an MA and PhD from the University of Texas. Hovorka is the principle investigator of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center, an industry/academic partnership working on economically viable approaches to geologic sequestration of CO2 with a focus on field testing.




Steve Jester

Stephen Jester, P.E.
Sr. Principal Environmental Engineer

Steve is the Senior Principal Environmental Engineer with ConocoPhillips. Steve has 29 years of experience managing complex environmental programs, projects and staff with broad domestic and international experience.

Led development and implementation of ConocoPhillips’ HSE management system, contractor management programs, and operational excellence processes for the Risk Management & Remediation organization. He has developed company-wide water and environmental technology programs and business plan to steer the company’s water technology efforts. Developed and implemented the long term water strategy for the company’s Eagle Ford shale development. Currently responsible to manage issues associated with water in shale developments across the Lower 48.


Benigna Leiss

Benigna Cortés Leiss
General Director
Chevron Energía de México

Benigna Cortés Leiss is the general director for Chevron Energía de México since 2005 based in Houston, Texas. In this role, she has worked toward the opening of the hydrocarbon sector in Mexico, negotiating and signing Technical Collaboration Agreements with Pemex.

In 1997, Leiss opened Texaco’s Global Gas and Power Office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following the 2001 Chevron-Texaco merger, she became Director of Business Development for Power and Gasification, responsible for market development in Latin America and West Africa. Before joining Texaco in 1995, Leiss held a variety of marketing and planning positions at companies such as Texas Eastern Transmission Company and Koch Gateway Pipeline Company. She has more than 27 years of experience in the energy sector and has worked for the last 15 years in the international arena. Outside of the workplace, Leiss is actively involved with the Center for Energy Economics, the University of Texas, and Junior Achievement, and has served on the board of several organizations. She is also a member of both the Hispanic and Women’s Employee Networks at Chevron. She is an active member of the women network in the energy sector “Mujeres Energía.” Leiss received her bachelor of business administration degree from the School of Economics at the Universidad de Chile and her Master of Science degree in international economics from the University of Surrey in Guildford, England (with a scholarship from the British Council). She is married to Ernst Leiss.


Lourdes Melgar

Lourdes Melgar Ph.D.
Deputy Secretary of Energy for Hydrocarbons of Mexico
Secretariat of Energy

Lourdes Melgar Palacios was appointed in 2014 as Undersecretary of Hydrocarbons of SENER, where she previously held the position of Undersecretary of Electricity.

Between 1993 and 2007, she held several diplomatic positions, including Minister of the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the OECD. From 1998 to 2002, she was Director General of International Affairs at SENER. In addition to acting as an independent consultant in energy related subjects, Melgar was Founding Director of the Center for Sustainability and Businesses of the EGADE Business School at ITESM. She is also a National Researcher at CONACYT and has been a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin.



Sharon Mosher

Dr. Sharon Mosher
Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Mosher’s research involves structural petrology and field-oriented structural geology.

Her primary research interests are in the evolution of complexly deformed terranes, strain analysis, deformation mechanisms, and the interaction between chemical and physical processes during deformation. Dr. Mosher currently has three active research areas: the Mesoproterozoic of Texas, the Australian-Pacific oceanic plate boundary south of New Zealand, and the southwestern U.S. Mesozoic Maria Tectonic belt.




Jazmin Mota

Jazmin Mota
World Bank

Jazmin Mota is currently a short term consultant in the World Bank supporting and in charge of the Clean Technologies Direction at the Energy Ministry of Mexico.

Her work is focused on the Carbon Capture, Use and Storage Project and she is also responsible for implementing Mexico’s CCUS Technology Road Map. Previously, she worked at the Federal Commission of Electricity leading projects for CO2 storage capacity estimation in deep saline aquifers in order to evaluate the storage potential in the main sedimentary basins of Mexico. She has participated in different forums within and outside of the country and outreach programs at various national universities. Jazmin completed her geological engineer degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico where she also currently teaches.



Gustavo Murillo

Dr. Gustavo Murillo Muñetón
Program Manager
Office of Geology Exploration and Exploitation, Instituto Mexicano Del Petroleo

Gustavo Murillo received a Bachelor´s Degree of Geologist Engineer from the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico) in 1984, a M.S. from the University of Southern California in 1994, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1999.

His M.S. thesis was on Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology and his Ph.D. dissertation was on Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphy. He has been working for the Mexican Petroleum Institute since 1984, during his first years carried out projects on characterization and dating of igneous and metamorphic units of different parts of Mexico. After completing his graduates studies in the U.S. in 1999, he has been involved in research projects on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and digenesis of petroleum-producing sedimentary systems in Mexico, mainly carbonate systems. He has conducted studies of outcrop analogs to be applied to subsurface petroleum exploration and exploitation of different basins in Mexico. Recently, he also has been in charge of a large-scale research project of basin modeling in the Subsalino and Perdido Fold belts. Currently, he is the Manager of the Research Section of Predictive Geology and also is in charge of the Research Direction in Exploration and production at the Mexican Petroleum Institute. In addition, he is the person in charge of Geologic Modeling of an ongoing research project on unconventional shale reservoirs in Mexico. For a numbers of years, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Petrology, Petrography, Sedimentology, Sequence Stratigraphy, and Diagenesis at the National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico) and the Autonomous National University of Mexico. He has taught short courses on the mentioned subjects. He is author or coauthor of over 21 papers and numerous abstracts.


Clive Neal

Dr. Clive R. Neal
Department of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Notre Dame

Clive R. Neal grew up and was educated in the United Kingdom. He obtained his PhD 1986 and studied mantle petrology and the origin of kimberlite-like intrusives in the southwest Pacific. He moved to the United States in 1986 where he spent 4 years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. While there, he studied mantle petrology and was introduced to the study of Apollo Moon rocks. He was hired at the University of Notre Dame in 1990 and has been there ever since.

Clive has two research thrusts – the study of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) and understanding the origin and evolution of the Moon. He has studied LIPs through fieldwork and sailing on 4 scientific ocean drilling expeditions as part of the US ocean drilling program. Neal has also served on various US and international committees that advance ocean drilling. He currently serves on the Science Evaluation Panel of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), is a member of the Technical Advisory Team for the Japanese drilling ship, Chikyu, and is the chair of IODP’s Curatorial (Sample) Allocation Board.


Jean-Philippe Nicot

Dr. Jean-Philippe Nicot
Research Scientist
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Jean-Philippe Nicot is a geological engineer and a research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin.

He holds a doctorate in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas. Nicot has been working on environmental issues for more than two decades. His current research interests are diverse and include assessment of water use and water disposal practices by the oil and gas industry. Other topics of interest are brackish water desalination and concentrate disposal, natural contamination of aquifers, and potential risks of CO2 storage to aquifers.



Vanessa Nuñez

Vanessa Nuñez
Research Scientist Associate
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Vanessa Nuñez is a Research Scientist Associate at the Gulf Coast Carbon Center of the University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology.

In this position, she serves as Principal Investigator for several applied CCS projects. She holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Universidad Central de Venezuela, an M.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Energy and Mineral Resources also from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the Bureau of Economic Geology, Vanessa was a Senior Reservoir Engineer at Chevron Energy Technology’s Carbon Storage group, where she served as company representative for several Joint Industry Projects, such as the Weyburn-Midale IEA project. Back in her native Venezuela, she worked as an Instructor Professor at Universidad Central de Venezuela.


Felipe Ortuño Arzate

Dr. Felipe Ortuño Arzate
General Director, Petroleum Resources Evaluation
Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos

Felipe Ortuño Arzate is a graduate in Geological Engineering from the Instituto Politécnico National in Mexico, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Geology from Pau University in France.

In 1980, he began his career in the former Council of Mineral Resources of Mexico, which is now the Mexican Geological Survey. Between 1982 and 2013 he held several positions in the Mexican Petroleum Institute, including Researcher Scientist, Manager of Exploration and Manager of Geosciences. His work was mainly focused to the topics of basin analysis, petroleum system modelling and technology strategy in the upstream exploration chain. In 1996-1997 he was also Scientific Visitors in the French Petroleum Institute, as Director of Research Project. Dr. Felipe Ortuño joined the Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos in 2013 and he is currently the General Director of Petroleum Resources Evaluation.


Ricardo Padilla Sanchez

Dr. Ricardo Jose Padilla y Sánchez
Department of Engineering and Earth Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Born in México, Distrito Federal in 1948. He studied Ingeniero Geologo at the Facultad de Ingenieria (FI), as well as a MSc at the Facultad de Ciencias, both from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). Later, he obtained the doctorate (PhD) at the University of Texas at Austin. As a Geologist he worked in the Comisión de Estudios del Territorio Nacional, in Petróleos Mexicanos, in the Bureau of Economic Geology, in Geólogos Consultores Asociados, S.A., in Consultores en Geología, S.A. de C.V., and in the Comisión Federal de Electricidad. As academic he has been Senior Researcher at the Instituto de Geologia and Professor of the FI of the UNAM and the University of Texas Pan-American. He was appointed Coordinator of the Masters Program in Exploration of Energy Resources from the Subsarface, and also appointed twice as Dean of the Division of Earth Sciences in the Facultad de Ingenieria of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, where he currently serves as Professor.Was also appointed as National Researcher Level I of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores. He has published numerous papers in national and international journals, and two books, in addition to having directed 26 theses, 18 undergraduate and 8 graduate.


Stephen Palmes

Dr. Stephen Palmes
Research Evaluation Branch, United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Stephen Palmes is a structural geologist specializing in regional deepwater Gulf of Mexico geology.

He works for the Office of Resource Evaluation, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Stephen serves as Staff Geologist in the Regional Framework Unit overseeing the regional mapping of hydrocarbon bearing intervals throughout the Gulf of Mexico, focusing on Alaminos Canyon, Keathley Canyon, Walker Ridge, and the Sigsbee Escarpment protraction areas. He participated in meetings between the State Department, the Mexican Delegation, and Interior regarding the implementation of the “Agreement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States concerning transboundary hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico”. Stephen has a BS in Geology from Old Dominion, an MS in Geology from Wright State, a PhD in Geology from Florida State and more than 15 years of experience with Interior.


Ligia Perez Cruz

Dr. Ligia Perez Cruz
Research Scientist
Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Bio coming soon…








German Pineda Gonzalez

Germán Pineda
HR Manager
Shell Mexico

German has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) and post graduate studies in Human Resources by Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM).

German is a Human Resources Generalist, with more than 20 years of experience working for multinational companies as: Roche, Xerox, CBS Outdoor, Pearson Education and Carrefour. In all of his jobs, he has been a Direction Team Member. While working for Pearson Education, he held HR responsibilities over the Latin American region (4 markets): MCC (Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean); Andean Pact: Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia; South Cone: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile and finally Brazil. In June 2012, German joined Shell as Human Resources Manager, his experience will be helpful to Shell Mexico facing challenges in the near future.


Jorge Pinon

Jorge R. Piñon
Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Jorge R. Piñon is Interim Director of The University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences, Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy and Director of its Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program.

He was president of Amoco Oil de México and president of Amoco Oil Latin America, based in Mexico City. After the Amoco-BP merger, Mr. Piñon was transferred to Madrid, Spain, to manage BP Europe’s western Mediterranean petroleum supply and logistics operations. He retired from BP in 2003. Mr. Piñon holds a degree in International Economics from the University of Florida, Gainesville.



Eric Potter

Eric C. Potter
Program Director, Energy Division
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Mr. Eric Potter is a geologist, and Program Director for Energy Research at the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT.

Since 2001 he has been responsible for coordinating the oil and gas energy research programs at the Bureau. From 1975 to 2000, he was with Marathon Oil Company, engaged in oil and gas exploration across much of the U.S. He also was Associate Director of Marathon’s Petroleum Technology Center in Littleton, Colorado in the early 1990s. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College in 1972, and a master’s degree in geology at Oregon State University in 1975. He is a registered professional geoscientist in the state of Texas. In his spare time, he is the chief of trail-maintenance volunteers at Great Hills Park in Northwest Austin.

Edgar Rangel German

Edgar Rangel-German
CNH Mexico

Edgar Rangel-German holds a B.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering from the National University of Mexico, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University.

He has worked as Research Associate at Stanford U., Engineer at Pemex, Chief Technical Advisor to the Undersecretary of Hydrocarbons at the Secretary of Energy in Mexico, and Director General for Hydrocarbons, Electricity and Water Project Evaluation at the Secretary of Finance in Mexico. In 2009, Dr. Rangel-German was appointed by the President of Mexico as Commissioner at National Hydrocarbon Commission, and in 2013 he was appointed for a second term by the recently elected President. His areas of interest are static and dynamic fractured reservoir characterization, enhanced oil recovery, physics of fluids, heavy oil reservoir simulation, and economic evaluation of oil and gas, electricity, and water projects.


Mario Rebolledo Vieyra

Dr. Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra
Research Scientist
Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, A.C.

Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra is a research scientist at the Center for Studies on Water in Mexico that researches the hydrogeology of the Yucatan Peninsula.

He works on a research program, “Ground water and nutrients impact Puerto Morelos Reef”, that focuses on the impact of the continental waters on the Mesoamerican Reef. His analysis quantifies and maps the origins of sediment and nutrient runoff that threaten the reef. Mario received his Bachelor’s degree in Oceanology from the School of Marine Sciences of the Autonomous University of Baja California. He received his Masters of Science at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education in Ensenada, and his Ph.D. at Department of Geology of CICESE.



Francisco Rocha Legoretta

Dr. Francisco J. Rocha Legorreta
Research Scientist
Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo

Dr Rocha-Legorreta is graduated as a Geologist Engineer from the Instituto Politecnico Nacional School of Earth sciences, with a Master in Geological Sciences degree at Stanford University and a PhD degree in Geology at the University of South Carolina.

At present, he is research geologist at the Mexican Institute of Petroleum in Mexico City and half time professor of petroleum geology at IPN School of Earth Sciences. His research and expertise is focused on petroleum system numerical modeling, collaborating in projects related to non-conventional resources like coal bed methane and shale gas. He was responsible of the institutional project of Gas Hydrate at the IMP.




Fernando Rodriguez de la Garza

Dr. Fernando Rodríguez de la Garza
Pemex E&P

Dr. Rodriguez has a bachelor’s degree from the National Polytechnic Institute, a master´s from the University of Mexico and a PhD from Stanford University, all in petroleum engineering.

Rodriguez joined PEMEX E&P (PEP) in 1991 and has served as Manager of Reservoir Management, Technical Manager of Field Development, Manager of Exploitation Projects-MNE; since 2011 serves as technical Advisor to the Directorate General of PEP and coordinates the Secondary and Enhanced Oil Recovery Program. Before joining PEMEX, he worked for the Mexican Petroleum Institute, Petrobras-Unicamp in Brazil and the University of México. His area of expertise is reservoir engineering, with emphasis on naturally fractured reservoirs and has been recognized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers with the 2005-SPE Regional Services Award and the 2007-SPE Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award. He is a member of the Academy of Engineering of Mexico, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the College of Petroleum Engineers of Mexico and the Association of Petroleum Engineers of Mexico.


Melinda Taylor

Melinda E. Taylor
Senior Lecturer & Executive Director
Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business
The University of Texas at Austin

Melinda E. Taylor is a Senior Lecturer and Executive Director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business.

Taylor joined the faculty of the Law School in January 2006. Prior to joining the faculty, she was the director of the Ecosystem Restoration Program of Environmental Defense where she managed a staff of attorneys, scientists and economists engaged in projects to protect endangered species and water resources across the United States. Taylor has also served as deputy general counsel of the National Audubon Society in Washington, D.C. and was an associate at Bracewell & Patterson in Washington.




Scott Tinker

Scott W. Tinker
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin

Scott W. Tinker is Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, the State Geologist of Texas, a professor holding the Allday Endowed Chair and acting Associate Dean of Research in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, and director of the Advanced Energy Consortium. He spent 17 years in the oil and gas industry prior to joining UT in 2000. Scott is past President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the Association of American State Geologists, and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. He has been a Distinguished Lecturer for the AAPG and Society of Petroleum Engineers, a Distinguished Ethics Lecturer for the AAPG, and the Geological Society of America (GSA) Halbouty Distinguished Lecturer.

Tinker is a Fellow of the GSA and has received the American Geoscience Institute Outstanding Contribution to the Public Understanding of the Geosciences award, the American Institute of Professional Geologists John T. Galey, Sr., Memorial Public Service Award, and was named a “Top Producer in Texas” by Texas Monthly magazine. Tinker holds appointments on the National Petroleum Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission; sits on the Geoscience Advisory Board at Sandia National Lab and is a Southwest Research Institute Trustee; and serves on several other private, professional, and academic boards. Scott has given over 500 invited and keynote lectures in nearly 50 countries to groups of all kinds, and most recently co-produced and is featured in the acclaimed documentary, SWITCH. Tinker’s degrees are from the University of Colorado, the University of Michigan, and Trinity University.


Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi

Dr. Jaime Urrutia Fucugauchi
Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Jaime did his bachelor’s degree at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and his Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

He spent a year as a postdoc at the University of Michigan, where he did research in paleomagnetism and nuclear geophysics. Back at UNAM he mounted a first-rate paleomagnetism lab, which expanded to a network of laboratory facilities, and began publishing his several hundred contributions on age determinations, paleoclimates, tectonics, and environmental pollution. In 1997 he was appointed director of the Institute of Geophysics at UNAM, and in June 2013, he became a member of the UNAM Board of Governors, the highest corporate body of the university, which appoints the rector and the directors of schools and research institutes. Jaime has also served as International Secretary of AGU, an elected office that involves membership of the Board of Directors of AGU. The list of Jaime’s well­deserved awards and distinctions is overwhelming. He is an enthusiastic promoter of international collaboration.


Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh is a Staff Geologist with ConocoPhillips Gulf of Mexico Exploration.

His current role focuses on integrating regional- to prospect-scale evaluation in the Gulf of Mexico, with emphasis on reservoir prediction and assessment . After graduating from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst (B.S. 2003; M.S. 2008), he worked for 5 years with ExxonMobil in U.S. onshore conventional Production, deepwater Angola Development, and Gulf of Mexico and Guyana Exploration.





Jean Weaver

Jean Weaver
Latin America Programs
U.S. Geological Services

Ms. Jean N. Weaver has worked as a geologist and an international program coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey for the past 34 years. Early on in her career, she worked for the Coal Branch in Denver, Colorado as a stratigrapher/sedimentologist, focusing on the depositional environments of Tertiary coalfields throughout the Rocky Mountains. She also contributed this expertise to two USAID-funded projects in Costa Rica and Haiti. Since 1993, she has served as Chief of Latin America for the International Programs office, at the USGS headquarters office in Reston,Virginia. She currently serves as the Acting Chief of International Programs as well.

Ms. Weaver represents USGS scientific expertise to Latin American counterparts in order to help promote and develop collaborative activities within Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Ms. Weaver interacts on a routine basis with the international donor community (World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, US Agency for International Development), academia, and the private sector, in an effort to develop cooperative agreements with international governmental institutions and to promote collaboration in the geosciences.

Ms. Weaver developed a broad international perspective and fluency in English, French and Spanish having spent her formative years in Cuba, Uruguay, Iran and the United States. She graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Geology.


Michael Young

Dr. Michael H. Young
Associate Director for Environment
Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Michael Young is Associate Director for Environmental Systems and Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin. In this capacity, he coordinates research programs for a group of around 30 scientists involved in a variety of research spanning energy/water issues, geological sequestration of CO2, groundwater recharge processes, water quality and resources, coastal processes and geological mapping. Dr. Young has authored or co-authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters, more than 100 presentations at scholarly meetings and many other technical reports. He currently serves as co-Editor of the Vadose Zone Journal and on numerous other committees in scholarly organizations. His personal research interests and experience are on the movement of water and solutes in arid and semi-arid vadose zones, water/energy nexus, soil/water/plant interactions, groundwater recharge and the connection between water resources, landscape development, and human interactions.

Previously, he served as the Acting Executive Director of the Division of Hydrologic Sciences (he was also Deputy Director for 5 years), Desert Research Institute, in Nevada. He left DRI with the academic rank of Research Professor. He held assistant and senior research scientist positions at the University of Arizona and Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively, between 1995 and 2000, and has more than 25 years of professional experience. Dr. Young received his B.A. and M.S. in Geological Sciences at Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY, 1983) and Ohio University (Athens, OH, 1986), respectively, with a specialty in Hydrogeology at Ohio University. He earned his Ph.D. in Soil and Water Science (specializing in soil physics and hydrology) from the University of Arizona, Tucson in 1995. While at Arizona, he was named Research Specialist of the Year in the College of Agriculture.


Luciana de la Rocha

Luciana de la Rocha
Graduate Student
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Luciana de la Rocha obtained her B.S. degree in Geosciences from Trinity University and is currently working on her M.S. degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a graduate research assistant at the Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis industry consortium at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. Her research focuses on deep water Paleogene stratigraphy in the southern Gulf of Mexico.





Jason Sanford

Jason Sanford
Graduate Student
Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin

Jason is an M.S. candidate in the Jackson School of Geosciences. To date, his research has focused on the geologic record of the Chicxulub asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico basin and its implications for catastrophic impacts and associated geologic processes. With the Geofluids group, Jason will investigate geopressure evolution and its role in natural hydraulic fracturing in the Panoche Giant Injection Complex, Panoche Hills, California. A native of Dallas, Texas, Jason received his Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Spanish from Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont. Before joining the UT community, he worked for a year as an associate geologist at a small, independent petroleum exploration company in Midland, Texas.