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Two Faculty Members Recognized in 2021 SPE International and Regional Awards

August 30, 2021


The Society of Petroleum Engineering (SPE) recognized two Khalifa University faculty members in its International and Regional Awards in recognition of their exceptional service and leadership within the SPE.


Dr. Hadi Belhaj, Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering, was honored with the 2021 SPE International Distinguished Service Award for his significant professional contributions not only to the petroleum engineering profession but to the worldwide oil and gas industry as well. The award recognizes contributions to the Society that exhibit such exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought, and action as to set them apart from other contributions.


Tom Blasingame, 2021 SPE President, and Dr. Hadi Belhaj Image by Alin Constantin Photography

The International Distinguished Service Award is in recognition of Dr. Belhaj’s 40 years of combined petroleum industrial and academic experience with key qualifications and achievements in reservoir engineering, reservoir simulation, modeling fractured reservoirs, EOR, sand control, unconventional reservoirs and decarbonized fossil fuels. Geographically, his experience is spread over North America, Europe, North Africa, Asia and the Middle-East. 


“It is an honor to recognize Hadi for his commitment and dedication to the oil and gas industry with the SPE Distinguished Service Award. SPE international award winners were nominated by their colleagues and selected by their peers for their achievement and contributions and it’s my pleasure to congratulate him on receiving this prestigious international award from SPE,” said Tom Blasingame, 2021 SPE President.


Dr. Belhaj was also a previous recipient of the 2013 and 2020 SPE Regional Distinguished Achievement for Petroleum Engineering Faculty Award and the 2019 SPE Regional Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award. 


Dr. Emad Al Shalabi, Assistant Professor of Petroleum Engineering, is the recipient of the SPE Regional Reservoir Description and Dynamic Award for the Middle East and North Africa Region. The award is one of the Technical Awards given by SPE to members for their exceptional contribution and expertise on the regional level. The Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award recognizes outstanding achievements in or contributions to the advancement of petroleum engineering, specifically in the area of reservoir description and dynamics.


Dr. Al Shalabi has remarkable contributions in the fields of reservoir simulation, modeling, and enhanced/improved oil recovery (EOR/IOR) techniques, which are critical to the oil and gas industry. His achievements in the area of EOR and specifically in low salinity water flooding for carbonate reservoirs promise greatly improved extraction and use of the world’s natural resources. He has made great progress in elucidating the uncertainties associated with low salinity water injection through in-depth, critical analysis of the experimental works of other researchers as well as his own simulation and modeling works. 


“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award that reflects my significant contribution to the oil and gas industry. In the Middle East and North Africa region, carbonate rocks provide great challenges to successful oil and gas production. Hence, we need to apply innovative and cost effective EOR techniques to further enhance their production where my research activities are focused,” Dr. Al Shalabi commented. 


Prior to receiving the 2021 Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award, Dr. Al Shalabi has also received the 2020 SPE Regional Public Service Award, 2020 SPE Regional Service Award, and 2020 SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region. 


SPE held their Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition from September 21 to 23, 2021 in Dubai, UAE. 


Ara Maj Cruz
Creative Writer
30 August 2021