Faculty in the Petroleum Development Laboratory conduct basic and applied research in areas such as reservoir characterization, modeling, and simulation; enhanced oil recovery; and fluid characterization, drilling, and production. They assist the Alaska petroleum industry, state agencies, and federal agencies in efforts to make better use of these resources under stable and healthy environmental conditions. PDL faculty are recognized nationally and internationally by such groups as the Society of Petroleum Engineers, American Association of Drilling Engineers, and National Academy of Sciences.


PDL offers extensive graduate research opportunities to students from Alaska and all over the world. Graduate students participating in PDL research are regularly recognized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and American Association of Drilling Engineers.


Dr. Abhijit Y. Dandekar

Professor, Petroleum Engineering Department

Dr. Dandekar has significant research experience in areas as diverse as PVT/phase behavior, miscible gas injection, compositional analysis, physical property measurements, measurement and modeling of interfacial tension, viscosity, rock and fluid properties, enhanced oil recovery, measurement of transport properties in polymers, refinery processes, and solid organic deposition. Dr. Dandekar has completed several projects of the Danish Department of Energy on Improved Oil Recovery and Productivity from Lower Cretaceous Carbonates of the Danish Continental Shelf, studies of miscible gas injection in the black oil reservoirs of the Middle East, compositional analysis of gas condensate and black oil reservoirs from Germany, and reservoir fluid studies of the UKCS.

Dr. Santanu Khataniar

Professor, Petroleum Engineering Department

Dr. Khataniar has considerable research experience in the area of compositional reservoir simulation, EOS simulation, production and formation damage. He has worked in past, on USDOE, USDI/BIA and Alaska Science & Technology Foundation (ASTF) grants on Schrader Bluff reservoir characterization, ground water utilization and study of HC miscible slug injection for heavy oil production. He has also completed a project for ACS-PRF on compositional modeling of hydrocarbons.

Dr. Shirish L. Patil

Professor, Petroleum Engineering Department

Dr. Patil has over 15 years research experience in the area of Gas Hydrates, PVT/phase behavior, miscible/immiscible displacement, GTL transportation studies, asphaltene deposition studies and economics. He has managed/co-managed and successfully completed several multi-year USDOE, Alaska Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), co-operative projects with international oil companies and other research grants. He was Co-PI on the Methane Hydrate Test Well Feasibility Study in Alaska with Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (JAPEX) and later was Co-Project Manager with planning of Methane Hydrate Test Well in Alaska a joint study undertaken by University of Alaska Fairbanks, Japan National Oil Corporation (JNOC), United States Geological Survey and Geological Survey of Canada. He has been PI or Co-PI of over 10 successfully completed projects. Dr. Patil is an author of over 50 technical papers and reports.

Dr. Tao Zhu

Associate Professor, Petroleum Engineering Department

Dr. Zhu has over 20 years research and field experience in the area of enhanced oil recovery (EOR), heavy oil recovery, miscible and immiscible displacement, reservoir simulation and modeling, and petroleum production system and reservoir engineering. He has successfully completed several projects in the area of mobility control and sweep efficiency improvement in water and gas flooding, microbial EOR, and reservoir characterization for US Department of Energy, Gas Research Institute, and Oklahoma Mining and Mineral Research Institute. Dr. Zhu worked for major oil companies, such as Phillips Petroleum Company and China National Petroleum Corporation in the area of reservoir engineering, petroleum production system, and applied reservoir simulation. Dr. Zhu has published over twenty technical papers and research reports

Dr. Rajive Ganguli

Professor and Chair, Mining and Geological Engineering Department

Dr. Rajive Ganguli has extensive experience with geostatistics, neural networks and computer programming. He is presently developing a neural network for a project being funded by the Department of Energy, Usibelli Coal Mine and Golden Valley Electric Association, for which he is the PI. The network is presently under construction.

Dr. Sukumar Bandopadhyay

Professor, Mining and Geological Engineering Department

Dr. Bandopadhyay has served as the Director of Mining Minerals Resource Research Institute for a number of years administering grants from US Bureau of Mines. He also served as CO-Director of the Marine Mining Technology Center and was responsible for managing a research grant in the amount of $400,000. Currently he is the Principal investigator of a DOE funded project on Oxygen Transport Ceramic Membrane. It multi-year project with a total grant of over 3.15 million dollars. Dr. Bandopadhyay has worked on numerous research projects funded by the U.S. Government and private industries. He has extensive experience in methane flow in coal bed and degasification of methane prior to mining. Dr. Bandopadhyay has served as the Department Head of Mining & Geological Engineering for over seven years. Prior to joining the academia, has worked as underground mine manager of a large underground coalmines, and underground metal mines in India. He has extensive experience with Operations Research, Neural Network, diesel engine testing, exhaust transport modeling, monitoring And control of diesel exhaust in underground mines, and related fields. Dr. Bandopadhyay has developed several Expert Systems and Fuzzy Systems for mining application. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Alaska.

Brent Sheets

Acting PDL Director
(907) 750-0650


  • Petroleum Development Laboratory (PDL)
  • Box 755880
  • 419 Duckering
  • 306 Tanana Loop
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5880
  • Phone: (907) 474-5127
  • Fax: (907) 474-5912
  • Petroleum Development Laboratory (PDL)
  • 419 Duckering
  • 306 Tanana Loop
  • PO Box 75 Box 755880
  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-Box 755880, USA
  • phone (907) 474-5127
  • fax (907) 474-5912