About TUCoRE

The Tulsa University Center of Research Excellence (TUCoRE) was created jointly by Chevron Energy Technology Company and The University of Tulsa in 2002. A partnership like this provides an avenue for focused research that benefits Chevron, TU and the entire oil and gas industry. “TU’s affiliation with the world’s oil and gas industry goes back nearly a century. TUCoRE builds on this heritage by creating an exciting new form of industry-university partnership for petroleum engineering research and education,” said Donald Paul, former Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Chevron.

        With the demise of research laboratories in the 1990s for all major oil companies, Chevron became concerned about the significant reduction in research being conducted. Especially vulnerable was longer term, higher risk strategic research. TUs pioneering model for over 40 years of forming very successful research consortia in drilling, production and reservoir engineering made it an ideal site to form the first of several CoREs. Chevron’s annual funding of TUCoRE now exceeds $1 million, and some projects have evolved into Joint Industry Projects and new research consortia with participation from other major oil and gas producing companies.

TUCoRE Governance Model

TUCoRE is governed by a six-person Steering Committee, 3 from Chevron and 3 from TU, that meets semi-annually to make all significant decisions, including initiation, continuation or termination of projects, budgeting, and monitoring overall program status. Chevron also provides a Program Manager who, in addition to supervising overall TUCoRE operations, champions TUCoRE to Chevron’s upper management, validates business outcomes from research projects, and plays a major role in solicitation of funding.

All research projects conducted within TUCoRE are directed jointly by a TU Principle Investigator (PI) and a Chevron Champion, both being experts in the area of investigation.  Research is conducted by PhD, MS and undergraduate students in petroleum, mechanical and chemical engineering. A group of PIs and Champions make recommendations to the Steering Committee through the Program Manager. This complicated process has evolved into an efficient model that has proven to be very successful.

Evolution of Research Projects

The Nucleus of the TUCoRE program is the incubator where initial Seed Projects begin. These Seed , or proof of concept projects can originate either from TU faculty or a Chevron Champion. All TUCoRE projects must have one or more PIs and Champions. Seed projects are typically funded at about the $50,000 per year level and last one or two years. If successful, the DRB can approve moving a Seed Project out of the Nucleus into an expanded Full Project at a higher funding level. Full projects often continue for several years. Depending on the success of Full Projects, long term funding requirements and intellectual property issues, Full Projects may involve other industry participants through Joint Industry Projects or a new Research Consortium. All Seed and Full Projects operate under the supervision of the Chevron Program Manager. Resulting technology is then transferred to business units for integration into industry operations.


Further strengthening the Nucleus are educational components such as summer internships, financial support of honors programs and graduate scholarships, workshops that support both Seed and Full Projects, and a Visiting Scholar Program where PIs pair up with Champions at Chevron during the summer.