Renowned petroleum engineer, NAE member Jim Brill joins TU - The University of Tulsa
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Renowned petroleum engineer, NAE member Jim Brill joins TU

Photograph of Jim Brill
James P. Brill

The University of Tulsa and TU’s McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering are proud to welcome James P. Brill, one of the country’s leading experts on multiphase flow in pipes, to the faculty. As the Jeffrey J. McDougall Eminent Chair in Petroleum Engineering and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Brill will mentor young faculty, help establish an energy-related center in the College of Engineering & Computer Science, and contribute to TU’s new Energy Council.
Brill received a doctorate in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and was elected to the NAE in 1997 for research in multiphase flow in pipes and its application to design and operation of oil and gas production facilities in hostile environments.
“It’s an immense honor to come back to TU after 23 years away,” noted Brill. “I was originally recruited to the university by my dissertation supervisor and mentor Kermit Brown, who had recently moved to TU and was the university’s first NAE member. Dr. Brown was a visionary educator and one of the world’s foremost experts on the production of oil and gas.”
One of Brill’s most impactful achievements was the 1973 creation of Tulsa University Fluid Flow Projects (TUFFP). “My inspiration to develop TUFFP arose out of an awareness that, since the early 1960s, companies had been struggling to deal with multiphase flow in the hostile physical conditions they encountered when searching for and extracting oil and gas in areas such as the Arctic and offshore,” Brill explained. Bringing together university scholars with industry and government partners, TUFFP has spearheaded industry-leading research on multiphase flow through pipes for 50 years.
Sparked, in part, by TUFFP’s success, several oil production companies approached Brill in 1993 to conduct research on paraffin deposition in pipelines. The result was his creation of the Tulsa University Paraffin Deposition Projects (TUPDP) consortium. Other highlights of Brill’s career include the organization of numerous multiphase flow conferences in North America and Europe; serving as editor of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Journal of Energy Resources Technology; and representing the Society of Petroleum Engineers on ABET accreditation activities.
In his new role at TU, Brill looks forward to further developing the petroleum engineering program as a leader in the energy expansion gathering speed around the world. “The hydrocarbon age is over 120 years old, and our use of fossil fuels has been a major factor in improving humans’ quality of life,” Brill remarked. “Hydrocarbons will be a significant source of energy for at least another century, but I am also keen to help steward the development of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, and also energy from nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, and hydrogen sources.”
Andreas A. Polycarpou, inaugural dean of the recently reorganized college, lauded Brill’s recruitment to TU. “Getting to know Jim has been an exciting part of getting to know the university as a whole during the past six months,” Polycarpou said. “The faculty and I are eager to welcome Jim to campus and are proud to have a prestigious NAE member among our ranks. Election to the NAE is an honor of the highest order.”
TU President Brad R. Carson shared Polycarpou’s enthusiasm. “Having worked closely with energy professionals and academics throughout my career, I appreciate the level of professionalism and scholarship Jim brings to the university,” Carson said. “Jim has been a long-time friend of TU, and we are pleased he has returned to campus to share his deep knowledge with students who are shaping the future of the industry.”