ASME Petroleum Division Announces Six Industry Awards

Dec 2, 2011

by Michael MacRae

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2011 – The Petroleum Division of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) presented six awards for outstanding technical contributions and exemplary leadership in the petroleum field. Susan M. Cunningham, Paul Jukes, Jon Khachaturian, Jeff Hanson, Keith Ogdee, and the Shell Oil Company were honored at an awards ceremony held recently in Houston, Texas. 

Susan M. Cunningham, senior vice president for worldwide exploration at Noble Energy, received the Rhodes Petroleum Industry Leadership Award for contributions demonstrated through management and motivational skills, entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership.  Cunningham has over30 years of industry experience at Noble, Texaco, Statoil, and Amoco Canada, where she began her career after receiving a bachelor’s degree in geology and physical geography from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.  At Texaco, Cunningham served as vice president of core worldwide exploration.

Paul Jukes, president of MCS Kenny, Houston, is the recipient of the Ross Kastor Educators Award for dedication to improving engineering and science awareness among students.  A technical expert in structural analysis and design for pipelines and other subsea components, Jukes has published over 70 articles and papers.  He serves on the faculty of the University of Houston.

John Khachaturian, the founder of Versabar, was awarded the Silver Patent Award, which the Petroleum Division presents to innovators holding at least 25 U.S. patents.   Khachaturian has registered 44 foreign and domestic patents, including Versabar, a reusable spreader bar for heavy lifting.  Pioneering the disciplines of certified weight measurement and proof load testing, Versabar has expanded its international portfolio to include hydraulic winch and custom chain jack rental, subsea lowering systems, umbilical and riser pull-ins, and subsea jumper bars.  Khachaturian is a graduate of the University of Illinois.

Jeff Hanson, Ph.D., a professor of engineering at Texas Tech University, was honored with the first ASME-PD Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award for teaching excellence and commitment to students inside and outside the classroom.

The Keith Thayer Exceptional Early Career Engineer Award, presented for outstanding contributions by an early-career engineer, was presented to Keith Ogdee, an engineering manager with Marathon Oil.  A 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University, Ogdee has also worked at ConocoPhillips.

ASME-PD also recognized the Parque das Conchas (BC-10) project of Shell Oil Company, bestowing the Project Excellence Award on the company.  Parque das Conchas is an ultra-deepwater heavy oil development located in offshore Brazil.  The project is a joint venture between Shell, Petrobras, and ONGC.  The Parque das Conchas development is the result of a 9-year effort to understand the complex geology, identify sufficient reserves to support a development, identify an economic development concept, and to design, mature and apply the significant new technologies required to safely execute the project during an extremely volatile market period.

About ASME ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. Additional information is available at

About the Petroleum Division The ASME Petroleum Division was founded in 1924 to provide mechanical engineers working in the areas of petroleum, natural gas, petrochemicals, coal, oil shale, and other fields with the opportunity to participate in technical workshops and conferences, while fostering the continued growth of engineering education and promoting mechanical engineering as a career choice. For more information visit

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