Oil and Gas

Oil Research

Program Overview

CEM has been working for the past two decades to advance the state of the art in oil exploration and production by developing and leveraging electro-mechanical technologies that improve life-cycle costs, availability, and controllability for oil drilling and conveying components and systems.    As companies must go farther and deeper to meet global fossil fuel demand, technologies capable of operating in increasingly harsh conditions are required. CEM continues to provide innovative and robust solutions to meet these more stringent requirements.  Recent low oil prices have decreased funds for exploration R&D, but CEM’s homopolar welding technology continues to advance in light of the DOT’s challenge to replace or repair a great deal of large infrastructure in the U.S.

CEM Approach

CEM’s strength in physics and materials along with core competencies of high speed rotating machine design, electromagnetics, and power electronics are combined to provide solutions in many different areas affecting oil & gas including exploration, pipeline construction, remote site power provision, and oil extraction.  CEM entered the oil & gas application field in the early 90’s, leveraging its experience designing homopolar generators built up under the electromagnetic railgun program, to develop a homopolar welding technique for deep sea piping applications.  CEM’s solution uses high amperage direct current output from a homopolar generator to produce localized heating at the pipe interface, completing a weld in less than five seconds regardless of pipe diameter or wall thickness.  CEM provides a range of solutions to the oil & gas industry by employing enterprise analytical tools to create state-of-the-art electromechanical designs and develop the supporting high performing power electronics.  Once a virtual design has been analyzed and validated, proof-of-concept prototypes are fabricated and tested on-site. 


Dr. Raymond Zowarka

Dr. Raymond C. Zowarka


seismic explorationg technique

Vibroseis Research

CEM advanced seismic exploration technology by developing a new EM transducer

Paraffin Heater

Paraffin Heater

CEM assisted UT-PGE in prototype fabrication and testing of a new technology to clear paraffin wax buildup in a drill string without the need for an external power supply.