Oil industry expert to speak Nov. 9

If the world wants to continue consuming more fossil fuels, it has to be willing to accept the risks of more oil spills, a Texas geoscientist and oil industry expert warns.

"Ultimate responsibilities for oil spills lie within a mix of competing demands and expectations – a mix far more complicated than most people are aware of or are willing to consider," said W.C. "Rusty" Riese, a Houston-based geoscientist and petroleum industry expert who will give a free lecture, 7 p.m., Nov. 9 at Hardin Hall.

Riese has taught at Houston's Rice University for more than 25 years, writing and lecturing extensively on such topics as economic geology, biogeochemistry, uranium ore deposits and coal bed methane petroleum systems. He holds numerous domestic and international patents from nearly 40 years of working in the mineral and petroleum industries. He is currently an adjunct professor at Rice University, as well as at Colorado State University and the University of New Mexico, where he sits on the Caswell Silver Endowment advisory board.

"In light of interest in and controversies surrounding the possibility for transporting oil-bearing tar sands across Nebraska, we feel very fortunate to be able to offer a speaker of Riese's expertise and experience on this topic," said UNL soil scientist and Conservation and Survey Division director Mark Kuzila.

"Corporations supplying (oil) energy have been pressed into increasingly challenging environments to meet demands for inexpensive energy. Unfortunately, as we are reminded by the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon incident, accidents can happen, the environment can be damaged, and people can lose their lives when we operate at the leading edges of technology," Riese said.

What will continue to drive consumption of fossil fuels will be the conflict between developing nations wanting more of the world's resources and "groups worried that continued dependence on fossil fuels may cause runaway global warming and climate change that could destroy earth's ecosystems," Riese said.

UNL's Conservation and Survey Division, which is part of the School of Natural Resources and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is sponsoring Riese's lecture.