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Dr. K. H. Coats



Dr. Keith H. Coats

November 14, 1934 - September 13, 2016

Dr. Keith Hal Coats, SPE, NAE, passed away on September 13, 2016.  He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on November 14, 1934 to Hal Begtrup Coats (one of the first Ph.D. chemical engineers) and Florence Hamlin Coats.

Keith received BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering and an MS degree in mathematics, all from the University of Michigan.  He was an accomplished teacher and pioneer developer of reservoir simulation software for almost 60 years.  His work in that area along with the accomplishments of other great engineers have produced modeling software that is commonly used to minimize the cost of producing energy from petroleum reservoirs.

Before creating the commercial reservoir simulation industry by co-founding Intercomp Resource Development and Engineering, Inc. in 1968, Dr. Coats was Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan (1959-1961), a Research Associate at Esso Production Research Co. (1961-1966), and an Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Texas (1966-1970).  From 1968 to 1983, Keith was Chairman of the Board at Intercomp, and from 1982 to 1992 he was Technical Director at Scientific Software-Intercomp.  During those years he authored and published detailed descriptions of a number of increasingly complex black oil, compositional, and thermal reservoir simulation models.  In 1992 Keith founded Coats Engineering, Inc. and served as President until 2005 and as Technical Director until his death, where he developed his last and greatest work, the Sensor reservoir simulator.

Keith H. Coats is the author of over 70 technical papers on reservoir simulation, and contributed to both editions of the Petroleum Engineering Handbook (1987 and 2007).  He served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and received the 1984 Lester C. Uren award and the 1988 Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal “in recognition of his pioneer work in numerical simulation models for conventional black oil, gas storage, compositional, thermal, and fractured reservoir engineering applications; and for his sharing of knowledge through his publications and teaching.”  He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 and was selected by Hart’s E&P as one of the 100 most influential people of the petroleum century in March 2000.

Keith will be remembered for his incredible mind, appreciation for excellence, outstanding achievements, sense of humor, humility, and generosity. 



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