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PRRC Cuts Ribbon On New Kelly Building Addition

SOCORRO, N.M. October 16, 2009 – New Mexico Tech is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009, to officially open the new addition to the John M. and Esther L. Kelly Building on the campus of New Mexico Tech.

The Kelly Building is home to the Petroleum Recovery Research Center at New Mexico Tech. University President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez cordially invites the campus community and Socorro residents to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new extension.

The new addition to the Petroleum Recovery Research Center at New Mexico Tech.

The Center’s existing building was constructed in the late 1970s. The $4.2 million Kelly Building expansion project began in the fall of 2008 and was completed during the summer of 2009. The new 12,000-square foot building includes offices, laboratories and conference rooms. Immediately following the ribbon cutting, PRRC officials will host tours of the new building.

Dr. Lopez and university Regent Ann Murphy Daily will speak at the ribbon cutting, as well as city councilor Donald Monette and chamber of commerce director Terry Tadano.

The Center’s building is named after John M. Kelly, a Tech graduate who was a leading petroleum geologist and a former university Regent. Kelly served as the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Mineral Resources under President John F. Kennedy from 1961 to 1965.

During his tenure on Tech’s Board of Regents, Kelly successfully lobbied the state legislature to provide funding to the university for the creation of the Petroleum Recovery Research Center. He passed away in 1977. His son, J. Mike Kelly later served on the Tech Board of Regents in the 1990s.

The New Mexico State Legislature first provided funding to launch the Center in 1977 to conduct basic and applied research designed to improve recovery of petroleum and natural gas. The building was officially named the John M. Kelly Building upon its completion in 1978, then rededicated with new signage in November 2001, as the John M. and Esther L. Kelly Building.

The Center has more than $10 million in current research projects, plus the 10-year, $160 million carbon sequestration project. New Mexico Tech is the lead agency in the Southwest Consortium for Carbon Sequestration, which is in Phase III of an ambitious project to capture and store carbon dioxide in geologic formations.

The Center has 21 full-time employees and funds 20 graduate student researchers, 11 undergraduate student researchers and four visiting scholars.

The Center’s mission is to serve as New Mexico’s focal point for improved oil and gas recovery research, to assist others in their efforts to recover petroleum, and to transfer new and existing technology from our research labs to the oil and gas industry.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech