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EERC Nick AzzolinaThe EERC welcomes Dr. Nicholas Azzolina as a Principal Hydrogeologist and Statistician, where he performs statistical data analysis and supports projects related to CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR), CO2 storage, unconventional oil and gas production, and chemical contamination of environmental media (soil, groundwater, and sediment). Nick also specializes in conducting life cycle assessments for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects and leads risk assessments for CO2 storage, EOR, and other subsurface projects.

Nick is a hydrogeologist and statistician with 20 years of industrial and consulting experience, specializing in statistical analysis and modeling of large, complex environmental data sets. He holds a B.A. degree in Geological and Geophysical Sciences from Princeton University, an M.S. degree in Hydrogeology from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Management and Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

“It wasn’t really until the middle of my career when I began to focus on hydrogeology and statistics,” Nick recalled. “I was working on projects where we collected a large amount of data. I needed to find ways to both analyze the data and present the information graphically. There was not a lot of expertise for analyzing these types of data sets, so I read a few books and experimented with various software programs, and I found that I have a knack for this sort of thing. For the past 10 years, the majority of my project work has involved statistical data analysis of large environmental data sets.”

Prior to joining the EERC, Nick was Principal and Cofounder of The CETER Group, Inc., a scientific consulting firm, where he worked with the EERC on various projects for over the last decade, several in support of its Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, investigating CO2 storage for EOR fields, life cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions associated with oil and gas development, and project risk analysis for large-scale geologic storage of CO2.

“Everyone at the EERC has always made me feel very welcome, so I already feel like I’ve been working here for a long time. Far-and-away my favorite thing about the EERC is the people,” Nick said. “I also find the technical areas very interesting—CO2 storage, EOR, and Bakken production and optimization—to name a few. I think that the EERC is at the nexus of energy development and climate change research, and that’s a space where I want to work.”

Nick also appreciates the EERC’s team-based approach. “The types of projects that are emerging are very cross-disciplinary, requiring input from software engineers, geologists, chemists, reservoir modelers, statisticians, and many other types of ‘ologists.’ No single person can be an expert in all of these areas; project teams are critical. The EERC has the requisite in-house experience to assemble these types of teams, and I am excited to play my part in the team’s success.”

Nick and his wife have two boys, ages 10 and 11, and a teenaged daughter, age 14, all on competitive swim teams. Originally from Easton, Pennsylvania, Nick enjoys exercise and hiking and tries to take at least one trip each year to a national park. Nick says he’s one of those lucky people whose career and hobby align: he spends most of his free time reading books on statistics, geology, and related fields.