Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Robert Smith

Robert E. Smith

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1965
M.S., University of Texas at Austin, 1961
B.S., University of Texas at Austin, 1960

For over 30 years, Robert Smith has worked in various positions at Atlantic Richfield Corporation. From 1964 to 1999 he has served as Engineer, Manager of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and Senior Advisor to the corporation. The focus of his career has mainly been soil mechanics and structural engineering within various drilling, production and transportation groups.

Dr. Smith was lead Civil Engineer during the development of the Alaskan Cook Inlet and Prudhoe Bay Fields and advised executive management during the permitting and design of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. He helped find many solutions to unique design problems in these frontier areas.

He has defined and developed design solutions in his field for thaw movement and freeze back problems that occur around hot production wells through thick permafrost. Major innovations he has been a part of include low radiation flares systems over Arctic lakes, the Seawater Treatment Facility offshore the Alaskan North Slope, thermal systems to stop annual creep of permafrost piling, drilled pipeline crossings of an Arctic river, sea ice forecasting, highly-tensioned suspended pipelines, and oil and gas recovery systems for marine seeps. Seafloor stability studies led by Dr. Smith have also enabled the installation of seven conventional platforms on the modern Mississippi Delta adjacent to sites of three platform failures which were caused by massive mudslides.

Throughout his career, Dr. Smith has lectured throughout North America, Great Britain, Norway, China, Japan, Indonesia and the former Soviet Union. His technical contributions were acknowledged numerous times with awards for achievement from his company and from the
American Society of Civil Engineers.