Hall of Distinction Class of 1989-1990

Richard L. O'Shields was born on Ozark, Arkansas, and grew up in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1949 and an M.S. in petroleum engineering from Louisiana State University in 1951. Mr. O'Shields is a member of the board of directors and retired chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Panhandle Eastern Corporation. He served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.

While attending college, Mr. O'Shields was employed with Philips Petroleum Company and Humble Oil and Refining Company and was an instructor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at LSU. Upon graduation, he was persuaded to work for The Pure Oil Company in Fort Worth, Texas. In July of 1953 he joined Salt Water Control, Inc. (SWATCO) as chief engineer and vice president. While at SWATCO, he helped perfect the development of the Mud D-Gasser, the first cascade vacuum device for continuously removing entrained gases from drilling fluids, which was later marketed to the petroleum industry. In 1955, he developed the first liquid cyclone desander to continuously separate sand and grit from drilling muds, which reduced drilling costs, extended drill bit life, improved drilling penetration rates and reduced wear and tear on mud pumps. Mr. O'Shields also developed and patented a liquid cyclone system to remove drilled solids and reclaim barite from weighted drilling muds. All of these systems are in general use on drilling rigs worldwide.

In 1960, he joined Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line (PEPL) Company as manager of drilling and production. This position involved directing the engineering, drilling, production, and gas processing activities as well as heading the engineering evaluation and negotiating teams on several producing property acquisitions, the largest of which was a $30 million acquisition of Ambassador Oil Corporation of Fort Worth, Texas. He was named vice president for Anadarko Production Company, a Panhandle Eastern Corporation (PEC) subsidiary spun off to shareholders in October 1986, and became president of Anadarko in 1966, all the while overseeing expansion of Anadarko into all of the U.S. and Western Canada. He was elected executive vice president of PEPL in 1968 in charge of its Kansas City, Missouri, operating headquarters. During this period, he conceived and directed the expansion of the Panhandle Eastern supply base from the Anadarko Basin into the Rocky Mountain region. Mr. O'Shields became a director in 1969 and transferred to the executive headquarters in Houston, Texas, in 1970 when he became president and chief executive officer of the company. He was named chairman in 1979, stepped down as CEO in 1983, continued as chairman of the board and member of a two-man office of the chief executive until retiring as an active officer on January 1, 1988. During his tenure as CEO, assets grew to over four billion dollars and new income increased six-fold.

He has made numerous presentations on his areas of specializations including: "Energy for America," "Econopolitics--a Challenge to Industry Leadership," and "Pipelines and Competition." Some of his publications include: "The Fulle Hole Gravel Pack--A New Completion Technique," printed in "World Oil" and "Effect of Sand-Filled Perforations on Well Performance" printed in "The Oil and Gas Journal."

Mr. O'Shields has served as director of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) for 18 years and chairman for two years. He has also been the director of the American Gas Association, director and chairman of the Gas Research Institute, director of the Southern Gas Association, director of the American Petroleum Institute, director of the Texas Research Institute, and a member of the National Petroleum Council.

During his term as chairman of the INGAA, the group developed gas industry recommendations to cope with the acute natural gas shortage in the winter of 1976-77. The recommendations were adopted by former President James Carter and Congress enacted the Natural Gas Emergency Act of 1977 embodying those recommendations. Several honorary societies have included him among their membership including: Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, and PE-ET (University of Oklahoma). He is presently a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is a registered professional engineer.

Mr. O'Shields is civic-minded as well and has served as a director of the Houston Chamber of Commerce; a trustee of St. John's School in Houston; and as director of The Forum Club of Houston, a group committed to bringing distinguished speakers to the Houston area. He has also served as director for several banks and companies.

Mr. O'Shields is married to the former Shirley I. Washington of Holdenville, Oklahoma, and they have three children: Sharon I. Boyles, Carolyn J. and Richard L. O'Shields, Jr.

Throughout his exemplary industrial career and by his many inventions that have advanced and refined the petroleum industry, Richard L. O'Shields has distinguished himself as truly outstanding in his field. The College of Engineering is proud to welcome him to the Engineering Hall of Distinction.