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Chris Waller, Lead Chemist

Chris Waller decided long ago that what he wanted most in his career was to be able to focus on pure science. As a lead chemist at ChampionX’s R&D facility in Sugarland, Texas, he’s developed multiple patents in hydraulic fracturing fluids, and he revels in pushing the field forward. But as he and his team create solutions, it’s the lingering questions that remain once a problem is solved that drive him even further.

“When I’m able to dedicate time to answering questions that arise outside of the main purpose of an investigation—a kind of prospecting,” Chris explains, “the intellectual exercise really spurs me on.”

Early on, Chris was curious about how the natural world worked, and he liked taking things apart. But a high school geology course set him on a path to explore even larger systems and longer timeframes.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in geology from the University of Texas at El Paso, he was eager to take on a posting at an oilfield services company in Tomball, Texas. There, he turned his scientific training to the task of calibrating stimulation fluids on one of their flow loops. A few subsequent roles for other employers helped him build his advanced chemistry expertise through on-the-job discovery and training. And each position further stoked his curiosity.
“I've been able to learn a great deal from the people around me,” Chris says. “If you want to learn, ChampionX is a good environment because there are a lot of tools here to help you advance as a scientist.”

Today he taps every scientific discipline in his background to solve challenges in the lab, from chemistry to geology to soil science. Recently, he took a holistic approach to evaluating a customer’sunderperforming well. From a macro level, he examined how the geology within the basin might be affecting performance. Then he analyzed the mineralogy and what could be detrimental to their wells. Lastly, he employed a technique from soil science to identify how specific additives could beneficially affect their fracturing fluid.

It's that type of pure science focus that makes all the difference to Chris.

Learn more about how Chris applies his subsurface knowledge and broader science background to understand how manipulating mineralogy can affect formations.

Did you know? Having a stereotypical boy’s obsession, Chris was always easy to locate if he ever disappeared from view on a shopping trip—at the ride-on tractor display.

I'd like to be somewhat of an agent of change in the oil industry. We do have a lot of standardized, regimented tests, but sometimes those don't tell you everything you need to know. You need to develop new methods and step outside of that in order to answer the questions properly.” Chris Waller