Petroleum geologist

A petroleum geologist is an earth scientist who works in the field of petroleum geology, which involves all aspects of oil discovery and production. Petroleum geologists are usually linked to the actual discovery of oil and the identification of possible oil deposits or leads. It can be a very labor-intensive task involving several different fields of science and elaborate equipment. Petroleum geologists look at the structural and sedimentary aspects of the stratum/strata to identify possible oil traps.


Petroleum geologists make the decision of where to drill for petroleum. This is done by locating prospects within a sedimentary basin. Petroleum geologists determine a prospect's viability looking at seven main aspects:

  • Source – The presence of an organic-rich source rock capable of generating hydrocarbons during deep burial.
  • Reservoir – The usually porous rock unit that collects the hydrocarbons expelled from the source rock and holds them inside a trap.
  • Seal – The rock unit that inhibits the oil or gas from escaping from a hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir rock.
  • Trap – Structural or stratigraphic feature that captures migrating hydrocarbons into an economically producible accumulation.
  • Timing – Geologic events must occur in a certain order, e.g. that the trap formed before migration rather than after.
  • Maturation – The process of alteration a source rock under heat and pressure, leading to the cracking of its organic matter into oil and gas.
  • Migration – The movement of the (less dense) oil or gas from the source rock into a reservoir rock and then into a trap.

These seven key aspects require the petroleum geologist to obtain a 4-dimensional idea of the subsurface (the three spatial dimensions, plus time). Data may be obtained via Geophysical methods. Geophysical surveys show the seismology data of elastic waves, mainly seismic reflection. This provides a 3-dimensional look of the trap, and source rock. More data may be obtained from the mudlogger, who analyzes the drill cuttings and the rock formation thicknesses.

See also

Alfred H. Bell

Alfred Hannam Bell (28 June 1895 – 10 April 1977) was a petroleum geologist. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1917 and received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1926. In 1930, he became head of the Oil and Gas Section of the Illinois State Geological Survey; a position he held until he retired in 1963.

Arthur A. Meyerhoff

Arthur Augustus Meyerhoff (September 9, 1928 – September 18, 1994) was an American petroleum geologist known for his criticisms of plate tectonics. In 1971, he collaborated with Curt Teichert to write a critique of the theory of plate tectonics, arguing that it could not be true because it would have precluded both the formation of coal and widespread glaciation. His career included positions at Standard Oil, where he worked for ten years, and at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, where he served as publications manager. He was the son of Howard Meyerhoff, who was also a geologist.

Charles R. Stelck

Charles (Charlie) Richard Stelck, O.C., Ph.D., F.R.S.C., P.Geol. (May 20, 1917 – May 14, 2016) was an iconic Canadian petroleum geologist, paleontologist, stratigrapher, and university professor. He is known for his pioneering work on unraveling the stratigraphy of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, and his inspired use of biostratigraphy as an exploration tool for finding petroleum and natural gas fields.

Colin Campbell (geologist)

Colin J. Campbell, PhD Oxford (born 1931) is a retired British petroleum geologist who predicted that oil production would peak by 2007. He claims the consequences of this are uncertain but drastic, due to the world's dependency on fossil fuels for the vast majority of its energy. His theories have received wide attention but are disputed and have not significantly changed governmental energy policies at this time. To deal with declining global oil production, he has proposed the Rimini protocol.

Influential papers by Campbell include The Coming Oil Crisis, written with Jean Laherrère in 1998 and credited with convincing the International Energy Agency of the coming peak; and The End of Cheap Oil, published the same year in Scientific American. He was referred to as a "doomsayer" in The Wall Street Journal in 2004..

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, founded by Campbell in 2000, has been gaining recognition in the recent years. The association has organised yearly international conferences since 2002. The most recent conference of the USA chapter (ASPO-USA) was at the University of Texas in Austin, TX on 30 November and 1 December 2012.

Colin Phipps

Colin Barry Phipps (23 July 1934 – 10 January 2009) was a British petroleum geologist and chairman of several petroleum companies. From 1974 to 1979 he was a Labour Party Member of Parliament, but in 1980 he joined the Social Democratic Party.

Crude (2007 film)

Crude (2007) is a 90-minute-long feature documentary made by Australian filmmaker Richard Smith attempting to explain the links between formation, extraction and refining as well the link between geology and economy. The film features interviews with oil industry professionals and geologists about the future of oil production and exploration. The interviewed include Dr. Jeremy Leggett, a geologist formerly working with oil exploration for BP and Shell; Dr. Colin Campbell, a retired British petroleum geologist who predicted that oil production would peak by 2007; Lord Ronald Oxburgh, former chairman of Shell; Professor Wallace S. Broecker at Columbia University; and journalist Sonia Shah.

From the ABC's website:

The film won the Best Earth Sciences Program award at the 2007 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and director Richard Smith received the American Geophysical Union's "Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism" in 2008 for this film.

Frederick Gardner Clapp

Frederick Gardner Clapp (1879-1944) was an American petroleum geologist considered to be the "first American to make a living wholly as a consultant in petroleum geology in 1908."


Gipson is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Andy Gipson (born 1976), American politician

Charles Gipson (born 1972), American baseball player

Fred Gipson (1908–1973), American writer

Graham Gipson (born 1932), Australian sprinter

Helen Gipson (born 1961), British Scrabble player

Ken Gipson (born 1996), German footballer

Lawrence H. Gipson (1880–1971), American historian

Mack Gipson (1931-1995), American Petroleum Geologist and University Professor

Marlies Gipson (born 1987), American women's basketball player

Simon Gipson, Australian schoolteacher

Teddy Gipson (born 1980), American basketball player

Gunnar Horn

Gunnar Hansen Horn (25 June 1894 – 15 July 1946) was a Norwegian petroleum geologist and Arctic explorer. He is most renowned as the leader of the Bratvaag Expedition that found the long-lost remains of S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 at Kvitøya in 1930. The headland Hornodden of Kvitøya is named after him.

Kadir Timergazin

Kadir Rakhimovich Timergazin (Russian: Кадыр Рахимович Тимергазин; Bashkir: Ҡадыр Рәхим улы Тимерғазин; 5 February [O.S. 18 February ] 1913 – 4 April 1963) was a Soviet petroleum geologist and a professor of geological-mineralogical science.

List of geologists

A geologist is a contributor to the science of geology. Geologists are also known as earth scientists or geoscientists.

The following is a list of notable geologists. Many have received such awards as the Penrose Medal or the Wollaston Medal, or have been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society.

Geoscience specialties represented include geochemistry, geophysics, structural geology, tectonics, geomorphology, glaciology, hydrology, hydrogeology, oceanography, mineralogy, petrology, crystallography, paleontology, paleobotany, paleoclimatology, palynology, sedimentology, soil science, stratigraphy, and volcanology. In this list, the person listed is a geologist unless another specialty is noted. Only geologists with biographical articles in Wikipedia are listed here.

Michael Welland

Michael Welland (1946 – October 2017) was a British petroleum geologist and expert on sand (an arenophile). His book Sand: a journey through science and the imagination, won the 2010 John Burroughs Medal.Welland was born in 1946, son of Dennis Welland, Professor of American Literature and later Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Selwyn College, Cambridge.When he appeared in 2010 on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Museum of Curiosity, his proposed donation to the imaginary museum was singing sand dunes.

Robbie Gries

Robbie Rice Gries is an American petroleum geologist who was the first female president (2001–02) of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), president of the Geological Society of America (2018–19), and founder of Priority Oil & Gas LLC. Gries is noted to have made some influential progress for women in this field. In 2017, Gries published the book titled Anomalies—Pioneering Women in Petroleum Geology: 1917-2017. Gries is recognized as an unconventional thinker when approaching geological concepts and applications.

Sedimentary basin analysis

Sedimentary basin analysis is a geologic method by which the history of a sedimentary basin is revealed, by analyzing the sediment fill itself. Aspects of the sediment, namely its composition, primary structures, and internal architecture, can be synthesized into a history of the basin fill. Such a synthesis can reveal how the basin formed, how the sediment fill was transported or precipitated, and reveal sources of the sediment fill. From such syntheses models can be developed to explain broad basin formation mechanisms. Examples of such basinal environments include backarc, forearc, passive margin, epicontinental, and extensional basins.

Sedimentary basin analysis is largely conducted by two types of geologists who have slightly different goals and approaches. The petroleum geologist, whose ultimate goal is to determine the possible presence and extent of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon-bearing rocks in a basin, and the academic geologist, who may be concerned with any or all facets of a basin's evolution. Petroleum industry basin analysis is often conducted on subterranean basins through the use of reflection seismology and data from well logging. Academic geologists study subterranean basins as well as those basins which have been exhumed and dissected by subsequent tectonic events. Thus academics sometimes use petroleum industry techniques, but in many cases they are able to study rocks at the surface. Techniques used to study surficial sedimentary rocks include: measuring stratigraphic sections, identifying sedimentary depositional environments and constructing a geologic map.

An important tool in sedimentary basin analysis is sequence stratigraphy, in which various sedimentary sequences are related to pervasive changes in sea level and sediment supply.

Thomas Dibblee

Thomas Wilson Dibblee, Jr. (11 October 1911, in Santa Barbara, California – 17 November 2004, in Santa Barbara, California) was an American geologist best known for his geological mapping. He is also known, together with co-author Mason Hill, for the assertion in 1953 that hundreds of miles of lateral movement had taken place along the San Andreas Fault in California, an idea that was radical at the time, but which has been vindicated by later work and the modern theory of plate tectonics. Dibblee was one of the most prolific field geologists in American history, and over a 60-year career of field mapping, including 25 years with the US Geological Survey, left a legacy of 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of geologic maps, covering approximately one fourth of the state of California.

Wallace Pratt

Wallace Everette Pratt (1885–1981) was a pioneer American petroleum geologist. He is notable as the land donor of the McKittrick Canyon land parcel of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Waman Bapuji Metre

Waman Bapuji Metre (14 February 1906 – 21 November 1970), sometimes referred to in the Indian oil industry as Dada (meaning Elder brother Metre in the Bengali and Marathi languages), was an Indian petroleum geologist. For his "significant contribution to the growth of the oil industry in the country", he was awarded India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, in 1968.

William Warren Orcutt

William Warren Orcutt (February 14, 1869 – 1942) was a petroleum geologist who is considered a pioneer in the development of oil production in California, and the use of geology in the oil industry. He is also known for his contributions to paleontology, which brought the fossils of the La Brea Tar Pits to the attention of the scientific community.

Zhao Wenzhi

Zhao Wenzhi (Chinese: 赵文智; born August 1958) is a Chinese petroleum geologist and explorer who has made contributions to the theories and discoveries of lithology-related hydrocarbon accumulations with large scale, natural gas relaying generation in high to over mature geothermal evolutional stage, Jurassic coal measure-derived hydrocarbon reservoirs, and sag-wide oil-bearing distribution, etc. He is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He is the President of PetroChina Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development (RIPED), and Deputy General Manager of PetroChina Exploration & Production Company. Zhao was voted one of China's top 35 scientists in 2007 and ranked 14.


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