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PBS-SEPM 2022 May Luncheon - Jeff A. Smith

PBS-SEPM 2022 May Luncheon - Jeff A. Smith


"The Way We Were" - Jeff A. Smith, Consultant Geologist



    Jeff takes us on a journey starting at the time when oil prices were in the single digits, we drank Jim Beam at the rig, and the fancy new tool called a calculator had not been invented yet.

    As a child growing up in upstate New York, Jeff loved everything about nature and the outdoors. In ninth grade he took an Earth Science class and fell in love with Geology, but in high school he found himself gravitating more towards Chemistry as he felt the job potential would be better. When he went to Union College as a Chemistry major, he quickly became acquainted with the Geology Department because the campus bar and grill, The Rathskeller, was ideally located in the basement of the Geology building. He started using his elective credits to take Geology classes in his Sophomore year and switched his major to Geology in his Junior year.

    Jeff was a field assistant to Peter J.R. Buttner, a Postdoctoral Fellow doing research in the Catskill Mountains. Peter Buttner told the renowned Gerald M. Friedman, known as one of the founders of modern sedimentology, about Jeff and Dr. Friedman offered him a full scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In late1969 Mobil was conducting interviews on campus and Jeff, never having interviewed for a job before, decided to sign up for an interview solely as practice. He was astounded when he ended up landing a job as a Petroleum Geologist in Midland, Texas, which was the only job opening they had in the whole country at the time.

    How has the industry evolved over the decades? What things have remained the same? Please join us for a look back with Jeff Smith, as he tells witty and entertaining stories of his career and life experiences as a Petroleum Geologist who has been involved with projects in 24 different states.



Jeff A Smith started as a Chemistry major but eventually transferred to a Geology major his Junior year. He graduated from Union College in 1968 with a B.S. in Geology in 1968. Post graduation, Jeff was expecting to get drafted into the Vietnam, but an opportunity to pursue a PhD came to him from Gerald M Friedman, doing so on a fellowship with field work looking at the Catskill Delta Sands. In the midst of his PhD program, Jeff had the opportunity to interview with Mobil, and was hired on in 1970 – completing his thesis and receiving an M.S. in Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that same year. Jeff moved from New York to Midland, Texas to begin his career in the oil and gas industry.

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