Fred Meissner

Fred Meissner

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Fred F. Meissner was an American geologist and engineer who contributed to the fields of Geology, Geophysics
Geophysics
Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and...

, Engineering, Petroleum Engineering
Petroleum engineering
Petroleum engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the activities related to the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. Subsurface activities are deemed to fall within the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, which are the activities of...

, Geochemistry
Geochemistry
The field of geochemistry involves study of the chemical composition of the Earth and other planets, chemical processes and reactions that govern the composition of rocks, water, and soils, and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earth's chemical components in time and space, and...

, Mineralogy
Mineralogy
Mineralogy is the study of chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.-History:Early writing...

, Physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, Mining, Economic Geology
Economic geology
Economic geology is concerned with earth materials that can be used for economic and/or industrial purposes. These materials include precious and base metals, nonmetallic minerals, construction-grade stone, petroleum minerals, coal, and water. The term commonly refers to metallic mineral deposits...

, and Fishing.

Biography


Meissner was an honored exploration geologist, college professor at the Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of Mines
The Colorado School of Mines is a small public teaching and research university devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise in the development and stewardship of the Earth's natural resources. Located in Golden, Colorado, CSM was ranked 29th, in America among national...

 and consultant, a pioneer of the concept that methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 gas could be extracted from coalbeds ( see coal bed methane extraction
Coal bed methane extraction
Coal bed methane extraction is a method for extracting methane from a coal deposit.-Basic principles:The methane is adsorbed into the solid coal matrix and is released when the coal seam is depressurised...

), and is the 2008 recipient of the Sidney Powers Memorial Award. He also received the Grover Murray
Grover E. Murray
Grover Elmer Murray was an American geologist, educator, and writer.-Early life:Grover Murray was born in Maiden, North Carolina. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to Newton where Murray attended public school. Upon graduation, he enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and...

 Distinguished Educator Award in 2005, the Mines Medal in 1997, and the distinguished service award in 1987.

As an independent petroleum geologist and consultant, Meissner developed exploration projects in the Rocky Mountains and other U.S. and foreign (Indonesia, Nigeria, Chile, Jordan) areas for sale and promotion to industry partners. He has consulted for a number of major and independent petroleum companies, both domestic and international.

As a Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of Mines
The Colorado School of Mines is a small public teaching and research university devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise in the development and stewardship of the Earth's natural resources. Located in Golden, Colorado, CSM was ranked 29th, in America among national...

 adjunct professor, Meissner taught advanced petroleum geology
Petroleum geology
Petroleum geology refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons .-Sedimentary basin analysis:...

, a graduate level course, and was a guest or temporary replacement lecturer for courses taught by other professors. He was also a member of numerous graduate student committees.

From 1980 to 1991 Meissner was exploration manager at Bird Oil Corporation; he also served as exploration manager of the Rocky Mountain region for Standard Oil of Ohio
Standard Oil of Ohio
Standard Oil of Ohio or Sohio was an American oil company that was acquired by British Petroleum, now called BP.It was one of the successor companies to Standard Oil after the antitrust breakup in 1911. Standard Oil of Ohio was the original Standard Oil company founded by John D. Rockefeller. It...

 (Sohio). During his career he was associated with Webb Resources, Inc., Filon Exploration Corporation, Trend Minerals Corporation, and Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is the United States-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas...

.

Meissner held a number of leadership positions with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists is one of the world's largest professional geological societies with over 31,000 members as of 2007. The AAPG works to advance the science of geology , to promote technology, and to inspire high professional conduct...

 (AAPG), which honored him with the A.L Levorson Award for the Rocky Mountain Section in 1975. He is also a member of the Geological Society of America
Geological Society of America
The Geological Society of America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of the geosciences. The society was founded in New York in 1888 by Alexander Winchell, John J. Stevenson, Charles H. Hitchcock, John R. Proctor and Edward Orton and has been headquartered at 3300 Penrose...

 (GSA) and was elected a fellow in 1988. He served as president of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists
The Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists , based in Denver, Colorado, is one of the oldest and largest regional geological societies in the United States. The society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1922...

 (RMAG) in 1997 and the organization named him Scientist of the Year in 1976 and presented him with the Distinguished Service Award in 1991. In 1986 he received the Distinguished Service Medal from Colorado School of Mines.

Awards


The following is a brief summary of his honors; the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) awarded him the A.L Levorson Award for the Rocky Mountain Section in 1976 and he was awarded an honorary AAPG membership in 2001. He was a member of the Geological Society of America and was elected a fellow in 1988. He was named Scientist of the Year by Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG) in 1976, presented with the RMAG’s Distinguished Service Award in 1991, served as president of RMAG in 1997, and is an honorary member. In 1986 he received a Distinguished
Service Medal for career achievement from Colorado School of Mines and was awarded the Mines Medal for unusual and exemplary service to the School in 2000. Meissner was active in the Freemasons at Corinthian Lodge #35 in Leadville, Colorado
Leadville, Colorado
Leadville is a Statutory City that is the county seat of, and the only municipality in, Lake County, Colorado, United States. Situated at an elevation of , Leadville is the highest incorporated city and the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States...

 and was a 32 degree.

Meissner was a prolific technical writer and authored over 45 publications, papers and poster sessions focusing primarily on hydrocarbon generation, migration and accumulation.

His 48 years of industry experience included 16 years with Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is the United States-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas...

 working the Permian Basin, Gulf Coast, Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent Oil Province areas. He had over 20 years cumulative experience with several independents that “found oil and were sold” including Trend Exploration, Filon Exploration, Webb Resources, and Bird Oil. He was a principle in all, with professional responsibilities ranging from exploration manager to vice president. After leaving Bird
Oil in 1991 he has been an independent consultant and an of geology at the Colorado School of Mines where he sat on thesis committees, taught a graduate course in Advanced Petroleum geology
Petroleum geology
Petroleum geology refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons .-Sedimentary basin analysis:...

, and was a guest lecturer. Self-described as an explorationist, he was recognized internationally for his expertise in understanding and predicting the behavior of petroleum systems, including aspects of hydrocarbon generation and migration, basin-wide hydrodynamics, abnormal pressure, and the occurrence of fractured reservoirs, especially as they relate to “basin-center” oil and gas accumulations. His consultancy, Fred F. Meissner and
Associates, undertook investigations for clients in several domestic U.S. areas as well as in West Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and Canada. He also provided public and private instruction on subsurface fluid pressures and their relation to patterns of petroleum generation, migration and accumulation world wide, and taught several short courses for the Rocky Mountain Region of Petroleum Technology Transfer Council
Petroleum Technology Transfer Council
The Petroleum Technology Transfer Council is an American national not-for-profit organization established in 1994 by producers, state organizations and the Department of Energy . While emphasizing the needs of independent oil and gas producers, PTTC’s activities also benefit industry consultants,...

 (PTTC).

Thinks Like Oil


Ray Thomasson, a past AAPG president and Meissner’s prospecting partner told a story related by Meissner’s Shell friend and protégé Larry Meckel that typified Meissner’s philosophy and style of teaching:

“Fred said that petroleum geology
Petroleum geology
Petroleum geology refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons .-Sedimentary basin analysis:...

 is a science and the application of petroleum geology is an art form. Just as in fly-fishing, you have to start with the right equipment and you have to know how to use that equipment – that’s the science. But to be successful you have to think like a fish – that’s the art form.

History


Meissner was born and raised in Denver, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 and graduated from South High School (Denver)
South High School (Denver)
South High School is a high school in the Washington Park neighborhood on the south side of Denver, Colorado. It is part of Denver Public Schools.-History:...

. Both of his parents were the first generation in their families that was not involved in the extraction of Western U.S. natural resources, it was here that his connection to the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 was cemented. He developed an interest in rocks and mining and attended the Colorado School of Mines, graduating with the degree in Geological Engineering in 1953. He was an ROTC cadet at Mines and received a commission upon graduation, but deferred his call to Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 era service for one year in order to complete his masters degree, graduating in 1954, the year he joined AAPG. Funded by a Shell fellowship, his masters thesis concerned the geology of the Doctor Mine, a lead zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 replacement deposit in the Leadville Limestone, in Gunnison County, Colorado
Gunnison County, Colorado
Gunnison County is the fifth most extensive of the 64 counties of the state of Colorado in the United States. The county population was 15,324 at the 2010 census. The county was named for John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer and captain in the Army Topographical Engineers, who surveyed...

.

After completing a tour of duty with the United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

 in 1956 he began his professional career with Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is the United States-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas...

, where he worked for the next 17 years. While enrolled in Advanced Petroleum Geology as a graduate student (a course Meissner taught at Mines) he studied the hydrodynamic work of Dr. M. King Hubbert
M. King Hubbert
Marion King Hubbert was a geoscientist who worked at the Shell research lab in Houston, Texas. He made several important contributions to geology, geophysics, and petroleum geology, most notably the Hubbert curve and Hubbert peak theory , with important political ramifications. He was often...

 and recognized it as a key to certain aspects of petroleum migration and trapping. Working at Shell Oil Company he worked with a number of leading petroleum explorationists and, notably, with M. King Hubbert
M. King Hubbert
Marion King Hubbert was a geoscientist who worked at the Shell research lab in Houston, Texas. He made several important contributions to geology, geophysics, and petroleum geology, most notably the Hubbert curve and Hubbert peak theory , with important political ramifications. He was often...

, acknowledged by Meissner as his mentor. While with Shell he was able to apply hydrodynamic concepts to the occurrence of oil accumulations in deep-water turbidite
Turbidite
Turbidite geological formations have their origins in turbidity current deposits, which are deposits from a form of underwater avalanche that are responsible for distributing vast amounts of clastic sediment into the deep ocean.-The ideal turbidite sequence:...

 channels that he identified and mapped in the Delaware Basin
Delaware Basin
The Delaware Basin in West Texas and southern New Mexico is famous for holding large oil fields and for exposing a fossilized reef. Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park protect part of the basin...

 of West Texas
West Texas
West Texas is a vernacular term applied to a region in the southwestern quadrant of the United States that primarily encompasses the arid and semi-arid lands in the western portion of the state of Texas....

 and southeastern New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. Recognizing the presence and potential of tilted oil water contacts in the turbidities, he presented his ideas to management. The manager derided them, refusing to recognize that water contacts could be anything other than horizontal. Shortly after this, the manager retired and Shell brought in a new manager that recognized the potential of the concept and encouraged Meissner to pursue his ideas. As a result, he developed several prospects, three of which subsequently “found oil fields.” In recognition of Meissner’s potential, in 1965 he was transferred to Shell Development Company in Houston where he conducted basic research on hydrocarbon origin, migration and accumulation. In Houston Meissner refined his understanding of the fundamental controls on the existence of petroleum systems. This has evolved
into a macro-framework understanding of hydrocarbon systems produced as a result of source rock
Source rock
In petroleum geology, source rock refers to rocks from which hydrocarbons have been generated or are capable of being generated. They form one of the necessary elements of a working petroleum system. They are organic-rich sediments that may have been deposited in a variety of environments including...

 maturity and the existence of fluid potential energy fields in a basin. This has provided a key to understanding the creation of overpressured and underpressured “basin centered” or “deep basin” oil and gas accumulations currently being exploited in the Rockies.

Meissner told the story that while he was a graduate student he recognized Hubbert’s hydrodynamic work as a key to certain aspects of petroleum migration and trapping. When at Shell, he was able to apply the concepts to the occurrence of oil accumulations in deepwater turbidite channels that he identified and mapped in the Delaware Basin
Delaware Basin
The Delaware Basin in West Texas and southern New Mexico is famous for holding large oil fields and for exposing a fossilized reef. Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park protect part of the basin...

 of west Texas.

He took to management his idea that the presence and potential of tilted oil/water contacts in the turbidites would be highly productive. He said the idea was derided, that oil/water contacts could only be horizontal. However, a new manager saw merit in the new idea and encouraged Meissner, who used the concept to develop several prospects, three of which found new oil fields.

As a result, Meissner was transferred to the Shell Research Lab, in Houston where he worked personally with Hubbert.

“I found him to be one of the best overall teachers that I have ever been exposed to,” Meissner said of Hubbert in 2005. “I patterned many of the courses I have taught after the format that (Hubbert) used.” However, Meissner was not harsh in his approach to students, a trait of which Hubbert was notorious.

Non-fiction


See also: Fred F. Meissner, Fred Franke Meissner
  • Meissner, F. F., 2002, Experiences of a Petroleum Hydrogeologist, in, Introduction to Hydrogeology by David Deming, p. 330–331: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, New York.


  • Walter Dean, Edward Dolly, Robert McDonald, and Fred Meissner. Oil and gas from fractured shale reservoirs in Colorado and northwest New Mexico,1978

  • Fred F. Meissner. Causes of Anomalous Deep Basin Fluid Pressure in Rocky Mountain Basins and their Relation to Regional Gas Accumulation, 2000

  • Woodward, Jane, Fred F. Meissner, and Jerry L. Clayton. Hydrocarbon Source Rocks of the Greater Rocky Mountain Region. Denver, Colo: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, 1984.

  • Thomasson, M. R., & Meissner, F. F. (2001). Exploration & Development – Rocky Mountain Giants-1: Rockies dominates US onshore in 'discovery' of 1990s giants. The Oil and Gas Journal. 99, 44.

  • Thomasson, M. R., & Meissner, F. F. (2001). Exploration & Development – Rocky Mountain Giants-2: US Rockies 'discoveries': Analogs for the future. The Oil and Gas Journal. 99, 44.

  • AAPG Convention, Warme, J. E., Meissner, F. F., & Chamberlain, A. (1994). Field trip guidebook trip #16, RMAG : petroleum geology and sequence stratigraphy of Devonian carbonates of eastern Nevada, and the catastropic Alamo Breccia. [Denver?], AAPG Annual Convention.

  • Meissner, F.F., 1987, Mechanisms and patterns of gas generation/ storage/ expulsion-migration/accumulation associated with coal measures in the Green River and San Juan Basins, Rocky Mountain Region, U.S.A., in Doligez, B., ed., Migration of hydrocarbons in sedimentary basins, 2nd IFP Exploration Research Conf., Carcais France, June 15–19, 1987: Editions Technip, Paris, p. 79–112.

  • Thomasson, M.R. and Meissner, F., 2002, Rocky mountain giants: Rockies region dominates US in the 'discovery' of 1990s giant fields; Houston Geological Society Bulletin, Volume 45, No. 4, December 2002. Pages 43–50.

Academic and other works

  • Fred F. Meissner and Richard B. Banks. Computer Simulation of Hydrocarbon Generation, Migration, and Accumulation under Hydrodynamic Conditions—Examples from the Williston and San Juan Basins, USA*, Search and Discovery Article #40179 November 10, 2005


  • Fred Meissner. Relation of Fractures to Fluid Pressure and Hydrocarbon Generation, Migration and Accumulation", "WeimerFest” Symposium 3 – 5 November 2004 Petroleum Hall, Green Center, Colorado School of Mines Technical and Social Program

  • AAPG Hedberg Conference, Fred F. Meissner. Petroleum Systems Related to Source Rocks in the Mississippian Antler Foredeep of Eastern Nevada and Western Utah—Emphasis on Source Rocks, Oil Generation, Migration, Entrapment and Timing, AAPG Hedberg Conference "Late Paleozoic Tectonics and Hydrocarbon Systems of Western North America-The Greater Ancestral Rocky Mountains" July 21–26, 2002, Vail, Colorado http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/abstracts/hedberg2002vail/meissner.pdf

External links