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A Global History of Upstream E&P Innovation


In 2011 the author started working together with Henry Edmundson, then Director of petro-technical expertise at Schlumberger. They embarked on a Schlumberger-sponsored book project describing the technical evolution of the upstream E&P industry since its beginnings in Azerbaijan in the mid-19th century up to modern times in the early 21st century. The book is due to be published in 2015 and will be the first of its kind for many years targeting newcomers as well as old hands in the industry. The newcomers will find it easy to read with its readily comprehensible chapter segments on particular advances and strides in upstream technology and science. And old hands will enjoy it as history they may have lived through. Researching and writing the book has not only demanded coverage of all major innovations in petroleum geology, exploration geophysics, drilling, reservoir characterization, reservoir engineering and production techniques, but also led the author to the key people who made it all happen. More than 120 oral history interviews with leading figures in industry and academia have proved essential for telling the human story. This paper discusses some of the challenges faced by the principal researcher Dr Mark Mau in his quest for finding, contacting and interviewing the living legends of the upstream industry around the world.