Retired petroleum engineer
Born in Dublin in 1939, he studied mathematics and natural sciences at Trinity College and after graduation accepted an offer from a major oil company in London to work in their engineering department. That was followed by an assignment to work on developing a major discovery in Libya before being seconded to a consortium of companies operating the Iranian oilfields. He moved to Masjid-i-Suleiman, the site of first major Middle East oil discovery in 1908. In 1978, the Iranian Revolution led to the repatriation of the expatriates. He was unable to leave, as he was in hospital with hepatitis. As the tensions mounted, he decided to leave on his own, and just made it to the Iraqi border, partly on foot, and eventually secured a flight back to England. He was then assigned to Aberdeen to manage the development of North Sea fields before moving to San Francisco as vice-president for production, with responsibility for Alaskan operations. At the end of that assignment, he was appointed chief petroleum engineer at the head office in London, where he faced many of the tensions and political pressures normal to a senior executive position. In 2001, he retired to the west of Ireland, where a chance meeting drew his attention to the Peak Oil issue. He was at first sceptical, but as he delved into the data, he became convinced. That in turn led him to participate in ASPO meetings, and give many presentations on the topic around the world.
I don’t share Colin Campbell’s pessimism about the ability of new technology to locate unexpected sources. I do believe, though, that the overall impact of these technological advances will be relatively small in terms of when a peak will occur.