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Geologist's Data Gift Boosts EORI at UW
November 19, 2009 — Longtime geologist Gerry Forney has donated a decade's worth of data on oil and gas wells in the Powder River Basin to the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI) at the University of Wyoming, a gift that will further EORI's mission to help Wyoming oil companies extract oil left in the ground after conventional production.
The database contains information on about 7,000 oil and gas wells, including location, formation tops, drillstem tests, cores, perforations and initial potentials. More than 80 oil companies have used the database to explore for new wells, or "wildcat" wells.
"We have the ultimate database for anything anyone wants to know about Wyoming oilfields," says EORI Director Jim Steidtmann.
Forney, whose company, Minnelusa Exploration Database, was active from 1983-1992, established the database for his own use with early spreadsheet technology and then offered it as a service to oilfield exploration companies.
Now, Steidtmann says the database will be an invaluable source of information for enhanced oil recovery, or the process of rescuing oil left in the ground following conventional extraction techniques.
"No one was very interested in the database until companies started doing computer mapping," says Forney, who now travels from his Denver office to UW once a month to integrate information from his database into the EORI database. "Once they did computer mapping, then everybody wanted computer-ready information." It grew from a simple spreadsheet to a database complete with data analysis and validation."
Forney's gift was inspired by the Anaconda collection of economic geology at UW's American Heritage Center. The Anaconda Mining Company collected mining data around the world for more than 90 years before donating it to the university in 1987. Forney read about the gift and wanted to make a similar gift.
"I am very pleased that my data has found a good home at the University of Wyoming," he says.
Geologist Gerry Forny