Tony Moherek

TonyMoherek2I was raised in northern New Jersey and was the fifth-borne son of a very successful machine shop owner . Both my Mom and Dad instilled in me and all four of my brothers at an early age that there’s no such word as “can’t “ in the Moherek vocabulary and that the world was my “oyster” where I could achieve anything I wanted – if I put my mind to it. Of course having an older brother hand me a simple rock collection when I was a kid al- ways fascinated me and first planted the thoughts that rocks were cool . It wasn’t really until my sophomore year in college at Rutgers University back in 1972 that I decided to major in Geology. Soon thereafter my long-term goal at that time was to achieve a PhD in Marine Geology and study marine sediments because I simply loved the ocean and always believed our seven seas that occupy the majority of our precious planet were (and still are) nearly totally unexplored. Also picking geology as a major was an easy choice because I not only liked the science but also quickly achieved high grades at the same time.. Having grown up in northeastern New Jersey within the metropolitan NY area I lived near some interesting outcrops of what I now know are Eastern Appalachian basin & range Tertiary red sandstones on top of a granite basement that form the modern-day mountainous part of northwestern N.J. where I first learned to fish in the inter-mountain lakes. Fishing is much like oil & gas exploration in the sense one has to explore a lake, stream or body of water to find the prize – the fish or in our business – the oil & gas. So two of my favorite pastimes – fishing and science were combined in the field of geology and a natural by-product of such a combination was to enter the industry as an exploration geologist. I did this in 1977 when I formally joined Tenneco Oil in Houston working onshore in Texas RRC District 3 while being mentored by some of the most successful geologists I have ever known. What I learned early on from my mentors is to imagine without boundaries and explore without fear, and I was trained to find 5 MMBBLO equivalent or larger fields . At that time Tenneco, which was a major independent, installed a great educational program for newly hired students whereby my skills were rapidly enhanced by being sent to two petroleum schools per year ( seismic applications, petroleum engineering, electric log evaluation, prospect economics, etc.) while learning back at the office the basic exploration practices of mapping, isopaching , interpreting 2D seismic , and very importantly applying the geologic concepts I learned at both Rutgers and Texas A & M University where I received my M. S. Degree in Geological Oceanography in 1977.

I worked at Tenneco until 1980 when I joined Gulfstream Petroleum, which was an active little independent in north Houston that drilled over 200 wells in the companies’ ten year life. Upon the sale of Gulfstreams’ assets in 1987 after prices crashed and investment capital dried up I like many others hung my own shingle out, Am-Tex Resources and successfully generated and sold Gulf Coast prospects while under various retainers with companies like Hanson Minerals, Bass Enterprises, Yuma Petroleum and individual investors. In 1997 I accepted a senior explorationist position with Tesoro in San Antonio, Texas where I worked until Tesoro was bought out by EEX Corporation and then subsequently acquired by Newfield Exploration. Upon being offered a transfer back to Houston with Newfield I heard that Suemaur had a senior explorationist position open, so I decided to weight anchor here in Corpus Christi, and I’m glad I did. That was not too difficult a decision since I love to fish as well as explore!

My advice to all college students that are majoring in geology and contemplating a job as a petroleum geologist is to start thinking “exploration” in your every class. Seek out the principles of stratigraphy-modern day depositional systems be they sandstone or carbonate and visualize the facies in 3D that you will be exploring in the future. Concentrate on the mineralogies and the permeabilities that make up the reservoir rocks you will be drilling in and very importantly learn to construct accurate maps that tell the geologic story beneath your prospects. Finally pursue computer aided seismic mapping, courses in geophysics and learn attribute techniques that can help you lower the economic risks in your exploration efforts. Do this and you too will become a successful geologist.

Tony Moherek
VP Exploration—Suemaur Exploration
and Production LLC