Ronald M Tisdale
Ronald M Tisdale
Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Ron spent most of his formative years in Alabama. Like many geoscientists, he grew up with a love of the outdoors and commonly spent vacations with family in the smokies where he developed a love for East Tennessee. He attended undergraduate school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where in his junior year he began his geology career working on campus at the Geological Survey of Alabama.
Between graduate and undergraduate school, he interned with Union Oil Company of California in Jackson, Mississippi working on basin analysis with stratigraphic studies in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Following this internship, he also worked for a geotechnical firm in Birmingham doing ground water studies, subsidence evaluation in karst terrain, and coal resource drilling.
With this early professional experience, he returned to graduate school for his master’s degree with a focus on sedimentology and the goal of a career in the petroleum industry. Tennessee (UTK) was his first choice where he studied under Dr. Garrett Briggs working on sedimentary depositional modeling of Carboniferous depositional systems in the Cumberland plateau of East Tennessee.
Following graduate school, he was employed by Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL – now Chevron) for 11 years as an area exploration and development geologist in Jackson, Mississippi and Lafayette, Louisiana working in a variety of onshore and offshore Gulf Coast Basins from South Louisiana to South Florida. He worked in multidisciplinary teams with geologists, geophysicists, and reservoir engineers successfully developing fields in both normal and pressured environments with objectives as deep as 25,000’. He was also a college recruiter for UNOCAL, as well as a mentor for young geologists. These responsibilities were often personally rewarding as he watched young geologists develop into successful professionals.
Following his years with UNOCAL, he moved to the energy subsidiary of a major utility in Birmingham, Alabama, Alagasco Energy, which became Energen Resources. Here he spent 28 years as an area geologist, exploration manager, geologic manager, and vice-president of geology. During this time, he was part of a group of industry professionals that grew the company from a small independent in the Black Warrior Basin with roughly twenty employees to a top twenty independent with 470 employees.
Over the years the company was active in most prominent hydrocarbon producing areas of the domestic United States. He was involved with development, unitization, secondary recovery, and acquisition projects in the Powder River, Williston, San Juan, Permian (conventional), Arkoma, and Mid-Continent basins, onshore Gulf Coast and offshore Texas, East Texas, North Louisiana, Mississippi, Black Warrior Basin (conventional), and the Appalachian Basin.
Ron was also involved with the initial drilling of unconventional coalbed methane wells and development in the Black Warrior Basin of Alabama where Energen had operations in over 2,000 wells. He was also part of a team from Energen that consulted corporately in coalbed methane development opportunities in the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
During the last 10 years of his career, Energen became one of the early players and developers of horizontal drilling and fracturing of unconventional shale reservoirs in the Permian Basin. It was the primary focus of the company at the time of his retirement.
With Energen isolated from the mainstream oil and gas industry in Birmingham, Ron developed a geoscience department of highly skilled and experienced geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and geotechnical support staff that was current in technology and consistently competitive with industry plays throughout the United States. At his retirement, Energen had grown from a subsidiary with limited reserves of 234 MBOE to almost 500 MMBOE of reserves and $5 billion in total assets.
Now semi-retired, he continues to work as the Director of Geoscience of oil and gas evaluation for Toccoa Resources, LLC a small geologic consulting firm in Birmingham. He is an AAPG Certified Petroleum Geologist and a registered Professional Geologist in Wyoming and Alabama. He serves on the University of Alabama and University of Tennessee Knoxville geoscience advisory boards, the Birmingham UTK alumni board, and is active in his local church. He and his wife Nancy have been married for 48 years. They have a son and daughter in church ministry and four grandkids.