Tim Doré’s geology career has taken him from Lafayette to Houston to Calgary, Alberta and back to Houston — where he's now working Deepwater Gulf of Mexico as a geologist for BP.
“I work on the reservoir management team of one of our largest deepwater assets. It’s a field that we call Atlantis,” Tim said. “It’s a really big oil field and my job is working within a multi-disciplined team to find new places to drill wells, both new producers and water injectors.”
Tim came to UL Lafayette without a clear idea of where he wanted his life to go. That quickly changed.
“I was undeclared, and I was struggling to figure out where my interests lay. I ended up taking a physical geology course as an elective, and two weeks in I knew I was going to be a geologist,” he said. “It was effortless – I didn’t have to think hard about things, it came more natural, and I found myself looking forward to lectures and labs.”
“Whenever you find what you love, it’s not really work, as they say. After changing to geology, college got a lot easier for me, after finding what I was meant to do,” Tim said.
When he found his major, he also found a close-knit group of students and faculty.
“The department was relatively small. Everybody knew everybody, and there was a lot of camaraderie among the students and the professors” he said. “The professors had a big impact on all of us. They kept the lectures interesting and offered up fantastic road trip opportunities over school breaks to get out and see interesting geology.”
Learning Valuable Skills
Even in his current job, Tim still uses the knowledge and skills he got from his classes.
“Whenever I was an undergraduate, I took lots of classical geology courses but also picked up practical skills you could apply on the job,” he said. “In one class we were actually correlating logs and making maps, and I don’t think a lot of schools were doing that.”
“The skills I learned both in labs and field course assignments allowed me to hit the ground running, so to speak, when I landed my first job as a geologist.”
Tim decided to pursue his master’s in geology after graduation to improve his marketability for the job search. For his master’s thesis, he examined heavy metal partitioning in bottom sediments in Bayou Trepagnier, near Norco, La.
“I sampled sediments up and down the bayou to understand the level of pollution, identify the main contaminants, and understand how those contaminants were held and potentially available to be released into the environment,” Tim explained.
“At the end of the day, I think completing a thesis shows that you can undertake a big project and see it to completion, hopefully making some valid conclusions and perhaps even advancing the subject matter along the way.”
Making Connections through Networking
As a student, Tim was involved in the Lafayette Geological Society, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists — organizations that helped him make valuable connections that ultimately led to his first job.
“You get to network and meet lots of professional geologists in the area. That networking eventually led to an interview and my first job,” he said.
“I think that’s one of the reasons people should join their local societies — you get to meet a lot of like-minded people and build your network and make lifelong friends. There are also plenty of ways to give back to the society, as well.”
A Rewarding Career
Tim began working in Lafayette as a geologist for Vastar in 1997 right after he graduated with his master’s in geology. When BP purchased Vastar and its parent company in 2000, Tim moved to Houston to continue working with BP.
“I always loved the Cajun culture and I never thought I was going to leave Acadiana until BP offered me a great opportunity,” Tim said.
Tim’s work initially focused on oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico shelf, and then in 2006 he moved to Calgary, Alberta, as an expatriate for BP.
“I had a four-year assignment working in Calgary, which was a highlight of my career — working in a different hydrocarbon basin and getting to play in the mountains every weekend,” he said.
After his assignment in Calgary was over, he moved back to Houston and started working in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
The field where he works now — called Atlantis — is about 17,000 feet below sea level, sitting in over a mile of water depth.
“It’s very challenging operating conditions,” he explained. “We rely on the latest technological advances and the brightest minds to continue safely extracting oil and gas from Atlantis field.”
With continued advances in technology, Tim is able to help BP find and invest in new well locations.
“It’s a lot of fun working on such a high value field,” he said. “The team I work with comes up with drilling locations and ideas based on the integration of a lot of data and mapping.
“It’s like putting puzzle pieces together – and that involves several disciplines and diverse viewpoints,” he explained. “It’s quite rewarding when investment in your ideas makes a lot of money for the company and the shareholders."