Author: Marlan Downey

Marlan versus the Beavers

Marlan versus the Beavers

A couple things I’ve learned in my career.  There’s nothing quite like flexibility to manage risk.  And you’re not quite as smart as you might think you are.  Here is perhaps my families’ favorite anecdote about me on the topic. Marlan Downey V.S. The Texas Beavers My wife and I built a log cabin on…

Problems & Opportunities in Making Money

Problems & Opportunities in Making Money

When we consider what our strategies for growth and profitability should be, it becomes important to review the options for making money and to match those to the special skills, knowledge, or preferences we bring to the business.  We’ll look at the problems and the opportunities in making money 1) as a land company, 2)…

Great Decisions Under Uncertainty – Part 2

Great Decisions Under Uncertainty – Part 2

In Part 1, I discussed how the best way to have consistently excellent decisions is to have an organizational process by which ample and proper information is provided to a knowledgeable and empowered group for analysis and decision.  In Part 2, let’s look at this in terms of my trip to Guyana with President Jimmy…

Great Decisions Under Uncertainty – Part 1

Great Decisions Under Uncertainty – Part 1

There are numerous ways to help ensure that the best possible decisions are made for any problem, at any time.  They include divine inspiration, relying on elders and authority, and a democratic vote.  Unfortunately, divine inspiration is provided rarely to most of us; older and more senior staff are not necessarily wiser; and , asking…

Energy Extraction from Geopressured Hot Water

Energy Extraction from Geopressured Hot Water

A wise man once said… “Anything is possible that is not forbidden by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.” Spoken by a true visionary and researcher. My personal interests are in discerning what is most economic to do TODAY. Currently, the most nearly economic large scale source of renewable earth energy for the USA may be…

Thesis a Good Success Marker

Thesis a Good Success Marker

AAPG Explorer Article – Many years ago I reviewed the criteria being used by Shell Oil to hire its new geologists. Shell’s hiring emphasized graduate students with top grades from selected universities. In reviewing the outcome of its hiring practices, I found that having outstanding grades and attending Ivy League schools made no difference to…

Beware of Robot Geology

Beware of Robot Geology

From, “Robot Geology,” a geologic note by Walter K. Link: “We are now in an electronic and nuclear age. Great calculating machines have been built that devour figures and come out with answers that would take a battery of men years to calculate.” ” … some of our educational institutions are substituting machines of this…

Tell It, Just Tell It — Briefly

Tell It, Just Tell It — Briefly

“English,” by W.W. Patrick, offers the following observations and pieces of counsel.  I think you’ll find them interesting. “Business has learned the lessons of brevity and directness, but too many of our geologists have not.” “An amateurish, poorly written report or letter leads the reader to assume that the thinking of the writer may be…

Important Problems for Methane Hydrate Commercialization

Important Problems for Methane Hydrate Commercialization

There are many, many interesting problems associated with understanding methane hydrates. From a world view, however, the most important problems are those that deal directly with extracting large quantities of methane safely and cheaply from the frozen hydrate. If this cannot be done, the promise of enormous energy from methane hydrate remains an elusive rainbow.…

Army Taught Basic Lessons

Army Taught Basic Lessons

Exactly 50 years ago I was mustered out of the U.S. Army, completing my tour of overseas duty in the Philippines and Korea. I returned to graduate school a profoundly changed person. I had greatly disliked the Army and was scornful of any future usefulness from my Army experience. Now, looking backwards … perhaps I…