We profile only a selection of our Associates on these pages. Profiles of our other Associates are available on request.


Mick Oates

Dr Michael Oates

Michael Oates (Mick) is a Geologist / Operations Geologist with broad international experience from exploration and development geology, principally for operating companies, with recent focus on Operations Geology. Key areas of expertise and experience include:

• Strong Development Geology expertise leverages knowledge of pressure distributions, fracture networks, core analysis, reservoir facies, diagenesis etc. in locating development wells (including multi-laterals), understanding field production behaviour and defining reservoir models
• Handles all operations geology aspects including planning, data acquisition program, daily operations and post-well reviews & reporting
• Core skills in Biostratigraphy, Palaeontology, Sedimentology and Sequence Stratigraphy
• Exploration Evaluation from Basin to prospect scale

Mick is comfortable speaking Norwegian and has worked a total of 8 years in Norway (North Sea acreage) including recent Operations Geology roles (as operator) in the planning and execution of a complete development well program in addition to several E&A wells.  Comprehensive knowledge of the petroleum systems and well results in areas worked, in addition to their impact on remaining prospectivity.

He is highly motivated by all aspects of geology and an excellent communicator of geological knowledge.

Consultant 2015

Acknowledged explorationist with about 20 years’ experience and understanding of all Norwegian provinces: North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea, including Barents Sea South East (former grey zone), supplemented by experience from North Africa. Has held key roles for Norwegian Major and mid-sized Operators, as staff and, more recently, as a consultant, including Project Leader and Exploration Manager, but has maintained hands-on technical skills.  Key expertise areas: Source rock, basin development and structural framework interpretation, seismic interpretation, seismic design and acquisition, attribute & AVO analysis; all as a basis for complete regional reviews of basins & plays and prospect generation & maturation, as well as exploration well planning and operational aspects. Has evaluated and managed many operated licenses and near-field & frontier concession rounds on the NCS.  Significant experience in the integration of Exploration & Business Development strategy & activity, with high exposure to farm-ins and farm-outs.  Skilled user of tools and workstations from Schlumberger: Petrel, IESX, Geoframe, GeoX & Cegal; Blueback Toolbox; Landmark: Openworks and Seisworks;  ESRI: ArcGIS.  Holds an MSc in Structural Geology and a CBA in MBA. 

Foto Dirk-2 16Sep2010

Dirk Nieuwland

Seasoned Technical Exploration & Development Geologist with 30 years International experience. Highly regarded structural geologist and geomechanics expert. Considerable experience with Underground Gas Storage  and reservoir integrity.
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Photo John Nicholson

John Nicholson

John has gained 35 years' experience as a petroleum geologist, some 26 years in consulting and 11 years with oil majors BP and Britoil. He is a hands-on technical expert in prospect evaluation: recognising new plays, mapping licensed blocks and new Round offers, recommending exploration and development policy, writing and presenting farm-in and farmout brochures, making licence applications and giving presentations at Board and regulatory authority level.

John has been a member of and led numerous teams which have been successful in drilling wildcats both onshore and offshore, most recently in India where he was Senior Asset Manager for an operator which drilled a major gas well in Tripura in 2011 and drilled a series of successful oil development step-out wells in the complex Kharsang Field. He has worked in Northwest Shelf of Australia, onshore Australia and Papua New Guinea; the Gulf Coast of the USA; the UK and Norwegian Northern, Central, Southern, Danish and Dutch North Sea; the English Channel and Southwestern Approaches basins, offshore Ireland; the UK Midlands and Dorset; in the Andes in Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia; in Russia; and in nearly all of the offshore and onshore basins of India. His recent focus has been on India, North Sea, and Australia.
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portret Frits Bonvie

Consultant 3020

Geologist with 34 years experience in Shell International’s Exploration Function: including 12 years in Shell Expro in the UK, 5 years in Nigeria and 8 years as a regional geologist in Central Office, participating in a global basin and play database project.

He has been involved for many years with methodologies and tools for risking and volumetrics. His method to assess the remaining oil and gas potential of North Sea plays was subsequently adopted as a best practice by the Shell global Exploration community.

Key Technical skills
• Prospect identification, evaluation & risk assessment
• Analysis of large and complex datasets
• Compilation of exploration data (literature, well databases, company files) for specific areas (province, basin, sub-basin, licence)
• Systematic Yet-to-Find analysis including play potential in terms of petroleum system, stratigraphic synopsis and field size distribution forecast from analysis of discovery record.
• Matching and benchmarking of prospect portfolios versus the discovery record of a given basin or play.
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Consultant 3012

Seasoned Seismic Interpreter, Geoscientist and Geoscience Manager with 30 years experience in exploration and development, gained from majors and mid-sized oil companies. Delivery of more than 25 successful exploration and development wells in the last 10 years. Worldwide experience, with recent focus on Norway. Expert user of Petrel, Landmark and Kingdom.
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Consultant 2007

Petroleum geologist with almost twenty five years of exploration and development experience, mainly gained with a major and a large and highly successful independent company. He has operated as an independent consultant over the last seven years. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology and a Master of Science Degree in Petroleum Geology. In geographical terms his experience takes in sedimentary basins from northwest Europe, Eastern Europe, West Africa, North Africa, East Africa, South Asia, North America and Central America. Although he has been mainly engaged in project geological roles, during his professional formative years he held oil company positions as a wellsite geologist, a log analyst and also cross trained as a geophysicist. This multidisciplinary background and its ongoing practical application has led him towards consulting roles that require a balance of geoscience technical skills and experience. He has been engaged in teaching and has presented at international technical conferences. These days most of his time is spent on exploration/appraisal asset evaluations and datarooms, farmin/farmout work, peer review and mentoring of junior staff. He has also advised start-up companies on asset acquisition and technical staffing. He owns SMT Earthpak+ and 2D-3D software and has a home office equipped with HP workstation/Dual Monitors.
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Consultant 3010

Seasoned and acknowledged structural geology expert and seismic interpreter with extensive experience in all Norwegian provinces: North Sea, Mid Norway and Barents sea, supplemented by worldwide experience in all structural settings: extensional, thrusts, salt and overpressured shale movement etc. Key expertise areas: Structural framework interpretation and reconstruction as basis for play and prospect generation and delineation of depositional systems; fracture analysis & prediction; fault seal analysis and hydrocarbon column height prediction; geological field trip leadership; challenging paradigms in structural interpretation. Underpinned by expertise in Geoquest IESX, Landmark Seisworks, Kingdom, Petrel, ArcGIS and Petrosys workstation & software.
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Exploration Options AS, Skansegaten 13a, 4006 STAVANGER, Norway               Tel: +47 97572878               info@explorationoptions.com