Membership Links

back to Service Awards list...

Dorene West, 2017 Distinguished Service Award

Dorene WestThe Gulf Coast Section SEPM Distinguished Service Award for 2017 is given to Dorene B. West, a consulting geologist in Houston, Texas. Dorene was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended the School of Business at Indiana University, where she was first exposed to geology when she took an earth science course to fulfill a curriculum requirement. Earth science was a revelation to her and radically changed her academic aspirations. She completed the coursework for an Associate Degree in Business Management and Administration and then changed her  major to geology: her future career was set. She graduated and then took her master’s degree also at Indiana, in structural geology; her thesis is titled “Analysis of Structural Fabric Data on the Unit Sphere.” 

Upon leaving Indiana, Dorene relocated to Midland to take up a post with Gulf Oil. She initially worked in Gulf’s Geoscience Exploration Data Processing Group and latterly in their Exploration/Operations teams in Midland and New Orleans, and Frontier Exploration team in Houston. In 1984, her activities were responsible for 25% of Gulf’s New Orleans District booked reserves. Over the following years she held permanent positions at Sohio, GECO, Pacific Enterprises, Pennzoil, Kerr-McGee, Phillips/ConocoPhillips, and Nexen, in addition to consulting for Total Minatome, Arco, Phillips, Maxus, Newfield, Hess, Camac, Tectonic Analysis, and Lloyd’s Register. Building on her structural geology expertise, she became particularly interested in salt-associated plays, and was one of the first geologists to recognize that there was untapped exploration potential in such systems. Her papers presented orally at the Gulf Coast SEG in1987, the AAPG Annual Convention in 1988, and the 28th International Geological Congress in 1989, and reported formally in a key paper in the AAPG Bulletin 1989 titled “Salt Deformation on Deep Margin of Central Gulf of Mexico Basin” were seminal in this respect. With this extensive experience under her belt she taught salt tectonics seminars.

Dorene’s interest in salt tectonics also led to her long association with GCSSEPM and particularly the Annual Research Conferences. This relationship began when she co-chaired the very successful 10th Annual Research Conference titled “Gulf of Mexico Salt Tectonics, Associated Processes and Exploration Potential”; this was the Section’s first salt conference, as well as the first time in the history of the section that attendance was sold out. After this auspicious start she continued to serve the society: she edited papers for the 15th Annual Research conference titled “Rates of Geologic Processes, Tectonics, Sedimentation, Eustasy and Climate—Implications for Hydrocarbon Exploration” and both the 2015 and 2016 Annual GCAGS Conventions; she also served as Vice-Chairman for the 2015 Annual GCAGS Convention. In addition to volunteering to fill these roles for the annual meetings, she also served our society administratively, as President-Elect in 2015, President in 2016, Past-President in 2017, and is beginning a 4-year term as a Foundation Trustee in 2017.

In addition to attending more than 70% of all the GCSSEPM research conferences, she has also tirelessly promoted our activities to others. This is evidenced by a comment from Norm Rosen: “Each time Dorene changed employers, there seemed to be a surge of registrations for the conference from her new company.”

Overall, Dorene has made an enormous contribution to our Society. She has given her time and effort to us selflessly over many years. She is a most worthy recipient of the Gulf Coast Section SEPM Distinguished Service Award for 2017 and I would like to thank her, on behalf of all our members, for her enormous efforts on our behalf.

Joe Macquaker