A Remarkable Career and Contribution


Affiliate Scientist Ken Shaw Retiring After 22 Years at EGI

EGI Affiliate Scientist and head of the Canadian office, Ken Shaw, is “hanging up the spikes.” After 53 years in the energy industry, 22 of them with EGI, Ken retired on January 1, 2019. Ken’s remarkable career and dedication to EGI has left an impact not just professionally, but personally as well.

Going directly to industry after college, Ken’s first 13 years of experience centered in exploration geophysics and related business operations activities in western and frontier regions of Canada.

Following assignments as District and Chief Geophysicist as well as Exploration Manager with Unocal Canada, a transfer to Unocal Corporation as Vice President / General Manager, Exploration Research at the Brea Research Center, Brea California resulted in a broad exposure to exploration technology applications worldwide prior to his first retirement in 1996.

Since joining EGI in 1997, Ken has acted as Manager of the Canadian office, where he participated in technical projects in the Caspian Region, Brazil and all frontier regions of Canada plus Alaska, as well as Corporate Associate technical support and business development issues within Canada.

A key accomplishment for EGI during these years has been the development of strong relationships with Canadian energy companies, in large part thanks to Ken’s knowledge, experience, and hard work. Ken has been a vital force in bringing 13 Canadian energy companies into the EGI consortia over the years.  While mergers, closings, and new businesses entering the market have transformed the composition of the Canadian energy industry, Ken has been a steadfast advocate for both EGI and our Canadian members.  Today, the field is smaller across the industry, yet we continue to enjoy productive and valuable relationships with our Canadian oil & gas corporate associates.

Highlights in a Remarkable Career

Early involvement of Unocal in the former Soviet Union including Azerbaijan was one of several high points in 37 years with the company. Unocal was among the first western oil and gas operators to initiate negotiations for entry into Azerbaijan in 1990 and a Joint Research Protocol was signed in February, 1992 (pictured). While the project proceeded, Unocal itself was going through many changes and in a 1992 reorganization, Chuck Williamson came to Brea to lead the Research Center and took part in the concluding research project seminar in Baku in 1993. Chuck, a University of Utah graduate, went on to become President and CEO of Unocal prior to its merger with Chevron in 2002.

Ken’s final two years with Unocal prior to retirement were spent in Houston overseeing development of a plan for accessing and coordinating external research resources through many consortia that were in line with the strategic needs of the company. It was during this time that EGI became of particular value, given the wide base of technical resources available.

After joining EGI in 1997, Ken’s involvement in the EGI Central/North Caspian Project followed in 1998-9, interpreting all seismic coverage in the Caspian Sea to which EGI had access and there was amazement at the amount of data and other information available through academic channels versus to Unocal 1992-3. It shed a whole new light on the region, allowing definition of over 10 play types for future detailed evaluation.

Ken Shaw’s Indelible Impact at EGI

 I remember meeting Ken for the first time around 1995 when I was the Associate Director at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. Ken was UNOCAL’s representative from HQ to many universities. I recall being highly impressed with Ken’s knowledge of the industry and thinking, ‘I hope I have a chance to associate with this person more in my career.’ Fast forward to the late 1990’s when I came to EGI at the University of Utah. Ken was departing UNOCAL after a fantastic and diverse career. EGI was considering expanding its mission into Canada and I jumped at the idea of Ken representing EGI and establishing an EGI office in Calgary. Ken’s critical thinking and ability to help position us as top institute in the Canadian market, which was highly competitive, was amazing and a big boost for EGI. I will cherish our many conversations about energy industry directions and how an institute like EGI can create value to its members.

– Dr. Raymond Levey, EGI Director

You recognized that Ken is someone special by the regard he is held in by the geoscience community in Western Canada and his circle of friends and contacts in the industry. Ken would graciously host all of us visiting Alberta from EGI offices throughout the world and facilitate meaningful and stimulating meetings and discussions.

And never once did he scold me – or pity me – on my allegiance to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

–Dr. John McLennan, Associate Professor

EGI is deeply grateful for Ken’s dedicated service to the Institute and to the energy industry over these last 22 years.  It is with great appreciation and fondness that we wish our colleague and friend a very happy and fulfilling retirement.

Signing Protocol for Joint Research Project with the Institute of Deep Oil and Gas Deposits, Baku, 1992 | (L to R) Ken Shaw, then Vice President, Seismic Research and Applications; Steve Lipman, President, Unocal Science and Technology Division; Dr Mitat Abasov, Director, IDOGD; Dr Rashid Djevanshir, Deputy Director, IDOGD
Unocal delegation Oil Rocks Discovery well 1993. | (L to R) - Ken Shaw, Gen Mgr Expl Research (third from left) with Unocal colleagues and Azerbaijani hosts.
EGI Project with Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niteroi, Brazil, 1997 | (L to R) – Dr Alberto Figueredo, Director, Lagemar Marine Geoscience Institute