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Graham Leslie Hopkins 1950-2009

Graham Leslie Hopkins, “Hoppy”, died on 24 November 2009 aged 59. He had suffered from sarcoidosis for many years.

Graham was born in Llanelli, South Wales, and attended Llanelli Grammar School, and Bedford College, University of London, shortly after they began to admit male students. He graduated in hard rock geology, and went to work for Goldfields in Kalgoorlie, Australia, where he hit and killed a kangaroo while driving through the outback. He left Australia following a gold price crash and returned to the UK to work for Exploration Logging, starting his career in sedimentology. ExLog sent him to Singapore, working on a number of rigs in South East Asia, including one on the site that became the epicentre of the 2004 Tsunami. After Singapore he worked in Nigeria and Portugal, before giving up ExLog to take the Imperial College Petroleum Geology Masters degree in 1975/76, under the aegis of Professor Dick Selley.

Graham then worked for Exploration Computing in London, using his offshore experience in digitising well-logs. During this time he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, although the symptoms at that time were minimal, and did not prevent Graham from joining Total Oil Marine in Aberdeen in 1978. Here he played rugby and cricket, once commenting that in Aberdeen he never played cricket in fewer than three sweaters, and elsewhere never in more than two. Moving back to London from Aberdeen in 1981, he joined ARCO, during which time he published his paper “Scales of Geologic Reservoir Description for engineering applications” with Roger Slatt, of ARCO and Arizona State University. The Hopkins family moved to Jakarta in 1989, where Graham worked on the Pagerungan block in Bali.

From Jakarta, Graham moved with ARCO to Sana’a, Yemen, although the family returned to London because of the precarious local political situation. From Yemen he returned to London and the North Sea, becoming a familiar face at PESGB meetings and PetEx. In 1988 he went to Port Gentil, Gabon on a short-term assignment, and was lucky enough to meet Nelson Mandela when en route through Johannesburg. After BP’s takeover of ARCO in 1999, Graham moved to Doha, Qatar, to work for the Qatar General Petroleum Company, and lived in an apartment in a castle. This posting sparked his interest in birdwatching, all sightings being methodically catalogued on spreadsheets. Graham returned to London in 2001, and started work for CalEnergy, where he remained until his death. With CalEnergy he worked in Poland, and Perth, Western Australia, where drilling had to work around the migration patterns of local whales.

Graham was respected by his wide circle of contacts, and always happy to act as Mentor to younger geologists - he was passionately enthusiastic about all geology and would fight his corner in technical discussions with great tenacity. His other passions were birdwatching and rugby, the Welsh team being the best in the world, even when they were losing! Graham is survived by his wife, Lorna Hawthorne, and their children, Rowan, a medical physicist, and Bryony, a final-year medical student.

Lorna Hawthorne