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Henry Stewart Edgell 1927-2010

Edgell 1


Stewart Edgell died at home suddenly on 13 April 2010 aged 82. He was born in Hobart in Tasmania, Australia. He obtained his BSc (Hons) degree in Geology from the University of Sydney (1950), where he was Demonstrator in Petrology, and his PhD in Geology from Stanford University (1954).

After completing his studies he spent four years with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (now AGSO) in oil exploration in the Carnarvon and Perth basins. Subsequently, he joined Richfield Oil Corporation (now ARCO), mapping Utah and South Idaho for prospective oil structures. He also engaged in well site work in the Williston Basin, Ventura Basin and Wyoming. Richfield chose him as their geologist in a new concession over 104,000km² of South Oman, where he made the first geological map. He also located the first oil field discovered in Oman (Marmul Field - see picture below, taken in Oman 1954). He then joined British Petroleum and was assigned to the Consortium in Iran, where he was Head of the Paleontological Section and Geological Laboratory, and geologist/stratigrapher responsible for stratigraphic control of drilling wells.

After five years in Iran, he moved to take up the post of Lecturer in Geology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ (1961-62) and then returned to Australia to work for the Geological Survey of Western Australia as palaeontologist and stratigrapher. There he established the laboratory, and conducted field work in the Kimberleys, Pilbara and Perth Basin. Returning to the Middle East, he became Professor of Geology at the American University of Beirut and Middle East Petroleum Consultant for Stone and Associates of Houston, Texas.

From1970 he was UN Economic Geology Expert and Visiting Professor at the Centre of Applied Geology, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. From 1971-79, he was Professor of Geology at Shiraz University in Iran and geological consultant in the Persian Gulf area, with a two year intervening period as Chief Palaeontologist for Occidental Libya based in Tripoli. In 1979, he was appointed Professor of Geology, University of Benghazi, Libya, with a period as Visiting Professor at Kuwait University. He returned to Australia in 1981 and was Chief Geologist for Bass Strait Oil and Gas. Later, he was Senior Geologist for Occidental Australia in Queensland and Western Australia dealing with the oil and gas prospects of Southwest Queensland and offshore oil prospects of NW Australia and onshore Devonian reef prospects of the Lennard Shelf.

Edgell in Oman 1954 In 1983, he joined ARAMCO as Regional Geologist (Exploration) dealing with gravity, magnetic and seismic interpretation to evaluate basement and salt tectono-stratigraphic control of Saudi Arabian oil fields. From 1985 to 1993, he was Professor of Geology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia teaching petroleum geology, structural geology and stratigraphy. From Saudi Arabia, he acted as a consultant to oil companies and others, such as Sir Alexander Gibb (hydrogeology), and in China with petroleum evaluation of the Tarim Basin, in addition to remote sensing interpretation and reports for British Aerospace and the Saudi Arabian government.

He was a Fellow of the Geological Society (London), Fellow of the Geological Society of America, Member of the Geological Society of Australia, European Union of Geosciences, Geological Society of Switzerland, Paleontological Association, SEPM, a Member of AAPG since 1954 and author of over 166 geological publications. He was also author of the book ‘Arabian Deserts – nature, origin and evolution’.

He is survived by his wife Golbahar, his sons Dr Cameron Edgell (a GP) and Colin Edgell (a lawyer) and three grandsons.

Written by Stewart Edgell, and completed by his family.