Education: Master of Science, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, West Virginia University
As a third-generation Appalachian oil and gas woman, Kimberly L. Ayers is following in the footsteps of her grandmother and father and, in the process, helping advance the understanding of unconventional reservoirs via data analytics within the region and industry.
“Kimberly is unsurpassed in the field of data analytics in the Marcellus and the Utica plays,” says colleague Jay Hewitt, owner of Hewitt Energy Services LLC. “She has become the go-to for many companies to understanding what their wells are capable of and what their fields are worth.”
A useful service: Ayers founded a consulting company in 2017 that offers unique reservoir engineering solutions. Ayers Petroleum Consulting LLC uses state-of-the-art evaluation techniques and software to produce results in a timely manner. It specializes in conventional and unconventional properties within the Appalachian Basin, with a special focus on the needs of smaller E&P companies.
“This is not just through a deep understanding of the wells in the area but also through machine learning and an extensive database of the entire region,” Hewitt says. “This has allowed [Ayers] to have insights into topics such as parent/child well interference before others even knew that it could become an area of interest.”
Career path: Ayers began working in the oil and gas business while still in high school. As a third-generation industry worker, she helped her family operate its private gas production company based in Charleston, W.Va.
“I’ve always love being a part of this industry; it just seems to be something innate in my personality,” she says. “I really treasure the opportunities I had while young to learn the basics and the practical applications, such as reading old well logs on the hood of a pickup truck with colored pencils, and I believe that those early experiences directly resulted in my success today.”
She began working full-time in the industry after graduating from West Virginia University with a Master of Science degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering. Ayers also completed a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Before founding her own company, Ayers was a reservoir engineer at LOLA Energy Resources LLC, where she was responsible for reservoir-related evaluations pertaining to asset acquisitions. She also developed and maintained a regional unconventional well and production database and conducted various regional technological studies. Ayers previously spent three years as a reservoir engineer at Inflection Energy LLC.
Accomplishments: Ayers was recognized in the Denver Business Journal’s 2015 Top Women in Energy. She has also been published several times by the American Oil & Gas Reporter and has authored multiple technical papers through the Society of Petroleum Engineers. She is currently a chairperson on the SPE Pittsburgh Section board, as well as a member of the Slippery Rock University petroleum departments’ Industrial Advisory Board.
She is often asked to speak to academia and operators as an expert on well interference, proper well spacing, type curves, and field development optimization.
Parting thoughts: Although she’s already accomplished a great deal, Ayers says there’s still plenty of work to be done to improve the energy sector. She says more innovation and technological advancements are needed to continue efficiently and effectively developing the Appalachian Basin.
“I’m looking forward to helping operators solve development challenges as the unconventional plays are entering a new phase of maturity,” she says. “Application of new technologies, research and innovation are necessary to our continued success, and I am very honored and excited to continue pushing our industry in that direction.”