Keith Kimme
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Reserves Manager, Monadnock Resources, Addison, Texas
24 FortyUnder40 Kimme, Keith

Keith Kimme said his entrance into the oil and gas space “was kind of an accident.” He hoped to work at a nanotech startup in Austin after graduate school but found the market was challenged. Eventually, he found work at an oil and gas consulting firm. “It was that or running an electron microscope up in New England,” he said.

Kimme spent the bulk of his career in the consulting space, and he considers “branching out into an E&P” to be a career milestone. “I had considered trying to pick up a geology degree and keep things moving in that direction. When I had the opportunity to sign up with Monadnock and expand my skills, it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” he said.

A rewarding challenge

“When I was in consulting, there was a large project that had been worked years before and then shopped out to another firm which gave large, unreliable reserves to the client. That caused them to get out over their skis and eventually to come back to us. Parts of the original team were leaving the company and had only a short time to explain their whole workflow. I had heard that this thing was a tremendous headache and didn’t want to join in. A team member came and asked me for just two hours to do ‘that clever thing’ I’d done for her on another large offshore field, correlating seismic data to facies.

“Two months later we were still neck deep, reworking the model from top to bottom, tying in the geology, geophysics, petrophysics, historical production and pressures, and making the whole model perfectly reproducible despite using probabilistic methods. It was a nightmare and just about my favorite project ever. I kept up with every discipline and how all the pieces fit together. I automated everything and documented it all so that two years later, when we were doing annual updates and it was time to train my replacement, I could show and explain each step from foundations to results.”

Work across disciplines

“There was a desire by management to have a searchable database of every project that the company had worked as far back as our records allowed and to be kept up with all future jobs. There were a lot of decisions involved to make that a reality, exactly what was relevant, what the database would look like, how historical data would be entered and checked. A small group of us got together and collected the desires of all the competing factions and put together a model on paper and talked it over with the programming side to make a sensible product. In doing so we became the ‘experts’ on the project and so we also became the auditors of everything that was to be entered.

“There was more than a little pushback as we were adding to everyone’s jobs and checking over their shoulders as their peers. I had to do a lot of patient explaining about the benefits that would develop over time as it became a useful tool and how facets that weren’t relevant to one person or discipline were important to others. I think the process as much as the tool itself helped highlight the work going on across disciplines.”

Strong communication

“You can be the smartest person in the room and perform a brilliant analysis, but it doesn’t mean anything unless it is communicated clearly and effectively to the correct decision maker(s). Miscommunication is easy and common. No one is looking at things from your exact perspective and so you are probably making assumptions that you don’t even realize, and so is whomever you are speaking to.”

Industry outlook

“I think it’s already beginning, but we need to remember we’re here to make money, not oil. Since the beginning of the shale revolution this industry has been trying to make the big grabs and we’ve managed to change the world while gutting our own financial stability. As we adjust to this relative abundance of resources and disinterest of capital, we’re going to need to rethink our philosophy and structure.”

“No one is looking at things from your exact perspective and so you are probably making assumptions that you don’t even realize, and so is whomever you are speaking to.”