Mr. Payne has been working as an exploration geoscientist in the Oil & Gas Industry for over 20 years. After earning his degree in Geology from Miami University (Ohio), he started his career at Amoco Exploration and Production Company, where he developed an expertise in the geotechnical disciplines of hydrocarbon exploration. While working at Amoco, Mr. Payne earned an MBA with a focus in International Business from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.
After graduation, which happened to be right before BP announced their acquisition of Amoco, he left the major to work for the small independent British-Borneo Exploration, helping them use high-powered computing and specialized interpretation software to augment their exploration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. In his next role as Geoscience Technology Manager at Gryphon Exploration, a private equity start-up, Mr. Payne became much more involved with geophysical data, geodesy, and data management. Shortly after Gryphon was purchased by Woodside Petroleum, he went on to manage the Geoscience Technology Group at El Paso Exploration and Production, and led a team of specialists that supported the exploration efforts of over 100 geoscientists across international and domestic projects.
As oil prices climbed towards record highs, Mr. Payne was lured away by the opportunity to open an office in Houston that would serve as the consulting division of the private Kuwait Energy Company. While at KEC, he worked on projects in the Middle East and Former Soviet Union, focusing on “wildcat” exploration, as well as assessing acquired oil fields that had been underdeveloped. Mr. Payne’s most intriguing work has happened while at Hyperdynamics, a small, publicly-traded company that holds an offshore concession in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. Dealing with the geopolitical risks of a new and developing democracy, in 2011 the company succeeded in drilling the first exploration well since 1977. Mr. Payne also learned to cope with both pirates and cetaceans as he oversaw the acquisition and processing of two marine 3D seismic programs covering nearly 8000 km2. Mr. Payne has also been involved in prospect evaluation, risk analysis, and economics.
Although a geologist by education, his extensive experience in the geophysical disciplines make it very easy for him to identify as a well-rounded “geoscientist”. Mr. Payne is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Lee Ann, where they are raising two young boys (9 & 8) who not surprisingly, want to be geologists when they grow up.