Dr. Katie-Joe McDonough


Dr. McDonough is a geological/geophysical consultant specializing in sequence stratigraphic and seismic interpretation applied to both exploration and production. She pursues thorough integration of multiple data types (outcrop, core, well log and seismic) to arrive at rigorous and consistent stratigraphic/sedimentological interpretations. She has explored siliciclastics and carbonates in shallow to deep marine settings of various basins of North and South America, offshore West Africa, the North Sea, Indonesia and East Africa, and has conducted in-house sequence stratigraphy short courses for the industry. Dr. McDonough has over 19 years diverse international and domestic U.S. experience in the petroleum industry including staff, consulting and mentoring positions with Exxon USA, Mobil, Elf Acquitaine, EcoPetrol, Cimarex Energy, MedcoEnergi Jakarta, Noble Energy , Anschutz Exploration, Enerplus and ION Geophysical. She is an active member of AAPG (2001 Annual Conference Organizing Committee), DGS, RMAG, SEPM-RMS, SEG, WTGS. Dr. McDonough has also served as adjunct faculty teaching stratigraphy at Colorado School of Mines.


1991 to Present - Consultant, Seismic- & Sequence Stratigraphy, Denver, Colorado

Projects include:

2012 to Present - Mega-Regional Seismic Stratigraphy and Exploration Assessment, Offshore Chukchi Sea, North Chukchi Sea and Laptev Basin, Eastern Russian ArcticSPAN

Regional sequence stratigraphic interpretation of >20,000 km of 2D long-record, long-offset seismic data in offshore Arctic shelf area west of the Chukchi Sea to the Laptev Sea and Russian Arctic shelf. Regional petroleum systems evaluation.

2012 - Deep Water Seismic Stratigraphy Exploration Assessment, Offshore Colombia

Applied sequence stratigraphic approach to interpretation and attribute analysis of a large offshore 3D to determine existence of sand fairways within multiple target zones.

2011 to Present - Mega-Regional Deep Water Seismic Stratigraphy and Exploration Assessment, Offshore East Africa 

Regional sequence stratigraphic interpretation of >8000 km of 2D long-record, long-offset seismic data in offshore Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. Superb data quality permitted delineation of large-scale sequence stratigraphic relationships and petroleum system assessment, as well as high-resolution chronostratigraphy and deep water fan-complex systems tract distribution. The seismic surveys interpreted were proximal to the recent discoveries made by Anadarko, ENI and Statoil, and suggest intriguing play-extension opportunities in the deep water offshore Tanzania and Mozambique. Interpretation is ongoing with Phase IV data currently being gathered.

2010 to Present - Cretaceous Niobrara (Fractured Chalk), Rockies, USA

Shale gas/oil regional sedimentologic and stratigraphic assessment of depositional controls on fractured chalk production, using calibrated core/log signatures. Established regional stratigraphic relationships, between core and log data and corresponding reservoir properties (petrophysics, fracture distribution, maturity, geochemistry, mechanical stratigraphy.)

2009 to 2011 - Tertiary-Sumatran Basins and Tarakhan Island/Mahakham Delta, Indonesia

Mentored client staff in: Integrated sequence and seismic stratigraphic interpretations for E & P, data analyses (seismic, well log, core, petrographic), well-to-seismic ties, attribute analysis, core sedimentology, geocellular modeling and inversion data prep, chronostratigraphy and determination of syn & post-rift sequence chronology. Evaluated and QC.d regional and field-scale stratigraphic projects. Analyzed lead/prospect portfolios in petroleum clastic and carbonate shallow marine and deep water plays. Proposed, assembled and managed consulting team to facilitate accelerated staff development for client. Taught short course (Sequence Stratigraphy Fundamentals) to client new hires.

2007 to 2009 - Devonian-Permian, Permian Basin, NM/TX

Evaluated and assessed shale gas/oil potential in multi-horizon (Dev. Woodford, Miss. Barnett, Penn. Wolfcamp, Penn. Bone Spring-Spraberry equivalent) regional stratigraphic study. Synthesized available geological, geophysical (including seismic & potential field), geochemical and sedimentologic+reservoir data, including stratigraphic correlation, structure/isopach mapping, regional reservoir property distribution, GIP determination, and sequence stratigraphic/seismic facies analysis. Developed a client-specific proprietary petrophysical technique for mapping net shale pay. Recommended lease acquisition in emerging resource plays and horizontal drilling locations in client operating areas. Areas identified are currently undergoing rapid development as resource plays in Lea and Eddy counties (NM) and Loving, Culberson and Reeves counties, TX. One operator drilling horizontally in the Leonard/Avalon Shale expects to recover . . . . 65 million bbl of oil equivalent from the Permian Leonard shale . . ."

2006 to 2007 - Jurassic-Cretaceous, Eastern Caribbean (Bahamian Platform)

Assessed regional petroleum system and developed prospects based on carbonate sedimentologic and sequence stratigraphic/structural interpretation. Integrated core description, thin-section, geochemistry, well log petrophysics, regional 2D seismic and magnetic/gravity data. .Scaled-up. high-resolution stratigraphic interpretation to predict carbonate reservoir, source, and seal facies distribution within basin evolution context for exploration. Developed lead/prospect portfolio for farmout. Evaluated carbonate production worldwide for field analogs. Client company currently in new venture lease and seismic acquisition.

2002 to 2003 - Lower Cretaceous, East Texas (GOM)

Developed regional sequence stratigraphic framework from 1000+ well database in Cretaceous Rodessa-Sligo interval in a multi-county area (Shelby, Tyler, Sabine, Angelina, Cherokee, Polk and Walker counties) for trend/prospect generation. Correlations based on identification of high-resolution carbonate/evaporite sedimentologic/stratigraphic cycles from core and acoustic/electrical log integration; developed regional correlation framework and database and compiled production information. Integration with aeromagnetic data and limited suite of seismic data confirmed sequence and cycle delineation and enhanced regional correlations. High-resolution core analysis by collaborator merged with parasequence analysis from well log suite. Clients pursued exploration leases & seismic acquisition based on play\trend recommendations. Proposed Phase 2 of this project (under negotiation) to incorporate regional 2D seismic data and expand trend/prospect portfolio.

1997 to 1998 - Adjunct Faculty, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

Developed curriculum and co-taught (carbonate portion of) Stratigraphy/Sedimentology (GE315).

1995 - Maracaibo Basin, Venezuela

Developed high-resolution sequence stratigraphic correlation framework of reservoir flow units in Maracaibo (deep water siliciclastic) reservoirs. Flow units delineated were used as basis for rock property distribution input to reservoir simulator to predict/match flow histories. Project was client.s initial application of sequence stratigraphic correlation as basis for reservoir characterization model.

1995 to 1996 - Paleocene-Miocene, Middle Magdalena Basin, Colombia

Managed interpretation team as Senior Technical Co-advisor to client (Ecopetrol/ICP E&P) geoscientists. Integrated seismic, well log, and core data to develop regional correlation framework and play assessment in Paleocene-Miocene fluvial sediments in Matacuya, La Coquera, and Bosques areas of the basin. Delineated stratigraphic ties to seismic facies using facies-cycle stacking pattern analysis of cores and well logs, including qualitative seismic attribute mapping. Included play/trend recommendations to client, subsequently successfully pursued.

1993 - Magdalena Basin, Colombia

Developed and taught client-specific short course in applied high-resolution sequence stratigraphy in predominantly fluvial sediments (Bucaramanga, Colombia). Using client.s database, tied facies cycles to seismic stratal patterns and facies to develop integrated geologic models for prospect/play evaluation. Client continued to develop expansive exploration and development program in fluvial reservoirs of the Magdalena Basin.

~1993 to 1999 - On .Procreational Sabbatical. (~ half-time)

1990 to 1991 - Consultant, Seismic/Sequence Stratigraphy, Société Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production), Pau, France, Département d'Interprétation Avancée (DIA).

  • Demonstrated and taught (predominantly in French) application of high-resolution sequence-stratigraphic interpretation techniques to exploration and reservoir studies, integrating well log, core, and seismic data into regional play/prospect assessments and drilling recommendations. Guided seismic reprocessing work flow analysis and depth conversion.
  • Directed/collaborated with small teams of geoscientists in sequence stratigraphy exploration and development projects for Elf Aquitaine affiliates, predominantly in the shallow and deep water plays of the Jurassic/Tertiary -- U.K./Norwegian North Sea and onshore/offshore north and west African basins.

1988 - Field Geologist, Mobil Oil Corp., Denver, Colorado

  • Mapped structural geology / developed prospects in the Basin and Range province, Nevada.

1988 to 1993 - Graduate Research Fellow, CSM Dept of Geology and Geological Engineering

  • Taught laboratory and field portions of undergraduate courses in stratigraphy, historical and physical geology, and carbonate sedimentology (included curriculum and course development.)

  • Conducted thesis-related research and participated in high-resolution stratigraphic studies as part of departmental research consortium.

1981 to 1986 - Exploration Geophysicist, Exxon Co., USA, Western Division, Denver, Colorado

  • Generated prospects / farmouts in multiple Rocky Mountain basins (Powder, Bighorn, Paradox, and San Luis). Applied various geophysical techniques including seismic stratigraphic interpretation, stratigraphic forward modeling (GeoQuest and in-house software) and geologic model development. Integrated data including seismic, well log, geochemistry, gravity, aeromagnetic and magneto-tellurics.

  • Developed regional play analyses for diverse Rocky Mountain and Gulf of Mexico basins in conjunction with Exxon Production and Research Co.

  • Interpreted / recommended drilling on the Western Division.s first 3D seismic survey (1982).
  • Initiated the use of Vertical Seismic Profiling in Exxon.s Western Division.

  • Northern Paradox Basin new field gas discovery, initial reserves estimated at 0.3 TCF.


SMT Kingdom Suite; GeoPLUS (IHS) Petra; GeoQuest 2D modeling software;

IESX (Schlumberger GeoFrame) and GeoGraphix;
MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint);

WellCad core description and analysis software;
Various graphics (CorelDraw, Canvas).


Ph.D., Geology, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, 1997

Dissertation: "Stratigraphic architecture of the Vercors carbonate ramp:

Linked clinoform geometries and facies differentiation.

M.S., Geology, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, 1989

Thesis: "Cretaceous sea level from a paleoshoreline"

B.S., Geology (Geophysics Option), University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1980


Horn, B.W., Dinkleman, M. G., Granath, J.W., McDonough, K.J., Sterne, E.J. (in press), Petroleum Potential and Stratigraphic Architecture of Siberian Frontier Basins as Revealed by Long Offset, Long Record Seismic Surveys, AAPG ICE, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey. 

McDonough, K.J., Horn, B.W., Qayyum, F., Brouwer, F. (2014), Sequence Stratigraphic Mapping of Reservoir Architecture in Deep Water Fans, Offshore Tanzania and Mozambique, GTW Brasil, May 14-15, 2014, Rio de Janeiro..

McDonough, K.J., Horn, B., Qayyum, F., Brouwer, F. (2014), Deep-Water Sequence Stratigraphy and Exploration Plays in a Frontier Basin: Offshore Tanzania and Mozambique. 33rd Annual Gulf Coast Section SEPM Foundation Bob F. Perkins Research Conference, Jan. 28 2014, Houston, TX, USA.

Deacon, M., McDonough, K.J., Brinton, L., Friedman, S., and Robert Lieber (2013), Stratigraphic Contols on Reservoir Properties, Cretaceous Niobrara Formation, DJ Basin, Colorado, AAPG ACE, Pittsburg; Abstracts with Program.

McDonough, K.J., Qayyum, F., Bouanga, E., Pierard, C., Horn, B, Gross, J., Danforth, A, Sterne, E.J., and, James Granath (2013), Offshore East Africa Fan Chronostratigraphy from Wheeler-Transformed Seismic Data; ION GeoVentures East AfricaSPANTM , AAPG ACE, Pittsburg; Abstracts with Program.

Katie-Joe McDonough, Eric Bouanga, Claire Pierard, Brian Horn, Pete Emmet, Jon Gross, Al Danforth, Ned Sterne, Jim Granath (2013), Wheeler-Transformed 2D Seismic Data Yield Fan Chronostratigraphy of Offshore Tanzania, The Leading Edge, Special Theme Issue on Chronostratigraphy, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 162-170.

McDonough, K.J., Bouanga, E., Pierard, C., Sterne, E.J., Granath, J.W., Danforth, A., Gross, J., 2012, Submarine Fan Chronostratigraphy from Wheeler-Transformed ION BasinSPAN Seismic Data, Late Cretaceous - Tertiary, Offshore Tanzania, PESA abstracts, Houston, TX, USA. 

Deacon, M., McDonough, K.J, Brinton, L., Friedman, S, and Geesaman, R., 2012, Cretaceous Niobrara Carbonates .Facies Successions, Architecture and Stratigraphy . Hydrodynamic and Biotic Controls, DJ Basin, Colorado, AAPG Long Beach, California; Abstracts with Program.

McDonough, K.J., Geesaman, R., and Brinton, L., 2012, Cretaceous Niobrara: Facies, Sedimentology, & Stratigraphy Integrated with Petrophysics, Noble Energy Proprietary Report, 167 pp.

McDonough, K.J., 2010, Fundamentals of Sequence Stratigraphy; 1-week training short course and workshop for PT MedcoEnergi, Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Ehrets, J.R., Inden, R.F., and McDonough, K.J., 2007, Hydrocarbon Potential and Reservoir Analogues for Lower Cretaceous and Jurassic Carbonate and Clastic Reservoirs, Deep Bahamas, BPC Limited Proprietary Report, 282 pp. 

Olaya, Ivan D., McDonough, Katie Joe, Hale, Laura D., Anderson, Donna S., and Cross, Timothy A., 1996, High-resolution fluvial seismic stratigraphy.An integrated subsurface analysis, Middle Magdalena Basin, Colombia; Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.

McDonough, K.J., 1996, Carbonate productivity and population dynamics: Redefining carbonate sediment supply in terms of ecologic life-adaption strategies; AAPG, San Diego, California; Abstracts with Program, p. A95. 

McDonough, K.J., 1994, Stratigraphic controls on facies : An outcrop study as reservoir analog, Vercors Plateau (SE France); AAPG Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado; Abstracts with Programs, p. 210. 

Cross, T.A., M.R. Baker, M.A. Chapin, M.S. Clark, M.H. Gardner, M.S. Hanson, M.A. Lessenger, L.D. Little, K-J McDonough, M.D. Sonnenfeld, D.W. Valasek, M.R. Williams, and D.N. Witter, 1993, Applications of high-resolution sequence stratigraphy to reservoir analysis, in Eschard, R., and B. Doligez, eds., Subsurface Reservoir Characterization from Outcrop Observations, Éitions Technip, Paris, p. 11-33.

McDonough, K.J., 1993, Stratigraphy in the Seismic Record; workshop for Ecopetrol, Bucaramanga, Colombia (shortcourse + workshop using client data). 

McDonough, K.J., Cross, T.A., Homewood, P.W., Service Sémentologie Elves, Arnaud, H., and Arnaud, A., 1992, Sediments, geometries, and stratal architecture in the Combau Valley (S. Vercors, France): Facies partitioning by the carbonate factory; Sequence Stratigraphy of European Basins, Dijon, France.

McDonough, K.J., and Blaskowski, S.D., 1992, Facies differentiation in carbonate shelf strata: Does stratigraphy dictate sedimentology? American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Meeting, Calgary, Alberta; Abstracts with Program, p. 85. 

McDonough, K.J., Cross, T.A., Homewood, P.W., Arnaud, H., and Arnaud, A., 1991, Séments, gééies, et architectures dans la Vallédu Combau (S. Vercors, France): partage difféntiel des facièpar l'usine de carbonate; 3è CongrèFrançs de Sémentologie, Brest, France.

McDonough, K.J., and Cross, T.A., 1991, Late Cretaceous sea level from a paleoshoreline; Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 96, No. B4, p. 6591-6607. 

McDonough, K.J., 1990, La stratigraphie sequentielle de la Jurassique du Mer du Nord - La methodologie et l' application; Journé de Transmission d'Experience, Elf Aquitaine Centre d'Entretien, Boussens, France.

McDonough, K.J., 1989, Cretaceous shoreline elevation from high-resolution stratigraphic correlations: Implications for eustasy; Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri. 

McDonough, K.J., 1989, Magnitude of Cretaceous eustasy from a paleoshoreline; 1989 Chapman Conference on Causes and Consequences of Long-Term Sea Level Change, American Geophysical Union, Snowbird, Utah. 



French - fluent

Spanish - conversational

Bahasa Indonesian- six word vocabulary