Mr. James D. Copen


Mr. Copen has over 30 years experience, focusing on the geologic aspects of petroleum exploration, appraisal, development, and production. This has provided him with:

  • Strong working knowledge of oil and gas E & P geology and reservoir engineering. Recognized authority on development, production and operations geoscience. 
  • Well-developed coaching, mentoring and instruction skills.
  • Positions of leadership and influence at business unit and global levels.
  • Sound background in business and technical risk assessment, project management, senior management advisory roles, problem solving.
  • Demonstrated ability to build, lead and work effectively in integrated, multi-disciplinary teams. Well-developed interpersonal skills. Strong oral and written communication and presentation skills. 
  • Highly motivated. Flexible, quick learner. Assume responsibilities readily and confidently. Equally comfortable and effective in the office and in the field.


2004 to Present - BP EXPLORATION (Alaska), INC, Anchorage, AK

Development and production geoscience leadership
Fieldwide Geologist, Greater Prudhoe Bay · Technical lead for 1500MMBO Sag River reservoir development team · Lead geologist for integrated, multi-company, Prudhoe Bay full field model (FFM) re-build · Lead author and presenter of FFM paper/poster at international and company-wide symposia · Primary organizer and contributor to development of Appraisal, Development and Production Geoscience (ADPG) handbooks for global geoscience population · Solicited and lead pilot testing of GeoGraphix software being considered for global implementation · Completed formal "petrophysical fitness" assessment for Prudhoe · Recruited geomechanics "champion" for Alaska BU · Instructor for 21st Century Subsurface Fundamentals training course · Organized Alaska Subsurface and Wells Forum · Coaching / mentoring - facilitated geoscience competencies assessment

2000 to 2004 - Oil and gas development and production geoscience

Aurora Field development team · Depletion planning, reservoir appraisal, well planning, operations oversight · Partner and government agency interactions including lead for Aurora Participating Area and Prudhoe Bay Unit expansion applications; provided "expert witness" testimony before Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission · Drilling Coordinator for GPB Satellites team; active involvement in development of formal Front End Loading common process · NWE Sag/Ivishak development team lead · Depletion planning, production / development geology · Reservoir appraisal, risk analysis, mapping; reserve assessment

1999 to 2000 - GEOLOGIC CONSULTANT, Anchorage, AK, USA

Oil and gas appraisal and development geoscience

Depletion planning, production geoscience and operations oversight for BPX's Aurora field development; planned and executed first phase of development drilling; actively involved in initial characterization of Kuparuk Fm. stratigraphy and reservoir description · Well planning and operations support for Phillips/Arco Prudhoe Bay EOA development, including detailed post-drill and play-type analysis of Ivishak Fm. "Romeo" stratigraphy and structure, included relating amplitude variation to sandstone occurrence and distribution in Ivishak Zone 1; utilized same to refine well targeting both in pre-drill planning and in real-time geo-steering · Supervision and execution of development wellsite geologic perations · Well planning and on-site operations - conventional and coiled-tubing operations, directionally-drilled, high angle and horizontal, production & exploration wells

1997 to 1999 - BP EXPLORATION (Alaska), INC., Anchorage, AK

Oil and gas production geoscience / project management

Depletion planning, production/development geology in Prudhoe Bay waterflood; instrumental in re-directing drilling program at S-Pad · Well planning, reservoir evaluation, perforation strategies, workovers, stimulations and profile modification · Management of wellsite geologic operations, responsible for activities of 15 geologists servicing six rotary rigs and three coil-tubing units directionally drilling high angle and horizontal, production, appraisal & exploration wells

1992 to 1997 - GEOLOGIC CONSULTANT, Littleton, CO

Oil and gas, environmental and mining geology / regulatory compliance

Critical review of well-planning processes and operations geoscience for Kuwait Oil Co., Kuwait City; formal report and presentation of recommendations to KOC management · Well planning, well-site geology and supervision - conventional and coiled-tubing operations, directionally-drilled, high angle and horizontal, multi-lateral, production & exploration wells · Operations geology for world's first successful TTRD (Through Tubing Rotary Drilling) well · Waterflood feasibility analysis · Reservoir and reserve evaluation · Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure plans for oil and gas production and/or produced water disposal facilities · Prepared Phase I Environmental Assessment for largest producing oil and gas field in Nebraska · Fuel supply identification, characterization and acquisition for coal-fired power plant, Colorado western slope

1988 to 1992 - BP EXPLORATION (Alaska), INC., Anchorage, AK

Oil and gas production geoscience / project management

Planning, staffing and management of RAZOR inter-company, multi-disciplinary Prudhoe Bay reservoir modeling and description project; first successful application of sequence stratigraphic concepts to Prudhoe Bay reservoir, underpins subsequent WURD reservoir description pro · Depletion planning, production/development geology, reservoir engineering, and reservoir description for largest oil field in North America; developed depletion planning polygons, field wide cross sections (which are still in use); formally presented same to worldwide development geoscience conference, nominated for best paper · Well planning, reservoir evaluation, perforation strategies, workovers, stimulations and profile modification · Planning, engineering and permitting for Class I hazardous waste disposal well on Arctic North Slope

1985 to 1988 - BP EXPLORATION/STANDARD OIL, Houston, TX

Exploration Geologist

Leader, Analogue Field Studies group, offshore Gulf of Mexico, supporting prospect generation and lease evaluation efforts; geophysical and stratigraphic analysis, fault seal analysis · Member of select team charged with assessing viability of company's continued presence in onshore "lower 48", USA · Geologic characterization, play definition, assessment of reserve and exploration potential of Williston, Uinta, Bighorn, Hanna, Piceance/Douglas Creek Arch/eastern Uinta area and onshore California basins · Detailed geological, geophysical, and geochemical analysis of Mississippian carbonate plays, Williston Basin · Regional structural and stratigraphic analysis of offshore California basins, prospect generation, acquisition appraisal, lease evaluation and risk analysis


Exploration Geologist

Petroleum exploration, prospect generation, field mapping and operations geology in the Rocky Mountain Overthrust, Cordilleran Hingeline and Great Basin provinces of Wyoming, Utah and eastern Nevada · Regional geologic analysis of prospectivity with emphasis on petroleum systems evaluation · Regional palinspastic restorations to place reservoir, source, trap and migration pathways in physical and chronologic 'space', identified large prospect, planned and drilled test well which demonstrated viability of concept · lease evaluation and assessment of availability

1980 to 1982 - OLD BEN COAL COMPANY (SOHIO), Denver, CO

Exploitation Geologist

Senior geoscientist on select team charged with facilitating entry of "new player" to mature western US coal market · Market and transportation analyses and property evaluation for potential acquisition · Design, budget, contracting, permitting and implementation of exploration drilling, drilling fluids/waste disposal, environmental baseline studies


Coal Exploration Geologist

Responsible for all geologic aspects associated with development of major underground coal mine in NW Colorado; assessment of coal bed methane potential in concert with DOE

1974 to 1978 - ARCH MINERAL CORPORATION, Rawlins, WY

Coal Development and Exploration Geologist

Geologist for large Hanna Basin, WY surface mine: evaluation of Cretaceous/Tertiary coal resource potential and recoverability 


B.Sc., Geology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 1974


Well Productivity Awareness School - BP Exploration (Alaska) , 1995

ARIES™ advanced economics and database seminars - Munro Garrett, 1994

Economic Evaluation & Investment Decision Methods - Stermole/Colorado School of Mines, 1984

Geophysical Exploration and Interpretation - IHRDC, 1985

Petroleum Production Logging - Schlumberger, 1991

Paleozoic Carbonates - AAPG, 1984

Reservoir Engineering - H. K. van Poolen and Assoc., 1986

Structural Geology - Rocky Mountain Foreland - W. G. Brown, 1983

Seismic-stratigraphy - Galloway & Fischer, 1988
Geochemistry - BP Exploration, 1986
Supervision and Management - BP Exploration, 1990, 1992

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120 HAZWOPER - ITS/CSM, 1993 - 1996

MSHA "New Surface Miner" certificate / 1995

Practical Reservoir Geochemistry, 2006

RMS (geocellular modeling software), 2004/2005

GeoProbe, 2003

GeoGraphix (geologic mapping & interpretation), 2009


American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG/EMD)

Wyoming Geological Association

Alaska Geological Society

Denver Coal Club


Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists: #PG-2464


Russian - Basic