Paul M. Basinski

With great regret we acknowledge the passing of Paul M. Basinski, a well-known expert in unconventional resource geology and geophysics. Paul’s unique career included corporate assignments at Chevron, Kerr McGee, and many years at ConocoPhillips. Paul led a team at COP that discovered and developed the volatile-oil play in the South Texas Eagle Ford Shale. He later led another team focused on global unconventional resources using the methodology his team generated working on the Eagle Ford.

Paul was active in AAPG in the Energy Minerals Division and in the Houston Geological Society. Paul was Unconventional Resources theme chair for the 2011 AAPG Conference in Houston, and worked on the GCAGS 2015 Convention in Houston.  Paul was the essence of the creative thinker, and had a personal system of scientific inquiry that he said led him to find new reserves in old basins. At the Houston Playmaker program in 2014, Basinski gave a well-received talk on the method of his unconventional thinking. This program is online at

Part of what made Paul Basinski successful at unconventional exploration is that he started as a mining geologist, first at University of Nevada at Reno (MS degree 1978), and then as a mining geologist at Kerr McGee and successor companies. His undergraduate degree was at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His grasp of mining technology and engineering helped him attain insights into the value of the Eagle Ford before competitors.c

After retiring from ConocoPhillips, Paul started Burgundy Exploration, Bordeaux Xploration and the Icewine venture that explored source rock shale in Alaska. The Icewine #1 was drilled in 2015 and core analysis confirmed the target HRZ Shale geological model. Icewine #2 was drilled in 2017 and is still being tested with a vertical completion.

In early 2018 Paul’s health started failing due to a heart condition. His great regret was that he may not be able to follow through on his exploration efforts in Alaska. As he said in an email before his heart operation, “Yet the greatest gift is that I’m totally at peace with whatever our Almighty chooses for me next. Why? It’s all about discovery that awaits on the other side of this operation ... be it on our beloved Gaia or in the eternal ether.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
In Memoriam