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July 10th, 2018 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM


July 10, 2018


SPEAKER:  Robbie Gries,

Priority Oil & Gas LLC   


Pioneering Women in Petroleum Geology –

Celebrating 100 Years!



10 NW 6th Street



TUESDAY July 10, 2018

LUNCH 11:30am – 1:00pm






If not recorded, vast annals of history are lost. Pioneering women in petroleum geology entered the field very shortly after men became valued and accepted in the oil exploration...and women were first employed in 1917—the year the American Association of Petroleum Geologists was founded! This was a result of men having been conscripted for World War I. And, notably, this was before women’s suffrage!

Women became subsurface geologists at a time when the tools of the trade were rocks (no electric logs, no seismic, no paleontology) and surveying equipment. Interestingly, some of the greatest men in the profession were responsible for hiring, training, promoting, and keeping women in this career—names like Sidney Powers, Everette DeGolyer, George Matson, Alex McCoy, Wallace Pratt, and E. T. Dumble.

Required to quit, usually, when they married...only single women survived, some as entrepreneurs, some as well site geologists, and some in corporate management. The rare company, Amerada Petroleum, welcomed married women to continue working.

Women soon after World War I were responsible for the biggest technological advancement in petroleum exploration...working out stratigraphy with micropaleontology...which, still without well logs and seismic, became absolutely essential. This led almost immediately to immensely better economics for drilling and ultimately the establishment of the Society for Economic Paleontology and Mineralogy (SEPM). Though women pioneered this technology, soon credit went to others.

World War II created new opportunities again for women to enter the geologic workforce and they did in droves. With the onset of electric logs and seismic, women could venture into exploration using the newest technology. But again, careers were discouraged after the war, both when women married and also because a new social order was developing...a powerful social dynamic of putting the “little ladies” back in the home “free of the burden of working”—the June Cleaver era. For the next thirty years it was a struggle for a woman to get an exploration job...and if they did, it always came bundled with menial tasks and inferior pay.

In the early 1970s, the EEOC threatened oil companies with denying them federal leases if they did not have a “diversity” plan for hiring women and other minorities. An immediate response resulted in the hiring of great numbers of women. Affirmative Action actually worked and had lasting effects. Within a very few years women thought they were only hired for their brains! And by then, they probably were. But, the world had long forgotten the smart women who were the real pioneers.


Robbie Gries is founder and President of Priority Oil & Gas LLC, a Denver-based natural gas production, petroleum exploration and development company with producing properties in Kansas and Wyoming.  Robbie has been in the petroleum industry for over 45 years and has been an independent in this industry since 1980. She has combined the business side of oil and gas with her passion for the science of geology and published over 30 papers. Her most recent publication is the book: Anomalies—Pioneering Women in Petroleum Geology: 1917-2017. She is the 2012 recipient of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Michel T. Halbouty Outstanding Leadership Award.  She was the first woman President of the 35,000 member AAPG and expanded the footprint of the organization by visiting over 44 countries and all of the newly formed AAPG Regions.

Robbie is a Fellow and President-Elect Geological Society of America. Robbie has been a Director for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and an officer, leader, and scientific contributor to the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists. She earned a B.S. degree in geology from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in geology from The University of Texas at Austin where she serves on the Advisory Council for the Jackson School of Geosciences Geology. Robbie is a co-founder of GeoScience World, an international internet resource for the geosciences providing digital access to geological publications to over 20 countries. She is past president of the Colorado Women’s Forum and 1997 recipient of the Woman Leader of Excellence Award from the Colorado Women’s Leadership Coalition. In 1974, she was a founder of People House, a Denver based center for Human Potential.

Attendance without reservation will not be possible.  Reservations must be cancelled by July 6, 2018 at noon to avoid being charged.  Thank you for your consideration.