John Arthur ’77- Senior Staff Geologist For The Apache Corporation

John Arthur ’77 remembers a lot about Simpson College — such as selling organic food in Brenton Student Center (which was replaced by the Kent Center) as another meal option for students who were interested in healthier meals like he was. He also remembers being one of the final graduates from Simpson with a major in Earth sciences; the major was dropped from the curriculum in 1977.

But the most important memory he has of his college days in Indianola is that Simpson was the place where he developed his interest in geology.

Arthur came to Simpson as a physics major with an interest in pre-med. During his early years as an undergraduate he took a few geology classes and immediately latched on to the coursework and research — and he’s been doing it ever since.

Arthur moved to Tulsa, Okla. In 1979 in search of a career in the gas and oil industry during the oil boom. For six months he worked in uranium and coal mining before “moving into the petroleum side of things.” “It’s all geology and engineering,” Arthur said of his work with Axis Exploration. “I’ve spent 30 years discovering a delta system that is 2 ½ miles deep. That’s 30 years of drilling in southwest Oklahoma.”

He now serves as senior staff geologist for the Apache Corporation.

Arthur’s drilling experience in Oklahoma has spanned more than 800 wells in multiple counties. The research is still the same, but Arthur says the technology has changed drastically over the past five years.

“We have log libraries that contain all of the information on every well drilled,” he said. “We are able to calculate how much porosity there is before we decide to drill.”

Arthur believes the nation should become less dependent on foreign oil. “If we keep our minds sharp then we’ll keep evolving into something totally different from when we started,” he said. “It’s about doing things morally right and doing business correctly.”


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