John Conolly

John Conolly

Affiliate Scientist


40 years experience in exploration of frontier basins. As a Principal of the frontier basin ventures and mostly as the ‘innovator’ and ‘instigator’ of these ventures, which include all of the new joint ventures put together by the Sydney Oil Company during the period 1977 to 1988. These resulted in the participation in the discovery of fourteen new oil fields including the South Pepper, North Herald  trend on the Northwest Shelf and the Fairymount, Bodalla South and Nockatunga trends in Queensland. Since 1988, has worked as an independent creating new frontier plays and putting together new acreage blocks in the Northwest Shelf and other basins in Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, the S.W. Pacific Islands, and New Zealand.

Current Position & Professional History

1987 – Present    Managing Director, Petrofocus Consulting Pty. Ltd.

2001 – Present    Research Associate, Energy Geoscience Institute, University of Utah

1998 – 2013       Executive Chairman, Rawson Resources Limited

2010 – 2012       Non-Executive Director, Kea Petroleum PLC

1979 – 1988       Managing Director, Sydney Oil Company

1973 – 1978       President, Era North America Inc.

1965 – 1971       Professor of Geology, Louisiana State University, Columbia University N.Y. University of South Carolina

Regional Expertise

  • Australia

  • U.S.A.

  • Canada

  • Europe

  • Africa

  • P.N.G.

  • New Zealand

  • S.W. Pacific Islands

  • Philippines


John Conolly worked with Ewing and Heezen at Lamont Geological Observatory of Columbia University, New York while on a Fulbright scholarship from 1963 to 1966. This talk summarises some of the results that stem from studies using deep sea cores and his association with these 2 famous marine scientists. These include a paper on the Laurentian Channel with Heezen that showed the movement of an ice sheet out into the North Atlantic Ocean and its retreat as shown by deposits of red brick tills in the ocean cores. A second paper with Ewing studied cores from the Puerto Rico trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean. Because the cores used were kept refrigerated and opened later in the Lamont Core Lab the original subtle colours could be used to correlate sediment beds deposited by turbid flows over distances of up to 100 km along the deep trench floor. This would be first time these techniques were used to correlate deposition by turbidity currents over large distances. Both these studies are well illustrated with maps, core photos and mineral petrology.

GeoQuEST Seminar Oct. 12, 2022

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