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Energy spotlight: Michael Jarvis

Michael Jarvis is pioneering an underground path to shale in Western Pennsylvania.

The geologist at Range Resources finds the most lucrative shale spots thousands of feet underground and helps craft the most efficient drilling path to them. Last month he was given the Young Alumni Achievement Award by his alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 2008 as a geology major, just as drilling was gaining traction in the Marcellus Shale.

“I was incredibly fortunate to leave school at just the perfect window of time,” he said. “I kind of caught the wave. I came out and the playing field was level. We were all kind of on the same starting line and I got to learn alongside with everybody else.”

The work of petroleum geologists have significant business and technological implications for gas companies like Range, Jarvis says.

His research and mapping lays the groundwork for where Range spends money how their investment is returned.

“You get a bad rap as a guy who just stares at rocks all day … [but] we’re at the front end of a lot of what happens,” he said. “It’s our job to recommend where we should we be drilling.”

Since Jarvis graduated and Marcellus drilling took off, technology like 3D seismic surveys has made it easier to identify and understand shale, he said.

“There’s a learning curve to almost every play and each one of those curves are unique because of the circumstances of the geological formation you’re going to try to drill in.”

Jarvis started his career with Exco Resources, and was a geologist at Mountaineer Keystone and Talisman Energy before coming to Range. He is the former president and member of the Pittsburgh Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Jarvis lives in Franklin Park with his wife Melissa, also an IUP graduate. He enjoys playing the piano and the couple enjoy boating and hiking and camping in Western Pennsylvania.

In related news, Energy spotlight: Nicolle Snyder Bagnell.