Ken Piper

Ken has long had an interest in alternative energy.  Gift subscriptions to Popular Science beginning in 1961 gave him an early introduction to alternative technologies.  His undergraduate Senior Thesis was on Geothermal Energy, and he went on to get a Master’s in Geology and a Ph.D. in Geophysics.  During his career in the Department of the Interior, he became an expert in resource evaluation (primarily oil & gas).  However, he never lost his interest in alternative energy, and has been involved in the Department’s activities in that field.  Now retirement has given him an opportunity to pursue this interest.


Senior Geophysicist
US Department of the Interior – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
2011 – 2013

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Resources
Evaluation of Gas Hydrate Resources

Team leader for the National Assessment of Oil and Gas Resources, Pacific OCS Region – responsible for assessment and reporting of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources for the Pacific Federal offshore.

Regional leader for assessment of methane hydrate resources for the Pacific OCS Region – I work with a multidisciplinary team that includes members from governmental agencies and academic institutions.

Senior Geophysicist
US Department of the Interior – Minerals Management Service
1984 – 2010

Evaluation of Oil and Gas Resources
Evaluation of Gas Hydrate Resources
Offshore Oil Field Oversight
Renewable Energy Development

U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service (now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), Pacific OCS Region, Office of Production, Development, and Reservoir Evaluation, Senior Geophysicist, Structural Geologist and Seismologist.

I was responsible for governmental oversight on development of the Sacate and Pescado fields in the Santa Ynez Unit in Santa Barbara Channel, and the Point Pedernales field in Santa Maria basin. I did an independent interpretation of the Tranquillon Ridge field.

As Senior Geophysicist I interacted with colleagues throughout MMS, other governmental agencies, industry and academia. I reviewed and advised on documents and proposals on geology, geophysics, computer applications, engineering, and alternative energy technologies. I was part of a team that shared information with Russian oil and gas regulators.

I interpreted geophysical and geologic data to locate, define and evaluate geologic structures capable of hydrocarbon entrapment – including seismic reflection profiles, well logs, paleontological data, plans of exploration and development, well tests, regional analyses, and geologic literature.

As Regional Structural Geologist I reviewed colleagues’ geophysical interpretations for structural soundness, provided advice on matters related to structural geology and geophysics, and conducted special projects which required a fast, but technically sound interpretation or analysis of data.

As Regional Seismologist, I provided oversight and review of projects that involved earthquakes and analyses of earthquake hazards. After the 1994 earthquake, I was involved in public education outreach on earthquakes, primarily at area schools.

Research Assistant
University of Southern California, Department of Geological Sciences, Seismology Laboratory, Los Angeles, California
1979 – 1984

I was responsible for maintenance and operation of the U.S.C. seismometer network for the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas and for locating earthquake hypocenters within these areas. I installed and repaired seismometer site equipment and laboratory recording equipment and improved the in-house recording system to increase speed and efficiency of data retrieval. I determined earthquake locations using programs on both IBM 370-series and DEC VAX computers and trained and supervised other research staff members in operation of the system, use of programs and interpretation of seismic records.


University of Southern California
PhD, Geophysics
1977 – 1985

University of California, Los Angeles
MS, Geology
1975 – 1977

California State University-Northridge
BS, Geology
1974 – 1975

Claremont McKenna College
BA, Geophysics
1968 – 1972

To get copies of recent presentations on Pacific Offshore Oil & Gas Outlook and Renewable Energy, Contact Ken at: kp AT